Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wonderful Nutrtion of an Eggplant.

 Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family of vegetables like tomato, bell pepper and potato. Known for its characteristic taste as well as texture, eggplants are best enjoyed in North America between August and October. Among the main growers of eggplant are Italy, Egypt, China, Japan and Turkey. Eggplant has glossy skin, while its flesh is spongy and cream-colored. Some might find that eggplant is an acquired taste, but I personally love them for its flavor and ability to absorb the flavor and juices of other ingredients.
Its fiber content is high, which helps our digestive process and also acts against coronary heart disease. 

Nutritional values of eggplants include vitamins (in particular, C, as well as B1), proteins, minerals and phytonutrients. In the phytonutrients found in eggplants, there are phenolic compounds, such as caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids. Flavonoids exhibit cancer fighting properties and phenolic compounds are considered antioxidants. Nasunin helps prevent damage of cell membranes and blocks the creation of free radicals. Potassium in eggplants brings a balance in salt intake and maintains a nice level of hydration. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure. Eggplants also contain folate, magnesium and niacin as well as copper, manganese and thiamine (vitamin B1).
Below you will see a simple caponata. Caponata is a cooked vegetable dish popular throughout Italy (helps since my husband is Italian), though it is believed to have originated in Sicily. There are many variations, most of which contain eggplant as the primary ingredient. Although it can be served as a side dish to fish or meat, don’t be afraid to enjoy it like I do….with a hunk of garlic bread and a spoon. Personally, I think this is better the next day so I double the ingredients and take leftovers for lunch. Buon Appetito!!

Simple Caponata


¼ cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, chopped, ½“ pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped, ½” pieces
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with juice
3 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and onion, sauteing 3 minutes. Add the red pepper cooking until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raisins and oregano. Simmer over medium-low heat letting the flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sugar, simmering 2 minutes more. Salt & pepper to taste. 

Enjoy, this is a good side for Thanksgiving.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Treats that can trick us!!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

So Halloween is literally right around the corner and it can be tough to keep your hands off those buckets of candy. Moderation is key, but if you don't do moderation very well (like me), then I've got a couple tips for you:

1) Don't buy itYou can't eat what you don't have, right?

2) Buy the candy you don't care for If you want to participate in watching the cute kiddies dress up and come to your door, buy the candy you don't care for so your hand doesn't sneak into the bowl.

3) Give out healthier treatsNow you don't want to be the doorknob on the block who's throwing apples and oranges into kids' trick-or-treat bags, but try to find healthier options to give out like little packets of Teddy Grahams or how about stickers.

4) Eat before you go outIf you're attending a party, eat beforehand. If you go on a full stomach, you'll be less likely to grab at the unhealthy goodies on the table.

5) Bring a healthy dish to passBringing your own dish will make your host appreciative as well as give you a for-sure healthy option to pick from at the party.

6) Keep it out of sightNow if you HAVE kids and want to take them trick-or-treating, but are worried about having the candy they bring back to the house around, hide it. Sometimes what's out of site is out of mind.

7) It takes 1 hour of cardio to burn 2 fun-size candy barsAgain, if you have kids trick-or-treating, are going to a party, or have candy to give out, keep this in mind! If you're gonna eat it, be prepared to work like mad to get rid of it on your body! :-D

I hope these little tips help make your Halloween happy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Yoga benefits breast cancer and menopause patients!

In addition to helping you achieve a better body, yoga can make a significant difference in a woman's sense of well-being, even—and especially—when dealing with serious health challenges.

Recent research from India found that yoga can have a positive impact on menopause symptoms. The study followed a group of women who practiced the postures, breathing and meditation associated with yoga, while also listening to lectures on managing stress with yoga; a second group of women were assigned basic stretching and strengthen exercises, and listened to lectures on nutrition, fitness, and the biology of menopause.

In two months, the women in the yoga group had fewer hot flashes, fewer night sweats and less difficulty sleeping, while the women in the non-yoga group showed no changes.

Likewise, breast-cancer patients who attended a 10-week yoga program reported feeling notably less depressed and more calm, whereas women who were waitlisted did not report feeling any better during that time.

Interestingly, the research found that those who start out with the most negative outlook appear to have the most positive outcome after practicing yoga.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A little Cheat!!

Yes you heard eat "CHEAT"....what! you might be saying.  Yes it is ok to have a cheat every once in a while. It seems this time of year brings out the worst in me when it comes to treats.  It makes it hard when you go into a store and the Halloween candy is screaming at you buy me buy me, eat me eat me.  Then Thanksgiving come around and you have all that turkey and the other things that come with it.  Oh then you have Christmas which is the worse because everyone is giving you pie, candy, cake etc.  I am one of those that LOVES to bake this time of year, and to give it away (watch out friends). One of my favorites is the recipe below, I haven't made it in so long but love it.  I will be giving these away (who will the lucky person  Yes I am allowing myself this cheat.
                                                                   Puddles of Fudge


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars. Mix in egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into creamed mixture. Shape the dough into 48 balls, 1 inch each. Place each ball in one compartment of a mini muffin tin.
  4. For filling, put chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir in milk and vanilla, mix well.
  5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately make wells in the center of each using a melon baller. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove to wire racks. Using a measuring cup fill each shell with the chocolate mixture. Then you can put sprinkles on them or pecans or a small bit of caramel.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chicken McNasty!!!!!

Yesterday I read an article about how Chicken McNuggets are made. They also provided the lovely picture above and, needless to say, I was emphatically grossed out. Now, we always joke about what could possibly be contained in a Chicken McNugget (or any fast food item for that matter) and, laughing, continue to shovel it in. However, it's really not a joke. It's serious business when it comes to your health! So let's break it down.
Here's how the process goes, people. A WHOLE chicken (guts...bones...the entire works!) is mechanically smashed into tiny bits and pieces and smoothed out into a pretty pink goopy substance. This, by the way, is how a good portion of all your fave fast food items begin being processed before they get transformed into the illusion of food. They'll let you eat this junk, but before they do, they so kindly remove the bacteria from the chicken by soaking it in ammonia. How sweet. Then to make it taste fairly good and look fairly appealing they add a load of artificial flavors and colors before it gets the chance to swim around in your belly. Bon apetit, huh?

