Thursday, December 23, 2010


The weather does not allow us to get outside as much in December as it does in July. Whether we are inside due to rain or snow we are inside more because of shorter days. Now that the shortest day of the year is past us, we can look forward to a few more minutes here and there is daylight.

What can we do inside to keep ourselves active and fit? If you do not have a gym membership, household activities can be done to keep fit.

Activities to do when seated:
If you are sitting and reading a book, reading the newspaper, watching TV or working on the computer you can work your CALF MUSCLES by tapping your feet. Keep your heel on the ground and lift your toes. Tap your toes down. This lengthens the front of your calf.

If you wish to add a HIP OPENER to your seated position, cross the left leg over the right. Keep the left foot flexed to protect the knee. Gently use your left hand to externally rotate your quad muscle and your right hand to keep your ankle flexed. If you wish more intensity, keep a straight back and fold at the hips. Dive your heart toward your shins and aim your hands toward the floor. Carefully come up, leading with your sternum and placing your hands on your hips to take the load off your back. Repeat on the other side. (See the photo from Google Images)

What about a more intense workout when at home? That's possible doing normal household chores. A VACUUM can provide you with a workout. Keep your navel drawn in to keep pelvic and rib stability and you will get core strength as well as an upper body workout with the machine. Use the implements and add in squats to get low areas under chairs, etc. Move furniture to not only clean and help your lungs but also get a workout for your entire body. Remember, pelvic stability is the key to not getting injured.

Being inside does not have to stifle your activity, make the most of what you have.

Shopping for Luggage...keeping a HEALTHY BACK in mind

I was shopping for luggage this week. I wanted to find bags that were airline "carry on" size as well as stylish and reasonable in price.

How do you start shopping for luggage? First, you look to find out what sizes are allowed as carry on and what sizes would have to be checked. Most airlines consider carry on bags to be: No larger than 45 inches (length+width+height), be approximately 22"x14"x9", or 56x36x23 cm which will allow the bags to fit in an overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you.

When looking for luggage for clothes, look for LIGHTWEIGHT pieces that have wheels. This makes it easier to move through an airport as well as lift up and into a bin. If you are traveling for pleasure or work, you want to have fun or work, not get a back injury lifting an overweight piece of luggage. Keep the suitcase light, fill it with your goods.

When looking for a carry case for your laptop and other materials why not look into a LAPTOP MESSENGER BAGS. A messenger bag is lightweight, has many compartments and can be carried across your shoulder. It will distribute the weight across your body without causing any strain on your back or one shoulder. I found stylish and reasonable messenger bags online at CSN Stores. Check out the link above. Travel safely!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We all look for ways to save a few dollars...

Baking Soda is a purchase that is inexpensive and can be used for NUMEROUS household chores.

Here are a few ways that Baking Soda can be used rather than other, more expensive (and usually more processed), products.

1. Use baking soda to clean your drains. a mixture of baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that can clean your sink...eliminating clogs from hair, pet fur, etc.

2. Use baking soda with laundry detergent to WHITEN whites. A quarter of a cup helps get socks looking CLEAN!

TIP: Baking soda is used in the refrigerator and freezer to "soak in" odors. The suggested replacement time varies...I have seen a range from 30 days to three months. Why not use the old box for laundry whitening or sink cleaning rather than waste it.

3. Baking soda can be used under your arms rather than purchasing a separate deodorant.

4. When you wash your hair you can use baking soda to remove product build-up. Just add a small amount of baking soda to your hands along with your traditional shampoo. Make a lather/paste and apply to your hair as you normally would if you were merely suing shampoo.

5. Baking soda can deodorize closets. You can place an open box on a shelf in the closet (or use one of the fridge and freezer boxes with the mesh sides) to neutralize odors. This is good for closets with sports gear, dirty laundry and sweaty shoes. You might miss the floral scented aroma but those products only mask the odor, not absorb it and remove it.

More information can be found at: and

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 many health benefits. Why the bad reputation?

Beets are a simple food. You can buy a can of whole, sliced or pickled beets and include them in salads or other recipes. You can also buy beet roots with or without the greens. Both are edible and can be prepared in a variety of manners.

Whole beets can be rinsed clean (cut to speed cooking) and steamed. Beets can also be cut and baked in the oven to make chips. There are many preparations, those are two quick and easy preparations.

Steamed beets can be eaten in salads or as a vegetable side dish. They can be prepared with butter or just served plain. You know they are done when a fork can be pierced into them and it does not find too much resistance. Prepare them as you wish...everyone likes a different amount of "crunch".

A great Beet Chip recipe from Food Network involved baking beets with sweet potatoes. You can also include Potatoes and sliced carrots as well.

If you buy beets with the greens you can cook those as well. Prepare them as you would chard...just change the recipe a bit. Clean the greens thoroughly. Chop up the greens and add to a pan. Saute with some garlic, olive oil and butter ( I prefer to use non salted). After the greens wilt, add some balsamic and reduce.

