Here are my top ten wellness tips for you try in 2009. Click on the tip headlines to read more. I hope you try and add at least a few of these to your wellness routine.
10. Epsom Salts
A must have item for your medicine cabinet is epsom salts. These salts help sooth aching muscles and are a great everyday wellness item to keep your body happy. Plus they are dirt cheap.
Many of us forget that oxygen is the most important chemical in your body. 70% of our bodies 'waste products' are removed through breathing. Deep breathing exercises have always been 'trendy' but few people actually do them! They really do enhance your overall wellness, so remember to breath.
8. Re-think Meat
In the coming year, it would be a good idea to consider how much and what types of meat you are eating. Maybe even experiment with a few days of vegan living, a la Oprah's fifteen day vegan diet detox. If you are a meat-eater for life, why not consider eating grass-fed beef, free range eggs, hormone free dairy and organic animal products. Grass-fed beef is actually lower in calories and higher in nutrients than traditional beef.
Already vegan? Then pass this thought onto a meat eater, they might be shocked to learn a few new facts about meat, wellness and the big picture of this place called earth.
7. Take the Hard Road -Test Your Limits
You know you limits right? And sometimes your just A-OK with taking that easy road to get to your destination. Well this year, take the hard road a bit more often. Now push it to the next level. You say you can't do it??? ....but you just did.
6. Try Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is a powerful detoxifying and balancing way to improve your health. You can find a local hot yoga location at yogafinder.com, and a beginners class usually runs from $10-$25.
5. Take a Lunch Break Detour
Do it! Take a detour! Go to a one o'clock play, peruse a museum at noon, take a long drive up the coast - all on your long lunch hour. It will clear your head refresh your mind to know that while you bask in culture and calm, everyone else is grinding away trying to catch up on those fifty new unread emails and ten blinking voice mails.
4. Skin Brush
The skin in the largest organ in the body and is responsible for 20% of the detox process (70% through breathing, see tip #9, and 10% through your digestive system.) Skin brushing is an easy activity to add to your daily routine.
3. Drink More Tea... or just less caffeine.
I've said that I recently switched from triple soy lattes to chai's at Starbucks. And I feel so much more balanced and less on-edge. I challenge all of you to do a two week coffee detox and see how you feel. Even limiting yourself to one or two coffees a week will create a sense of calm that you can feel. I now only get one latte a week, at Le Pain with a nice Sunday brunch. It is now a treat as opposed to a necessity.
2. Water is a great Healer
Water heals. Drink more water, hydration is a cornerstone of good health. Hot water baths are very healing as well. And for the ultimate water therapy, try the hot/cold immersion technique. Take a hot bath, then do a cold shower- ice cold - then switch back to hot. Do this a few rounds and you will feel your circulation soar!
1. Eat Thanksgiving Dinner more Often.
So this is my favorite wellness tip for the coming year. Eat a Thanksgiving Meal more often. What do I mean? Well as I explained in a recent post, the foods we eat on Thanksgiving are actually quite healthy. On what ordinary night do you eat five types of veggies on one plate?
And lastly, on Thanksgiving, you eat at the table, you interact with your family and you are eating mindfully. You are not simply stuffing your face while watching that DVR episode of Grays' and updating your facebook status.
So in 2009, why not try to eat like its 'Thanksgiving' everyday. Or at least on weekends.
Happy wellness in 2009!
"I decided to throw a little New Year's bash for my kitty cats. The servery was decorated for the occasion."
I do love the photos though....a cat nip buffet, an illuminated kitty bow-tie. What won't you think of next.
Please check out this gallery guys....its quite funny.
Happy New Year!
The Martha Blog : My cats have a New Years party!
Tempeh is an amazing superfood. You can spend an hour chopping veggies, sauteing perfectly marinated tempeh, maybe its corn crusted or BBQ glazed. Yum. But if you are like me, time is precious and sometimes I am craving a tempeh sandwich or side in just say, two minutes.
Here it is, my two minute tempeh recipe.
(note, this is not the optimal preparation for tempeh, but I find it perfectly tasty for a quick snack or meal.)
Two Minute Maple Marinated Tempeh
Slice into thin strips, one half package of plain tempeh
Toss tempeh and the following ingredients into a microwave-friendly lidded dish.
Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp fresh ground pepper, a rough 2-3 tbsp drizzle of maple syrup (honey works too)
Cover lid tightly and shake the container to disperse the ingredients on the tempeh.
Microwave container on high for 1.5-2 minutes. (toss a bit mid-way)
You're done! This tempeh is great for a quick sandwich or salad topper.
Tempeh is a soy product made by fermenting whole soybeans.
Tempeh is a super food.
Sadly, I've found many people have never even heard of tempeh! Wha?! How?! It's so yummy! It's a must try curious cooks..
But be warned, tempeh is the underdog of vegan protein products.
Well just look at it! Instead of a friendly, silky smooth, shiny texture tofu-esque texture - tempeh is bumpy, hard and sometimes discolored in shades of cream, brown and gray.
But don't let it's rugged exterior looks fool you.
In a tofu vs. tempeh battle, I'd put my money on the gnarly looking bumpy stuff...
Before you judge - do a taste test...
Tofu is Great. Yes tofu is a healthy, vegan, soybean product. But tempeh has a few health benefits that tofu does not:
Tempeh Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
1. Whole beans - Tempeh is made from whole soybeans.
2. Easier to digest - The tempeh fermentation process changes the properties of the soybeans. As a result, tempeh can be much easier to digest for some individuals. Enzymes and fermentation also release and 'pre-digest' some of the nutrients and allow the good stuff like zinc, iron and calcium to be more easily absorbed by your body.
