Quick and Easy Lunch

I was busy and didn’t think I had time to make myself lunch then I came up with this. Whole wheat pita, avocado, black beans and salsa–fast, healthy and GOOD!

200 Hours

I just finished a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training program with a group of really terrific students and teachers.  The classes taught us how to design and lead a creative and safe Vinyasa yoga class.  

We also learned about yoga anatomy and physiology,  breathing and meditation techniques,  as well as the history of yoga and about the different styles we have today–Bikram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Kundalini, Yin Yoga and of course Vinyasa.

Even more importantly, I learned a lot about myself.  I learned to be more accepting of things as they are – How to take things in stride; to not obsess over the past or worry about the future.  I am learning to live in ther present moment.  I learned (finally) to forgive a long ago hurt, and I am  learning to let the future unfold as it will without attempting to control every detail.  My new motto is,

Embrace the Uncertainty.

The future is certainly uncertain, and I am enjoying the freedom of letting go of my attempt to control events and giving it up to a higher power, I know that everything will work out not, necessarily as I had planned, but for the best.

 

 

DOMS

Yesterday I went skiing for the first time in a little over a year.  The weather was great, and the snow was fantastic.  I skied for 4 or 5 hours and felt great!  Last night I was certainly tired, but not sore. This morning my quads were a little “tender”.  Well now, by the end of the day, walking up and down the stairs is getting harder and harder!!  I really feel my muscles, and I know that tomorrow the real soreness will set in!

Did you ever notice how when you over exert yourself, you don’t feel sore until a day or two later?  This is a real phenomenon.  It is called DOMS — Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  It is the result of micro tears in the muscle fibers.  But these micro tears are actually beneficial.  As the muscle fibers heal they grow bigger (muscle hypertrophy).  So don’t be afraid of exerting yourself.  A little tenderness is good, but be careful not to overdo it.  You should feel back to normal after 48 hours

Habits of Mentally Strong People

I saw this graphic and it really hit home.  Lately I have been looking for a new job.  It is a big project and can be very daunting at times, but I must say that I have totally embraced these 18 attitudes and I’m actually enjoying the search!

  • Move on –Let go of the past and focus on what is ahead. That’s what I did; I walked away without dwelling on the whys (the past) and hows (the future), and focused all my attention on the task at hand (the present).
  • Keep control – I do this by taking charge of the project: scanning the job postings, writing and rewriting my resume, and signing up for classes to strengthen my skills.
  • Embrace change—Luckily I look upon change as opportunity not a hardship.
  • Stay happy—Always a good idea to maintain a happy attitude; especially when trying to sell yourself to prospective employers!
  • Be kind — Again, always a good idea to be kind. Remember, “what goes around comes around”
  • Be willing to take calculated risks –All of life is a risk, and the process of looking for a job is no exception. You have to put yourself out there every day .
  • Invest energy in the present—(see #1)
  • Accept full responsibility for past behavior—I’ve learned that no matter what the situation, my attitudes and actions influenced the outcome.
  • Celebrate other people’s success—this goes with #5, being kind. I especially like sending cards or e-mails to people congratulating them on their accomplishments.
  • Be willing to fail—Failure is part of embracing change (#3) and being willing to take calculated risks (#6).
  • Enjoy time along – I think this comes with age and maturity. There was a time when I hated being alone, and busied myself just to avoid solitude.  But now I relish my alone time.  Time to read, to write, to think, and yes, sometimes to nap!
  • Work and succeed on ones own merits – Honestly, who else’s merit would get us to where we want to be?
  • Have staying power/Don’t give up – I am committed to keeping up the task until I achieve a positive outcome.
  • Evaluate and be true to core beliefs—as I go through this process, I am constantly evaluating who I am, what I believe, and how I can tailor my job search to my beliefs. For example, I have seen several job listings for a company that is in an industry I do not support.  While the listings look good, I pass them by.
  • Expend mental energy wisely—I’ve cleared the decks. Everything I work on is related to my job search.  I don’t let distractions pull me away from my goal.
  • Think productively—funny, the more positively and productively I think the more positive and productive I am becoming!
  • Tolerate discomfort—This process is not a comfortable one; sending resumes into the black hole of cyber space, hearing nothing or getting the standard response…”thank you for your interest but at this time….”  The trick is to be able to brush off the negative and keep moving forward (#1)

Healthy Aging

It’s inevitable, aging is a part of life.  I’ve read many articles about healthy aging and I’ve summarized my findings into 4 simple points:

Sleep — Strive for 7 hours of sleep a night (or supplement with naps)

Exercise — Get up and walk a few times a day for a combined total of 30 minutes of activity

Socialization –Stay in touch with friends and relatives and talk with everyone you come across during the day, even if it is simply to say hello.