Why eat beets? They are PACKED with NUTRITION! They have fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. They are said to ward off cancer and asthma as well as aid in digestion and promote liver function. To read more about the health benefits of beets click here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I was listening to NPR on my way to work today

and heard a story about Going Green and the Holidays. The story focused on whether it was better to purchase a "fake" Christmas tree or cut one down. There guests detailed the debate about cutting down a tree vs a fake tree that can be reused year after year. Allergies aside, it appeared to me that the guests were leaning toward listeners cutting down their own tree. Some people can handle this, some cannot due to allergies.

One alternative I also heard was buying a small pine, or ROSEMARY, in a pot then planting it outdoors when the weather gets warmer. Start a tradition...develop a garden.

I decided to search out more information to see what has less of a carbon footprint.

MSN has a story that basically states that the environmental factor is a comes down to personal preference. states that it is better to get a real tree that can be recycled.

Ezine articles believes that it is more cost effective and a greener option to buy a "fake" tree if you plan on using it for ten years or more.

Appears like the jury is still out. Whatever your personal preference happens to be, do think about the environment as you make choices this holiday season. Recycle and reuse...accumulate as LITTLE waste as possible!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pilates Ecercised to beep you STRONG

In Chinese art bamboo symbolizes the ideal man, he bends and sways with adversity and change but does not break. In America in 2010 we need to bend and sway with each twist and turn that life throws at us. The holiday season add a few reasons for us to bend our normal routine.

When participating in home decorating, cooking, entertaining or being entertained, we need to be mindful of our posture so we do not get hurt.

The PRINCIPLES OF ALIGNMENT IN PILATES are tips to keep in mind whether you are on or off the pilates mat.

The FIVE Principles:
1. Pelvic Placement
2. Rib Cage Placement
3. Scapular Movement and Stabilization
4. Head and Cervical Spine Placement
5. Breathing

Let's start with Pelvic Placement AND Rib Cage Placement for today's analysis. If we look at both as a whole, we can see how keeping the two in mind will help keep us safe this holiday season and beyond. There are many details to keep in mind for each segment of our body, the simple truth for today is to KEEP YOUR RIBS IN ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR HIPS.

Think drawing your navel toward your spine and tucking your "tail" under you. This protects your spine and eliminates the chance for starting to develop or perpetuating a deep lordotic curve. (see the image)

How would my ribs and hips get out of alignment?
If you sit for long periods of time (at a social gathering this season perhaps" you may start to slump.
If you need to lift heavy objects, bend your knees and move your back as a unit, rather than have a few vertebrae do all the work.

Protect your body! Thing of your "midline" as your BASE...keeping the ribs and hips in alignment will keep your strong and safe. what can you visualize to help you remember? It may sound silly...think about a worm's clitellum that HUGS the rest of its body. Imagine you wrapped an ace bandage around your midsection to visually look the same.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Was perusing Yoga Journal today and found an interesting article...

Know Your Stress Type. The first step to being able to fight stress is to know how it affects you. The holidays can be a stressful time as you try to find the perfect gifts for loved ones and friends while watching your pocketbook.

Read the article to look for the stress type that best fits you...then start to work on coping with the stress so you can enjoy the hectic time of year!

Let the Holidays be as stress free as possible - embrace and enjoy the season!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


There's nothing like the scent of baked goods in the oven/fresh from the oven. I've found the scent of fresh apples cooking on the stove (with some cinnamon of course) to come quite close to the same comforting aroma.

While you spend time inside decorating or keeping warm, cut up a few apples (a variety makes for more flavor...even add pears too). I like keeping teh apple skin may wish to get rid of it. When you cut the apples make sure no rough parts of teh core remain, you want the applesauce to be smooth. The smaller you dice the fruit, the less cooking time needed.

To make the applesauce, melt some butter in a pot (to line it so the apples do not stick), add the diced apples to the melted butter and add cinnamon (to taste). Cook on low or medium low until the apples have reduced to a sauce. You may serve as is, or blend to make the consistency more like store bought.

Store in the refrigerator. Serve warm or cold. Perhaps warm applesauce over a muffin for breakfast?

While apples are in season, take advantage of the lower prices and make homemade applesauce. It does not take much time and it eliminates the preservatives you'd consume in a store bought product.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Be Mindful About What You Use. GO GREEN!

I read in this month's Yoga Journal that the holiday season brings about a 20-30% increase in trash. The trash not only comes from wrapping paper and boxes that gifts come in but from decorations and disposable plates and utensils used while entertaining.

How can you be "GREEN" this holiday season without sacrificing a festive look?

ONE way is to go to thrift stores, dollar stores, garage sales, etc. and pick up holiday plates or festive color plates for a reasonable price. This way you use dishes that can go into the dishwasher and not the garbage can. (Perhaps you can even borrow extra plates from a friend or neighbor.) If you do not wish to keep them after the party, you can always make a charitable donation. The cost of buying plates can run from a few cents each to a few dollars. If you look into it, you may be able to purchase plates for the same cost as disposable.

A SECOND way to go green is to use decorative bags to wrap presents, when applicable. The bags can be reused year after year where wrapping paper is a one use item.

