Monthly Archives: March 2012

TurboJam!! Day 2 of 28 – Beginner level

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Day 2, Learn & Burn lesson,  for the last time. I think I have the elite 11 moves down, but its going to take practice for me to not feel so awkward and to move smoothly through the steps and changes. I love the TurboJam music and am looking forward to busting my butt tomorrow with the 20-minute Workout.

Herb’s birthday was yesterday and so I got to cook for him (now that doesn’t happen often, he’s such an excellent cook!) He really loves my chicken enchiladas – so I made those with my version of dirty rice. Ah but dessert – this was a total decadent experience. I made an oreo cookie cheesecake with a chocolate ganache.

Great way to kickstart my getting back into shape, eh?

But I did great, I only had one enchilada with just a teaspoon of light sour cream and a small portion of the dirty rice. Went for a nice walk on our trail (one way around is 1/2 mile) before having dessert and then I had just a small slice.

I made these with Las Palmas red enchilada sauce and I have to say it was not my favorite. I got it on sale, 2-for-1, and I so got a can of green enchilada sauce, too. We don’t have enchiladas very often, so it’ll be a while before I report back & let you know if I like that better than the red.

I’m over feeling guilty about eating. I control what goes into my mouth.

Even so, I know I have to stay away from simple carbs – they set off my cravings big time. Juicing veggies seems to kick the cravings to the curb so after about 2-3 days of juicing my balance is back on track.

TurboJam!!! Beginner Level – Day 1 of 28

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Received TurboJam from Beachbody in the mail yesterday. TurboJam was created by Chalene Johnson and is geared to be effective for every fitness level, from total beginner to quite the workout wiz.

The music for these workouts is total PAR-TAY! Really gets ya pumped. The 20 minutes was over before I knew it. The program is kind of a mix of high energy club dance and martial arts moves. The whole thing has 11 core moves and once you feel comfortable with you’re ready to party off the inches!

I did the Learn & Burn this morning – I feel like a seriously uncoordinated sock! Yet I was able to finish the whole work out with just a few modifications to the kicks because my hips have a real limited range of motion. Long boring story…

 But just think what wonderful progress I’ll make and how each new personal victory will blossom into another – I’m soooo psyched!

Check out this link to learn more about TurboJam.

Check Those Food Labels!!

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Dang!

I’ve been a food label reader for so long it is just second nature to me, but something got under my radar… dill pickles. I’m a dill pickle nut, but I guess I just never read the label.

Last night I watched a special by Dr. Gary Null and he was talking about the nutritionless things on a plate of hamburger & french fries & pickle. I figured the pickle was the only thing worth eating on the plate – WRONG!

He said the pickle was loaded with sodium (?) that’s usally on the top of my radar. How in the world have I gone for so many years – as long as they’ve been forced to use food labels – and not read about my pickles?? Not only sodium but:

Kosher Dill Pickle Spear (Cucumbers, water, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, 0.1% sodium benzoate (preservative), natural and artificial flavors )  and this is the KOSHER dill. Other dill pickles have yellow dye #5!!!

Not only that but the pickles I’ve got in my ‘fridge right now are spears and the label says the serving size is 3/4 pickle – not even a full spear! I’m so disappointed!

So then I got to thinking about my other go-to quick snack – olives: black, green, kalamata. The label of the manzanillas I have show as much sodium as my pickles.

Let this be a lesson folks – all processed foods must be scrutinized closely.

Now I have to go find a low salt/salt free (?) dill pickle recipe…

5 Herbs for Internal Spring Cleaning

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You know that feeling you get as soon as signs of spring start billowing through your open windows? That feeling like you want to rid your living space of any dust, clutter, and grime? You can’t wait to pack away all of those winter sweaters and pull out the light, airy summer stuff. Yeah. It’s pretty awesome—all that new, clean energy coursing through you that makes you want to transform your space into something clean, light, and spring-y.
 
Well, that urge to clean is really a manifestation of what’s going on inside your body. Your winter-logged system wants that same kind of airing out. Just like your closet and drawers are stuffed with warm, bulky winter-wear, your body, too, is stuffed with a similar winter-wear. In this case, it’s excess fat (yes, we all put on a little weight in winter—it’s totally normal) and general metabolic sludge that your liver hasn’t gotten around to sweeping out of the corners.
 
The same way we sort of neglect giving our homes a good cleaning during the winter (because we’re conserving energy and just sort of naturally slow down during cold months—evolutionarily speaking, we just don’t get inspired to really move during the winter), the body has, too. The metabolism slows down to conserve energy, food and warmth, so the detoxing organs (liver and kidneys) might get a little sluggish, too.
 
