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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat on Your Wedding Day

I know so many brides to be at the moment that it seems to be all I talk about with friends and clients alike. Here are some nutritional tips for the lovely brides-to-be on their big days that will keep you looking and feeling your very best:


Best Meal for All-Day Energy: Oatmeal
An important part of feeling your best on your wedding day is to eat the right food you're not on an emotional roller coaster. The goal is to fuel your body with food that lets blood-sugar levels rise slowly, stay even for a long period of time, and go down slowly. A great way to do this is to kick off your big day with a bowl of oatmeal. It contains soluble fiber to slow the absorption of glucose from food in your stomach, which keeps your blood-sugar levels steady.


Worst Foods for Sweat Spicy Foods and Caffeine
Having the jitters can activate your central nervous system to trigger sweat, but you should also limit spices and caffeine if you want to stay dry. Spicy foods and caffeine can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine. Anything that stimulates these neurotransmitters can sometimes affect the glands that produce sweat and cause you to sweat more than normal.


Best Food to Ease Water Retention: Salad
Waking up with puffy eyes can make you look less than photogenic and swollen feet can keep you off the dance floor. You can trick your body into letting go of excess liquid my noshing on natural diuretics. For a triple dose, try tossing half a slice of cucumber with 1/4 cup parsley and 1tbsp lemon juice. 


Worst Food to Banish Bloat: Diet Soda
Carbonated drinks, such as sodas an seltzers, contain carbon dioxide that makes your stomach expand so you look and feel bloated. Instead of reaching for a fizzy drink, try sipping on water flavored with cucumber slices. The H2O keeps you hydrated, cucumbers are a natural diuretic to ward off water retention where you don't want it. 


Best Food for Glowing Skin: Chia Seeds
These little black seeds are the highest natural source of omega-3s, and when your cells are nourished, your skin glows. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit your skin because they help strengthen cell membranes' barriers to allow water and nutrients in and keep toxins out. Mix chia seeds in your oatmeal or a natural fruit shake, or sprinkle them on your salad on your big day. 

Photos: Self.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nerdy Tuesday


I am a bit of a grammar Nazi so this made me burst out laughing when I saw it. Super nerdy, I know. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ayurvedic Oil Self Massage


Sometimes by the end of the day I would give anything for a massage but don't have the time to go in and am reluctant to spend the money. I recently read on Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's amazing newsletter, about Ayurvedic Self Massage. Here are some things you can do to relieve stress after a long day at work, before the day to prepare yourself, or as a mini break during the day. I tried it out and it really does help with calming the body and mind.

Quick Stress Fix:
If you have had a very stressful day at work, massage the head with coconut oil or cold pressed sesame oil. Massage the sides of he head, front, and back. Then use fingertips like you are washing your hair for 2-3 minutes. Then, when you have finished, grab parts of the hair and pull away from the scalp.

Feet:
Massage the sole of the foot between the second and third metatarsals. If a line in drawn from the base of the second tow to the heel, the point is one third of the distance from the toe. This point is a marma point pada Madhya. Press on this point, and if it is sore press gently and as it releases apply more pressure. This point on the foot calms the mind and relieves stress. Once you have done this on both feet then massage the feet with cold pressed sesame oil.

Head Marma Points: Press in very small circles in a clockwise direction.

  • Kapala: On the middle of the forehead at the start of your hairline. This marma is helpful if you feel bound by time, constantly in a hurry, or anxious.
  • Nasa Mula: On the midline of the forehead in between the eyebrows. This important marma brings order in the body, mind, and consciousness. It steadies the mind's thoughts and emotions to induce inner cal.
  • Hanu is located in the depression between the chin and the lower lips. This point relieves stress and emotions. Hanu means pride. When this point is unbalanced posture can be affected. Hanu is a very important point to use for stress management.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Abs Workout: Belly Fat Burning Moves

Clients and friends often ask me what is the best way to lose belly fat and tone abdominal muscles. Here are some of my favorite abs exercises. They will sculpt your abdominal muscles, help you burn more fat, and improve your posture:

Side Plank
Why it works: This abs exercise is more challenging than a traditional plank because you're supporting your entire body weight on two points of contact instead of four. As a result, you must work your core harder to stay stabilized.

How to do it: 
A. Lie on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs stacked. Place your right hand on your right hip. 

B. Engage your abs, sending your belly button to your spine, as you lift your hips off the floor until you're balancing on your forearm and feet so that your body forms a diagonal line. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds. If you can't hold that long, stay up as long as you can and then repeat until you've held for 30 seconds total. Switch sides and repeat. 