A THIRD way is to save your holiday cards. You can use this year's holiday cards for gift tags NEXT year. The decorative objects on the cover of the cards, like trees, ornaments or religious scenes can be cut out in a decorative manner, hole punched and strung with string on a gift bag as a "bag tag". This ensures that each "bag tag" is personalized.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE ... there are many ways to creatively reuse products. Keep it classy and personalized so that your GREEN efforts are appreciated by others and inspire others to BE MINDFUL ABOUT WHAT THEY USE.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Be Mindful About the Foods You Choose...

As the weather gets colder, a bowl of soup begins to sound like a good option for a meal. Starting a meal with soup is also a good way to watch what you eat. In the season of sharing meals to celebrate with co-workers, friends and family, why not add a soup to your menu or order soup to start your meal. A satisfying meal will help curb the desire for Holiday sweets.

There are many locations on the web you can go for soup recipes. and are two good sites to visit to get ideas. Personally, I am a Food Network Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee type of a cook. One soup that I like to make that breaks my semi-homemade trend is Carrot Soup. I've adapted the recipe over the years so it now is an amalgam based on what I read, watched on TV and experimented with in the kitchen. Here's my healthy twist to the recipe...a heartwarming and satisfying meal on its own with a wedge of bread.

Healthy Twist on Carrot Soup:

Melt a Quarter Cup of UNSALTED butter in pot
Thinly slice 2 small onions (NOT RED) ... or one large and add to the pot with melted butter. Saute till translucent.
Thinly slice (for faster cooking) 2 LBS of carrots and add to the onions. TIP: An option is to use bite sized carrots to save cutting time...unfortunately then it is not as cost effective.
Add 1 TSP of dried TARRAGON
Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until carrots are tender.

After you test carrots and find they are tender, add 4 cups of LOW SODIUM Chicken Broth/Chicken Stock. Add one third a cup of orange juice...about the juice of an average orange if you do not want to buy orange juice for one recipe. Add 2 TBSP of lemon juice...or 1 TBSP lemon juice concentrate and 1 TBSP of water. Boil for 10-15 minutes...time depends upon how thinly cut the carrots are.

Blend the mixture in a food processor. (Remember to cover the top of the blender...the steam can cause the top to fly off and make the kitchen a mess!) Taste the final product...add salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm with a wedge of bread (hearty whole grain is a healthy option), grilled cheese or a cheese, cracker and fruit plate.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be Present This Holiday Season

Embrace the opportunity to spend more time with friends and family. Make a HOLIDAY RESOLUTION to stay healthy!

During the Month of December I'll investigate ways we can all stay healthy in mind, body and spirit as we attend HOLIDAY PARTIES, SHOP AND GET WORK DONE so we can take time off.

Tip For Today: Take time to RELAX. End your day with a yoga pose.

Viparita Karini "Legs up the Wall Pose" is a great way to end your day

Q:Sounds Easy? How do I begin?

A: Start by sitting next to a wall with on hip actually touching the wall. Roll onto your side and slide your legs up the wall. If your glutes (seat) slides away from the wall, press your elbows into the ground and feet into the wall and shimmy your glutes closer to the wall. Find the restful place for your to recline on the floor with your back on the floor, seat into the wall and legs up the wall.

Q: Is that it?
A: It can be. You can recline here with your spine supported and legs active. Flex your feet and engage your quads. Encourage the flesh of your thighs to internally rotate and aim toward the wall like you would if in Downward Facing Dog. Your hands cal rest next to your side body, palm facing up about 30 degrees from your torso. Breathe. Shut your eyes. Rest here for 8-10 minutes if possible.

Q:What if I want more?
A: A variation to encourage deep breathing would be to place your right hand on your heart and left hand on your navel. As you inhale feel your right hand elevate and as you exhale feel it lower and the left hand elevate. Practice lengthening your breath, perhaps counting to 3, 5, 7 as you inhale and the same breath length as you exhale. This encourages your lung capacity to build as you rest. PLUS, deep breathing reduces stress!

Q: Anything Else?
A: Yes, the legs can go into variations also. They can open into a wide "V" to open your hips and groins. You can also bring your feet into baddha konasana against the wall and allow your knees to splay wide to open your hips and groins a bit more. Just be careful to draw your navel to your spine to protect your lower back. You want to keep your spine as neutral as possible in all variations.

While you rest, try to let go of the activities of the day for the few minutes you are in your pose. Let your pose be your time, your personal sanctuary among the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


SWEET Temptations abound at the end of October. Not only has Starbucks been selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes for a while and grocery stores have been selling candy for a while, but people make homemade treats for the holidays.

For most people without a health condition that precludes their eating sweets, it's OK to give in to the holiday temptations/cravings every once and a while. The sweet treats may be a comfort food that reminds you of childhood or a guilty pleasure once a year. Whatever reason you break from your normal meal plan and have a special treat, you need to be mindful not to indulge. Satisfy a craving with a small portion!

Are you aware of the proper nutrition and calorie count for your body? Have you visited to look at the USDA's food guidance program?