It also blows my mind the way they donate part of every Happy Meal to the Ronald McDonald charity. Kill kids to help kids just doesn't add up in my book, but that's a whole other topic of discussion.
This stuff is not food, people! Do you feel remarkably tired most of the time? Do feel like you don't have the energy to play with your kids, take care of your family, or effectively perform in your career? Do you get sick often? Fast food could be the culprit...or any unnecessary processed food...period! This includes a good chunk of what's being sold in the middle aisles of the grocery store, as well.

Your body just DOES NOT know what to do with this foreign JUNK. None of the ingredients in these products can be broken down in a way where your body uses them for energy, proper organ function, or fat burning. It basically ends up sitting in your system as fat and infecting your body with chemicals.

Need to be grossed out further? Check out the evolution of a burger and fries over 137 days. That should clinch it for ya'. Click here.

Now I know we're not perfect all the time, but bottom line...stay away from this stuff! I really care about you and your health and want you feeling good and functioning at your best.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Salutation Nation!

Last weekend me and Mya went to the Duke Gardens for LuLuLemon's Salutation Nation.  All over the united states LuLuLemon was giving back to the community in this hour long Yoga practice. We had such a great time, from the beauty of our surroundings the wonderful people around us.  Just laying back on our mats and looking up the sky and taking it all in.  In Savasana this was my time to pray and have my one on one time with God, what a glorious time.

Posture of the Month...

Side Arm Balance (Vasisthasana)
  • Basically balancing on your right hand and right knee with your left foot squeezing the floor (optional: straighten right leg also)
  • Try and have a straight line from your right hand to right knee to right foot to left foot
  • Press firmly through your right arm creating space in right shoulder joint (so there is not too much compression in shoulder joint)
  • Extend left arm straight up towards the sky above right arm to your own comfortable degree
  • Allow left arm, shoulder and chest to open while always keeping your chest lengthening away from your left foot squeezing the floor
  • Option: use towel as padding for knee, if necessary

Friday, July 30, 2010

Non-Fat Summer Slaw! Yum..

Without the mayo this slaw has great nutritional value with no fat and is high in vitamin C.   It works great as a side dish with your favorite grilled meat or seafood, but it shines as a topping for homemade tacos!

½ Cabbage, shredded or cut finely
1 Red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 Jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly
½ Red onion, sliced thinly
2 Limes, juice only
1 Bunch of Cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare cabbage, remove the outer leaves and toss them (or better yet put in the compost bin.)  Cut cabbage in half, then quarters.  Remove the cabbage core, by cutting through the base end of the cabbage at an angle.  Thinly slice the remaining cabbage or grate on the largest setting of a box grater.

Place cabbage in a bowl with sliced red bell pepper, jalapeno (seeds and membrane removed for less heat or left in for added heat) and red onion.

Cut the limes in half and juice directly into the bowl.

Chop the cilantro and add to the cabbage mixture.  Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Opening up!

 What obstacles do you face daily in life or maybe physically, we all face them from time to time.  It's how we deal with them that's important.

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal." You see, we have the power to either turn our experiences and truths into obstructions, weights tethered to any possible rise in self-esteem, greater awareness, and health; or to remove them. 

Yogis have fabulous resistance-busting tools. We can get on the mat and practice, opening tight places and dissolving emotional and mental tension. We breathe, switch our thinking, learn to see more clearly and, by deciding to love ourselves a little more, we begin to widen the very doorway into our own hearts. By applying awareness to each situation we encounter, we open a threshold to our core, allowing our deepest wisdom to sweep through, and away, into the world in the form of our most courageous, conscious actions.

In my classes, any time I want to clear the threshold, I ask my students to focus on hip opening. I call the hips "the Gateways," because they can allow, or block, the energy moving from you foundation into your core. If the gateways are closed, the posture is incomplete and with it, the opportunity to gain the full benefits of the asana is lost. Try the following pose any time you feel a little closed yet feel ready to  make the space you need to cross the threshold into that next, most incredible state of being who you really are.

Core Pose: Funky Lunge

This posture clears a common tight area--the side leg and outer hips--all the way from the foundation to your center. When you open this gateway, issues like sciatica may recede, since the piriformis muscle at the side of your pelvis often compresses it. As well, you'll open the IT band, making this a wonderful way to free yourself from over-closure of the gateways of the hip muscles and joints and, quite literally, be able to walk through any threshold more freely.

Come into Down Dog. Step your left foot to your right thumb. With this crossed foot placement, you'll bring the right knee to the mat. Center your hips, and come onto palms or fingertips, on the mat or on blocks, so that your hands are under your shoulders.

Begin to roll onto the pinky toe edge of your left foot. As you ground the foot down, and resist it back towards your hip, roll the outer left hip and upper thigh back and down so that it's not hiking up toward your ribcage.

Inhale, lift your lower belly and wave long through your spine. Exhale, and fold at the hip creases as you bend the elbows to your capacity. Play your edge of flexibility as you begin to straighten your front leg until you begin to feel sensation. Breathe and soften there before moving further into your stretch.

If you want more of a challenge, try tucking the back toes under and lifting the back knee as in a Low Lunge. Your hands will walk back to remain under the shoulders for support.

Breathe here for one minute, taking small spinal waves on the inhalation, and deepening your fold on the exhalation. Return to Dog Pose, and switch sides.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Improving your Lung Capacity!

Proper breathing is essential during exercise but should you try to increase your lung capacity? It seems like the average person who exercises regularly wouldn't concern themselves with increased lung capacity the way an endurance athlete would. However, improving your own lung capacity can benefit you when you are working out. Even if you have no plans to race in a triathlon, you can reap the benefits.

Most athletes work on improving their lung capacity because in turn, it increases their endurance and stamina. If you exercise on a regular basis, you may notice an increase in your own endurance and stamina by improving your lung capacity.

Ways to Increase Lung Capacity

You cannot physically increase the size of your lungs but there are ways to improve the efficiency of your lungs. The average person's lungs holds between 4 - 6 liters of air. Lung capacity also varies on height, age, sex, weight, as well as physical activity. For example, a swimmer would have a much larger lung capacity than someone who only works out a few times a week.