Make it harder: Balance on your hand instead of your forearm.  


Walkout from Push-Up Position
Why it works: This abs exercise involves full-body movement, such as using the arms and legs, while incorporating resistance to strengthen your entire core.

How to do it: 
A. Start in push-up position with hands two inches wider than your shoulders.
B. Walk hands out as far as possible, then walk back. Do 10-12 reps.

Make it harder: Lift one leg before you walk your hands out and back (as shown).



Alligator Drag
Why it works: This abs exercise uses your entire core to keep your body stabilized and burns additional calories by adding movement (dragging yourself along the floor). It mixes cardio, stability, and strength training to get you fast results.

How to do it: 
A. Find a stretch of floor that allows you to go forward 10 to 20 yards, and grab anything that will slide over the surface with minimal friction. Dinner plates or plastic bags might work on a carpeted floor, while towels might work on wood or tile.

B. Start in push-up position with your feet on the slides, towels, or plates.

C. Walk yourself forward with your hands to the end of your runway (aim for at least 10 yards). Rest for 60 to 90 seconds (or as long as you need to recover) and repeat the alligator walk back to where you started. That's one set. Repeat 2-3 times more. 

Photos: Shape.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bottle to Bulb

Here's a little more light for you on this beautiful day. I found this video so inspiring. With no light their homes, these people found a way to make light bulbs out of plastic bottles. Amazing, isn't it? Makes you think about how we could all spread a little more (metaphorical) light around to each other. Have a sunny and healthy day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Strength Comes in All Shapes and Sizes


Each one of these women is an Olympian athlete. All different shapes and sizes, all strong and beautiful; with the willpower and discipline to push themselves to the limit. I just find this picture so moving and inspirational. Happy Tuesday!

Photo: f**kyeahfeminists.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kiwi Popsicles!

While most of the country is easing into fall, summer has finally arrived in San Francisco. This week's forecast promises temperatures in the 70's every day, so here is a healthy and refreshing little treat for you to try out on a warm afternoon. Doesn't it just look delightful? So simple, too (no instructions necessary). Just dip in some melted chocolate and pop in the freezer. Enjoy! XO

Source: Oh Desserts

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Weekend!


What are your plans for this lovely weekend? On Saturday Zoey and I will be going to watch Mike and a bunch of our friends play in the McCovey Cove Cal Alumni Water Polo Game  right before the Cal Football game. Cal home Football games are all at AT&T Park this fall while Memorial Stadium is undergoing a much needed retrofit. It should be a lot of fun. If you live in the area, definitely stop by. The game starts at 1pm and it's free :). Have a wonderful weekend! XO

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Antigravity Yoga




Have you heard of Antigravity Yoga? I had heard about it before from a couple of people but never thought to try it until I watched this video. Doesn't it just look so relaxing and fun? I love the idea of being all cocooned up, drifting through the air. I think I may go try it out sometime next week. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can take Antigravity Yoga at Crunch Gyms at different locations throughout the city. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Vibram Five Finger Shoes


A few months ago I posted about barefoot running shoes asking you if you thought it was a do or a don't. Well, over the weekend I took the plunge and bought my very own pair of Vibram Five Finger Shoes.

The verdict is in: they are amazing! I am on my feet a lot teaching Pilates, sometimes for up to 10 hours a day, so how my feet feel is very important to me. Over the past 4 days I have been wearing my Vibrams all day for teaching, walking Zoey, and errands. My feet have never felt better. After the first day I did feel a bit sore in the shin and calf area but it was a good sore. I felt like my legs were actually working in the way they were meant to. I did get some funny looks on the street and was also approached at the supermarket by a man asking me about them with a bit of a puzzled look on his face. It's definitely a great conversation starter :).

Today I will be running in them for the first time and I could not be more excited. I will have to update you on that experience. In my books, Vibram Five Finger shoes are a definite DO (and their appearance is slowly growing on me :).

P.S. Michael also bought a pair of Vibrams and has since instated the rule that if he's wearing them, I am not allowed to wear them. Ha!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Core Strength and Why it Matters



What is the core? 
There is a lot of buzz about "core strength" these days but most people think of the abs when referring to their core. The truth is, there is a lot more to one's core than just the abdominal muscles. The core muscles are comprised of the pelvic floor muscles (that support your organs), the abdominal muscles (transversus abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis), and the erector spinae (lower back muscles). These muscles, making up the core, are responsible for balance, flowing motion, and posture. Many people with lower back pain, shoulder pain, and chronic headaches find that once their cores are strengthened the pain subsides and eventually disappears. A strong core also gives you a flat stomach, a cinched in waist, and defined back muscles, which doesn't sound too shabby to me :).