But, hey! Then comes spring and we get all revved up again. Things are growing, the metabolism awakens, knowing there’s a virtually endless supply of green things to keep it going. Suddenly you crave salads and lighter fare, putting the potatoes and heavier stews and casseroles away until next year.
 
What’s so great about this time of year is that you can jump on this inspirational surge of energy while it lasts and really give your body a good spring cleaning. With certain herbs (which tend to grow naturally in the early spring), you can help your body rid itself of stored metabolic wastes, toxins and excess fat. No fasting required.
 
1. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):
 
If you live away from major traffic and from neighbors who spray their yards with pesticides and artificial fertilizers, then you can go right out into your yard and start picking some dandelion leaves. Throw them in a salad or a green smoothie—just make sure to pick the leaves while they’re young. Larger leaves are much more bitter. Don’t want to pick your own? Purchase some dandelion (leaf or root) tea. Drink a few cups a day. Tasting the bitterness is important in order for the herb to have the best effects, but if you can’t stand the taste of the herbs (but try—you do get used to it) you can take up to six capsules a day.
 
Why Dandelion is awesome: this herb is a liver and kidney powerhouse. It’s a diuretic, so wastes are quickly removed from the body. As a bitter herb, it stimulates the digestive system, causing it to digest your food more efficiently. Why is this important? Nutrients become more readily available to the body, thus less waste is generated. This means the liver can focus on the really important tasks, like helping to rid the body of excess fat stores. And, like all early spring greens, dandelion leaves are loaded with vitamins and trace minerals—something the body has lacked over the winter due to the low supply of fresh fruit and veg.
 
2. Nettles (Urtica dioica):
 
If you’re familiar with wild plants (or “weeds”  as those not in the know call them), you’ll know nettles. These are the spiky green plants that grow anywhere that’s damp or near water. If you decide to harvest your own, please wear gloves (these are called “stinging nettles” for nothing…). Also, be sure to steep, steam or dry leaves before consuming. This takes the sting out of the nettle.
 
Nettles are amazing sources of iron, vitamins, and trace minerals. They have stores of magnesium and calcium which, in this form, are wicked easy for the body to assimilate—way easier than your over-the-counter multivitamin. They also clean metabolic waste from the blood and act as a diuretic, helping the kidneys and urinary system to do all their filtering and cleansing work. I recommend taking this as tea, and drinking lots of it. If all that liquid doesn’t do it for you, you can easily find nettles in capsule form.
 
3. Red Clover (Trifolium pretense):
 
Red clover supports the liver, cleanses the blood, and has been used by herbalists to prevent and lessen tumor growth. The flowers, not the leaves, are what you want. You can probably find these in your yard (assuming your yard falls under the safety regulations outlined above with dandelion). Add the flowers to salads or pick up a tincture at your local health food store.
 
Red clover has many uses, beyond prepping the system for spring. As an immune system tonic, clover helps prevent illness and infection. It’s also a wonderful remedy for coughs and respiratory system congestion as well as for those trying to boost their fertility or going through menopause.
 
4. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa):
 
Alfalfa is one of the most nutrient-dense herbs out there. Why, may you ask? Well, its roots grow more deeply into the soil than most plant roots. This allows it to access nutrients other plants can’t reach. You can eat the sprouts in salad or brew the leaves in tea. This herb is mostly used for its nutrient powerhouse-ness, but it’s also a good tonic for the digestive system and the liver. And, kind of cool, alfalfa is the only vegan source for vitamin D3. There are only trace amounts, but still—that’s pretty groovy.
 
5. Burdock (Arctium lappa):
 
Finally, I’ll throw some burdock in here. This is a really good general cleansing herb. You might notice that, once you start your detox, you’ll have less-than-pleasant side effects such as break outs, achiness, and general icky-ness. What your body is calling for is some good lymph support.
 
Burdock helps clear the skin, joints, and liver from general toxic congestion. It strengthens the immune system and cleans the blood. Because it contains inulin (which mimics insulin in the body) it’s good for hypoglycemia and early/pre-diabetic states.
 
There are lots of ways to get burdock into your system. You can chop up the roots and sauté them with other veggies or add it to soups. You can also take it as tea (which is especially groovy, as it turns the tea blue). If none of these methods appeal to you, you can take it in capsule form.
 
