Month: June 2010

Reminder: Take a Deep Breath

For so many of us, the daily stresses of life can lead us to take shorter, shallower breaths. Ironically yet not surprisingly, this kind of breathing only compounds stress in the body, by depriving the cells of oxygen and by not fully exhaling toxins from the lungs.  As few as three deep focused breaths can be extremely calming to your entire body and your mind. So next time you get stressed out, check your breathing – you’ll almost always find it’s shallow and that is the time to stop and take a deep breath.  Please don’t put it off  and remember “Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” {Montaigne}

{via we heart it}

10 Fat-Burning Carbs

This week a reader requested some dietary recommendations for healthy weight loss and a day later I came across this list on Health.com:  10 Fat-Burning Carbs. Perfect timing!

The list includes:

Bananas

Brown Rice

Oatmeal

White beans

Lentils

Potatoes

Plantains

Garbanzo beans

Pearl barley

Whole-wheat pasta



Vitamin/Hormone D, the Sun & Your Health

I was about to put together a post about smart sun exposure and the importance of Vitamin D, but GOOP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog) beat me to it and it’s by far, one of the best, most informative articles I have seen on the topic.

Favorite/Key Take Aways from “Vitamin D Defiency” by Dr. Frank Lipman:

  • Although called a vitamin, it is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone
  • Studies show that as many as three out of four Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency
  • Bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the Vitamin D it needs to build bones, quell inflammation, bolster the immune system and protect against cancer (including skin cancer)
  • Boost your “internal sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidants and beneficial fats
  • Although irresponsible sunbathing is unquestionably harmful and precautions need to be taken, regular, moderate, unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health
  • Western medicine has made a practice of telling us to abstain from things that are bad for us in extreme quantities, when in fact those same things⎯fat, salt, and sunshine for example⎯are very good for us when consumed wisely and in moderation

Stay tuned for a post on natural/mineral sunscreen recommendations!

Natural Diuretics

I recently wrote about green tea being a natural breath freshener. Another benefit? It’s ability to balance fluid levels as a natural diuretic. Some other options include cranberry juice (the pure, unsweetened is best) and dandelion root tea. 

In the solid food arena, the following are known to balance fluid levels and reduce bloating:

  • watermelon
  • parsley
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • celery
  • asparagus
  • cantaloupe

Load up on this list to help flush out the bad stuff and let some H2O and nutrients in!

Australian Man Prevents Suicides Daily

This is absolutely one of the most amazing and touching stories I’ve ever read. A former life insurance salesman (ironic) who resides across from Australia’s #1 suicide location continues to talk people off the ledge while battling cancer. He has saved 160 people so far.

“He just gives them a warm smile, asks if they’d like to talk and invites them back to his house for tea. Sometimes, they join him.”

A must read: Australian ‘angel’ saves lives at suicide spot

{via Quote Book}

Pai Skincare

Pai Skincare is another organic skin care line definitely worth trying. Sarah Brown founded this company after becoming fed up with unshakable skin allergies. When doctors insisted the only treatment was masking her issues with numerous medications, she decided to quit her job and develop a plant-based line free of chemicals – Pai was born! Since 60% of beauty products are absorbed into your body  it naturally makes sense that skin care is ultra important when it comes to finding the source of health issues, especially ones affecting your skin.

So far I have tried Pai’s Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream. I love it – it’s super hydrating (just like you would expect), has a very light scent (definitely plant-like) and absorbs really nicely (no greasy look after application).  Pai is a UK company and is not yet easily found across the US, but you can always purchase online or check out the full list of carriers worldwide!

Pai Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream

Pai Camellia & Rose Organic Cleanser

Pai Comfrey & Calendula Calming Body Cream

Pai Bergamot Organic Lip Balm

Quick Tip: Freshen Your Breath

Looking for an easy way to freshen your breath post meal that doesn’t involve toothpaste? Just finish it off with a cup of green tea! This antioxidant-rich beverage helps balance the acidity in the mouth (vs. coffee, which increases acidity). Yet another benefit of green tea!

A Delicious Dinner

Dinner last night:

The menu:

  • Tilapia with capers, onions, olive oil, chili pepper, white wine, sea salt, & cracked black pepper
  • Stir fried broccoli with olive oil & lemon
  • Quinoa with black bean & corn salad mixed in

I’m very fortunate to have a husband that it such a good cook – it was so delicious!


Lighten Up Ladies

…with your handbags that is. A very, very common cause of women experiencing back pain can be traced to their lovely carrying devices. We all know how much we ridiculously try to pack into our bags on a daily basis. We love to have our “essentials”, but we never love the agony of actually carrying it all on our shoulder. In addition, we really don’t love the persistent pain that sometimes occurs as a result.