So, how do I strengthen my core?

Pilates is widely accepted as the most efficient and safe way to strengthen the core. Try some of these exercises featured in Le Petit Atelier Pilates Blog for simple and effective exercises that will give you results fast:

Single Leg Stretch
Double Leg Stretch
A Triple Threat Ab Blaster
Push Ups and Planks
Side Plank Twist

The Huffington Post had a really interesting and informative article a couple of days ago about core strength and its importance. Check it out here. Have a wonderful Tuesday afternoon! XO

Photo: Shape.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Move of the Day: Side Plank Twist


Works your obliques and shoulders and builds core strength and stabilization. 

In a forearm side plank position (A), engage your abs and reach your top hand toward the ceiling (B). Slowly tuck your left arm under your body and twist forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor (C). Return to side plank. Repeat 6-10 times then switch sides. 

Make it harder: Go up onto your hand with the standing arm. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Have a Fit Weekend!


My lovelies, what are your weekend plans? As you can see, Zoey is working on her fitness this afternoon. Like mother like Puggle :). Have a lovely and relaxing weekend! XO

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Playlist: Top 10 Workout Songs for September 2011


I find that working out is so much easier when I have some good music. It makes my workout more fun, makes the time fly by, and usually allows for me to keep going a little longer. RunHundred.com publishes periodic lists of the best running/workout songs. Here are the Top 10:

1. Give Me Everything (Sidney Samson Remix), Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer, 129 BPM
Give Me Everything - null
2. Super Bass, Nicki Minaj, 128 BPM 
Super Bass - null
3. Dark Horses, Switchfoot, 83 BPM
Dark Horses
4. Stereo Hearts, Gym Class Heroes & Adam Levine, 90 BPM
Stereo Hearts
5. Edge Of Glory (Bare Noize Remix), Lady Gaga, 140 BPM
Edge Of Glory
6. Rain Over Me, Pitbull & Marc Anthony, 128 BPM
Rain Over Me
7. Pressure, (alesso Radio Edit), Nadia Ali, Alex Kenji & Starkillers, 129 BPM
Pressure
8. We don't Get Down Like Y'all, T.I. & B.o.B., 92 BPM
We Don't Get Down Like Y'all
9. Party Rock Anthem (Russ Chimes Remix), LMFAO, GoonRock & Lauren Bennett, 129 BPM
Party Rock Anthem
10. Mr. Saxobeat, Alexandra Stan, 129 BPM
Mr. Saxobeat<

Photo: Shape.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do or Don't: Miracle Noodles

Have you heard of Miracle Noodles? These zero-calorie noodles are amazing. Just look at Miracle Noodle's impressive resume:

  • Made of naturally water-soluble fiber called Glucomannan that contains no fat, sugar, or starch
  • Contains zero net carbohydrates and zero calories
  • Gluten-free, wheat-free, and kosher
  • Easily absorbs the flavors of any soup, dish, or sauce
  • No need to cook - just drain and pat dry
  • Expands in the stomach to give a feeling of satiety 

Needles to say, I ordered some immediately. They should arrive in the next 5 days or so. I'm going to try cooking some up and will definitely post about my experience. I can't wait to try these Miracle Noodles! How about you, my darlings? Would you try some Miracle Noodles or do they seem too good to be true? 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Have an Inspiring Labor Day Weekend!


My lovelies, what are your plans for this long weekend? We are staying in San Francisco and happy to not have any real plans. Sometimes it's nice to just be. Here's an amazing story to start your weekend on an inspiring note. Enjoy! XO

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hemp Powder


Hemp seeds are amazing. Really, I am in love. They contain all 9 essential amino acids & are easily digestible, making them one of the highest plant-based complete protein sources out there. One serving (or 3 tablespoons) of hemp powder contains 16 grams of the muscle building, growth encouraging, immunity strengthening good stuff. Pretty awesome, right? Besides the protein, hemp seeds contain omega fatty acids, dietary fiber, and are a great source of iron.

Hemp is available in seed or powder form, in both raw and organic varieties too. You can incorporate hemp into salads, granolas, yogurts, smoothies, and soups. My favorite way to enjoy this superfood is by partially substituting flour with hemp powder when baking. Right now, I am obsessed with a protein-packed, gluten-free, vegan flat bread. I can't wait to try making a superfood "cookie" with it. If you are looking to incorporate more protein into your diet, skip the complex smoothie mixes and go straight for the more dependable (and more versatile) source.

I am ever so loyal to this brand and have found the best prices on Amazon.com.

Photo: Navitas Naturals
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