3. High fiber content - One serving of tempeh contains more fiber than most peoples consume in one day. Around 7 grams per 4 ounces, a 1/2 cup.
4. Nutty Flavor - Tofu is bland ...some people say. Tempeh has a unique nutty/savory/bitter/fermented flavor and texture that many people, including me, love. If you have a super picky eater, try EVOO/maple syrup sauteed tempeh sticks with flavorful, familiar dipping sauces - and they will love it. Tell them it's like fries, only healthier.
5. Low Sodium - Tempeh is extremely low in sodium, which is rare for a fermented soy product (like miso).
6. Natural antibiotics - Rhizopus moulds produce natural, heat-stable antibiotic agents against some disease-causing organisms. Indonesians who eat tempeh as a regular part of their diet recognize it as a medicine for dysentery and rarely fall victim to the intestinal diseases to which they are constantly exposed.
Favorite Tempeh Recipes:
My Smoky Tempeh Wrap
TMT Pita (the vegan blt)
Sunny Mushroom Tempeh Bagel
Napa Valley Salad with Lemon Pepper Tempeh Croutons (lemon pepper crouton pics shown in this post)
Olive Tapenade Tempeh Vegan Sandwich
Broccoli Jack Soup with Mapoltle Tempeh Croutons
Cheezy Chili Bread Bowl with San Marzano Tomatoes and Tempeh
Tempeh Bacon Shiitake Jalapeno Stuffing
or try the super easy recipe below...
Easy Tempeh Triangles Recipe:
maple or agave syrup
apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1. slice tempeh into triangles - slice thin.
2. Soak tempeh triangles in a marinade of EVOO, maple syrup or agave syrup, lemon juice or vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
3. Saute on high or grill until edges brown.
4. Remove from heat - drizzle leftover marinade over top - pinch of salt/pepper and serve!
Serving Suggestion: I love adding these easy tempeh triangles to the top of a big green chopped salad.
Well it had to happen. There is a spa where babies can get pedicures, pint size actors who can't read the scripts they score, and now a five year-old chef with his own "cooking show".
What do you think? Cute or creepy?
Here we go...from the top!
Here are my top ten superfoods of 2008, all picks that you need to add to your diet in 2009!
At number ten.......
We saw nuts (and not just peanuts) make a comeback this year. Maple almond butter showed up as a side condiment at Starbucks, and new research showed that kid nut allergies just might be avoided by eating more nuts! I love them. I am nuts for nuts. And you should be too. In 2009, why not try a few new nuts - brazil, macadamia, hazel or pistachios.
9. Probiotic Yogurts and Drinks
We've all seen that Jamie Lee Curtis commercial where she grasps her tummy and says she just doesn't feel right sometimes...and so with the plethora of probiotic drinks and yogurts options, we can all boost our immune systems and improve everyday digestion! Read my post on the top five probiotic products here.
It will make a comeback in 2009! It will! Higher in complete protein than ANY meat or soy product, spirulina is a super duper food. Add it to your smoothies. Greener color, little change in taste. Kids love a green-slime-monster smoothie.
More brands of acai juice seemed to pop up the shelves of my Whole Foods Market in 2008. And acai has even become a favorite Jamba Juice smoothie flavor! Now lets hope that Trader Joe's can come up with a high quality knock off version because those $3.69 a piece bottles are killing my wallet.
6.5. Sweet Potatoes
This is super food number six and a half because I simply had to squeeze sweet potatoes in somewhere...and this seemed like a good spot!
Yes, I'm obsessed.
A personal favorite for not just 2008, 2009 and beyond, but for always! I remember reading in a college anthropology class that certain cultures of Aztec Mayans would have root vegetables like sweet potatoes as their primary food source - and build meals around them every night. Ahhh to be born into that society! At least I can still pretend and add sweet potatoes to basically everything.
6. Goji Berries
Yes raw, whole goji berries CAN be delicious, we discovered in 2008. No more of that ghastly goji berry juice that makes us run for some easy to drink Tropicana blend. Mind you, goji berry juice is way to expensive to taste that bad. But WHOLE berries can be eaten with joy...and we discovered how. Yay us.
5. Green Tea, White Tea, Chai and Herbal Tea
Yes I know, tea has long been a super food. But I just had to give it a top ten billing because it continues to succeed in its message of antioxidants, anti aging and all around wellness! Tea drinkers have a sense of zen and calm about them that those triple venti red-eye cappuccino drinkers just don't have. I should know, as I was a twice daily, triple venti soy latte drinker for a long time. I've recently lowered my coffee drinks to just once a week. (I switched to chai at Starbucks) And I really do feel more balanced. Need a resolution? Less coffee, more tea in 2009. I'm so helpful.
4. Spicy foods and the Ginger-Lemon-Cayenne detox
Spicy foods. We all need a jolt of something these days. Get it from some hot spicy stuff! Ginger, jalapenos, chilies, habanero. A trendy concoction I kept hearing about is the ginger-lemon-cayenne juice detox/cleanse. Haven't tried 'the cleanse' plan myself, but I adore hardcore ginger juices from my favorite juice bars and at-home juicer. So I'll give it a mention. If you are into a detox of some sorts, this tonic sounds much better than any diet pill or caffeine enhanced diet/detox beverage.
3. Mineral Water
It's all about the minerals. In 2009 lets all get use to drinking sparkling mineral water with our meals. Why??? Because mineral water has a lot of fabulous natural stuff in it that's why! My favorite brands are Gerolsteiner, San Pellegrino, San Faustino and of course my all time favorite, VOSS.