Cardio Exercises

One of the most common ways to improve lung capacity is through regular cardio exercise. Running is a good exercise to begin with. Some runners purposely live or train in areas of higher altitude because there is less available oxygen. The body then has to adapt to training with the lack of oxygen which in turns increases lung capacity. However, this can be dangerous as there is the risk of altitude sickness when the lungs cannot process enough oxygen for the body.

Breathing Exercises

Another method is by performing breathing exercises. Yoga is often turned to for learning how to breathe better. One breathing exercise I practice often is deep belly breathing. It really helps to relax me when I am feeling anxious or stressed. I once read that the average person does not breathe properly and that we lose lung capacity as we age. Breathing exercises are probably beneficial for those reasons.

Improve Your Posture

Having good posture also helps to improve lung capacity because when you are slouching over you constrict the amount of air your lungs take in. Practice sitting and standing with correct posture.

It should go without saying but smoking reduces your lung capacity among the other negative side effects. I think improving one's lung capacity wouldn't hurt. Have you purposely tried increasing your own?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Be in the Moment!!

Be in the Moment

With the many distractions of everyday life sometimes it’s difficult trying to stay in the moment.  Sometimes, and more frequently than I would like, my mind wanders off.  And when this happens I’ll feel disconnected from the present.  Knowing that this obviously isn’t a good way to live, I’m always trying to re-focus my mind. (harder at times then others)

Have you noticed that when you’re away from home, perhaps on vacation or travelling for work purposes, the eyes and mind are more tuned into your environment?  You tend to notice more details in general, and the imagination gets revved-up.   I think that when you live in the moment, life can be more fun and interesting. With being away this last week in Cali, I was busy being in the moment enjoying each and every precious moment with my family...but on the plane ride home I really started to realize how much I missed being me and doing all the things I, working out and the business of life seemed to be getting in the way of just sitting back and being in that moment.  I realized on that flight home I need to get back to what brings me to a state of peace and reflecting and that is in my art room, creating.  If I could create for a living that would be wonderful.

Being in the moment anywhere from eating to reading or maybe taking a walk will help bring you back to what it means to be in that space right here right now.  SO take just a moment and breathe, reflect and embrace all that is around you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Journal your journey and goals!!!

Do you ever feel lost or that you're not moving forward in your fitness progress? Are you confused about where you've been and where you want to go? Did you fall off track and don't know where or how it happened? Do you want to get back on track but aren't sure where to pick back up? Are you cheating on your clean eating and not holding yourself responsible for the 2 pounds you gained in the past couple weeks?

I have a tip that may be the answer to all these questions if you apply it diligently, effectively, and honestly.....journaling!! Journaling can be used to record your feelings, how much weight you're lifting, your workout schedule, inspirational quotes, your eating schedule, your cheat meals, and anything else that either hinders you or propels you toward achieving the fitness and health goals of your dreams!

YOU, and ONLY YOU, are responsible for getting yourself where you want to be, and one of the best ways to hold yourself responsible is by recording all of the tiny details of your journey!

I want to share one of my favorite ways to use journaling....feel free to steal this! In fact, I encourage it! We all get tempted and have the urge to cave in to our cravings with the repercussions of feeling defeated and weak. I try and combat the cravings that lead to this feeling with journaling. Whenever I get the urge, I go to my journal and start giving myself a pep talk. Frantically, I start writing things like:

"You don't need it!"

"Prove you can do this, because you totally can!"

"Set a good example for those you care about!"

"You deserve to reach your goals and you're SO capable!!"

"Think about how you'll feel when you're done? Is it really worth it?"

"Look how well you're doing and how far you've come!!"
By the time I'm done writing down everything I can think of to fight the desire to sabotage my hard-earned progress, I've lost the urge to give in and I've renewed my motivation to keep pushing forward! I feel proud, strong, and energized!

So feel free to use journaling this same way, but also think about all the other ways you could use journaling. Write down your fitness program...record your weight and reps so you know where you were and how much to strive to do next time. Write down how you feel after cardio every day and whether you were able to go longer or harder than last time. Write down everything you're eating everyday. I find that when I'm writing everything I'm eating down, I cheat less because I really don't want to have to write "Ate 1 piece of chocolate cake" in my food journal for the day!

Write down all the comments, compliments, tips, and advice you get from other people to help keep you motivated. Post pictures from your fave fitness magazine in your journal to look at when you need an extra push to get your workout in.

Now...there are times when we all give in to temptation (I'm more than human and have done it, too), but there's absolutely no such thing as failure or defeat...even though it may feel like it. Journaling can help you record your feelings and circumstances so that you can learn how to best deal with certain situations for the future. It can also help you get back on track and figure out where things went wrong so you can improve your situation.

See, there are endless possibilities for journaling! Just find what's going to work best for you so you can reach your goals! I'd love for you to share with me any ideas, tips, and advice you've thought of for journaling to help your fellow readers, so please leave a comment!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Importance of Water!!!!

It's likely that the only reason you think you need to drink water is to stay "hydrated," but you might not truly understand what this means. Let's delve into the meaning behind hydration and just why you need to drink so much plain, "boring" water.
  1. Your body is made up primarily of water. When you're properly hydrated, about two-thirds of your body is water—muscle tissue is even higher, at around 70 percent, while fat is less. Muscle powers your body and fat protects it. Put two and two together, and you may infer that water is vital to the things that make your body do stuff. When you don't drink enough water, your body declines into a state we call dehydration. Get too dehydrated, and your body will not function properly, which isn't too surprising when your body's low on such a vital nutrient. (Your body can be as much as up to 65 percent water!)
  2. AppleYou don't need to drink 65 percent of your weight in water each day. This is because, one, if you lost all the water in your body, you'd be dead, and two, that water makes up most of all the living things on our planet. Since we eat living—or recently alive—things, we get some water from the things we eat. When we cook things, they lose their water. This means that the more raw whole foods you eat, the less water you need to drink. Fruits and veggies lead the group of water-rich foods and contain around 95 percent water. If you eat a lot of plants, you can drink less water. But if you don't . . .
  3. There is more to hydration than just your water levels. Chemicals in your body react with water so that you can function. We lose water in the form of sweat, and sweat is made up of water and body "salts," which are mainly sodium, chloride, and potassium, but they also include magnesium, calcium, and so on. These are called electrolytes and, basically, are the reason that salt is such a vital component in your diet. Salt is a mixture of sodium and chloride, but generally, we use the term "salts" in reference to electrolytes. Too much salt is bad and too little is bad. Both can kill you. This is why, like water, the amount you consume should be directly related to the workload your body is put under. More exercise equals more sweat, meaning that you need more water and more salt.
  4. Woman with a Bottle of WaterWhat about water weight? Some people are afraid to drink a lot of water because they're afraid of gaining "water weight." This is the opposite of what you should do. Water weight is a term for your body holding on to excess water because it's not getting enough. The best way to get rid of water weight is to drink more water. It works two ways. If you don't drink enough water or if you eat too much salt in your diet, your body hoards water. This water/salt relationship is referred to as your electrolyte balance.

