Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Puppy Play from the warmer months

This is a very short video clip of three of our four pups with two, Hutch and Fionna doing one of their favorite things. Water Play! Fionn is thinking about joining them but isn't sure about the whole thing. Reilly was off to the side watching. He has the longest hair of the four dogs and thinks twice before he messes up his "fur style" by getting it wet.

 
 
 
 
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Amazingly Simple and Delicious Homemade Yogurt

I'm a member at the Dr. Fuhrman forums and while visiting I was introduced to an amazingly simple method that makes really delicious yogurt.

I was in the market for a new yogurt maker anyway so I purchased the Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker .

Then I purchased GI ProStart . I have to admit that when I got the jar of starter I was surprised at how small it was given what I paid for it. In the end I'm ok with it though because you only use 1/8 teaspoon to make a quart of delicious soy yogurt and you don't have to heat the soy milk or so much as dirty anything more than a measuring spoon to do so.

Finally I purchased Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Original Soymilk ( 8x64 OZ) . DO NOT buy this using the link. It's way cheaper in the grocery store. I included the link so you can see what I'm talking about.

My yogurt maker came before my starter and I'll admit that I tried making yogurt with unsweetened silk soy milk and a starter I got in our co-op and the results, while fairly tasty, weren't as good as with the westsoy. I think that's because Silk does contain some thickeners while Westsoy is simply filtered water and soy beans.

I also think you could make this with regular milk if you prefer.

So here's what you do. You take your 32 ounce box of room temperature soy milk open the top and put 1/8th tsp. starter into the opening. Then close the little lid and shake, shake, shake. Actually, you don't have to shake too long. I think I lasted about 15 seconds. Then open the lid and distribute the soy milk equally between your yogurt jars. I turn the yogurt maker on and leave it do its thing over night. (I'll usually start it right before bed - 8pm and it's done when I get up at 4 am. )

The yogurt it makes is delicious, even plain. It's a low calorie treat that you can feel good about indulging in.
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eat To Live Cookbook

I've had the book Eat to Live Cookbook: 200 Delicious Nutrient-Rich Recipes for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Reversing Disease, and Lifelong Health for almost 2 weeks but I didn't want to review it until I put it to the test. It passed, with flying colors!

I purchased the kindle version with a bit of trepidation. Kindle cookbooks are not always easy to navigate. I've returned a few of them for this reason. Yet I love having them on my kindle because it makes pulling them up and using them quite easy. It's also very space conscious in a smaller than small kitchen.

This kindle book is beautifully formatted with the recipes being well chaptered within categories and also linked from a recipe table of contents.

I've prepared about 6 recipes from the cookbook and they were all delicious and also family approved. My family is not totally salt free so for them to enjoy not just one salt-free recipe but 6 is a major deal.

There's a mix of complicated and more simple complicated recipes. I chose the more simple simply because of the amount of time I have for cooking. Over the holidays I hope to indulge myself in some of the more time intensive recipes.

The recipes in the book are plant based although there is a short section with recipes that contain modest amounts of animal products.  Some of the recipes are repeats from other Dr. Fuhrman books. Some of the repeats are tweaked slightly.

Having this cookbook on your shelf - or on your kindle - will certainly make planted based eating more delicious. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Green Monkey Milk

3/1/2015 - In THIS POST I mentioned that I feel compelled to update some of the posts on this blog. This is one of those posts. This green smoothie would be way too sweet for me these days. Rather than pump it full of sugar with 4! Bananas I'm much more likely to add a cup of blueberries and a cup of strawberries or an orange and some lemon juice or a grapefruit or a half cup of mango and a cup of berries or if I want banana a half a frozen banana with a cup of berries would work well. Now that I got that cleared up feel free to read the original post below.

 I had gotten away from Green Smoothies for a while. I used to have one for breakfast and often another for lunch. Then I dropped to having one a few times a week.

It's funny how some people will feel almost challenged by eating that is different. It was a fairly innocent, though admittedly barbed comment from a coworker that I allowed to push me away from Green Smoothies. "Don't you ever eat real food?" and then on another day "Am I the only one who eats?"

Hindsight, I'm shocked that I allowed comments from someone else to impact me that way.

So for the record I'll say that Green Smoothies (GS) are most certainly food! They are more food than much of the junk that masquerades as food in the grocery store! The reason they're blended is to break the cell walls of the plant foods in the smoothie. This makes the nutrition they contain more readily available. It also make it easier to eat - er drink - a  large volume of leafy greens at one go.

There are a lot of pretty complicated GS recipes out there. Many add nuts, seeds and even protein powder to the mix. My search for simplicity has extended to my GS and I'm finding them more refreshing and less time consuming to make.

So on that note I'll share one of my most favorite and the most simplest GS to make.

I call it Green Monkey Milk

4 bananas
4 cups spinach or other green leaf veggies
8 ounces of water
Optional sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice
Blend it all up

Note the 4-4-8? You can easily alter it by using 2-2-4  or even 1-1-2

Using the 4-4-8 I listed above you'll get 2 quart mason jars of smoothie. It's great freshly made but in a pinch you can refrigerate for the next day.

Note: If you're new to Green Smoothies you might want to cut the greens in half the first time you make this recipe and then add more and more each time you make it after that. Spinach is the mildest green and the one I believe you taste less.

Yum!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Doggy Antics

Sunday was quite a cool day. We haven't been using our heater yet. That meant for chilly little dogs. When they're chilly the dogs will let me know by constantly wanting to be picked up and held.

Soooo I got out all of our doggy sweaters and coats and proceeded to see who fit in what. Fionn is so huge compared to the others that there was only one sweater he could wear. The other three being more of a similar size fit into quilted coats that Velcro under the neck and stomach.

Once they were suited up and looking all dandy I went upstairs to finish some chores. Imagine my surprise when I came down a few minutes later to find all the coats lying scattered around the living room. Fionn was still wearing his sweater.I decided I'd put them back on everyone and surreptitiously see how they got out of them.