I love mushrooms. I love them sliced thin and raw in salads, I like them marinated in oil and garlic, I like shiitakes in my spicy noodle soup. Repeat, I love mushrooms. Craft in NYC, Tom Colicchio's restaurant (Top Chef dude), serves the best shrooms I've ever had...FYI. Oh, and ever since I saw Dr. Weill chatting about how mushrooms were the next 'it' superfood on Regis and Kathie Lee a few years back, I knew that mushrooms would be a great food to get into. Dr. Weill was right again! But then he sold out to Origins. Sort've. I still adore his wellness advice.
1. Coconut Water
Are you sick of me and my coconut water obsession yet? Have you tried coconut water yet? Yes? Fabulous. You know that it has 16 times more potassium than in sports drinks. And only 60 calories a serving.
No?? You haven't tried it?! Get your NYC self down to Organic Avenue. Or head over to Whole Foods and try ZICO, ONE or Vita Coco brands in the tetrapaks. Run, now! You'll need it New Years day....
FYI, coconut water is the ultimate hangover remedy. Since this is a New Years Eve list...
Happy Superfooding in 2009!
Blue Lagoon, Iceland.
I want to go.
Crusty black volcanic rock meets icy clear blue water.
White puffs of salty steam rise from the still pools of blue.
The vast lagoon is dotted with floating wellness-seekers, braving the below zero temperatures outside, for the warming geothermal seawater.
After a long (45 minutes max they say) detoxifying dip in these ancient healing waters, you'll be up for a little nourishment. Well here it goes....
They have a bar.
And a restaurant. It's called Lava Restaurant. They serve things like this:
And if you know about my obsession for sweet potatoes, you know this dish sounds like heaven to me.
Oh, and they serve things like this for my husband:
I've long been a fan of the hot/cold therapy thing. As well as Hot Springs/Geothermal seawater type things in general. The Blue Lagoon sure beats the dinky pools or man-made hot springs filled pools in Hot Springs, AK or Calistoga, Cali, where I have frequently traveled. (Though both lovely USA born hot springs sites...) But this place, with its icy blue good looks, seems like my little version of cold-fun, hot-healing-water heaven.
(No, I'm not comparing it to say, a warm island off the coast of Fiji. Different categories of heaven.)
The Blue Lagoon pitch about its amazing waters:
I don't know when, but it's on my life's list of things to do. Oh, and while I'm in Iceland I'd like to see the Northern Lights and stay at least one night in the IceHotel, over in Sweden. I'd look cute in one of those ginormous white puffy coats.
Blue Lagoon Iceland. I am so going one day.
Spirulina, it's the forgotten super food.
Spirulina was very trendy in the 1990's and somehow it has dropped off the forefront of hot food trends.
I am here to bring it back!
....Or at least remind you why it's so great.
Spirulina Facts 101
1. Spirulina is a blue-green algae.
2. Spirulina can easily be added to smoothies. Though the color impact will be bright green, the taste impact is minor to none.
3. The name spirulina is derived from the Latin word for "helix" or "spiral"; denoting the physical configuration of the organism.
4. Spirulina is called the "food of the future" because of its ability to synthesize high-quality concentrated food more efficiently than any other algae.
5. Spirulina is 65 to 71 percent complete protein, with all essential amino acids in perfect balance. In comparison, beef is only 22 percent protein.
6. The Japanese both produce and consume more spirulina than anyone else. Some researchers claim that Spirulina is useful in helping diabetics control their food cravings and decrease their insulin intake.
7. Spirulina is one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12. B12 is usually only in animal products. Thus, vegans should take note to add spirulina to their diets.
8. 1 tsp. of Spirulina will meet your RDA of B12, and spirulina contains over twice the amount of B12 found in an equivalent serving of liver.
9. Spirulina contains many other nutrients - amino acids, minerals, enzymes and more.
10. Spirulina is not a sea plant! It survives in fresh water ponds.
So I hope you will consider giving spirulina a second look.
It was trendy once, for a reason...
It is indeed an excellent vegan source of vitamin B12 as well as a plethora of other good-for-you things.
Add it to a blueberry banana smoothie and you won't even taste it! (Don't let the dark green color scare you away.
If making a green spirulina smoothie for your kids, call it the 'green monster smoothie' of 'slimy sea monster smoothie' or the 'Tinkerbell smoothie' or 'lucky green smoothie'.
Enjoy! I love my spirulina smoothies from Liquiteria and Organic Avenue here in NYC.
This is David Evans. He is a farmer. A rancher. But he is not the farmer you read about in Nursery Rhymes. He does not wear a straw hat or a red checkered shirt. His farm doesn't mimic those vintage ads heralding beef as being 'what's for dinner' or pork as 'the new white meat.' David Evans does not sell his product through way of slogans or sale prices, he sells it by way of his values as a farmer - as a human being.
He is no Old McDonald.
His farm Marin Sun Farms is a leader in the new age of American Farming.
Today's farmer is one with a conscience.
Marin Sun Farms caters to today's growing population of a more socially conscience consumer. Meat eaters are seeking more than just a tasty burger. They are seeking grass-fed organic beef, cage-free eggs, antibiotic-free meat and hormone free milk.
Marin Sun Farms promises this:
"We raise our own livestock on our ranch properties in Marin and Sonoma counties.
No animals are ever given artificial growth hormones or stimulants and are guaranteed to be free of antibiotics. We guarantee our ruminant livestock are 100% grass-fed and pasture raised their entire lives, with no consumption of grain, by-product supplements, or ever setting hoof within a confinement feedlot."