    Generally, there's an easy way to tell if you need more water or salt; because most people drink too little water and eat far too much salt—especially those who eat in restaurants. So when you aren't exercising, you almost never need more salt. When you are exercising, getting enough salt becomes an issue. Endurance athletes are ever aware of the need to have enough salt to avoid a condition called hyponatremia, a condition that results when you've had too much water and not enough salt, basically just dehydration from a different angle. Those who don't exercise outdoors excessively almost never have to worry about this condition.
  5. So what does water do for you? You'll often hear claims that water helps chemical reactions, regulates your body temperature, and lubricates your joints, eyes, and spinal cord. Sure, it does all of this stuff. In fact, since you're mostly made up of water, a case can be made that it does almost everything. So why split hairs? Your body doesn't work, at all, without being fed a lot of water. You can live days, weeks, and, sometimes, even months without food. But you can't live even a few days without water.
  6. Woman SneezingItchy skin. Dry skin. Constipation. Sneezing. Dry cough, headaches, nosebleeds, and acne. These are common ailments related to drinking too little water. Since water regulates your body's functions, it makes sense that minor glitches in bodily functions may be related to not drinking enough water. And this is just a partial list of common ailments. Many symptoms blamed on allergies are probably due to living in a dehydrated state. When you are properly hydrated, your body can better defend itself.
  7. The above symptoms may be worse in the winter. Water is required just to breathe, and you lose water through your mouth and lungs. During winter, when the air is dry, more water is required. Add forced heat in the air—like from home heating systems and fires—and the situation is exacerbated. This means that you need to drink extra water in the winter when it's cold, even though you are probably less thirsty.
  8. Water and your immune system. During winter, lack of water will dry out the mucous membranes of your lungs, gut, and sinus passages and lessen your resistance to disease. These barriers protect your body against bacteria, viruses, and pollutants when you're fully hydrated and intact. Allowing them to dry out could be the leading cause of the common cold and allergic symptoms, not to mention things like constipation, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and long-term diseases like hemorrhoids and colon cancer.
  9. Water and fat loss. We haven't yet discussed the importance of fat mobilization for energy and its relation to weight loss and effective exercise because, well, this is Nutrition 911 and that sounds complicated. Anyway, water is the main component of this action. A well-hydrated body has higher levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, translating into an increased ability to burn fat as fuel. The more efficiently you burn fat as fuel, the more effectively you exercise, leading to a better overall body composition.
  10. Hot DayHow much water? It's said you need about 8 glasses of water a day. However, this will vary due to your activity level and environmental conditions. As a general rule, add a couple of glasses during the hot days of summer and the dry, cold nights of winter. During exercise, you may lose a quart an hour or more. While all liquids provide water, sugar, diuretics (caffeine, etc.), and carbonation reduce the hydration effect. Combining all three, as in soda, can reduce the hydration efficiency of the liquid to almost nil.

Monday, May 3, 2010

 Letter to the Never-been-to-Yoga-at-the-Intermediate-or-Higher-Level-Class Student because it fits in your Schedule or Whatever.




Dear New Student,

Welcome! Happy to meet you! 

What’s that?  You’ve never done yoga before and you had knee replacement surgery last month? Thank you for letting me know.

Please note that this is an intermediate level class. I very strongly recommend taking at least a few fundamentals of yoga classes before a more advanced class such as this one. Classes labeled for “beginners” are truly helpful for students of all levels of physical fitness and will give you a good foundation in alignment and breath.

I’ll do my best to give variations and modifications during class. Ultimately, you are your own best teacher. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right for you today, then please don’t do it. You can rest at any time and for any amount of time. Honestly! If you are having difficultly maintaining a steady breath, it’s a good sign that you’re forcing your body to do something it probably isn’t ready to do yet.

This is a practice. It’s ongoing. The only thing you have to do is breathe. Everything else is optional!


Teachers, does this happen in your yogasana classes often? It seems that no matter how many modifications I offer, new and injured students often attempt the most challenging poses and variations. But hey, strivers are going to strive. (Strivers, you’re wonderful just as you are!) What are your tips for keeping these students safe? And students, what is a helpful, non-condescending way to be advised against doing something?
BIO: Sherry French loves beginners. Y’all are welcome and appreciated! But she really wants you to be safe. When she says child’s pose, she means you! If you’re going to do the crazy stuff, do it somewhere else. Not on her watch!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less.  We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees  but less sense, more knowledge but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.  We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We've added years to life, not life to years. 
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the road to meet a new neighbor.  We conquered outer space, but not inner space.  We've done larger things, but not better things.  We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.  We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. 
We write more, but learn less.  We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait.  We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. 
These are times of fast food and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.  These are days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.  These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.  A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or just hit delete.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones because they are not going to be around forever. 
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person will soon grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart, and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember to say "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all, mean it.  A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great recipe!!!!