Perusing the Food Pyramid one encounters the Discretionary Foods Category. This small category includes caloric drinks, sweets, sauces and foods that contain solid fats. This category should be only a SMALL component of your healthy diet. Starting at Halloween time and through the holidays there are many temptations that cause the DISCRETIONARY CATEGORY to become a larger component in your dietary plan than it should be. How can this be avoided? Here are a few tips:

Purchase candy in single packaged in single serving pouches. Take small candies that are bite size and easily consumed in multiples like M&M's, Skittles or Candy Corn. Why not purchase them in a large bag that contains several packages of individually wrapped treats. If you must give in, have 1 package and stop there. Eat nutritious meals throughout the day to balance out the extra sugar in your diet.

Pack snacks to eat when you get tempted. One option is to pack baby carrots and/or apple slices and keep them with you. They can be eaten raw or combined, conservatively, with a dip (remember dips are discretionary foods). Apples can be given a peanut butter or caramel topping while carrots can be dipped in ranch dressing. Grapes are another snack that is bite size and can be eaten on the go.

Another option would be to create a homemade snack mix. You can purchase a combination of dried fruits, crackers like Goldfish, and nuts (almonds are a healthier options than some others). The mix can be made in a large portion then individually packaged so you control the portions you consume.

A simple rule of thumb, according to the target for a person to keep in mind is to have no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake be from Discretionary Foods.

Make healthy choices. Don't let discretionary foods get the best of you!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Care for your LEGS and CORE at the same time...

ADD the Pilates Single Leg Stretch to your daily routine...or KEEP it in your's good for you!

Start reclining on your back. Draw your navel to your spine as you elevate your legs to a 90 Degree Angle. Keep your transverse abdominis engaged throughout the exercise. On an inhale, curl your head neck and shoulders up, tucking an imaginary orange between your chin and chest. Imagine your sternum reaching to the sky.

Keep the curve in your upper spine and draw your navel toward your spine.

Since your body has a tendency to work itself differently on an inhalation and exhalation...we'll vary the traditional exercise a bit here...

keep your left knee at the 90 Degree angle with your left hand outside your left ankle and your right hand on the inside of your left knee. Extend your right leg forward. Point your big toe like you are pressing a button on the elevator. Extend and lower the right leg to the level where you still can maintain hips and ribs in alignment.

Repeat on other side

Exhale: Repeat on Side 1

Exhale: Repeat on side 2

Complete 4-6 sets of pairs of inhalations/exhalations

To complete the exercise, hug your knees into your chest on an inhale. As you exhale, curl your head, neck and shoulders into your knees to make a little ball with your body. Exhale to uncurl and recline to a prone position.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Friday, October 8, 2010

Take Care of Your Legs

Whether we are aiming for longer leaner gams, an increase in range of motion or greater flexibility, we all need to care for our hamstrings when engaging in any form of exercise. None of us want to be the person that pulls up lame during an activity with a hamstring pull.

How can we strengthen our lower body and care for our hamstrings?

There are a couple of exercise that you can start adding to your routine.

The FIRST is A Seated Forward Bend, Paschimottanasana if you wish the Sanskrit term.

You may think the pose looks easy, how can it be worthwhile? It IS worth it after you set yourself up correctly for your body.

Sit on the floor with a folded blanket or bolster (bath towels work if that's what you have at home) just enough to slightly elevate your pelvis. Pull the flesh away from your sacrum so you are sitting evenly. Internally rotate your thighs and press actively through your heels. if you are caring for your knees and they remain a rolled towel under then so they can release (still actively pressing through your heels).

Inhale as you press your hands into the floor next to your side body (seams of your clothes). Allow your sternum to rise as you draw your shoulder blades together. As you exhale walk your fingers along the floor in the direction of your toes. Keep your back protected by drawing your navel in toward your spine. Think length...fold at hips, navel folds over thighs, heart over knees and crown of the head reaches toward your toes.

If your body is tight another rolled blanket, towel or bolster between your torso and thighs. Allow your body to open as it melts into the bolster.

Once you have settled into your fold, turn your palms up and passively melt into the pose. As you inhale, lengthen and as you exhale...hold the stretch.

After a few minutes, continue to stay folded and low while allowing your palms to turn toward the ground once again. Use your left hand to hold outside your right leg and your right hand outside your left. Hold at the feet, ankles or up the calves...wherever you are today. The criss-cross with your arms will help you open your upper back. Inhale and lengthen your spine like a ruler, exhale and bend your elbows outward to allow space for a deeper fold. At this point, the criss-cross allows the upper back to open. You should feel a gentle stretch from spine to shoulder. Stay for a few breaths then release your hands. Turn your palms facing upward once again.

To return to upright, with a slow inhalation start to slide your hands toward your pelvis. Slowly re-stacking your spine, navel drawing in and shoulder blades meeting behind your back.

The Hamstrings were stretched. The fringe too were the spine and shoulders, as well as the mind calmed and digestion improved. a

Next...Pilates for the Hamstrings...Single Leg Stretch

Photo Courtesy of

Friday, September 10, 2010

Plastic Containers...Microwave Safe?