Proper Nutrition — Eat Real Food and plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid added sugar as much as possible.

Easy!

 

 

Snow Flowers

Spring will be here (eventually), but first let’s take time to appreciate winter with Snow Flowers!

snow flowers

Crazy Time

Stress is the trash of modern life — we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. ~Terri Guillemets

How true!  I have been seriously working on keeping my stress level down and not letting it get the best of me.  Working on it, but not always achieving it!  I’m finding that yoga, eating well, getting plenty of sleep and drinking water (and occasionally some wine!) helps a lot.

In this post I want to address sleep.  I’m sure no one is surprised to learn that most adults do not get enough sleep on a nightly basis.   Lack of sleep is a serious problem.  As this chart, developed by the American Psychological Association shows, lack of sleep (less than 8 hours a night), in addition to contributing to poor health, leads to feeling irritable and overwhelmed, loss of motivation, impatience especially with loved ones at home.  and to increased stress*!

2013-sia-sleep-chart1_tcm7-166373

*http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx

But taking an occasional nap could help lessen the effects of sleep deprivation including reducing stress.  A recent study found that, “napping could restore bio-markers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels”.  This is important in stress reduction as it is the neuroendocrine system that controls the fight or flight response which when activated causes us to feel “stressed out”.

Of course it isn’t always convenient or even possible to sleep 8 hours a night or nap in the afternoon, but it is a goal for which we should strive!

 

*http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx

Time to Clean Out the Closet!

As the seasons change, it is time to clean out my closet and switch from winter sweaters to lighter clothing. Personally I like doing the clothes switch in the Spring and Fall.  Unfortunately,there are many items of clothing that get unpacked in the Spring, and then packed up again in the fall year after year.  I’m hesitant about getting rid of things I don’t wear.  I’m sure you know what I mean; even through I haven’t worn it in 3 years, I might suddenly need it, or it could come back in style, or, it was expensive, maybe I’ll give it to someone, etc.  For example.  I have 5 white long sleeve button down shirts hanging in my closet.  Unfortunately I don’t wear any of them…but I might, so year after year they go into the bin, only to come out again next season!

But this year, I am going to try to live by these words:

Opening your closet

A Balanced Life

I’ve written about living a balanced life in earlier posts, but I really think this quote by international yoga teacher Rachel Brathen sums it up beautifully.

balance is key...

Friends

This little cartoon really spoke to my heart.  Whenever I spend time with a friend, I realize just how important the relationship is.  A friend can be someone you grew up with, a neighbor, a work colleague, even the person you chat with weekly at the dry cleaner or grocery store! Without our friends, life would be very lonely indeed.

I always try to keep in touch with friends through cards, Facebook, a quick coffee, and even dinner out.  How we communicate isn’t important, but reinforcing the connection is.  Who can you reach out to today?

Friends you meet on your path

Back to the Gym!

I started this blog 6 years ago in February, 2010 with a simple post titled, I Went to the gym today.  The point of the post was that after a few years hiatus from exercise (and 20 pounds), I was going to use this blog as motivation to get back to a fitness centered life, a hopefully encourage others to do so as well.  It worked.

Over the past six years I went to the gym. started running, practiced yoga, and changed my diet.  I became stronger and fit and even lowered my cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides .

But alas, even the best laid plans…

In July, a medical issue side-lined me and, my exercise had been limited to walking my dog a few times a day.  This may sound like more exercise than it is as my dog is small and our walks are slow saunters around the block!  But movement is movement!

So here I find myself very happy and excited that, I went to the gym again.  I rejoined  Planet Fitness and have been there 3 times in the past week.  I’m coming back, and I’ll be blogging again too.  So far, so good

Snow Flowers

Soon we will enjoy the brilliant colors of daffodils, tulips, irises and more.  But first let’s pause to appreciate the beauty of winter!
snow flowers

Tapestry

Carole King won 4 Grammy awards in 1972 for “Tapestry”. Back in the early 70s, when I was listening to the song, I thought it was pretty,  but I had no idea of the richness of the lyrics.  As a young teenager, although I didn’t realize it, I was just beginning to weave my tapestry.