Hey all it's been awhile since I have shared a recipe, but this one is for your next dinner try it and let me know what you think.....Recommended by a friend

Greek Feta Chicken

8 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
4 tsp. garlic, minced
1/3 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. black pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
6 oz. feta cheese
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, canned
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, blanched and chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken, turn to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Preheat the grill and set the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the topping ingredients in a large bowl. Grill the chicken, basting with marinade, 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Arrange the chicken on a sheet pan coated with nonstick spray and place 1 rounded tablespoon of topping on each breast. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese is softened. Makes 8 servings.

Preparation Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 16 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories: 218Protein: 33 gFiber: 1 gCarbs: 7 gFat Total: 6 gSaturated Fat: 4 g

I hope you get a chance to try this out and have a FANTASTIC weekend! Keep going after your health and fitness goals.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Avoid the most common mistakes to get the most out of your workouts!

You work really hard to keep yourself on a good workout schedule and eating right, but there are a couple things you could be doing that may have a significant impact on getting you to your fitness goals. These are mistakes even the most disciplined and devoted fitness addicts make. Let's fine-tune your workout!

1) Not fueling up after your workout session.
Food is SO important. I've said this before, but it's worthy of repeating...80% of your results is food and how your fuel your body. This includes pre and post workout meals. After you've worked your body, you have a small time-slot of about 45 minutes (optimize in 45!) to provide your body with the much needed nutrition it requires. When you fuel up after a workout, the calories, carbs, and protein you consume get right to work on repairing and rejuvinating your muscles. The proper ratio is 4/1 carbs to protein.  One GREAT way to make sure you're getting the proper ratio is through your recovery drink of choice after your workout...I like Endurox! 

2) Allowing gravity to do all of your work for you.
How are you suppose to get the most out of your weight workouts if you let gravity drop your weight? The negative movement (bringing the weight down) is just as important as the positive movement (bringing the weight up). If you don't resist the weight coming down, you're missing out on half of the exercise and not getting the most out of your rep. If you're going to make the decision to get into the gym, don't you want your work to go to good use? So take your time and slow down the movement to build that lean, beautiful muscle that's going to be burning tons of fat!

3) Not getting in enough resistance training.
Resistance training isn't just for bodybuilders...and neither is HEAVY resistance training. I lift heavy all the time and have never become bulky. Cardio definitely helps you burn fat, but it will do nothing to shape and tone those muscles. And when you build muscle, it will burn fat ALL the time...even when you're sleeping! I know I'd love to burn more fat when I'm not working to burn it!

4) Not lifting heavy enough.
If you want to change the way you look, you have to challenge your muscles...and in order to challenge your muscles, you have to lift heavier. If you're not struggling with your last three reps, you're not making any changes in your body. If you're looking to build strong muscle shoot for 8-10 reps with 8, 9, and 10 being VERY difficult. If you're looking to build endurance then shoot for 12-15 reps with 13, 14, and 15 being VERY difficult. When you reach 10...or when you reach 15, up your weight, and let the cycle begin!

5) Not drinking enough water.
Water is a necessity! It is responsible in aiding so much of what are bodies do on a regular basis! It helps build muscles, keeps your metabolism up, aids in digestion and losing weight, keeps your organs running smoothly, and flushes your system. Aim for 8-10 8 oz. glasses a day! And the first thing that should go into your mouth before anything else in the morning is a glass of water.  If you think water is extremely boring, try adding some frozen fruit to add a hint of flavor....

6) Focusing too much on the short term.
Our bodies are extremely smart, but take time to be trained to run the proper way through food and exercise. So be patient to see the results. Our bodies also adapt very quickly to workout routines, so be sure to change up your schedule every 3 weeks to 1 month to keep from plateauing. And it doesn't have to be anything really drastic...think about changing the sequence of your workouts or the angle at which you're lifting your weight. If you often do cardio first, then weights, try weights first, then cardio!

7) Not allowing yourself enough rest time.
Your body needs rest. Especially between resistance training sessions. Try to wait at least 48 hours when training the same muscle group. This will give it time to develop, heal, and grow for your next session. In any workout, whether it's cardio or strength training the muscle fibers tear, which causes the soreness you experience.

8) Not eating enough.
If you're not eating enough, your body will not improve. When you're working your body, it needs more fuel to support it. The more you work, the more fuel it needs. When you work hard and eat often your body will consume and use those calories...they don't sit and store as fat like everyone expects they will. If you aren't seeing the kinds of results you're looking for, the problem usually lies in how or what you're keep yourself aware. If you need help with this...go back to read my past blogs on eating and food. They should put on the right track.

9) Not creating enough variety in your cardio.
Variety is the spice of life...and in workout land as well! For example, if you're running the same pace on the treadmill over and over again, your body will adapt and you will plateau. You won't be challenged anymore. This does not qualify as a good workout. Try interval training instead and run at a higher intensity for a little while, then a lower intensity...then try bringing up the incline and work your legs at a slightly different around with it and you'll have a much more effective session.

So be aware and keep an eye on some of these things. Make some changes, even small ones, where you need to and you'll be surprised at how much of a difference they'll make!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The benefits of Yoga breathing...

Yoga breathing during yoga practice is the bond connecting the physical and psychological elements of yoga. Because the physical body and psyche are so intimately associated, a change in one instantly influences the other. You can produce valuable changes in your physical body and mind by maintaining control over your breathing. Yoga breathing rejuvenates and cleanses the physical body, cools and loosens up the mind and helps as a great warm-up before performing yoga poses. In harmonization with yoga poses, yoga breathing fuses the mind with the body connecting the opposing energies and facilitates deep relaxation from each pose. The practice of yoga breathing has extensive affirmative effects on bodily, psychological and emotional comfort. It also persuades spiritual development.

Yoga Breathing Effects on the Body

Yoga breathing delivers oxygen to the body’s cells to ensure they continue to function properly. If there is an oxygen deficiency, difficulties may arise in the metabolism of nutrients from food.  Proper yoga breathing facilitates metabolism and aids in the removal of all deadly gases such as carbon dioxide which are secondary by-products of metabolism. By maintaining the oxygen supply to the organs, feelings of nervousness and exhaustion are also diminished. 

Also, by circulating more oxygen to our muscles we reduce stress and increase energy. Yoga breathing extends normal breathing time, which elongates the intercostal muscles. Yoga breathing also supports the respiratory system and there by reduces the risks of asthma and other respiratory difficulties.