This subject is one I have not written about in a while since I haven't eaten meat (by choice) in over ten years. (A few restaurant mishaps involving bacon and sausage...but anyways!) However, I do not live on vegan-island and I am constantly thinking about what are the healthiest, most-humane and environmentally friendly options for fish and meat eaters. I am a huge fan of my husband's love of smoked salmon. It is incredibly healthy.
I do not think a vegetarian lifestyle is for everyone. And thus, I greatly respect a meat-eater with a conscience. That's why when my best friend recently approached me about my thoughts on a grass-fed meat diet, I was very impressed, but not surprised. She said that the simple experience of driving past the sad cow farms in the Bakersfield, California area made her consider switching to only organic/grass fed beef.
It's official! A few sad farm cows will always make you think twice.
So I dusted off my meat-eaters hat and did some research on just how a meat eater goes about finding grass-fed meat.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRASS-FED MEAT
Grass fed/organic meat is actually a lot healthier than traditional meat. Diamond Organics (They have a lot of grass-fed meat options via mail order) say this:
Grass fed means the animals never eat any grain, just organically produced hay and grass from stream fed meadows. Grass fed meat is lower in calories than meat from grain fed steer. Grass fed beef is also rich in heart-supporting omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), found to help prevent and fight cancer. Our certified organic grass fed beef is produced the healthy way – on a family farm, from a healthy herd.
An amazing resource website is Eat Wild. Whatever you seek to know, find or research about grass fed meat, this site will have your answer: http://www.eatwild.com/
Also for those of you in then San Francisco area of California, this Yelp conversation had a few interesting responses about where to dine:
So I applaud anyone willing to look at what is on their plate: meat, fish, veggies, grains or fast food, and question just what they are eating - and how it came to be their food in the first place. I hope as consumers we are evolving to reconsider everything we shop for, eat, use or consume in today's complex and not always forthcoming world we live in.
Don't feel bad. I love them too. Those brightly colored, cutely named little plastic bottles of juice, all lined up perfectly on the grocery store shelf. With names like Strawberry C Monster and Antioxidance, how can we resist?
Naked, Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms are brands we all know and love. But here's a tip: once in a while make sure that you get your juice FRESH and FAST.
FRESH AND FAST
Vitamin C is a very delicate nutrient. A little to much exposure to heat, light or air -or too much time left on a shelf or truck - and it simply starts to oxidize and disappear. Some studies have shown that the level of Vitamin C in orange juice degrades by about 2% each day after it was first squeezed. Drinking freshly squeezed orange juice right away ensures that your body receives all of that lovely Vitamin C.
The same study analyzed the amount of Vitamin C retained in OJ after one and two weeks in a typical home fridge. 88% of vitamin C content was retained after one week of storage and 67% after two weeks.
The Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice Rule:
Break out the fresh oranges, get yourself a cheap hand-juicer at Crate and Barrel and put some elbow-grinding, squeezing action into your morning routine- at least once in a while. Start off with a Sunday morning OJ ritual.
And yes, those store bought Super Silly Stupendous 'C' Drinks from the above mentioned brands, are OK once in a while. Just don't use them as your juice crutch.
This Christmas I purchased the Aveda brand, Green Science Intense Serum for my husband. He loves it. I tried it a few times and fell in love with it as well. Incredibly lightweight, it goes on like a silky cream rather than a traditional oil serum. The immediate result is pure softness. I am excited to see how our skin looks and feels after a few weeks of use.
Other amazing Aveda items for men are the after-shave balm (for calming the skin) and the all sensitive moisturizer (free of any strong flower smells).
Aveda was founded in 1978 and was the original company to practice, The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences. I am a big fan of Aveda. The products are more expensive than those found in the drug store, but well worth it. A little dab goes a long way.
The brand new Green Science line is outstanding. So just a little product reminder from me to you. Aveda rocks.
Nuts and nut butters are incredibly healthy additions to any diet. And as we often learn, the fresher, the better! Without packaging, processing, shipping and storing, there are more nutrients and enzymes in tact at the time of eating!
1. So why not make nut butters at home!
There are several nut butter machines out there, many very high quality machines go for $1500+, but a 'cheaper' option is this retro inspired machine. You can even customize chunky to smooth texture. Originally $59, its on sale for only $39 at this link.
Another fun peanut butter link is to Peanut Butter and Co. It's a retail store meets peanut butter cafe here in NYC. But you can order their products online or even find them in your grocery store. They even have a blog.
Seeking a sweet treat for that peanut butter craving? My favorite is Uncle Eddie's peanut butter choco-chip cookies. I learned about them from Marilu Henner's book Total Health Makeover. And I was thrilled to find them in any Whole Foods Market. They are about $6 a bag and very delicious. And vegan! No bad stuff in these treats. You can buy them online at Amazon.com.
There is also another option for us all-natural peanut butter lovers. I often avoid buying the all-natural stuff simply because the oil that settles at the top of the jar is too tricky to mix without making a mess.
Check out this invention that stirs that store-bought nut butter, without the mess!
5. Nuts are Superfoods
Want to learn more about how nuts and nut butters are SUPERFOODS?
Read my Gathering the Basics: Nuts for Nuts post here!
Headed to the movies this week?
There are a ton of great award-worthy movies out right now.
Revolutionary Road, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Wrestler, The Reader, Doubt, Seven Pounds, Frost/Nixon, and Marley and Me.
But many seemingly healthy people can get sidelined by the tempting visions of dancing soda cups, overflowing popcorn poppers and brightly colored candy wrappers all screaming "eat me!".
Any health-minded person knows that the movies are not the best place to fuel up on food. So the most important tip:
DO NOT GO TO THE MOVIES ON AN EMPTY TUMMY.