Fionn proceeded to make the rounds and undress everyone. First he would reach under their belly and grab the Velcro tab and pull it loose. Then he'd pull it up over their head and they would assist him by backing out of it. He went from dog to dog until all three coats were once again lying strewn on the floor and he stood there grinning, tail wagging, as if to say, "Wasn't that good mom?

At that point I decided to get a blanket, gather them onto the couch and share some snuggles. After all, what are Sunday afternoons for?



 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Banana Peel for and Insect Bite?


The story is pretty simple. I get terrible welts which itch for days on end whenever I am bit by any type of insect. I got a bite and it was driving me crazy so I decided to try the banana peel method. I simply peeled a banana and wiped the white inner part of the banana on the bite. The itch relief lasted about 16 hours! I repeated the procedure and the bite never bothered me again.

Having had so much luck with a bite I decided to try it on a patch of eczema that rears it's ugly head when I'm under a lot of stress. Voila! Itching gone and eczema fades away over a couple of days.

I'm not sure where I heard this so I can't credit them. It's also late in the season to be posting it but there's not time like the present.

The best thing about using a banana this way is that it gives you an excuse to snack on a banana!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thought for the Weekend

"Aging is simply another word for living." Cindy Joseph


This is one of those obvious simple truths that most of us probably never think about.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Healthy Brown Bagging Ideas

I received a link to THIS article by Joel Fuhrman and just had to share it. It was written with children in mind but the ideas would work for anyone brown bagging it. The best part of the article is that it's imbedded with links that will take you right to the recipes.


Enjoy!

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Take a T-Tapp Stretch Break

Stretch breaks are mandatory when you spend time at a desk. One of my favorite stretches is a T-Tapp stretch.

Simply stand up and shake your hands out. Then get into position as if you're going to perform the clap away series but hold the position. Now concentrate on feeling as though you're flattening your back against a wall. Concentrate on feeling your back broaden and flatten in order to pull out any tension you're experiencing. Really get the kinks out of your back. Then go ahead and do four clap aways and kick it out.

The sequence takes but a minute and yet you'll feel refreshed and ready to go back to work when you finish.

Hint: Flattening your back may feel really foreign at first.  You can practice the movement with bent knees on the floor or even in your bed, if it's firm enough until it becomes more second nature.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guilty As Charged?

This NY Time article talks about "the 'Busy' Trap.  While I Don't totally identify with every part of the article I do identify with the negative side of too busy.

I also believe that we tend to manufacture our individual versions of busy.
Busy can keep us from things we want badly but are afraid to try. I personally feel that the negatives of busy take as heavy toll on our health as any other bad habit. But what to do in a society that rewards busy and looks down upon not busy?

I don't have an answer but I hope to figure it out. I figured I could start by taking a few minutes to actively decide what I'll make a part of each day rather than just wake up and cram as much into each day as possible. So for the past few days this blog got edged out by more important and in some cases less important things and in other cases it was simply edged out to make the day more simple. To be honest, less busy feels so good that it's a habit I've decided to cultivate. It's a natural part of decluttering your life.

Are you chronically busy? Can you think of one thing you could eliminate just for today?


Note to self, avoid sending posts from your tablet. Auto correct did a number on this when I originally sent it out. I just corrected it. I think that's enough blog busy for today. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Super Immunity: A Book Review

I just recently purchased the book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I dug in and started testing recipes on myself and my family before I had even finished the book - they sounded that good! I haven't been disappointed. So far there isn't a recipe that I prepared that wasn't fairly simple to make and delicious enough to be more than worth the time it took to make it.
My family has had the same reaction. Some of the recipes are repeats from previous books but they happen to be some of our most favorite recipes so it's nice to have it all in one book. He has actually given non-vegan options for some of the recipes. I really like this because it allows for a person who isn't ready or just doesn't desire a vegan eating plan to enjoy the recipes.

One of the things I like about Dr. Fuhrman's books is that he explains in a way that's understandable without talking down to me. He educates me without wagging a finger and then I'm free to take as much or as little from his books as I'm ready to use. I tend to read and then reread them because I never fail to discover something I didn't pick up previously.

I highly recommend this book and am anxiously awaiting his cookbook which will be released in October.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What the Heck are G-Bombs?

http://www.drfuhrman.com/shop/soups_seasonings.aspx
It sounds like a new cereal for kids - but it's not! Dr. Fuhrman uses the acronym G-BOMBS as an easy way to remember the most nutrient rich foods on the Mother Earth.  It stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds.

For additional clarification into exactly why he considers these to be the highest quality foods we can eat you can read his article on the subject HERE.

I'm a big believer in Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations though I admittedly do not follow his completely vegan program. (I also use a lot of Dr. Ann Kulze's recipes/concepts)  Despite this "less than perfect" approach I've still seen great benefits.

If you're thinking about jumping on the G-BOMBS wagon train realize that you don't have to do it all at once. You can choose one or two of the G-BOMBS foods that you like best and add more of them into your diet for a week or two. Once you have that down add one or two more. Search for simple recipes that use the foods you're trying to concentrate on.

Speaking of recipes - I've been using  the recipes in a - new to me - Fuhrman book and loving them. I plan to review the book and the recipes soon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Connection Between Vitaimin D and Athletic Performance?

Love this picture! Found it at www.stronggirlswin.com
The online article "Vitamin D Sufficiency May Enhance Athletic Performance" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman outlines this important connection and two studies that demonstrated this connection.

He also talks about how in the early 20th century it was believed that sunlight exposure improved athletic performance. I marvel at the wisdom of our ancestors given the few long term scientific studies in those times.

Most of my athletic prowess centers around being strong enough to easily put the limbs of my clients through range of motion and into stretches these days but I believe that this article still contains important information for me AND for them.

It also brings two of my grandmother's sayings into mind:

"You are what you eat."

and thinking about how we've become a nation that hides from all sunlight out of fear of cancer....

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

and that brings me full circle back to this one...