Yoga Breathing Effects on the Brain

Brain cells have a high metabolic rate so require greater amounts of oxygen to function compared to other types of cells. Deficient oxygen in brain cells can lead to indolence, tiredness, perplexity, bewilderment, loss of concentration and control over emotions. Yoga breathing helps ensure a consistent flow of oxygen is distributed to brain cells.
Yoga breathing exercises also helps in balancing the activities done by each side of the brain. Apt yoga breathing exercises assist the two brain parts to work together and reduce the left-right brain conflict.

Yoga Breathing to Reduce Stress

A thorough knowledge of yoga breathing methods can be one of the most effective stress reduction tools around. A good way to relieve stress is to take a deep, long breath supplying your brain with plenty of oxygen. Most people take in shallow breaths that deprive the body of its oxygen needs. By using yoga breathing techniques to deepen the breath we can maximize our air intake and also increase our lung capacity over time. 

Psychological and Emotional Benefits of Yoga Breathing

By having control over your breathing, you can control the internal energy of the body and eventually achieve complete control over your mind. In yoga breathing exercises, the breath is seen as the significant connection linking our physical and mental world. The most significant benefit from yoga breathing is for the mind.
Appropriate yoga breathing appeases the central and peripheral nervous system. It cools and stables the mind. This helps in increasing attentiveness, focusing concentration and decreasing the probability of stress when dealing with complex and difficult situations. It also helps in bringing out emotional stability by maintaining the emotional equilibrium. It facilitates reduction of desire and depression, helps you get relieved from sadness. The main significance of all is that it helps in finding your inner self and gives you peace of mind.
Believe it or not, Yoga breathing for sure is a direct medicine for peace. Try it. You will feel the difference.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Very High Calorie and Fat Coffee Drinks!!

I thought I would share this Article from Men's Magazine regarding coffee drinks. I am a coffee lover, if I have one of these yummy fancy coffee drinks I ALWAYS go for Non-Fat milk and sugar free syrup....saves a ton of calories.

Unhealthiest Coffee Drinks in America

I met an old college buddy for brunch at a local coffeehouse recently. "You're the nutrition guy, so I gotta be careful what I eat!" he teased, and ordered a totally healthy egg-white omelet. But then he ordered a coffee drink to go with it—some kind of whipped mocha frappe concoction—and all his nutritional hard work went right out the window. I didn't want to ruin his appetite, so I held my tongue. But my buddy made a classic mistake: He was watching what he ate, but not what he drank. The damage: more than 400 additional calories, slurped from a paper cup.

The fact is, a shocking number of the calories we consume at coffee joints doesn't come from the food. It comes from the coffee, and that's a shame. A cup of coffee in its raw, natural state contains only 5 calories, and the metabolism-boosting benefits of caffeine actually make coffee a good weight-loss supplement. But too much of our coffee has been razzle-dazzled into sugary, fatty, dessert-like beverages: Instead of drinking a cup of Joe, we're drinking... Joeshakes.

That said, as we discovered researching our forthcoming book, Drink This, Not That!, you can get your morning buzz without the accompanying caloric load, if you know what to look for—and what to avoid. Here's an overview of the best—and worst—coffee drinks in America.

Dairy Queen Caramel MooLatte (24 fl oz)
870 calories
24 g fat (19 g saturated, 1 g trans)
112 g sugars

Per ounce this so-called coffee concoction delivers 1 gram of fat and 4.6 grams of sugar, making even Starbucks’ over-the-top line of Frappuccinos look like reasonably decent options. Maybe that’s why DQ decided to give it a name that alludes to the animal it promises to turn you into. If you can bring yourself to backtrack out of Dairy Queen and walk down to the neighboring coffee shop, you can order a large iced latte with a couple shots of flavored syrup and still save somewhere around 600 calories. (Do that a few times a week and lose 25 pounds in a year!) But if you’re stuck where you are, you better plan on pairing a small treat with a regular cup of coffee.

Drink This Instead!Small Chocolate Ice Cream Cone with a medium cup of coffee
240 calories
7 g fat (5 g saturated)
34 g sugars

BONUS TIP: Drinks aren't the only way to pack on unwanted calories. Think salads are healthy? Check out these 15 gut-busting salads.

Baskin Robbins Cappuccino Blast Turtle (large, 32 fl oz)
960 calories
27 g fat (16 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
103 g sugars

In early 2009, when last we compiled our Worst Drinks list, Baskin Robbins stole the Worst Drink spot by a caloric landslide. The chain’s Chocolate Oreo Shake had 2,600 calories, and the Heath and York Peppermint Patty Shake wasn’t far behind. Thankfully, Baskin has since removed those items from its menu, but if it wants amnesty from us, it will have to drop the 32-ounce cup.
Drink This Instead!
Cappuccino Blast made with Soft Serve (small, 16 fl oz)
280 calories
9 g fat (6 g saturated)
21 g sugars

BONUS TIP: For full nutrition information for all of your favorite chain restaurants and thousands of foods, download the bestselling Eat This, Not That! iPhone app. It’s like having your own personal nutritionist in your pocket at all times, and will help you avoid the caloric calamities and guide you to the best ways to lose your belly fast.

Krispy Kreme Lotta Latte Chiller (Large, 20 oz)
1,050 calories
40 g fat (36 g saturated)
97 g sugars

This has a lotta something, but it ain’t latte. The average latte of this size, even when made with whole milk, has about 6 grams of saturated fat. This “kremey” abomination has six times that much—nearly two days' worth! Unfortunately Krispy Kreme makes it difficult to choose an alternative. Sure, the chain offers a line of hot espresso beverages, but it refuses to spill the beans on the nutritional info. That means you’re taking a big chance when you order the calorific Mocha or Kaffe Kreme. Instead, break your order down into two functions: the sweet and the caffeinated.

Drink This Instead!
Very Berry Chiller (Large, 20 oz) with a cup of regular coffee
290 calories
0 g fat
71 g sugars

BONUS TIP: Save calories, time, and money with the free Eat This, Not That! newsletter. Sign up today and you’ll get the Eat This, Not That! guide to shopping once and eating for a week, also for free.