But if you are just a bit snack-happy, there are options I assure you.
For the traditional candy/popcorn movie theater , here are a few tips:
Top Five Worst Movie Munchies Choices
1. Added butter to any size of popcorn
2. "Ballpark-style" anything (nachos, hot dog, pretzel, pizza)
3. Ordering a smorgasbord. Get one item only.
4. Non-diet large beverages.
5. King Size anything
Top Five Best Movie Munchies
1. Small popcorn, no butter added.
2. Water any size.
3. Diet soda. Small.
4. Junior Mints. Don't eat the whole box. Mint can be an appetite suppressant.
5. Best option: a pre or post snack from the 'Starbucks' or 'cafe' across the street.
Side note. There is a trend among independently owned theaters catering to a new-age crowd of patrons, to have healthier munchies options at the theater. Here in New York there is Angelika Film Center which offers soy lattes, vegan cookies, healthy sandwiches and even a sorbet bar. At Landmark Sunshine you can get vegan cookies, nuts and more.
Dimples is a kids spa in New York City.
What do you all think of a beauty spa for kids?
$10 for a baby manicure-pedicure.
A chocolate facial for the kiddies?
Sounds fun yes. But what is this really teaching little girls to love? Getting 'pretty' ? Good proper 'grooming'? Or is it just fun pretending to be like mommy?
I say, forget the uptight 'thinking it is sending the wrong message', and embrace it! It's good clean girl fun. Its a fun way for little girls to socialize with mom and friends.
(The same reason most adult women enjoy going to the nail salon or having a girls spa day!)
See it here:
Dimples Kids Spa
Have a wonderful holiday.
Advice from Kathy:
Just remember to BREATHE!
Here are a few of my recent holiday themed posts:
Sore Winter Muscles? Epsom Salts!
VIDEO: Happy Bouncy Snow Dog
Holiday Spirit Report: Live From NYC
Give Back this Holiday Season: It Does a Body Good!
My First Snow of the Season
Ice Skating and Cocoa!
New Years Day Hot Yoga
Ever wondered the reasoning behind the logic of a fruitcake?
Do you ponder why we adore candy canes as a holiday treat?
How about that creamy egg nog? What is up with that? Eggs in a drink?
Here is a cute run through of five classic holiday food traditions and just how they came to be. Read it here!
read more | digg story
Why not make a mini Frank Bruni in training.
Kiddie critics will be the next reality television trend I'm sure of it!
So here is the fun idea.
Get a little feedback from your kids! This lunchbox survey created by June Pfaff Daley and blogged by one of my favorite blogs, Vegan Lunchbox, is a cute and handy way to get your kids interacting with their lunch (and you).
Also, since kids like to color, why not add one of these adorable Lunchbox Bunch coloring sheets to your child's lunchbox as well.
And maybe even a copy for a friend.
Why not make lunch an eat and play and create experience.
Don't forget the crayons...
Vegan Lunch Box: Lunch Box Survey
Tis the season for winter blizzards, icy blue frost on the trees and coming in from the cold. And to take the chill off our bones, we all need a nice hot beverage!
It seems that hot cocoa is a nice addition to your holiday home. And who can argue with the reasoning of creamy chocolate goodness and smooth whipped cream or puffy marshmallows.
But if it is coffee you crave, I ask you to take a moment and pause with your beverage choice. Why not try antioxidant filled tea!
Tea is the perfect hot beverage for health. You can choose green or white for the highest antioxidant levels. Black for a dark flavor and caffeine kick, or chai and milk for a super spicy smooth beverage that works great on digestion after a meal.
Herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile are also great stress soothers at bedtime. For my bedtime tea, I still reach for that old favorite Sleepytime tea by Celestial Seasonings. The box with the cute bear in his pajamas and cuddly bedtime cat.
So try tea next time you crave warmth! And you just may make a beverage switch. Your body will thank you.
To read more about the specific health benefits of tea, click below:
The Power of Antioxidants and Tea | Cholesterol | Reader's Digest
A while back I heard that adding two handfuls of epsom salts to your bath was an excellent way to relieve sore muscles.
Somewhat surprisingly, this epsom salt remedy works incredibly well. If my muscles get sore from a strenuous workout, the epsom salt soaks provide a warm numbing effect on the pain. This at-home remedy is one of my favorite to highly recommend.
This is one of the best things you can and should do for your body. And epsom salts are very inexpensive.
Soak in a hot bath with about 2 handfuls of Epsom salts added to the water. Fifteen minutes will do.
You can also soak a towel in salt water and apply directly to a muscle.
HOW THEY WORK
Epsom Salt contains magnesium and sulfates. Many modern diets are deficient in the important minerals, magnesium and sulfates. Increasing levels of magnesium may help to improve circulatory health, flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes, raise the body's levels of serotonin (mood enhancer), improve sleep and concentration, regulate the body's enzymes, improve oxygen use, lower blood pressure, reduce muscle pain and inflammation, and help muscles and nerves to function properly. Sulfates are used by the body to flush out toxins, improve the absorption of nutrients, form joint proteins, and to help prevent and ease migraine headaches.
Click here for more info and product link.
HealthNewsReview.Org is a news review website that gives grades for health news reporting.
I stumbled upon this website today and fell in love with it.
It is often said that when reporting on health, political, entertainment or financial news, journalists can easily spin a story to make its message slant in a particular way. Usually to make the story seem more dramatic, groundbreaking and entertaining than it actually is.