I know most ladies aren’t willing to give up their beloved large bags, but we can all at least try to to pack them with no more than 10% (as an absolute max) of our body weight. There are also some bags that cause less pain than others. The style of bag that causes the least pain is one with a long strap that can be positioned across the chest. If you’re unwilling to go for the longer strap, you can still do yourself a favor and try to switch shoulders every 10-20 minutes. Also, start making it a habit to leave your shoulder bag at home and use a clutch instead when you can. I do this on the weekends and it is sooo liberating! Try it out.. your back and chiropractor will definitely thank you.

Pretty, but potential to be painful so pack light… 

Charlton Tote, Gold {MICHAEL KORS}

OR

 It won’t fit as much, but it’s cute, affordable and can be worn crossbody or used as a clutch…

Hollywood Intuition Clutch {Target.com}

Eat to Beat Sunburn

It’s that time of year again! While everyone is familiar with external protection from the sun (hats, sunblocks, etc) there’s also some internal options as well. Both watermelons and tomatoes contain high levels of  lycopene, which help protect against sunburn by neutralizing free radicals produced by sun exposure. Pretty cool, right? So make it a point to stock up on these two delicious fruits, especially during the sunny, summer months!

Source: redactedrecipes.com

Redactedrecipes.com has a suggestions for combining these 2:

Stacked Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad

A Second Chance x 2…

I really enjoy “rooting” – it’s such a fun and budget friendly way to create new plants. Most recently, the “rooting” process of the center plant (below) took about 2 weeks (time period varies). I planted this rooted piece into a pot that was previously home to a shamrock plant. Unfortunately, I had accidentally and quite brutally killed this sweet shamrock. There was not even the slightest ray of hope for it, it was dead as a door nail. Or so I thought…

Days (maybe even weeks) after the shamrock died and fruitless watering ceased, I decided it was time to remove the dried up remains, but decided to hang onto the soil for a future green fellow. Part of me thought I should throw out the whole thing – maybe the soil was tainted by the previous death? No, I dismissed that thought, put the newly rooted plant into the worn in soil,  and watched it begin to grow…

To my surprise and delight, not only did the new plant grow strong, but what was that I saw? Clovers! Happy little clovers popping their heads out of the soil and now flourishing like never before! Call me crazy, but my thinking turns a little poetic every time I look at this creation – not losing hope, growth in surprising places, 2nd chances, strength in co-existence. I know, pretty deep for plant talk, but what a charming fluke of nature!

To root a plant:

  • Simply pluck off a nice size piece of a healthy plant
  • Put it in enough water to cover the bottom inch or two of the stem (I like to use a clear container so I can easily monitor the growth)
  • Once you spot some significant roots remove it from the water
  • Plant it in some soil in an appropriately sized pot (requires some knowledge/research of the plant’s potential)
  • Provide appropriate amounts of sunlight and water as needed (again, a little knowledge/research here as well)

To revive a dead plant:

  • Plant a new plant in the same soil
  • Don’t expect the old plant to grow back
  • Have a stroke of luck! : )

PB of the Natural Sort

To answer a reader’s recent question, I wanted to share some of my favorites in the natural peanut butter department.

My first pick would have to be Smucker’s, which was a staple in my house growing up. I always have opted for chunky over smooth, but that’s just my personal preference. As with all natural peanut butters, oil separation is normal and some stirring is required to blend the peanut butter to its ideal consistency.

These days, our new peanut butter brand of choice is Trader Joe’s. We enjoy it just as much if not more than Smucker’s AND it’s only $1.99! You can’t beat that, literally. I have yet to find an all natural peanut butter with a lower price tag.

If you’re looking for a natural peanut butter choice mainly for dessert purposes then I would strongly suggest trying  Peanut Butter & Co. They have some really decadent options like Dark Chocolate Dreams, White Chocolate Wonderful and The Bee’s Knees (yep, it’s pb + honey). These are ideal for adding to an ice cream sundaes, milkshakes (see recipe below) or just having on their own as a sweet and protein-rich treat!

A frequent reader, “All Natural Andy”, requested a sweet culinary delight that included the following: (a) natural peanut butter; (b) natural chocolate; and, (c) vanilla ice cream.

Here it is…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Milkshake (Serves 1):

  • 1 cup organic milk
  • 2 large scoops of all natural vanilla ice cream like Häagen-Dazs® (one of the richer natural options) or Ben & Jerry’s
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons all natural chocolate syrup like AH!LASKA Organic Chocolate Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • Blend it up
  • Enjoy!