Now, 45 years later, I deeply feel the lyrics.  I am thankful for all the old and new friends, of family and of the varied experiences that have gone into my tapestry.  More importantly I ,look forward to weaving in even  more people and adventures into my tapestry.Tapestry

 

2015 Year in Review — What a Year…

Hello blog friends,
Well it’s been quite a year. I haven’t posted here in 6 months and then felt awkward about posting. But with the New Year upon us and 2015 about to be behind us. I tough that the annual Year in Review would be a good exercise for me and a chance to fill you in on my year, as the title of this post says, what a year it’s been…

Goodbye-2015-welcome-2016-whatsapp-dp

A quick overview:
Let’s get right to the issue — In July, I was taken to the emergency room where I was told I had a brain tumor! What?!?! I was totally shocked, and, as you can imagine, in denial!
Well, to make a long story short: they removed it and it wasn’t the worst type. I went through 6 1/2 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and I am doing fine now. Actually I am feeling great; almost back to my old self!

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? — Besides the whole brain tumor episode, I really didn’t have any new experiences in 2015. But I did go skiing with some girl friends and that is something that I haven’t done is a long, long time. (Not the skiing part, I’ve done that, but the skiing with girlfriends). It was fun and I’m looking forward to a trip or two in 2016.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No I was not very good about keeping my resolutions this year. But I will make some for 2015. Stay tuned.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No but sons and daughters of close friends of mine are beginning to have babies, very exciting).

Did anyone close to you die? No, thank God.

What countries did you visit? No foreign countries, but I did travel to Maine, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia and DC to visit friends and family.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? Perfect health!

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory? July 15, when I had brain surgery

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Recovering from brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. I’d say that’s a big enough achievement for a lifetime!
What was your biggest failure? I really can’t count anything as a failure this year

Did you suffer illness or injury? See the beginning of this post

What was the best thing you bought? I don’t know about the best, but the biggest thing I bought is my new Toyota Rav4.

Whose behavior merited celebration? My friends and family whose love and support were tremendous during my ordeal.

My kids flew up here immediately and frequently;

Gary who was with me throughout the entire process, from initially bringing me to the ER, to dealing with the insurance company, to getting me a great neurosurgeon (within my network), and to getting me settled so I could be close to the hospital for my daily radiation treatments, and not be alone, and finally for being supportive to this day;

And all my friends whose cards, calls and outpouring of support made me feel special and loved.

Where did most of your money go? To doctors and hospitals!

What did you get really, really, really excited about? This sounds trite, but right now I am very excited that my hair is growing back. I lost most of it due t the radiation and the doctor said that there was a 50% chance that it would grow back, so I am very excited to see that it is!

What song will always remind you of 2015? All Your Favorite Bands by Dawes

Compared to this time last year, are you:
• Happier or sadder? — Happier and far more grateful!
• Thinner or fatter? – Thinner but I am working on gaining back the weight I have lost
• Richer or poorer? – Emotionally and spiritually, I am richer, but in terms of liquid assets poorer; however my house is now worth far more than I paid for it, so in terms of overall net worth richer!
What do you wish you’d done more of? Spending time with family especially at the holidays.
What do you wish you’d done less of? Spending time in hospitals, at doctor’s offices, but it was all worth it and all’s well that ends well!

How will you be (or did you) spend Christmas?

I spent a quiet Christmas with Gary,my dad, and his friend, We had a fun time with good food and conversation.
Did you make a new friend this year and/or get closer to a friend or an acquaintance? I feel like I got closer to a lot of my friends as they were so supportive during these past 6 months.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? No, sorry, but this year was mostly about me.

What was your favorite TV program? This year I enjoyed Life in Pieces, but my favorite show is Modern Family (new shows or reruns!)

What was the best book you read? The Hidden Garden by Kate Morton, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Simple, and The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

What did you want and get? A new car.

What did you want and not get? There is nothing tangible that I did not get. I would like to get to spend more time with my kids.

What was your favorite film of this year? The only new movie I saw this year was the James Bond movie, Spectre

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went out to dinner with Gary for my 56th birthday.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having a brain tumor and all that went with that!

What kept you sane? working, friends and family and naps!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? As the candidates consumed our attention this year, I would say that Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina interested me most.