Countless people discuss whether reheating food in plastic containers in the microwave is a potential health risk? I hear both sides of the debate on a daily basis. This week I was even sent a "mass email" that detailed health risks published by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that stated that using the microwave to reheat food in plastic containers leaves you at risk for developing cancer. That was the last straw. I decided to do some research to find more conclusive evidence. I am tired of not being educated on this controversial issue.

I started by looking at ( I thought, why not start with the plastic side of the story...they probably are the ones that will say it is OK. Their stance appears to be:

"Of course, using a plastic item in the microwave that was not labeled for microwave suitability, isn't necessarily "unsafe." All plastics intended for food use – whether designed for the microwave or not – must meet stringent FDA safety standards before they can be marketed to consumers. But unless a product is labeled for microwave suitability, you won’t have the assurance of knowing that an item was tested and evaluated for this purpose. The concern is that, if used inappropriately, an item may warp or melt when exposed to extremely hot foods, and accidental burns could occur.

To play it safe, look for plastics that are labeled for microwave use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If your container isn’t labeled for microwave use, it’s best to choose something that is."

Makes sense. You would not put a container in the OVEN if it was not marked oven safe (and what temperature it can withstand if it is oven safe).

The site
has a plethora of information, if you follow the links, about safety in reusing water bottles and plastic bags.

I sought conflicting information and found that GoodHousekeeping did their own research and listed their findings. Some plastics did have more phthalates or PBA than others but most containers did not transmit them to the foods through the microwaving process. Follow the link to find the list of products they tested.

From what I hear and what I have researched I have concluded that there is suspicion that plastics, as well as other manufactured goods, may be detrimental to people's health. Until conclusive information reaches the public, we need to be aware that everything needs to be in moderation. We cannot protect ourselves and our loved ones from each and every risk out there, but we can do our best to limit our exposure. While the debate rages on, we can limit our use of plastics for reheating foods in the microwave. Perhaps we can limit the use of the microwave as well. Couldn't that also be a potential danger?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day is here...3 things you can do to ease into FALL...

Labor Day may be the symbolic end to summer but it does NOT have to signal the end to your healthy lifestyle. As the days get shorter and cooler, each of us needs to adapt. What can we do?

1. Make Homemade Pesto
Perhaps the plants in your garden are starting to look spent. To make marvelous homemade pesto sauce you need:

two cups of basil leaves (substitute some arugula if you are running low on good basil leaves from your garden...adds a nutty flavor)
3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (they are's OK to substitute walnuts)
3 cloves of garlic

Blend (cuisinart) for 3-5 minutes and you are all set. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container.

2. Take up a new activity...YOGA...or try a new facility. September is National Yoga month. Go to to find out more details about events in your community. (photo from

3. Support those who are less fortunate. Go through your closet. Is there something you did not use ALL SUMMER SEASON? if so, think of donating the item(s) to a local charity. Many churches accept donations as well as women's shelters, Goodwill and Amvets (they actually come to you).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What does one do with a JAR of WHEAT GERM?

I made the granola bar recipe I posted on January 28th again a few weeks ago. I needed to buy a JAR of wheat germ to get the 3 TBSP that I needed for the recipe. That got me to thinking...what can I do with an entire jar of this? What benefits can I get from eating MORE wheat germ?

I first wondered WHAT is wheat germ? I found out it is the core of the wheat berry and provides nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Research has shown that it can help decrease the body's absorption of cholesterol and if fermented, can inhibit the growth of both estrogen-positive and estrogen-negative breast tumors. ("Wheat Germ: The Quintessential Health Food." Environmental Nutrition 30.9 (2007): 8. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 12 Aug. 2010.)

My inquiry took me on a journey through cookbooks and websites and scholarly journals. The most helpful information I found came from The site explains that wheat germ contains a HIGH amount of VITAMIN E, an anti-oxidants that is beneficial for the skin, as well as:

* B vitamins such as folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6
* Calcium
* Complex carbs
* Fiber
* Iron
* Magnesium
* Manganese
* Omega-3 fatty acids
* Phosphorous
* Potassium
* Protein
* Selenium
* Zinc

OK. Learning this information, from multiple sources, made me realize that it is a GOOD THING to add to my diet. Now to figure out how.

Reading the label on the jar gave me the tip to use wheat germ in recipes in place of bread crumbs (all or a portion). This is helpful...I can use it when making meatballs, meatloaf or breading boneless skinless chicken breasts and baking them. Perhaps I can add some when making breads or muffins, just substitute some in for the whole wheat flour. Why not experiment with a bit to start? Perhaps I can sprinkle some on my cereal?

I found recipes, but have not tried them, at

Why not add this cholesterol lowering food to your diet? Why not add a food to your diet that can be GOOD for your heart? Purchasing a jar for the 3 TBSP needed in the granola bar recipe may lead you down the path of a healthier diet.

Product website:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


One of my favorite yoga poses is Savasana, corpse pose. In most classes it comes at the end of the sequence of asanas as an opportunity for you yo let your body relax and absorb the previous hour or so of practice. These last few minutes of class are an opportunity for me to notice how my body feels after my practice. While savasana is a common pose to end a class, it can be done anytime...even at home.