Smoothie King Mo’cuccino Caramel (large, 40 fl oz)
1,140 calories
24 g fat (12 g saturated)
20 g protein
176 g sugars

The good news is that all Smoothie King’s coffee smoothies come equipped with a big scoop of protein powder. The bad news is that if you order this one, it will cost you more than half your day’s calories and as much sugar as 8 full-sized Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars. Stick with reasonable drinks and—more importantly—reasonable portions.

Drink This Instead!
Coffee Smoothie Caramel (20 fl oz)
340 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
14 g protein
56 g sugars

For a more comprehensive list of dubious beverages, and what to drink instead, check our 2010 list of the 20 Worst Drinks in America.

Cosi Double Oh! Arctic Mocha (gigante, 23 oz)
1,210 calories
19 g fat (10 g saturated)
240 g sugars

A frozen mocha will never be a stellar option, but we’ve still never come across anything that competes with this cookie-coffee-milkshake hybrid from Cosi. Essentially it’s a mocha-flavored Blizzard made with Oreo cookies and topped with whipped cream and an oversized Oreo. Maybe that’s why it has half your day’s saturated fat and more sugar than a dozen Twinkies.

Drink This Instead!
Mocha (tall, 11 oz)
298 calories
8 g fat (5 g saturated)
41 g sugars

So the next time you go out...rethink what you want to spend your calories on.

Sherry Lynn

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

So what is HOT YOGA???? Should you do it?


What is Hot Yoga?

Hot Yoga is a series of yoga positions done inside a heated room. The area is usually kept at a high constant temperature of 95-100 Farenheit. As you can imagine, a dynamic yoga session at this temperature results in profuse sweating which rids the body of toxins. It also warms the muscles

 History of Hot Yoga

Bikram Choudhury is a creator of Hot Yoga. He is a living expert of Yoga. His technique of Hot Yoga is a set sequence of 26 yoga positions including two Pranayama exercises. Each of these are executed two times in a single session that usually lasts for 90 minutes. Recently, Bikram was involved in a court case over his effort to patent his sequence of 26 yoga poses done in a hot room. Bikram still remains a very notorious figure in the hot yoga world.

How Does Hot Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

  • Warming the muscles makes the body burn fat more readily
  • Muscles become stronger by practicing hot yoga and will burn more calories at rest
  • When your body is detoxified the circulatory system improves and the metabolism increase
  • Hot Yoga improves the efficiency of bodily systems and functions of the body thereby regulating appetite and decreasing the desire for unhealthy junk foods.

Hot Yoga Guidelines

It is essential to have a yoga mat, dedicated to hot yoga mat, and towel when performing Hot Yoga as you will be sweating profusely. Also wear comfortable, close fitting clothing with limited fabric for the same reason. Wearing loose baggy clothing will only result in having to complete the class in wet, heavy clothing.
Be sure to drink ample water before and after the hot yoga sessions to avoid dehydration. It is not sensible to eat two hours before the start of the hot yoga session and steer clear of a large meal. If you wish to try Bikram's method, clarify whether the Hot Yoga centre you have chosen had been certified to teach Bikram’s hot Yoga.

Harmful Effects of Hot Yoga

There are several potential risks while doing hot yoga. All work outs should be approached with extreme caution and even possibly a doctor's guidance. The main thing to consider is dehydration and heat exhaustion. This may lead to dizziness, fainting or even strokes.
Hot Yoga instructors are at higher risk levels of muscle and lower back damage. Heating of the muscles increase the likelihood of these area being stretched beyond safe limits and can result in tissue damage. Injuries of this kind are a frequent occurrence among hot yoga instructors.
Although it is normal for the body to release small quantities of toxins in the sweat, sweating may also be hazardous. The liver and kidneys are the main organs responsible for eliminating toxins. If the person doing hot Yoga does is not well hydrated, the competence of these organs may be compromised. This results in a lower rate of toxin elimination which leads to the dumping of toxins into the body.

No Hot Yoga for Pregnant Women

Increasing the core body temperature during pregnancy is not recommended as this may lead to a dangerous situation.

Yoga on and off the mat...repost!!!!

 Life for me lately has been a balancing act, with time constraints, the feeling of being pulled in many different directions and my mind racing out of control at times. So when this happens I have to sit back and go back to how I am living on the mat and off the mat. So I thought I would repost the 5 on and off mat reflections..

1. Set your intention. Begin each practice (of life AND yoga) with a clear purpose in mind. This will help you stay on track while honoring and clarifying why you are doing what you do.
2. Stay in balance. Just as yoga teaches you how to balance with grace in awkward poses, it is important to find a similar balance in life. A well-rounded yogi who balances work and play is less likely to burn out.
3. Breathe deeply. The breath is an important life force. Begin to deepen your breath during challenges and notice profound psychological and physical effects.
4. Take risks. Do something everyday that scares you. This will keep you out of your comfort zone and encourage new experiences (or poses).
5. Express gratitude. Acknowledge at least one thing each day that you are grateful for. Awareness helps conquer scarcity thinking and keeps your focus positive.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reasons to give up Soda!!!!

I read this article right at the right time and thought I would share it.  I too struggle when the weather changes for a diet other time of the year do I want one more.  As soon as that temp reaches 75 I crave a diet Coke.  This article showed me even more why SODA is BAD!!!!  Please read.

Top 10 Reasons to Give Up Soda

By Steve Edwards

10.  Soda may cause cancer. According to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who did not consume soft drinks. As reported, the study "followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not."

Then why, you're probably asking yourself, is this number ten on our list and why is soda even still on the shelf? Not that I'd challenge the ability of such large corporate power to hide such a thing but, in this case, the study slit its own throat. As one of the researchers noted, "soft drink consumption in Singapore was associated with several other adverse health behaviors such as smoking and red meat intake, which we can't accurately control for," meaning that we have no way of knowing, for sure, if soda was the culprit. Still, it doesn't hurt to know that when you drink soda it lumps you into a fairly unhealthy user group.