"Moderation in all things."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Dark Side of Fitness Trackers

I just saw this article on ABC news.com  It reminded me about a dark side of fitness trackers that I've seen pop up over the internet of late. I've heard of at least three people who ended up pretty much being a slave to their fitness trackers. People going to crazy lengths in order to always increase their daily step totals or once a "Board leader" stay on top of the board. Crazy stuff that in at least one example resulted in injury. I don't believe that this is extremely common among fitness tracker users.

In a previous blog post I talked about the benefits/limitations of the Fitbit Zip. I certainly hope that my post didn't spur anyone one on to walking overkill.

 Just yesterday a  coworker asked me how I was liking it. I had to be honest and tell her that I rarely think about it.

I do wear it, and on some days  I do glance at the totals at the end of the day but mostly I just wait for the weekly email that tells me about my weekly totals. Truth be known after the device revealed a few surprises - I generally cover more steps than I expected and many are at an aerobic pace - there was nothing new to learn.

My activity level is pretty stable and doesn't often change. I'm not willing to give up what little family time I have in order to become a board leader. Actually, I'm not sure exactly how one becomes a board leader and maybe that's a good thing. :)

My one disappointment with this device is that it doesn't give so much as a nod to my T-Tapp workouts and/or many of the other activities I enjoy. This despite the fact that my heart rate is definitely more aerobic during these activities than at any other point of the day. So for me, I feel that the Fitbit is of limited use.

That's not to say that it won't benefit you - only that you may want to think about how you will use it before you invest in one.

Here's two ways  I can definitely see it being of use:

1. You are extremely short on time, frequently end up taking your cardio indoors due to time restraints and lack of day light  AND want to put the minimum time in on your treadmill or other home equipment possible. In this case you could wear it and attempt to get as many quickly paced steps into your day as possible then use your home equipment to make up the difference between your recorded steps and your goal.

2. To periodically check on your activity level by wearing it for a week at a time every so often. This is most likely how I will end up wearing it.

When all is said and done I find that two  quotes keep floating through my mind.

"Moderation in all things!"
"If some is good more is not better!"





 

Friday, August 9, 2013

24 Hours of Aromatherapy

The article 24 hours of Aromatherapy by Jeanne Rose outlines ways of taking aromatherapy with you over the course of a day.

I haven't ever put my diffuser on a timer but it sounds like a great idea. One thing I do enjoy is to add a few drops of Eucalyptus EO to the shower floor and then block the drain for the first few minutes of my morning shower. It provides a gentle but effective wake up call.

On occasion I will also drop a few drops of rosemary EO into my palm to use while I'm shampooing my hair. I don't do this on a daily basis because I find that it tends to loose that special feeling if I do.

A few drops of lavender used while shampooing my hair can be soothing if I'm feeling stressed or wired and need to sleep well.

Two things to remember:

1. It's a good practice to dilute essential oils using only a couple of drops. The rule of thumb I learned is that you never use more than 10 drops total in a tub of water when preparing a therapeutic bath.
2. Use food grade oils if you are going to add them to water, drinks or food to be consumed.


Essential oils are available in a variety of price points. I found this set of six bottles of  100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil . It's a nice starter kit. If I had to recommend only a single oil I would suggest Lavender. I'm particularly partial to T-Tapp Bulgarian Lavender Eseential Oil because of its purity. I've used it on my skin and face, straight out of the bottle and find it gentle but also effective.

There are many good online resources,. pamphlets and books available to use if you would like to build a regular program of essential oil based self care. The massage school I graduated from gave us a great handout that we keep in our massage office to this day.

Years ago my sister gave me the book Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils by Valerie Gennari Cooksley. I enjoy using the recipes it contains to this day.

Recently one of my clients shared a recipe for tick repellent: Place 10 drops eucalyptus EO, 10 drops lemongrass EO and 4 ounces of pure filtered water (or tap water in a pinch) in a spray bottle. Shake before each use.  We've been using it on ourselves and the dogs (I spray by hands and gently glide them down their fur, especially around the ankles). So far so good. The side benefit is that it smells wonderful.

 Please take care when using essential oils on or around your pets - especially cats. Certain oils can cause adverse reactions in pets. The same is true for certain oils and humans. That's why having a guide is an important part of using them if you're going to venture past Lavender.

If you read this and have a favorite essential oil, EO recipe or story please feel free to share.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You can have your potatoes and eat them too!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Dr. Ann Kulze. She recently shared an article on ways to minimize the glycemic impact of white potatoes when you are craving them and want to give in. The webpage I linked to also contains healthy recipes to use when you plan to indulge. Simply  type "Dr. Ann" into the search area of the blog to be able to easily access other Dr. Ann posts.
 

 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Too Much of good Thing? Can T-Tapp Help?

A study connecting long term endurance sport practice and atrial fibrillation  and atrial flutter recently came across my desk. My immediate response was to begin searching for reaction to the study and information and additional information.

I quickly found this. It's enlightening but a technical read. Then this - also a bit of a technical read.

Finally I found this PDF which presents the information in a more engaging way, makes some sense of it and suggests alternatives.

I hope that people won't see this as reason/excuse to completely abandon cardiovascular activities.  I can't imagine my life without cross country skiing in the winter, hiking in the fall and trail runs and walks in the spring and summer.

Personally I believe - and this is a comparatively instinctual versus educated opinion - that two things are at play.

First inflammation - there is just no way that you can layer heavy duty chronic cardio workouts one after another and not build at least some inflammation. Scientists are now connecting systemic inflammation to many, if not most of the chronic disease processes that are so prominent in our society.

Second is the idea of dose related adverse effects. Our bodies are like machines and if we push the machine hard and long on a consistent basis there are going to be repercussions. It all comes back to the idea of "If some is good more is not necessarily better."

Finally let me talk about T-Tapp and how I believe it can help. I so wish that every long distance athlete would be able to try T-Tapp.

Over the years I've discovered that by rebalancing the body it actually improves performance but it seems to do this without increasing my inflammatory response. I personally believe that the sequential lymphatic pump it employs has a lot to do with this. Improved body alignment also comes into play.