Why not try savasana at home as a means to relax after a long day of work, difficult exam, grueling athletic event. All you need to do is lie down with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart and toes facing out. Let your arms rest (palms facing up)along the floor with about 6 inches or so between your triceps and rib cage. For maximum relaxation, you want your chin to be parallel to the floor. If your head is tilted you can place a towel or a pillow underneath it. An option is to place a rolled towel, blanket or pillow under your knees as well.

As I recline on my back in savasana and just breathe my mind does drift. I get so relaxed that, from time to time, I do find myself starting to fall asleep. You can lead yourself through a yoga nidra, yogic sleep, to find greater relaxation if you wish guidance to help your mind relax. (Yoga nidras can also be downloaded). One way to do a yoga nidra is to do a body scan. Start with your head and imagine it feeling heavy against the floor and relaxing deeply into it. Turn your attention to your eyes. while keeping them shut, look up, down and from side to side. Then allow them to relax, turning your focus inward. As you reach your arms, start drawing your focus to the right side. Make a fist and extend the right arm from shoulder to fist as you inhale. Hold for a few breaths. On an exhalation, allow the arm to return to the ground and rest without tension or effort. Repeat on the left side. Continue down your body drawing awareness to each limb, joint, major muscle.

Studies show that yoga does relieve stress. Doing Yoga does not always have to mean attending a class at a studio or a gym. Doing yoga can be incorporating a pose into your daily routine. Most of us need to take time to relax...why not add savasana to your day. Try a yoga nidra as well!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lubricate the spine ... no props needed!

A yoga pose that you can do anywhere you have space to be on all 4's. Cat and Cow is an excellent way to lubricate the spine. You can use this pose prior to other activity or on its own, perhaps after a stressful day or as a means to wake up in the morning.

Cat and Cow

Begin on your hands and knees. Proper alignment is key. Have the joints in your arms stacked. Place your knees under your hips. Keep your arms shoulder distance apart with your fingers spread out like starfish. Keep your knees hip distance apart. As you inhale begin to round your spine by tucking your tail and chin and drawing your navel to your spine to protect your back. Imagine becoming the image of a “Halloween Cat”. As you exhale lengthen your spine and gaze forward. Imagine holding a piece of paper between your shoulders. Take slow breaths and repeat 3 to 5 times. You can even reverse the breath pattern. This pose allows you to lubricate your spine. A benefit of the aids in digestive health.

Add balance by bringing your spine to neutral and extending opposite arms. Make sure your are looking down, lengthening from your spine and reaching your hand as if you were to shake hands with someone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunscreen is IMPORTANT but don't forget to add VITAMIN D to your Diet

We are inundated with messages about how IMPORTANT it is to use sunscreen...and apply it often. We continually hear about SPF levels and UVA/UVB protection. Preventing or delaying the onset of skin cancer is important. Taking measures to ensure we have QUALITY and QUANTITY of life is a responsibility we have to our families and friends.

One thing that gets left out of the equation when we use sunscreen is VITAMIN D. Sunscreen with an SPF of 8 or more blocks the skin's ability to absorb Vitamin D from the sun. Therefore, as we prevent skin cancer, we block a vital nutrient,VITAMIN D, from entering our skin.

How can we replace the lost VITAMIN D? Vitamin D is added to most milk found in the United States as it is vital to the body's absorption of Calcium. After all, we have been told since we were young to "drink milk to get strong bones". We cannot rely ONLY on milk that is fortified with Vitamin D to provide us with enough Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones. There are supplements that you can take to add Vitamin D to your diet. Another way to add Vitamin D is to eat foods that can provide you with the proper nutrients. Vitamin D can be found in a variety of foods like: sockeye salmon, cod liver oil, shiitake and button mushrooms, egg yolks, some cheeses, tuna, Silk Soymilk and some cereals. Check out the following website to read about SPECIFIC sources of Vitamin D in foods:

Protect your skin AND protect your bones. Make healthy choices!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Traveling This Summer?

Take YOGA with you on the airplane or in the car!

Sukhasana (easy pose) that I discussed last month is a great pose to do with the assistance of a seat. Sit tall with your feet on the floor. Try your best to keep your knees together. Taks your left hand to the outside of your right knee and your right hand behind you onto the seat or the back of the chair on which you are sitting. Inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to start your twist. Begin the movement from the base of your spine. Have the twist last 4 breaths on each side. The first exhalation twist your lower back, think aim your navel, to the right. One the second exhale, twist the lumbar and thoracic spine, think aim your navel and heart to the right. The their exhale, twist the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine, think ending the twist aiming your chin toward your right shoulder. The final breath is a deepening once you are in the pose. Repeat on the other side.

Always initiate twists with the right side. A fringe benefit of a twist is the assistance with digestion. Your ascending colon is on the right and your descending on the left. Thus...twisting right side first helps move food through your the proper direction.

Another exercise when siting for long periods of time is to tap your feet. Tapping both your heels AND your toes works your leg evenly...keeps the muscles from atrophy as well as increases blood flow to your lower extremities.