What political issue stirred you the most? All of them, I have to watch less news!

Who did you miss? My mother – more each day.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Dr Jeffrey Florman, my neurosurgeon at Maine Medical Center.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015: There are no guarantees…live each day to its fullest. Be grateful for every day.

Quote that sums up your year: ”Keep on Keepin on”

What mystery from 2015 was never solved? How did I get a @#?$*!&! brain tumor??

Did you start any new traditions this year? Let’s hope not!

A New Adventure in Yoga

If you have been following this blog, then you know it started as a personal reflection on trying to get back into shape after a fairly long hiatus.  I use the blog to keep myself on track, to hold myself accountable, and to share what I learn along the way.  Posts have ranged from general physical fitness, running, recipes I’ve tried, nutrition facts, the dangers of chemicals in health and beauty products, and books I have read throughout the year.  I enjoy the blog and hope I have inspired some people to also get “in shape” — physical, mental, emotional, all kinds of shape!

Now I have embarked on a new project.  I have applied to, and been accepted in, a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga teacher training.  The program will run primarily one weekend a month throughout the upcoming year (sounds like the National Guard!).

Waldo finds himself 2

I am excited for myself to deepen my own practice and to learn about the anatomy and physiology of yoga, the Chakras.  the proper techniques, principles of meditation and breathing as well as the application of the path of yoga in everyday life.

I hope to not only become strong in my yoga practice, but also to become more centered and present in my daily life.

 

 

 

 

 

Then of course, as this is a teacher training.  I am excited to share this knowledge with others and lead yoga classes.

The program starts in October and I will be sharing what I learn here, so stay tuned!

 

 

Healthy Aging

I heard a talk last night on healthy aging.  The presenter discussed 3 keys to healthy aging and avoiding demensia:

Sleep

Exercise

Socialization

Sounds good!

I would add to that by saying, strive for 7 hours of sleep a night (or supplement with naps), get up and walk a few times a day for a combined total of 30 minutes of activity, stay in touch with friends and relatives and talk with everyone you come across during the day, even if it is simply to say hello.

 

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!  The weather has been gorgeous and as such, I have gotten outside for nice long runs and long walks.  What a difference 70 degrees makes!  Yesterday after work,I joined my running club for a 6 mile run.  It’s funny, I was so tired and had no desire to go out, and fought my brain which was trying to talk me out of it, but I forced myself to go over to where the group was meeting, and sure enough, once I started running I felt great.  (And I felt really great once I finished!).

This morning, I went out to take my dog for a walk and the weather was so gorgeous, that instead of a walk around the block, I took her about 1/2 a mile into town and 1/2 a mile back home.  She loved it!  And she has been sleeping ever since!

Let the Running Season Begin!

The running season has begun. — I know it is a little late, actually quite a bit late, but the weather has really been dreadful — snow, cold, rain, cold, wind, cold, brrr.  I’m such a “fair-weather runner” that I just can’t get myself to lace up my running shoes and get out the door when it is cold outside.  Unfortunately, since I live in New Hampshire, that really cuts out 4-5 months of the year!

Anyway, in the last week, I ran a 5K Trail Run and went to my first track workout of the season.  Given my 4 1/2 month hiatus, both were difficult, and I have a long way to go!

But I will get there.  My plan of action is to get out and run at least 3 times a week, stepping up my weekly mileage from a total of 12-14 miles a week to 16-18 by the end of the month, and then maintaining a minimum of 20 miles per week including a weekly track workout.

 

 

Tips for a Gratitude Journal

I know it is a good practice to keep a gratitude journal, but…
1) I don’t keep up with it,
2) all my entries are the same,
3) I feel silly,
4) I don’t want anyone to ever find it,
etc. etc, etc…

For all the above reasons I have never been a journal writer. Each year I start out keeping a journal, then by mid-February our so, I rip out the pages (because I feel silly and I don’t want them top be read) and repurpose the book! I often think that if I went out and bought a nice notebook for my journal that might make a difference, but no, it doesn’t!

However I just read a great post about how to make a gratitude journal something from the heart not just from the head, and I wanted to share the link so you can take advantage of these tips too.

http://www.tut.com/article/details/73-5-tips-to-supercharge-your-gratitude-list/?articleId=73

I don’t know if I will act on these ideas our not, but perhaps you will, and you will have a long and fruitful journaling experience. Let me know!