Making it part of your program gives you a pause from the chronic cardio but it's the "rest day" that improves performance while restoking your fire.

Please note that I'm not saying that T-Tapp would or could prevent Afib in endurance exercisers. I simply believe that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain  by adding it in place of chronic cardio once or twice a week.

I'd love to hear from any endurance exercise lovers who have added it to their program.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Testimonial

Thank you for a GREAT massage....I feel better already...I felt like a pretzel....the last few days....
Thank you again...D

Saturday, August 3, 2013

T-Tapp with a Meditation and Yoga Challenge? Great for those new to any or all of the three activities

So you may have seen my post yesterday about the Free Meditation Challenge and Free Yoga downloads. OR you may have already found both yourself and want to use them but you don't want to give up the alignment and pain reduction benefits of T-Tapp. I'm right there with you!

So what to do? What to do?

First let me begin with what not to do. I DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES suggest that you try to cram several hours of Meditation, Yoga AND T-Tapp into your life UNLESS you have several hours of free time you can use without cutting into sleep time.

For most of us teaming up three different wellness activities will be too much of a stretch - both literally and figuratively. So my suggestion is one of moderation.

There are two different plans that come to me off the top of my head.

The first, uses a little of each activity on a daily basis. Each day would look like this:

Morning or evening - 15 minutes of Meditation
Morning or evening - 20 minutes of yoga
Morning, afternoon and evening - 1-3 T-Tapp moves

So how would this actually work over the course of several days?

Day 1 AM Meditation and Half Frogs then take time to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for as you prepare for your day, Afternoon set of Hoedowns, Evening Awesome Legs  Diva Derriere  followed by 20 minutes of calming yoga. Drift off to sleep with long slow breathing.

I chose the T-Tapp moves because they are available for free. You could purchase a T-Tapp DVD for your very own but these moves will allow you to get going while your motivation is high.

I sequenced the movements with - believe it or not - Eastern Philosophy in mind.

You use meditation to calm your mind and then work your core - the Dan Tien. When you strengthen your core you are also building your will power - and a whole lot more.

Hoedowns in the afternoon will recharge your mind, body and spirit as they wake you up and remind you of your commitment to yourself. Hoedowns are left/right brain movement. I find them to be a bit like meditation in movement. They can reset your body and your brain in about 3 minutes.

Your legs and hips speak to your forward movement in life. This is why I chose Awesome Legs and Diva Derriere for evening. These exercises use isometrics to deeply contract your thighs and hips. ALs drains your legs during the movements allowing fresh blood and lymph to flow in at the conclusion of the exercise when you bring your legs back below your heart. Use these exercises to strengthen and tone the muscles you use to literally move you forward in life but also use them to set the intention of your life goals.

The second way you could use this plan would be to alternate morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Day 1 Meditation and Half Frogs then take time to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for as you prepare for your day

Day 2 Afternoon set of Hoedowns

Day 3 Evening Awesome Legs  Diva Derriere  followed by 20 minutes of calming yoga. Drift off to sleep with long slow breathing.

Days 4-7 repeat the cycle

I just actually thought of a third way and that would be to choose one discipline and add it to meditation each  day.

Day1 Meditation Yoga, together or AM and PM
Day 2 Meditation T-Tapp, Toghether or AM and PM T-Tapp is best in AM as it is stimulating
Alternate days.

Because these are light plans they would work equally well for the beginner exerciser, the advanced exerciser looking for recovery, or someone who is time crunch and/or stressed who needs to take a little time to push life away and go within.

Finally, I'll leave you with a brief meditation you can use. (The Oprah/Deepak challenge won't last forever and I want this link to contain all aspects of this plan at the ready and without cost.)



Should you decide to use any of these plans I'd love to know how it goes and what benefits you gain from them. ENJOY!

Friday, August 2, 2013

FREE STUFF + Scientically Validated Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

 


 
You don't have to spend hours on your mat or in your head meditating. Some is better than none.

Oprah and Deepak are offering a free 21 day guided meditation challenge. It begins on Monday 8/5/2013. You can sign up here. Participants will be able to access a brief meditation daily.

If you go to follow this link to yoga download you can download a variety of free yoga practices. Many of these practices are only 20 minutes long. If you've never practiced yoga or are new to exercise I strongly urge you to choose from these Beginner Classes before venturing into more advanced practices. You can choose the level of the classes from a menu above the list of classes.

If you decide to do the meditation or a yoga challenge please let me know how it goes.

Tomorrow - How would I combine this challenge with T-Tapp?
 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jumped over the candlestick

Unless of course Jack was burning that candle at both ends and didn't have enough energy to jump high enough and then.........

Adequate sleep is so important and yet in our modern society can also be so elusive. I'll be totally honest and tell you that this is an area of life balance that I need to monitor or I will begin "burning that candle at both ends." When I do I pay for it. I gain absolutely nothing other than the elusion of a few extra hours.

Though written in 2002, the article "The Sleep Crisis" by Barry Kapke, A.C.S.T. is as true today as it was when it was written. The only difference is that we now have more information about just how injurious it is to restrict our sleep.

"Sound Sleep" , an article by Shirley Vanderbilt gives some tips to improve our sleep and further speaks to some of the ill effects of poor sleep.

Finally the National Sleep Foundation's website is a great resource for information if a good nights sleep is eluding you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Oil Cleansing Method with Nerium

Years ago I tried the Oil Cleansing Method for my face and felt it was ok.

Recently I began looking for a way to deep clean my skin due to the breakouts I was experiencing as Nerium pushes plugs and blockages from years ago out of my pores. I was hoping to speed up the process without harming my skin.

This time around I teamed the oil cleansing up with my Miracle Cloth Make up remover cloths and what a difference that made! I allow the cloth to steam my face but then stroke the cloth over my face in order to remove the oil.