A final exercise you can do when seated in a plane or car for extended periods of time is to stretch your arms. One pose that does not require much space is Cow Faced Pose, Gomukhasana. Don't worry if your hands do not touch behind your can always hold onto your shirt.

To get into the pose...sit tall, draw your navel to your spine, your tailbone toward the ground and aim your shoulders to opposite walls. Inhale and stretch your right arm straight out to the right, parallel to the floor. Rotate your arm inwardly; the thumb will turn first toward the floor, then point toward the wall behind you, with the palm facing the ceiling. This movement will roll your right shoulder slightly up and forward, and round your upper back. With a full exhalation, sweep the arm behind your torso and tuck the forearm in the hollow of your lower back, parallel to your waist, with the right elbow against the right side of your torso. If you want more and your shoulder is open...roll the shoulder back and down, then work the forearm up your back until it is parallel to your spine. The back of your hand will be between your shoulder blades. See that your right elbow doesn't slip away from the right side of your torso. Go only as far as your shoulder allows. DO NOT FORCE.

Now inhale and stretch your left arm straight forward, pointing toward the opposite wall, parallel to the floor. Turn the palm up and, with another inhalation, stretch the arm straight up toward the ceiling, palm turned back. Lift actively through your left arm, then with an exhalation, bend the elbow and reach down for the right hand. If possible, hook the right and left fingers.IF YOU DO NOT TOUCH...DON'T WORRY...AIM YOUR HANDS TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER AND YOUR SHOULDERS TOWARDS OPPOSITE WALLS, DRAW YOUR NAVEL TOWARDS YOUR SPINE TO PROTECT YOUR BACK.

Lift the left elbow toward the ceiling and, from the back armpit, descend the right elbow toward the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and lift your chest. Try to keep the left arm right beside the left side of your head. If you feel pressure on your neck, ease off the stretch.

Repeat on the opposite side.

You can modify many yoga poses to take them "on the go". Do not forget to breathe and do not forget the essence of the pose.

Photos courtesy of

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Healthy Cleaning

Back to Basics

I am trying to clean with the most natural products available. I LOVE my Amway Legacy of Clean products as they are plan based but I LOVE some natural, old-fashioned products as well.

Baking soda and vinegar to clean a drain (the bubbles from the chemical reaction remind you of being in a chemistry lab in school)

Because I liked using the baking soda and vinegar, and they are inexpensive, I decided to find out other uses for both products. I did a search and found out more about VINEGAR. I will tackle BAKING SODA another day.

The article describes how VINEGAR can:
remove oven grease
treat Tupperware stains and smells
deter ants
clean the shower door
clean paintbrushes

The Vinegar Institute lists a plethora of uses for Vinegar.

One I found particularly interesting was a technique to remove water spots from wood. All you have to do is create a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub the mixture along the grain and polish.

Another I liked, and is helpful in the summer when the weather is WARM... a METHOD for getting rid of fruit flies in the house. After you eliminate the fruit that is the culprit you are left with the flies. All you need to do is place a bowl filled with ½ quart water, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap to attract the fruit flies.

Recycle the Bottle when you finish!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Snack Craving...Want Something COOL...

What do you go for...Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt?

Personally, I am a frozen yogurt fan. I probably am outnumbered here so I took the time to look for some FACTS to support my decision...FROZEN YOGURT!

One health benefit of all natural frozen yogurts is the probiotic content. Frozen yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures promotes better digestion. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is some evidence that specific probiotics are helpful for urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, may reduce the recurrence of bladder cancer and prevent and manage atopic dermatitis (eczema) in children. Probiotic content is good bacteria that your body needs that can boost the immune system, enhance digestion and is even believed to lower cholesterol levels.

In addition to probiotic content, another health benefit of frozen yogurt over ice cream is the amount of lactose found in frozen yogurt appears to be more digestible than the lactose in milk commonly used to make ice cream. For people who are lactose intolerant, this is particularly important. Frozen yogurt contains enzymes that assist in breaking down dairy, allowing many people with lactose intolerance to enjoy frozen yogurt with little or no ill effects.

Interested? Read more about the HEALTH BENEFITS of YOGURT.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 5 WORST Environmental Pollutants in your Beauty Products

Did anyone read this article today?

We need to read labels CAREFULLY so that we are aware of what we are putting ON as well as IN our body.

Recently my husband and I have recommitted to eating more naturally. We are shopping more at the local farmers markets and purchasing organic in the stores. This can get expensive. We are slowly integrating more and more green products into our home. I have discontinued using store bought chemicals for cleaning and have started to use, and sell, Amway products as they are GREEN and have been for 50 years...well before it was THE POPULAR thing to be. The plant based home care products do not have a chemical odor and have reduced the sniffles we used to have when we cleaned. The organic ingredients get my clothes even cleaner.

After this article I am off to read more about what I am using for my personal care!

Easy Pose...Sukhasana

Sounds easy...well it can be much more challenging if you take time to pay attention to the details.

Sukhasana is a grounding pose that can be done in a yoga class or can be part of your personal practice at home.