Kaya’s Kitchen — A favorite for vegan dining

One of my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants is Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar, NJ.  I first discovered this restaurant when my daughter and I were visiting relatives in the area.  We simply googled vegetarian restaurants, and Kaya’s Kitchen came up.  It looked good so we gave it a try.  Now I try to get there whenever I am in the area!

The food is fresh, organic, and the vegetarian entrees can easily be made vegan.  And for those of you who are Gluten Free, they have plenty of GF options as well.  I recently enjoyed a dinner at Kaya’s with 3 non-vegetarians and they also enjoyed their dinner!

 

We started with the Turkish Delight, which consisted of plenty of hummusKayas, falafel, babaganouj,tabouleh, olives, pita bread and tahini — Delish and just enough for an appetizer to share or even for a meal.

 

 

 

Kayas2For dinner I tried the Coconut Pineapple Curry which included sweet potatoes, vegetables and pineapple in a mild curry sauce all served over brown rice.  As I’ve been here quite a few times, I have tried several of the entrees and even some of their sandwiches — all very good.  Plus, the vegan cupcakes are terrific!

 

Back to My Blog!

Hello my friends, I’m afraid I’ve been out of touch for a while.  I have all sorts of excuses — cold and snow, vacation, work, and now Spring Fever has hit!

But while I haven’t been writing, I have been working on my blog.  I had a little trouble there with my mobile site, but after a lot of work with technical support, it is now up and running.  I’ve also been playing around with the look of the blog and I think I’ve settled on a final look and feel, what do you think?

 

Great to be Running Again

Spring is finally here and I went for a run outside yesterday!  I’m not sure how or why I fell into the habit of not running during the winter…oh wait yes I do, it is below freezing and there is a ton of snow on the road and sidewalks!  And running on the treadmill is too tedious, I’d rather lift weights when I go to the gym!

 

It felt wonderful to get back out there.  Of course it wasn’t a very long, or a very fast run, but that’s OK.  Just do it!  Right?  I haven’t signed up for any races yet so I don’t have anything to work toward, but I’d best get started.

 

Darbster, A Vegetarian Bistro Making a Difference

Continuing my posts on vegan dining, I reached out to a friend of mine who owns Darbster, a vegetarian bistro, and asked her to share a little information about her bistro.  Here is the Darbster story.

Darbster prides itself on its natural and organic cuisine as well as its charitable efforts to raise awareness on animal welfare.  With two locations, West Palm Beach & Boca Raton, and an eclectic menu consisting of classic comfort food as well as some Living Food items Darbster will appeal to both the vegetarian and mainstream diner.  Our number one goal is to provide delicious, natural, organic and vegetarian friendly cuisine that will satisfy all palates.

A portion of the restaurant’s profits goes toward the Darbster Foundation, created by the owners, Ellen Quinlan and Alan Gould, which helps with the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs as well as sponsoring medical care for the animals.  The foundation has participated in and funded the rescue of 24 Labradors in Palm Beach County that were being bred and in poor health including 14 adults, 8 puppies and 2 pregnant females.   They’ve also funded and transported over a dozen kittens and a dozen dogs to new homes in New Hampshire.

For those who need extra convincing, bring your pet with you to Darbster on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and you’ll get 20 percent off your entrée.

Darbster Palm cakes

Palm Cakes are the signature dish served both in appetizer and entrée format.  Made with crispy hearts of palm, savory yellow rice, citrus spinach, pink peppercorn and whole grain mustard aioli.  These   are a take on Maryland crabcakes.

 

 

Another great item would be the Black & Bleu Burger Darbster black and blumade from brown rice and lentil, topped with tempeh bacon, caramelized onions, and tofu bleu cheese on a challah bun.

Darbster

 

 

If  you are traveling to or live in the West Palm Beach or Boca Raton area, make sure to visit Darbster!

Easter Fruit!

I just saw this and thought it was terrific!  I realize that it is almost sacrilegious to forego candy on Easter, but why is that?  Why did Easter turn into an all you can eat chocolate-jelly bean-marshmallow “peep” fest?  Why not some fresh fruit?

Oh I can hear the howls of dismay now…

Outstanding Oatmeal

I make a fabulous, healthy and energy packed oatmeal.

Oatmeal

 

It includes chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), blueberries, strawberries and a dash of cinnamon.

 

Is it any wonder I am always disappointed when I have oatmeal out at a restaurant?