Despite the instructions calling for Castor Oil I have been using Watts Beauty ArganGoldTM with good results. I already had a bottle and it initially escaped me that it is a product for hair and body but so far my face hasn't been harmed by using it. I'm considering giving it a try with jojoba or jojoba and castor or jojoba and olive to see if either of them removes with greater ease. I do believe that castor oil would tend to be more drying.

I finish my lightly moistening my skin and applying my nightly Nerium.  I've been using this method of cleansing for about two weeks and so far I'm pleased with it. I can imagine that it will be even more beneficial during winter when the air is extremely dry.
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

12 Easy Ways to Green Your Home

We're pulling into the kitchen remodel homestretch. With each step we've asked a few really important questions before moving on.

1. Is it necessary?
2. Is it efficient?
3. Is it beautiful in its efficiency?
4. Will it improve the function of the space?
5. Is it the most greenest alternative for the money we have budgeted?

In my search for info on green alternatives I found this slideshow on House Beautiful.com.

It lists common issues with green practices and easy solutions. We had discovered all of the solutions except for the first slide. We've been struggling with that one, mostly because we didn't understand the various options.

I found this website that helps shed some light on the subject.

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Body Remembers

"The Body Remembers", written by M Sinclair was written for massage therapists but I believe that it's an interesting read for anyone.

It's amazing how our bodies become the sum total of the physical and emotional experience we put them through over the course of our lifetime.

These individual musculoskeletal changes can be one reason for slow results with various types of exercise plans. Unlocking a postural deviation can often change the way the body looks and functions when exercise alone seems to do nothing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Testimonials: Better Body Alignment = Less Pain

I've been meaning to share some my clients' testimonials for some time now. I ask permission to share what they say and/or email to me, life gets busy and I never seem to get them on the website and/or blog.

A lovely client emailed this last week and I decided that - with her permission - I'd share her comments on the blog.

Thanks, Lanette. And thanks again for the wonderful session yesterday.
This is the second time I've seen you and the second time I've walked
out of your office pain-free. You are a miracle worker and I
appreciate it more than you can know. - R......


The answer to why R has pain when she walks in the door of my office but little or none on the way out has to do with improved body alignment. It also has to do with the loosening of tight muscles and connective tissue  in order to allow the looser muscles and connective tissue to rebalance. We're also working together to eradicate some rather stubborn trigger points.

Our goal is to use a combination of massage therapy and home exercise to encourage her body to maintain balanced alignment for longer and longer periods.

Do you have a goal for your massage therapy sessions? Whether the goal be simple muscle relaxation or balancing a specific problem having  a goal will most definitely add structure and value to your sessions without sacrificing any enjoyment.
 
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Do you love all of your possessions?

I've previously talked about the Tiny House movement. I discovered the idea of a tiny house when I began searching for the perfect vacation mode. I've since used some of the space saving ideas you find in tiny houses in our kitchen remodel.

I have to tell you that as our kitchen morphs we're amazed at how much larger it feels with just a few small changes but without any changes in the actual size.

Much like painting one room makes you want to paint and spruce up additional rooms, the kitchen redo has helped us to re-evaluate our possessions and whether we really need as much as we own.

I can honestly say that every decorative item I will have in my kitchen is functional. That is what makes the space work so well.

I can also attest to the fact that by freeing yourself and your life of extraneous "things" you make more room and time for what really matters to you. It's hard to believe that "things" can suck up energy and time - but they do. You just don't realize it until they're gone.

So I thought I'd share a couple of motivating articles. You can find them HERE and HERE.

I'm not sure I would ever want to downsize to the Tiny House size but you have to admire those who do.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thought for The Day

I haven't shared any quotes for a while - used to share one of my favorites weekly - so when I was reminded of this one I decided to share it.

"If you expect the best, you will be the best. Learn to use one of the most powerful laws in this world; change your mental habits to belief instead of disbelief. Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing, you bring everything into the realm of possibility." - Norman Vincent Peale

 
When you're in your darkest hour this quote will not ring true at all. It may still feel like an uphill battle when you begin to be aware of your thoughts and work to replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts. Hang in, keep sight of the goal and at some point you'll realize that you're reshaping your life - one thought at a time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Deep Discount Tuesday! Today only

Super Step Away special. I've written about these workouts HERE and HERE.

 

Should you choose Organic?

The article The Organic Choice was written by Lara Evans Bracciante in 2005. Yet the info it contains is still beneficial today.

There is no doubt that buying organic produce is a more expensive proposition than buying conventionally grown. If buying every vegetable to cross your lips is going to break the bank you might try initially choosing your battles.

This handy printable list put out by the Environmental Working Group can help you make educated choices on which vegetables and fruits you may want to purchase organic.

I will admit that I don't purchase all organic fruits and vegetables. I tend to eat a lot of kale and spinach and so I choose organic over conventional when I buy them. I strongly prefer the taste of organic apples, carrots and celery. When it comes to other vegetables and fruits I try to buy organic whenever possible.

You should never forgo eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables because you can't afford to eat "all" organic.

Here's some information on organic from Dr. Anne Kulze, M.D. and finally, some information from Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

In the end we have to make our own choices. Our choices can support organic farmers and hopefully bring down costs over time or we can fuel the big guys. The choice is ours.

So how do you decide which way to go?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Easy Trick to Save on Dishwashing Detergent


In a previous post I mentioned that I wasn't sure what to do about all the  dishwashing detergent we've been using because of being without a dishwasher. I've wanted to try Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap but it's more expensive than the other brands. I bit the bullet over the weekend and I have to say that like the other Mrs. Meyer's products I find this to be a bargain. You need only use a small amount.

BUT, better than the new dish soap is the fact that I cam up with a soap saving idea that is really working for us. I took a small spray bottle and filled it about a third full of Mrs. Meyers dish soap. Then I filled the rest of the bottle with water. I begin with a dishpan empty other than the dishes I need to wash. I pick up the first dish. squirt the dish soap and water solution on it (1-2 squirts will do it) use my eco sponge to wash it and rinse it with hot water allowing the rinse water to flow into the pan. Repeat the same procedure with the next dish and the next until you have a pan full of hot soapy water in which case you can finish any remaining dishes and move onto the pots and pans and/or baking pans.