The website reviews hardcore health news. They don't embrace fluff news articles on say, 'breakthrough' anti-aging skin masks or 'miracle' supplements to make your nails grow. They review articles discussing life-threatening or saving treatments and studies.
It is fascinating to see what stories they rank as five stars, and what stories can get a dismal zero stars as well.
A few of the zero star rated news stories includes a report by CBS News' The Early Show, called "Thin People Can Be Fat" that suggests that "normal weight obesity" has the same health risks associated with traditional obesity such as heart disease and diabetes. Thus, this is a zero star story.
I find perusing these zero star stories to be a very eye opening experience.
An interesting commentary article on the site describes the seven terms a journalist should never use in medical reporting.
So just who has the audacity to rate professionally written health news reports?
Gary Schwitzer, that's who. (Pictured above)
HealthNewsReview.org is published by Professor Gary Schwitzer.
Gary specialized in health care journalism in his 30-year career. He joined the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota in Fall 2001, and is director of graduate studies for the School's MA in Health Journalism program. I was impressed by the fact that Schwitzer was the founding Editor-In-Chief of the MayoClinic.com consumer health web site. As a young health promotion college student, I often used MayoClinic articles to research reports and papers. Today's students should look into using healthnewsreview.org.
I suggest checking out this site. If anything, you will learn a bit about what makes for a sound news report, and be able to predict a spun story from a mile away.
I found this news report to be surprising. The two big soda companies will be using stevia in new diet beverages. As much as I have tried, I have never liked the taste of stevia. I'm just not a fan. And in general, I do not think that I am alone.
The press release says:
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are set to launch the first diet drinks sweetened with stevia that have the FDA's blessing -- or at least, its lack of objections.
Stevia is a shrub native to South America. Until recently, the FDA only allowed sweeteners made from stevia to be sold as dietary supplements, and not as food additives.
But now, the FDA has indicated that it has no objection to two stevia products -- Truvia and PureVia -- being used as food additives.
So I am kind've obsessed with honeycrisp apples. Here in New York City, one medium sized honeycrisp from Whole Foods Market usually costs $1.69 each. And that's not even the organic variety which is $2.99 a pound.
Yet I still buy them!
Hands down, honeycrisp apples are the best eating apples around. So try one, not matter the price. And if you turn into a honeycrisp addict like me, so be it!
You can buy them, and learn more here. Makes a great gift even...
...well if you're giftee is me!
Whether you are headed out to do some holiday shopping this weekend, or staying warm and cuddling by a fire, its always nice to have a list of quick and scrumptious fireside snacks to whip up.
During the holidays, we can all relate to craving quick munchies throughout the day - and a bag of chips just won't cut it.
Here are a few healthy and satisfying ideas.
And yes they all go great with a mug of hot cocoa, chai or spiced cider.
1. Salty Baked Chestnuts
Chestnuts are now available fully shelled and cooked in easy open pouches. Trader Joe's even carries them now. So pick up a few pouches and when the fireside setting calls...load a baking sheet with those tasty chestnuts and bake at 400 degrees for about 5-8 minutes. Spray with a bit of canola or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. For a spicy taste add a pinch of cayenne to the seasoning as well. Toothpick them for a party setting.
2. EZ Toasty Bagel Bites
Toast up a few bagels. Stock up on those "veggie-singles" cheese slices. Melt one on top of each toasted bagel. Then add an array of toppings. Sliced mushrooms, olive oil and pepper, salt and thinly slice pears or apples, canned mandarin oranges, fresh chopped parsley or arugula, slivered pearl onions and even some drizzled honey. Then slice the differently topped bagel into thin strips. About three 'strips' per half bagel. Mix and match 'flavors' of bagels for a treat any guest or family member will snatch up.
3. Fireside snack mix
This is easy. In a bowl, toss any or all of the following: peanuts, almonds, popped cereal, popcorn, low-fat kettlecorn, pretzels, spicy rice crackers, soy crisps, rye crisps, bagel chips, banana chips, tings or veggie booty. Then add the seasoning. Go sweet with a pinch of sugar or honey, salt and canola oil spray. Go spicy with salt, pepper, cayenne and olive oil spray. Or go smooth with a thick coating of canola oil spray and just a pinch of salt. Toss well. Make ahead and store in little grab baggies.
4. Thick cut potato slices and dipping sauces
Use either white or sweet potatoes. (I prefer sweet.) Cut into thick long 'fry' slices. In a plastic bag combine the slices, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice. Shake-to-season the slices. Lay flat on baking sheet, bake at 425 degrees, until soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Pair with spicy honey mustard, veganaise with chopped chives, melted veggie cheese fonDO, or lemon zest infused olive oil.
This is like a quesadilla, only using a pita. Melt in the microwave about 2-3 cheese (or soy cheese) per 1 pita. Cut into triangles. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with thickly sliced fruits and veggies. The muncher can add the fruits and veggies to the pita, or eat them on the side. (Drizzle lemon juice on cut fruit if setting out at a party.)
6. Bean-There, Dipped-That Nachos
In the microwave, heat some canned vegetarian black or refried beans. Pour into a serving bowl and top with 1 slice melted soy or traditional cheese and freshly chopped cilantro. Along side the bean dip prepare a large plate of blue or yellow corn tortilla chips. On the chips, drizzle olive oil, add sliced mushrooms, jalapenos, black olives, chopped white onions, and of course some cheese of your choice (the healthier the better). Microwave chips on plate for 25 seconds. Top with fresh diced tomatoes, avocados, cilantro and some cayenne for spicy nachos. A dab of vegan or traditional sour cream can be added on side as well.
7. Cran-Cheese Bagels
Too easy. Add a layer of smooth cranberry sauce/chutney to a traditional cream cheese bagel.