Start by finding a seat with your pubic bone and tail bone so they are equidistant from the floor. Place your feet under your knees so your femurs extend. You can sit up on a bolster if your knees elevate above your hips. You can place support under your knees if you wish greater relaxation. NOTICE WHICH LEG IS IN FRONT.

Once you found YOUR comfortable seat stack your vertebrae one on top of another creating a tall spine. If you wish you can even sit with a wall behind you so you feel the support of the wall. Breathe in to draw breath up your spine, maintain the height of your spine, and exhale to draw breath down your spine. Breathe deeply and evenly. Perhaps count to 5 on your inhalation and exhalation.

Your hands may rest palm up or down upon your knees. Find what is comfortable for you. Palm up is more of a chest opener. Another option is placing your hands at prayer at your heart. This allows you to feel the breath as it travels up and down your spine. Be mindful to sit tall and aim your shoulders out, try to avoid rounding. if you are indoors, think of aiming your shoulders toward opposite walls.

Half way through your practice gently switch the cross of your legs. The leg in front is getting the most work. You want to even out your body.

My take away from this pose is to remember to focus on details in yoga and each aspect of my life. I can take aspects of my yoga practice with me "off the mat". I can take Sukhasana with me in the car and sit tall as I drive. I can have good posture as I stand in line at the grocery store. I can remember to breathe evenly and fully to keep myself calm in each situation I face.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Healthy Backs

With Spring Cleaning comes sore muscles! Perhaps you find that you overdid it as a weekend warrior OR are avoiding starting a task so you do not hurt yourself. Pilates can help.

Pilates helps you bring your body back into alignment. Breath and core stabilization are 2 of the KEY principles.

One exercise you can try to work on core stability is the kneeling one arm and one leg lift. This exercise strengthens your core PLUS activates your brain as you work on differentiating movement on the right and left sides of your body simultaneously.

Start with your arms stacked under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Distribute weight evenly over all 4 limbs. Draw your navel toward your spine, the crown of your head forward and your tailbone backward. You should be looking DOWN at the floor to keep your neck and extension of your spine.With an inhale lift your right arm and left leg. Stay for a breath. On an exhale lower the limbs with control ... FIGHT GRAVITY. On an inhale repeat on the other side.

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Make a difference...Starbucks

visit the Starbucks Website to see how you can make a difference and GO GREEN. Save trees, use reusable mugs!!

Today, APRIL 15th, you can get a free cup of coffee by bringing in a reusable travel mug.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Clear Some Stress from your shoulders...get the monkey off your back!

Dolphin pose is not just a headstand preparation, it is a great way to open your upper back and relieve stress. Many of us carry our stress in our upper back - sometimes even developing a hunchback from the stress of sitting all day at a desk.

Try a dolphin pose to help relieve tension. The inversion calms your brain while the physical posture strengthens your back, stretches your hamstrings and stretches your shoulders.

(Photo courtesy of Yoga Journal)

Staying present

After a week off from exercise due to illness I took a yoga class from a teacher that I enjoy and has always challenged me.

The practice last week reminded me to stay present and let go of expectations. I was weak from illness and could not do what I normally can do in a class. What I needed from class is a reawakening, it was a great experience for me both personally and professionally. I remind my students to let go of expectations, I needed to practice what I preach.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Changes along life's path

Recently I had to say goodbye to people I worked with for years. Change is difficult. Each person enters our life for a reason. It is sad to think our time with others must come to a close. Appreciate each moment you have with your friends and family. This experience helps me understand a line from a quote my grandma always said:...Today is a gift that's why they call it the present.

We must be like bamboo and have strength and grace, bend but do not break.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What do you do with an OLD yoga mat?

Many yogi's are buying green yoga mats but are unsure what to do with their old ones. An article I read in the March 2010 edition of Yoga Journal had a suggestion. The Bolder Mat Company will take your used mats, clean them and send them on to schools, prisons, safe houses and shelters. Your donation will net you a $5.00 off a new eco-friendly mat from the company.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Have Time to Share?

There are numerous volunteer opportunities listed at website. Check them out! Giving of your time can be a rewarding experience.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I found this recipe - a HEALTHY one that can be modified to fit individual tastes.

Modification ideas:honey instead of oil, chocolate covered raisins, drizzle chocolate or peanut butter on when you take it out of oven, use a variety of dried fruits, use different flavors of granola or oatmeal instead of the seeds. Just remember always keep the wet to dry ratio that same when you modify a recipe!

4 egg whites OR 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup sugar
4 TSP vegetable oil
1 TSP ground cinnamon
3/4 TSP vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups plain low fat granola
1 cup raisins
3 TBSP toasted wheat germ
3 TBSP raw sunflower seeds
4 TSP sesame seeds

flatten mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish
bake 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges appear golden brown
cool inverted on a wire rack
once cool, cut and store in airtight container

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sustainable Farms

Check out Farmers Markets, Co-Ops and even Whole Foods for products from Sustainable farms.

One company that runs sustainable farms is Green Giant. Look at their website for recipes and information about their "green" gardening.

Community Supported Agriculture in San Diego ...check out The San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project.