This method cuts down on use of dish soap and water and the dishes come out really clean. It's working really well now that we are at the stage where we have no kitchen sink for a short time and are working at a makeshift set up. I don't think I'll ever be without a spray bottle of diluted dish soap on my kitchen sink again.

I know you can get dish soap dispensing sponge or brush setups but I've never really found one that I thought worked all that well. If you have a favorite feel free to suggest it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Downsizing your brain: When is a Bargain not such a Bargain

Admission time.....

In my quest to downsize and create a life that includes only the best of the best I sometimes feel like I'm not making enough progress, am backsliding or simply not walking the walk closely enough.

This past weekend I realized that changes are happening and some of them are just inside where they aren't readily apparent.

We went shopping. We had a few purchases in mind - necessary purchases. The area we went to is known for bargains and in the past I would have been lured by those bargains, whether they were things I needed or not.

I'm happy to say that we came home with only the things that we actually needed and in each case the items will be replacing other items that are worn out. We walked away from dozens of great "bargains" that would have simply been possessions once purchased.

So when is a bargain not such a bargain? I'd say that no matter how high quality a bargain is not a bargain when you don't need it! I also think that a purchase should add to the quality of your life rather than complicate it. How would you answer that question?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

7 minute Workout? But what about form? Adding T-Tapp can Help!

You can find an ABC report on this 7 minute workout that's apparently sweeping the nation HERE. The study upon which it's based previously came across my desk  and I've been waiting to hear more about it. Somehow, despite sweeping the nation - I almost missed it.

I was really happy to see the trainer featured in the article mention that this kind of workout could be dangerous for people who are sedentary. Anytime you increase intensity really quickly you also increase the risk for injury. Picking up intensity to max levels - especially if you're sedentary is very much like performing your own stress test. To that I can only say that there is a reason that they perform maximal stress tests in a hospital setting.....

The news article gives the sequencing and you see snips of the exercises being performed. That's where my T-Tapp Training came in. Watch the part of the clip where she is jogging and lifting her knees high. Do you see her knees moving toward the midline of her body? This tells me a lot about what muscles need t be strengthening in order to truly balance her body. And yet - she also states that she performed the workout because she's been regularly working out with a trainer. HMMMM Regular workouts - weak muscles? I want to point out that I'm not dissing her level of strength. I just want to point out that she could become more balanced and even stronger with a simple addition to her training program.

Of note is the planks and push ups she was able to perform and still her knees drift to midline when she performs "high knees."

I would wager a bet that by adding T-Tapp Basic Workout Plus to her workout schedule she would end that midline leg drift and substantially strengthen and stabilize her core. Doing so would give her more usable strength. The form that T-Tapp teaches would also teach her to work to or at least toward balanced resistance - even in traditional exercise and that can keep you safe.

I've seen at least two runners add substantial speed to their race times - simply by adding T-Tapp to their training schedules. A balanced body is quite simply a better machine.

You wouldn't do such an intense workout schedule on a daily basis. A schedule could look like this -

Day 1 - 7 minute workout (7M)
Day 2 - Basic Workout Plus (BWO+)
Day 3 7M
Day 4 rest or T-Tapp Stretch workout
Day 5 BWO+
Day 6 7M
Day 7 BWO+

Jumping back in to add a link to pictures of the exercises featured in this workout.

You need a timer for the 7 Minute workout and I can't recommend Gymboss Interval Timer highly enough.

Bottom line recommendation? Partake in the traditional exercise but add T-Tapp in order to get more out of your sessions - no matter how short they are.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nourishing Body and Soul


That's the title of THIS article. Written in 2006, it's still very much applicable today. That fact saddens me because it means that we really haven't moved ahead in that time - The issues it describes are still societal issues. It's also a reminder that it's important to stop and ask ourselves what it is that we really want, really need out of this day, this moment.



Thought for today: What if the changes that you wish for are only impossible because you believe them to be so?

 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Green Smoothie Pops???

http://www.theconsciouskitchen.com
Mine look just like this
Yum! It's so hot here and we're plodding along trying to stick to our kitchen time line but it's SOOOO HOT! Well as they say, "It's not the heat. It's the humidity."

I'm also trying to downsize our kitchen "stuff." In some cases it's easy. With our smaller European style stove and oven - did I tell you how much I love them? - there are some cookie sheets and baking pans that are just a little too big to be practical. Convection ovens demand the room for air circulation. I also want to find items that allow you to use one baking item for multiple uses.

But I'm getting off track.

Yesterday, while going through a box of kitchen goodies for the 5th time I came across the popsicle set that was a bonus with our vitamix! I decided I'd strike while the temperature was hot and make those green smoothie pops I've been wanting to make forever.

I used my all time favorite recipe. I filled the containers, popped in the wooden sticks, stuck the whole thing in my awesome European freezer and promptly forgot about them.......until today when I was just about melting from humidity.

This is a totally guilt-free way to enjoy superior nutrition while you cool off!

You've got to try them!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The benefits of Body Awareness

You can find a brief, but I think good, article on body awareness HERE.

Cultivating a sense of body awareness can be beneficial in so many ways.


Link to article this picture is from below
From a massage therapy stand point body awareness will allow you to truly feel where you are tight and how and when that tightness manifests for you. Your description will be much more to the point allowing your massage therapist to better release the tightness and make suggestions to help prevent or at least keep your muscles looser for a longer period between massages.

From an exercise stand point body awareness will allow you to get more out of the exercise you do. Your form will be better because you will be able to feel when that form is off. Over time you'll be better able to modify your exercise to match your needs on any particular day.

From a diet stand point body awareness will allow you to better know when you've had enough to eat. You'll feel how certain foods fuel your hunger while others satisfy it.

From a work stand point you'll be more resistant to workplace injuries because you'll feel the stress on your body and over time will be able to change position, take a short break or if self care fails get ergonomic help early - before injury sets in.