8. Maple-Almond Butter American Toast
Toast fresh sliced french bread. Add a drizzle of maple syrup and a slathering of almond butter. Pair with fresh sliced honeycrisp apples. A dash of cinnamon adds a nice aroma.
Remember that snacks shouldn't be your main source of nutrition. You can always munch a big green salad or a bowl of winter stew to give yourself a healthy boost of nutrition to get you through a busy day.
photo credit: Dani Spies, who has an amazing Dani Spies website filled with video recipes.
This product review is for that special pet in your life. If you have a dog or cat, you should consider a brand of food called Petropics. New to me, I fed the wild caught salmon to my kitty and she loved it!
Here's my review:
Petropics Canned Cat and Dog Food
Shelf-Appeal: Shiny labels, large size. Very cute names like North Shore Luau, Hana Luau and Manana Grill. Hawaiian inspired branding of course. (Not that Fido or Whiskers will notice that.)
Label Check: Yup it's got real ingredients in there! No by-products or useless cornmeal in there. All human grade ingredients. Nice.
Taste Test: Well even though it's human grade, my cat was the taste-tester here. She loved it! Nice amount of liquid on top, which she loves to slurp. She won't eat that hard clumped food.
Price: About the same as the high quality cat food I usually buy. About $1.05-$1.69 a can.
Last Word: Make your pet a Tiki pet.
Petropics - Tiki Cat, Tiki Dog, Tiki Bird, Tiki FurBalls - For the Pets We Love
Did you know that there is such thing as the locavore, 100-mile diet?
Sounds like it would turn an average eater off to even googling just what the term locavore means.
So lets keep away from the extreme needs-a-cute-label eating religions. And just say that eating food that was grown nearby is a good thing. For everyone.
Food grown locally retains more nutrients, supports local small farms and simply tastes better because it is fresher than grocery store bought items.
Have you noticed that even Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's have started featuring produce that is 'locally grown.' Smart stores.
I am a sweet potato, root-veggie lover year round, but you can't beat a delicious root veggie stew or potato mash in winter.
It doesn't have to be rocket science to prepare a good winter dish.
Experiment. Talk to the people at your local winter farmers market (if you have one). Or ask those produce guys at Whole Foods. They know their stuff and just may teach you a few tips about preparing new delicious seasonal dishes.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Check the link above to the Huffington Post article, as well as the link to Diamond Organics for some amazing recipes featuring winter produce.
Photo Credit: Diamond Organics
Does Rachel Ray put you to shame?
Don't feel bad.
Apparently, the first lady isn't so hot in the kitchen either.
It makes for an interesting question:
If you didn't have to cook for yourself, would you?
I can't imagine hiring a personal chef to feed my family. There is something very nurturing when my husband comes home after a long hard day and it is my delicious spread that greets him. Even a simple snack of cookies and cocoa wouldn't satisfy if not made with love.
I always enjoyed how Martha Stewart would scold her show guests if they would bring her a gift that they didn't make from scratch themselves. A local news anchor once brought her cookies from his favorite uptown bakery. She went off on him! It was great. She was insulted that he paid cash for cookies, one of Martha's favorite things to make yourself.
I recently read that Angelina Jolie is among the Hollywood mothers who religiously uses a private chef.
Maybe I am simply nostalgic to my moms home-cooked meals of lasagna, taco night, and those Saturday morning spreads featuring sometimes lumpy cream-of-wheat and a tad burnt fresh-apple-pancakes. No matter what the food flaw, I only noticed how hard my lovingly mom worked. And love makes everything taste good.
Go on Laura, your kids are grown, but I'll bet President Bush would get a lot of joy from a signature Laura Bush meal. Burnt edges and all.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Need a good cookie recipe? Read this post:
It's Cookie Season!
New York Magazine's Holiday Guide post titled,
"A Better Play Station," caught my eye.
Hold strong parents. Video Games are not the answer for world's greatest gift.
Kids crave hands-on, imagination driving, creativity-inducing play stuff! Art is the toy that keeps giving. Even as adults, we can still appreciate a good craft day.
Art develops the mind in ways a video game never will.
Sparkly, Sticky, and Creative Art Supplies - The Gift Finder 2008 -- New York Magazine
Some dogs know how to have a good time no matter how snowy it gets!
This dog is so happy, it is adorable. Do your pets like the winter weather?
More Fun VIDEO Posts:
New Years Eve is quickly approaching. Are you seeking an eco-friendly party in NYC? Consider Manhattan's brand new enviro-modern club, Greenhouse. Stay earth-friendly while you celebrate the new year! ...Of course I don't know how body-friendly a 6 hour open bar is....
VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission and super VIP's are still available.
If you do party hard NYE night - you can always redeem yourself at an OmFactory hot yoga class New Year's Day!
TICKETS for NYE at Greenhouse:
Greenhouse USA | Greenhouse NYC
When was the last time you tested your limits?
When was the last time you took the hard road instead of taking an easy exit out?
I did today, in a test of my physical strength and mental determination.
Having underestimated the weight of my groceries, I found myself walking 16 blocks or 1.12 miles, carrying what I later calculated to be 61 pounds! (More than half my body weight.)
Yes, I could have hopped in a cab and been on my way, but something told me to trek on. To push my limits and take the hard road (or sidewalk).
When I made it home, my arms throbbing in overexertion, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Not because I saved five bucks in cab fare, but because I finished a challenge that I initially thought I couldn't do.
I know I will be sore tomorrow, but that's OK. Sometimes pushing our limits reminds of what we are capable of doing.