9.      It's not just about calories. Calories grab headlines, but recent science is showing that diet soda users are still in the crosshairs. A 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that there's a 41 percent increased risk of being obese—and a 65 percent increased risk of becoming overweight during the next 7 or 8 years—for every can of diet soda a person consumes in a day. Admittedly, this one should be higher on the list, but I wanted to make sure the article-skimming crowd knew the score up front: that diet sodas are very much a part of the problem.

8.      It's the water . . . and a lot more. Okay, so that was a beer slogan, but soda is also made up mainly of water, and when you're slinging as much of it as they are, and you need to sling it cheap, sometimes you can't help but run into problems with your supply chain. In India, Coca-Cola® has found itself in hot water, and not the kind they thought they were purchasing rights to. Two of their factories have been closed, but one continues to run amok. According to a report in The Ecologist, "They accuse the company of over-extracting groundwater, lowering the water tables and leaving farmers and the local community unable to dig deep enough to get to vital water supplies."
"Since the bottling plant was opened in 2000, water levels in the area have dropped six metres, and when a severe drought hit the region earlier this year the crops failed and livelihoods were destroyed."

7.      BPA: not just for water bottles anymore. Nalgene® and other water bottle companies took the heat when the dangers of bisphenol A (BPA) were made public a couple years back. While these companies went to great lengths to save their businesses, the soda companies somehow flew under the radar and continue to use it in their products. A recent Canadian study has found that BPA exists "in the vast majority" of the soft drinks tested. Most of these were under the national limits set for toxicity, but some were not. And remember how much soda the average person consumes, meaning odds are most soda consumers are at some risk.

"Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit. However, studies in peer-reviewed science journals have indicated that even at very low doses, BPA can increase breast and ovarian cancer cell growth and the growth of some prostate cancer cells in animals."

6.      Can convenience. As in the 1950s colloquial: can it. Speaking of the 1950s, those were the happy days when most of our soda was consumed at soda fountains, obesity was a term hardly anyone had heard of, and the most feared epidemic was one of atomically mutated insects taking over the world. Now instead of hoofing it down to the corner confectionery for one soda, we fill out trucks with pallets of shrink-wrapped cans or bottles and quaff the stuff by the six-pack. Not to mention how out of balance this ensures our diets will become, it wreaks havoc on the world around us. The bottled-water industry (which is mostly owned by the soda industry) famously uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and the aluminum industry uses as much electricity as the entire continent of Africa. Not only that, aluminum mining accounts for a ton of toxic chemicals that is left behind for every ton of the metal produced.

5.      The Frankenfood factor. Whether you consume diet or regular soda, you're getting all of the genetically modified food you need and more, via high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Both of these are under plenty of scientific as well as anecdotal scrutiny. Findings aren't pretty but, so far, this multibillion-dollar industry has kept these sweeteners on the shelves while alternative sweeteners meeting cost requirements are explored. Since it's almost impossible to read health headlines without finding one of these ingredients in some type of controversy, I'll just use one example:

"The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and food safety advocacy group, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the claims, which stem from research conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation in Italy.

The foundation reported that rats who consumed aspartame in exceedingly large quantities were more likely to develop cancer. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson considers this an important finding that should not be overlooked." 

I know, there I go again with the cancer. But some people need to be shocked in order to take action. For me, seeing the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment was all I needed to swear off the stuff.

4.      Foreign news cares how much soda we sell in our schools. How bad is your country's problem when the whole world is watching its daily actions? "Nearly one in three children and teenagers in the U.S. are overweight or obese and health experts say sugary drinks are part of the problem." Yep, bad. The world is well aware of the problems soda is causing and is looking to us to lead. And we certainly are trying. Are you with the program? "Under the voluntary guidelines, in place since 2006, full-calorie soft drinks were removed from school canteens and vending machines. Lighter drinks, including low-fat milk, diet sodas, juices, flavoured waters and teas, were promoted in their place."
And, while great and all, it appears that no one got the memo about diet sodas.

3.      Diet? Um, that's just like your opinion, man. When it comes to soda, treat the word "diet" as a slogan. A study at Boston University's School of Medicine linked diet soda with increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. To be more specific, the study "found adults who drink one or more sodas a day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome," which is a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of "good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other symptoms that lead to heart disease and/or diabetes. And, for those of you only concerned about how you look in the mirror, "Those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a 31 percent greater risk of becoming obese."

2.      Soda outkills terrorists. A study out of the University of California, San Francisco, shows that soda has killed at least 6,000 Americans in the last decade. From ABC News: "The new analysis, presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, offers a picture of just how horrifying the damage done by excess consumption of sugary drinks can be.

Using a computer model and data from the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated that the escalating consumption between 1990 and 2000 of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, which they abbreviated as 'SSBs,' led to 75,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease.

What's more, the burden of the diseases translated into a $300 million to $550 million increase in health care costs between 2000 and 2010."

1.      It's the "real thing" . . . not exactly. Should having the number one caloric source in the world come from something that's entirely man made be a metaphor for a dying world? It doesn't have to be this way. After all, there's nothing in soda that we need. In fact, there's nothing in soda that even comes from the earth except caffeine, and that's optional. It's a mixture of altered water (injected with carbon dioxide gas), artificial flavors (yes, "natural flavor" is artificial), artificial color, and phosphoric acid, along with its sole caloric source that is a by-product of genetically modified corn production and offers virtually no nutritional value. It's about as real as The Thing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Earth Day is April 22nd!!!



From the Ground Up: Celebrating Earth Day

On April 22nd we can all honor our connection with nature and the environment in any one of these ten easy ways:

1.  Walk barefoot on the earth, and experience your connectedness with the source.

2.  Eat only local, organic food for the day.

3. Clean out your closet and recycle old possessions by donating them to Goodwill.

4. Have a car free day. Jog, walk, bike, rollerblade, or take public transportation.

5. Participate in a local clean up project.

6. Plant a tree. Plant a forest!

7. Buy a reusable water bottle and vow to no longer buy disposable water bottles.

8. Off-set your
carbon footprint.

Stop junk mail.

10. Talk to a child about why it's important to treat our environment with respect.

Use this day and every other day to remember how lucky we are to have this beautiful planet earth. Let's treat her with the love and nurturing she deserves!