I could go on and on but time doesn't allow it. so I'll leave you with a challenge. The challenge is to go through your day but stop and take time to take note of body sensations regularly. Think about the ways that being aware of your body and the messages it sends you could make positive changes in your life.

There is another great article HERE That is where the picture was found.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Body Sense Magazine - Summer 2013

The Summer 2013 issue of Body Sense Magazine  has just been released and you can find it, along with past issues, HERE.

This edition has articles on Yoga and Breathing, Massage as preventative care and the connection between vision and muscle tension.

Follow the link and you'll find this edition along with past editions, all free for your reading.

Short, Sweet, Informative!

Enjoy!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fitbit Zip

I've been trialing the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker. (If you follow that link you'll find that the color blue is currently marked down by $10.00.)

Two years ago I almost purchased a Fitbit Ultra until I found out that the batteries can last as little as a year and at that point you must purchase an entirely new unit including the base which you use to sync your numbers to your computer. Imagining all those fitbits and bases being sent to the landfill  sounded like a huge burden to the earth and I decided to pass.

Then Fitbit came out with the zip. It's basically an accelerometer pedometer on steroids. There is not base and it uses a watch battery that you can change yourself.

It's very tiny compared to the other pedometers on the market that boast similar features. When placed in the clip on case it arrives with it's only about 1" X  1.5" X 1/4". The included clip is quite secure. A battery is included and was quite easy to get properly situated thanks to the little tool they provide. I didn't break any prongs on the battery cover as had been reported when the zip was first released retail.

It retails for $59.00 though as noted above the blue color is - at this writing - on sale for about $10.00 less .  Unlike the more expensive Fitbit models it doesn't track stairs or sleep. I didn't think that doing without either of those two things would bother me. Going without the ability to track sleep still doesn't. I think it would be nice to know how many stairs I've done but it's still not a deal breaker.

I term it a pedometer on steroids for two reasons. First due to accuracy. It's amazingly accurate when tracking walking or running. You can program in your stride length, which would further increase that accuracy.

Second, and the reason I believe it's worth the extra $$ compared to other accelerometer Pedometers is the fact that you have access to their website for free. Yes, you can buy a full membership but honestly the basic free membership is as much and more than most people would ever need or want.
You can also sync the "Lose It" app and several other apps so that they all share the info you input. This can make tracking what you eat a snap!

Downloading the necessary software to windows 8 was simple. Getting the Fitbit to sync reliably and keeping the software function was initially a trial. Once the fitbit zip reset itself automatically that first midnight (love that it does this) the problems disappeared. Connecting it to the Lose it app and several android devices was seamless.

Apparently you can use Bluetooth technology to sync your Zip with certain compatible android and apple phones - not sure about tablets. None of my devices are compatible so I was unable to test that function.

The Zip will automatically sync when you get within 20 feet of the little "dongle" USB thingie that they give you for your computer or laptop. You can also manually sync it.

The only less than wonderful thing that I can see about the Zip is that it only tracks steps. T-Tappers need to know that if you do a T-Tapp workout it will only track the step-like movements that a workout contains. So hoedowns, jog rocks and those types of movements are accurately tracked. T-Tapp twist will get you a few "steps" but most movements simply fail to track as activity.

I can imagine that this could be disappointing when you've done a tough workout and gotten all of 300 steps for it. You can go into the program and manually put in your T-Tapp workouts and give them a calorie count. You can also connect the Zip to a heart rate monitor, which I haven't tried.

I'm not certain if the more expensive models would track all movement.

I've reached the end of my time so I'm going to post this as is. As I continue to use the Zip I'll add to this review should anything new pop up.

Additional note: I live in fear of losing this thing so I've been wearing it on my bra. It's still accurate. I may try wearing it on my hip during a T-Tapp workout to see what it tracks.
 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Accelerometer Pedometers

I think of an accelerometer Pedometer as a souped up pedometer. There are distinct advantages to this type of a pedometer.

They are usually quite forgiving of position. If your belly causes an  accelerometer pedometer to  tilt forward it will still count your steps. This also means that they tend to be  more accurate. Some even advertise being accurate when placed in a pocket or your handbag you are carrying.

They are also silent so no - click - click - click - as you walk along.

Because they tend to be higher quality they usually - but not always - last longer than your run of the mill pedometer.

Some accelerometer pedometers will track running versus walking steps.

Now for the disadvantages - which I feel do not outweigh the advantages.

They tend to be more costly, though this is changing to some degree.

In my observation, the more accurate but less expensive APs tend to be bigger - though again, this is changing.

They tend to use more battery power - though many now use watch style batteries, which will last longer.

As far as T-Tapp workouts go they will track your Step Away the Inches workouts and also track sets of hoedowns, and Jog rocks. They may pick up steps during the standing and even floor workouts but I don't believe that it will be consistent. It can still be a great tool to get you moving more, especially if you set regular goals and then watch the pedometer to be sure you're meeting them.

I linked to an Omron pedometer, which I am not testing. I chose to test a different accelerometer pedometer and tomorrow I'll share which one, why I decided that it was the one to test and what I'm thinking so far.




 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pedometer Use: The good, The bad and The Ugly


I've long been a proponent of pedometer use. Used correctly a pedometer can be a wonderful movement awareness tool. They're also available in a variety of price points.

A pedometer is an accurately, inaccurate fitness tool. Even the most highly rated pedometer will miss some steps and pick up extra steps. If you're a "Type A" person it might not be the tool for you.

If you find yourself counting your steps in your head and constantly checking "the thing" to see if it's picked them up and then yelling at "the thing" when it's off by 10 steps it would be best to donate it to a friend.

In order to work properly a pedometer must sit vertically at your waist. This means that it can be problematic for someone who carries a good deal of weight in their midsection. When placed at the beltline it will tend to roll forward and stop counting.