"I can't do it." is a phrase we should all ban from our dialogue.
How I Mapped My Walk:
I easily mapped my trek on this fabulous website called Map Your Walk:
MapMyWalk.com - Map your Walks for Fitness and join our Community of Hikers. Walking Social Network. Calorie Counter, Pedometer, Distance, iPhone, and More.
So I saw this email today from Vital Juice Daily about how to make an at-home banana hair mask. I had to laugh since I had such a tough time with the banana mask recipe I tried a while back.
So a warning to all the at-home spa-ers out there: take heed in the words "using a high speed blender" DO NOT add a chunky banana mask to your hair. Yes mushy banana when applied to head may add hair softness....but you might be combing out dried up banana chunks for a few days, as I was.....Read all about my banana head hair mask experience here.
Banana Hair Mask Recipe here:
Vital Juice Daily Recipes
Planning your New Year's Eve 2009 outing? Well why not look into how you are going to spend your first day of 2009. My suggestion? Hot Yoga.
If you live in NYC, OmFactory has a great HOT YOGA class. Here are the details:
Kick off the New Year with a two-hour hot, sweaty Vinyasa workshop, designed to set intent and honor yourself through the sacred action of asana. We will begin and end with meditation, to crystalize your desires for the year ahead, and in between we will ignite the flame of passion for living with movement. Bring your friends! Create a new ritual! Om Factory NYC :: new york yoga workshops and events in midtown manhattan | urban yoga retreats, ny
If you live outside of NYC, just click here to browse YogaFinder.com for a local class.
CLICK HERE for the health benefits of HOT YOGA.
Here are a few of the health benefits of HOT YOGA, from Quick Fit Yoga:
* Your body burns fat more effectively.
* The heat produces a fluid-like stretch allowing for greater range of movement in joints, muscles and ligaments. Less injury risk when your body is more flexible.
* Capillaries dilate in the heat; more effectively oxygenating the tissues, muscles, glands and organs and helping in the removal of waste products.
* Circulation improves.
* Your metabolism speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids.
* You benefit from a strengthening of concentration and determination in the challenging environment.
* Sweating promotes detoxification and elimination through the skin - which is the body's largest eliminating organ.
* Your nervous system functions at a heightened state of awareness.
* Metabolism improves in your digestive system.
Recent posts featuring wellness tips:
Have You Breathed Today?
Skin Detox 101
Did you know that cereal is the number one breakfast food in America?
Did you know that cereal is also the number one food bought in supermarkets today.
The first breakfast cereal was created in 1863 in New York by a vegetarian.
So all you vegetarian haters out there (aka my fave hater Anthony Bourdain....) you can thank us veggies every time you crunch on a bowl of Cheerios.
Yes Cheerios is the number one cereal purchased...
Read more breakfast fun facts here.
Vegetarians are a Pain. Say Moms and Chefs Everywhere.
"I left the theater smiling. My 3pm workday detour, to attend The Happy Hypocrite at York Theater, was a brief escape from reality that seemed to recharge every corner of my workaholic-wired mind."
When was the last time you took a long lunch break to do something other than work?
Like attend an afternoon play, take a noon yoga class, schedule a 3pm massage, or peruse an art gallery midday - when everyone else is hunched over their desks, squinting at their afternoon string of unread emails, chugging their second venti extra-shot latte (aka lunch).
Well contrary to what our fast-paced, workaholic, over-achiever-obsessed American culture may believe, taking an extra long lunch break to detox your mind, body, and/or spirit, may just be the smartest detour in your day you've made in a while. (Much better than that 4pm Starbucks run.)
I have recently acquired a fondness for attending midday casual theater readings here in New York. I found my perfect sanctuary in the form of the York Theater Developmental Reading Series, here in NYC, just a few subway stops away from my office. What an amazing gift it is to be able to attend a reading featuring Broadway alumni actors and directors. And hold your breath, it's free. How I love New York for reasons such as this.
The two readings that I attended at York Theater were called Conversation Piece and The Happy Hypocrite. You can read my reviews of each of the readings at the links below. But let me just say this again, as I want you to promise to do something on your lunch break that gives you this same feeling:
"I left the theater smiling. My 3pm, workday detour, to (insert your activity here), was a brief escape from reality that seemed to recharge every corner of my workaholic-wired mind."
The Happy Hypocrite *new
A nice reminder to all the at-home and in-restaurant chefs, to remember special diets and food allergies when preparing that special holiday menu.
Even if your guests are likely to eat anything on their plates, it certainly never hurts to ask about their needs.
You may be surprised to find that they never touch your almond green beans, simply because they are allergic to the nuts! ...And are actually quite fond of green beans!
Read it on the Whole Foods Market blog:
Whole Story Blog Archive Can I Eat That?
Spice it up! You've heard that spicy foods are good for you right?
Lets review a few of the health benefits.
From respiratory conditions like a stuffy nose and asthma, to decreasing your risk of cancer. The verdict is in: spicy foods offer more than just a flavor boost to your taco night.
Got a cold or the flu? Eating spicy peppers promotes sweating and eases many cold and flu symptoms. Hot peppers also help to open up clogged nasal passages.
Studies have shown that cayenne gives a noticeable kick to your immune system.
Spicy foods temporarily boost your metabolism.
A jolt of spicy foods may reduce the pain of a headache. And when applied topically, spicy foods may assist in pain relief.
And spiciness even releases endorphins in your brain. Creating a good mood feeling that can be addictive.
..So that's why I get cravings for super spicy burrito night...
Need to see the studies? Click here for complete report:
Trivia: The Health Benefits of Spicy Foods - MedHunters