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Now, these herbs will do a lot for the body on their own, but you have to make a little effort as well (yeah, you knew that was coming, right?). You don’t have to fast but, while you’re using the herbs, help them out a little by avoiding refined sugars, easy carbs, and fried foods. Give your digestive system a break—feed it with lots of fresh fruit and veg, lean proteins, and lots of water. Take long, leisurely walks. Think of yourself as one of those delicate little sprouts out in your garden—you want plenty of sun, nutrients, and water, but you don’t want to overdo it. You can have too much detox. Don’t drown yourself—feed yourself well. Do the work now so that when July rolls around, you can laze in the hammock eating ice cream, guilt-free.
 
Well. Okay. Mostly guilt-free.
 
Published March 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

March – Adding a fun new fitness regime

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Happy Colors!

Good morning, Red Juice!

This made just under 32 oz of  juice

  • 1/4 head red cabbage
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • bunch parsley
  • 2 orange peppers
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small piece ginger

About 3 years ago I was taking NIA classes in Flat Rock and had to discontinue. I loved NIA (Non-Impact Aerobics) because it is a full body hour-long workout, encorporating all your muscle groups and joints. After the hour you are both exhilarated and exhausted and yet there is no next-day stiffness or soreness as you expect with other bust your butt workouts. NIA is gentle, thorough and effective.

Dancin' With Denise

So I was thrilled to learn my teacher, Denise, a NIA black belt certified instructor, had produced her own dvd using NIA technique! I scurried up the mountain and bought one !

I put it in my player and the audio was messed up – a constant high pitched whine & Denise’s voice was garbled. Tried to play it on my computer and Media Player balked. A few days later, I tried it on a friend’s player and the dvd played just fine. Tried it in my machine again yesterday and ta-da! it works perfectly. Go figure, eh?

This is a hour long jazzy routine uses the soundtrack from Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Denise’s workout will be a nice addition to my joyful movement repitoire as I love the Power 90 regime, but after a while anything gets a little boring.

What I really love about NIA is you are taught to listen to your body. You can make the movements as deep or expansive as your body tells you it is comfortable with. Maybe today you bend to the ground, maybe just to your knees – its all up to how your body feels like moving right now. No competition with others, only yourself and only in this moment. How kind is that? And it is very effective in making your body happy, flexible and healthy when you continue the practice.

By the end of the hour I was ready to stretch and relax! If you’ve not heard of NIA, I suggest you check it out – I think you’ll love it, too!

Start Over – Well, I made it a week…

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Its been a willy-nilly last few days and I broke the juice fest, again, a mere week into it on Monday lunch.

But I have been on a really neat spiritual journey. I used to be quite involved with Native American medicine wheel work, close to nature in a personal way. Since leaving South Florida and moving to NC, I’ve gotten away from much of that. Even though I’ve had lots of outdoor adventures its not been that deeply personal  connection.

 

Woman Stone

Last Friday, Herb & I were invited to join a group to do a wilderness adventure in Jones Gap State Park with a naturalist. I didn’t know it when we started, but it  included a guided meditation to seek contact with our spirit giude. I won’t go into details, but I re-connected with a part of myself that I’d been ignoring.   And it was such a joyful experience, a real sort of  home coning.  Shortly after the meditation, my eye was drawn to this stone on the ground. I picked it up and it contured perfectly into my right hand.

My first thought was to call it the Woman Stone and between my meditation and this stone, I feel there is a side to my feminine power I need to bring forward. I’ll continue to meditiate on that to fully realize it and will share as much of that journey as is appropriate.

The naturalist played a didgeridoo made of bamboo during the mediation and both Herb & I enjoyed that. I went online to see how to make a didgeridoo and Saturday we went in search of some bamboo to make one for each of us. We found a nice stand of bamboo just down the road very quickly with older growth the right size. Herb cut it down with the small chainsaw (bamboo can be pretty tough!) and he hollowed it out. We made the mouthpieces with cheese wax he uses to seal shiitake spawn plugs in oak logs.

My bamboo didgeridoo

I think we made ours too big (diameter-wise) as it is very difficult to sustain a drone and I’ve got fairly impressive lung capacity for singing and playing brass instruments. My conch blowing is truly a gift (lol!)

I’ll continue to practice and maybe I’ll post a recording sometime in the future!

As to the juicing, I’m not sure why I don’t seem to be as dedicated to it as I was this past summer. It is odd because I do enjoy juicing, I enjoy the extra energy and all, but my head is just not totally focused and committed. I’ll have to think on that…