I've heard of women wearing a pedometer on their bra. In most cases this is not truly accurate - especially if you have a less sensitive pedometer or a light step. It can be beneficial if you're ok with using it to simply compare general activity trends from one day to the next.

I've also heard of people strapping pedometers onto their shoe laces. Again, this isn't the most accuate way to use a pedometer other than to monitor general activity patterns UNLESS you're a foot jiggler/tapper and then its truly useless.

Classic pedometers can vary widely in price and accuracy. I've had a $2.50 pedometer that was spot on and a $20.00 pedometer that needed a remedial math class when it came to adding up steps.  I, personally, have had good luck with Sportline Pedometers, but your mileage may vary.

When choosing a wearing location for your pedometer I suggest that you start by placing it over one hip, clear it and then take about 20 steps. Check to see how many steps it picked up. If it picked up all, most, or a few extra you're probably good to go. If not try moving it to the side a few inches or put it over the other hip and try again.

The main thing to remember about pedometer use is that it's simply a tool to help you track your "walking." It's not going to track other activities and convert them accurately to steps.

If you T-Tapp a pedometer will really only be useful with the Step Away the Inches Workout.
Wearing a pedometer during one of the other floor or standing workouts isn't going to yield any truly useful information.

A pedometer can motivate you to do more walking. If you are very sedentary I would suggest that you begin by simply doing your normal activities for 5-7 days to see what your "movement baseline" is. You can add up the days totals and divide by the number of days or just eye ball it. Once you have a baseline you can set a goal to increase your steps by 10-15%.  It's tempting to double or triple your steps right away but that increases your risk for overuse injuries. Your body needs time to adjust to this new active you!

Please note that I am only talking about a true pedometer in this post. A pedometer is a different and a more simple movement tool than a accelerometer. I'll talk about accelerometers, their value and short comings tomorrow.

Your goal for today is to break away from the day for at least a 10 minute walk break.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tortellini Pasta Salad


This Tortellini pasta salad is a family favorite. Now that I have the recipe more or less memorized it takes less time to make than is stated on the recipe. It's super simple because you only use one pot.

I use Buitoni whole wheat tortellini. It's a bit high in sodium. You can cut back on the olives to drop that number but in doing so you'll be losing some mufa. Homemade pesto will also cut that number.

If you don't drop the sodium be sure to watch your intake for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sassy Water Recipe Plus More

http://www.asweetsimplelife.com/
Sassy Water has been around for quite a while.

It's part of the Flat Belly Diet!  The flat belly diet has been around for a while. While I generally do not like "Diets," this one has a few things that I do like.

I like the fact that the recipes are generally quite easy and make up small portions. Thanks to the fact that they center on MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids) they are somewhat Mediterranean in composition. When they encourage processed foods  (bread, pitas, cereals) they encourage that those foods be whole grain.

So while I can't say I follow the diet I do enjoy using the recipes in the various books.

So let me get back to Sassy water.... It's really refreshing on a hot humid day.

I like to add a splash of lemon juice to it on top of the sliced lemons that are part of the recipe. Some days I'll float a Tea ball with Tea Forte Skin Smart Cucumber Mint Tea in it for a little extra flavor. Yum!

Hint: save the cucumbers and throw them into your green smoothie the next day.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Foods that Heal, Foods that Hurt: The power to choose is yours...

THIS LINK will take you to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's online library and an article on the 10 best and worse foods for longevity

THIS LINK. will take you to Dr. Ann Kulze's Superstar Foods series of articles. I was thrilled beyond belief to have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Ann by phone the other day. She is as dynamic in real life as she is in her books and videos!

If you embrace even a bit of what they teach you will improve your health and vitality more than you thought possible. (It won't hurt your cholesterol numbers either. LOL)

The only thing that stands between getting on board with healthy eating and not is whether or not we believe that the control to do so is in our own two hands.

The challenge for today is to try to be aware of the choices we make and when you become aware that you're about to make a choice remind yourself that the power to choose health is yours and yours along.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thought for the Weekend

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof." - Barbara Kingsolver

 
Same old idea but a new quote and a new difference. Rather than just pondering I've been taking action. It feels good and it's moving things along.
 
Challenge for today: What action have you taken lately to live under the roof of the life you want to be living?

Friday, June 21, 2013

T-Tapp Warm Up Workout #1: A Review and TappClub

I'll begin by saying that T-Tapp Warm Up Workout #1 is only available for Tappclub members.
The good news is that becoming a member is free and is simple. In order to be a member you must own the T-Tapp Total workout or Teresa's book Fit and Fabulous.

Once you become a member your sign in on the site unlocks additional DVDs and an additional specials page. Last time I checked membership was free. How do you know you're a member? If you click on this link for Warm Up Workout #1 and you can see it after signing into the site you're a member.

All that said let me get to the review.

I love workouts that break up a workout to give you more flexibility in using a part or whole of the workout. This workout is divided into standing and Floor sections

The first is standing and warms-up and works the feet. Most people don't give their feet too much thought - unless they are painful - but your feet are your postural base and it's important to keep them limber and strong. My clients and patients are always surprised the first time they find out that I always devote part of each and every class to warming up the feet.  This DVD leaves them feeling wonderful and will definitely rebalance and strengthen them over time.

Like all of Teresa's workouts there's a bonus. Since you are standing in T-Tapp stance with your supporting leg WHILE you stretch and warm-up the feet you get an unbelievable isometric thigh work workout. By the time you finish you're in alignment and ready to face the day. This would be an excellent DVD for dancers, any one who walks or runs, or anyone who spends their work day on their feet.

The second part of this workout is done on the floor. Teresa is quite methodical and by the time I finished this section I found myself feeling balance and aware of the areas that had been opened up.
It's a very beneficial "treat" for the body.

Once again this workout was filmed at a retreat so it's chock full of form insights and tips. I consider this an important part of my "Warm Up Workout Bootcamp." (WUWOBC)

If you've done this workout I'd love to hear about your experiences with it. If you decide to try a WUWOBC I've love to hear about that as well.

This is a pressed DVD with studio quality sound.