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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Inspiration

"I'm the hero of this story. I don't need to be saved."

A good reminder to us all. Happy Wednesday!

Source: Pinterest

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Earphone Designs That Stay Put

I have the hardest time running without music. In fact, once when I arrived at the gym and realized I had forgotten my earphones, I swiftly turned around and left (something I am not proud of). Something else that gets to me is when my earphones pop out of my years mid-run. So, I did a little research and found some earphones that are supposed to stay put throughout your workout.

1. Philips Earhooks
For earhooks that hook around your ear, these flexible earphones by Philips come highly recommended. They provide decent sound quality, stay snug and secure in your eats, and come with a 1.2 meter-long cable so you can pop your iPod in your jacket or pant-pocket. And they only cost $7!

2. Sony Spiral Neck-Band Headphones
If you're a fan of the wraparound-style headphones, check out Sony's lightweight Spiral Neck-Band headphones ($30) that come with a cord adjuster so you can get the exact length you want. They offer an excellent deep bass sound quality, too. The headphones are also protected in a moisture guard so now worries about heavy sweating. 

3. Shure Sound Isolating Earphones
These earphones from Shure ($100) are for runners who are adamant about exceptional audio output. With balanced armature speakers and sound isolation technology, you're guaranteed to hear the music the way it was intended. Shure also includes multiple earlobe attachments so you can get the perfect fit.

4. Innovelis Budfis
Inexpensive and functional, Innovelis created these Budfits earphone attachments ($9) for all iPod and iPhone earbuds. If you have a few pairs of Apple earphones lying around but don't use them because they fall out while running, these flexible add-ons will keep your earphones safe and secure. 

5. Sennheiser Twist-to-Fit Earbuds
Both sweat and water resistant, these twist-to-fit earphones ($65) ensure you are getting the most comfortable fit. Sound quality is stellar with neodymium magnets for detailed sound, and each pair comes with an ear adapter set, a cable clip, and a carrying case. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

10 Foods to Help You Detox

Even the most disciplined among us sometimes overindulge around the Holidays. If you're feeling a little sluggish from Thanksgiving weekend, here are some foods you can incorporate into your diet that will help you detox.

1. Watercress
Watercress is a natural diuretic, keeps free radicals away from your cells and helps energize cleansing enzymes in the liver. Try throwing some into a soup for a peppery crunch

2. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens boost chlorophyll levels in the digestive tract, which helps the body get rid of environmental toxins like smog and herbicides. Try throwing them in a juice, adding to a salad, or sauté them with a touch of olive oil.

3.  Cabbage
Not only is cabbage eaten in many cultures for luck and prosperity in the New Year, it's also known for its liver-cleansing properties. Mix cabbage, apples, and caraway for a crisp treat for your palate and liver,

4. Artichokes
Numerous studies show that artichokes promote healthy liver and gallbladder function. They're also loaded with cynarin, which helps increase bile production, prevents indigestion, and stimulates healthy digestion. Steam a whole artichoke for about 15 minutes then enjoy with a drizzle of olive oil, a touch of salt, and lemon juice to top it off.

5. Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and garlic are good friends to the liver because they help it get rid of free radicals that are built up in the body. Make yourself a healthy stir-fry and don't be shy to season it with these two liver-loving foods.

6. Whole Grains
Choosing whole grains over refined grains should be a part of any diet - detox or not. Besides being full of nutrients and antioxidants, they're incredibly high in insoluble fiber, which keeps you regular. Make sure to read the ingredient list when you buy whole grain bread - many of the big brands' "whole wheat" breads are loaded with sugar, sometimes even high fructose corn syrup! My favorite bread is the Sprouted Wheat vegan bread by Alvarado Street Bakery. It's loaded with flavor and contains only organic and natural ingredients.

7. Green Tea
Green tea is high in catechins - a flavonoid - which speeds up liver activity and increases the production of detoxification enzymes.

8. Beets
Fiber in beets helps increase the production of antioxidant enzymes in the liver, which help the liver and gallbladder eliminate bile and other toxic substances from the body.

9. Fresh Fruit
After filling up your body with butter and booze, what better way to say sorry to it than to treat it to juicy, vitamin-filled fresh fruit? Check out the farmer's market for locally grown, seasonal fruit.

10. Lemon Water
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which is known to help the body detox and burn fat. Try drinking room-temperature water with a quarter of a lemon in the morning to help with digestion and to alkalize the body.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

With all the delicious foods likely surrounding you at Thanksgiving dinner, this eating-centered holiday can definitely do a number on your healthy diet. This year, don't let Thanksgiving set you back. Here are some measures you can take to avoid feeling overstuffed (leave that to the turkey) and insure you feel great throughout this holiday season.

1. Before Thanksgiving Dinner
Wait to eat until you are sitting down at the dinner table. It is so tempting to pick at the buffet offerings in the kitchen, but it's harder to control portions if you are standing up and snagging bites here and there. By waiting, you actually prime your body for digestion. The smells and sights of the delicious buffet trigger the production of extra saliva and digestive acids to help break down food. Giving your body time to prepare itself for food will prevent you from feeling bloated and uncomfortable after eating.

2. During the Thanksgiving Meal
Stop shoveling your food, and start chewing thoroughly. Taking your time to eat will not only insure the food is properly broken down for your stomach to start digesting (thereby preventing indigestion, bloating, and gas), it also gives your body a chance to send the signal to your brain that it has received enough food and is full. Eating too fast most often results in overeating and by the time you realize you're full, it's too late.

3. Post-Thanksgiving Dinner
Avoid lying down until three hours after the meal to avoid acid reflux. It can take up to 12 hours to fully digest your Thanksgiving meal, due to the inordinate amount of fat usually present. Instead, try going for a little walk around your neighborhood. Some fresh air will make you feel better, and the light exercise will speed up the digestion process. Afterwards, have a cup of green tea or peppermint tea, both of which aid in digestion.

And remember, even if you do go crazy and eat more than you planned, don't beat yourself up! We all overdo it once in a while and it doesn't have to be a huge setback. Just get back on your wellness plan the next day or maybe plan a cleanse for after the holidays. Be kind to yourself :). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

POP Pilates

Have you heard of POP Pilates? Cassey Ho, a San Francisco-based Pilates instructor, has hundreds of Pilates videos on Youtube - for free! Her workouts are challenging and she's so enthusiastic that it's hard to get mad when your abs start to burn like crazy. Below is one of my favorites of her Mat Pilates videos. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

6 Surprising Facts About Sleep

Most of us are very aware of the importance of sleep (and getting enough of it), but here are some surprising facts you may not have heard before about sleep:

1. Flu-Z's
If you're sleep-deprived before getting your flu shot, it can take three to four weeks for the vaccine to kick in. Those who don't get appropriate rest have a weaker immune system, which hinders the vaccination's effectiveness.
Source: University of Chicago and Ohio State University study.

2. Take This to Heart
Poor sleep is more dangerous to women than to men. Women experience higher risks of cardiovascular problems when they don't get enough rest and they're also more susceptible to psychological distress, depression, and anger.
Source: Duke Medicine

3. Late Night Shifts
There's a link between those who work night shifts and breast cancer; researchers say they think it's because melatonin is suppressed, which is necessary for protection against some cancers. "Shift work that involves circadian disruption" is officially listed as a probable carcinogen.
Source: World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer

4. Sleep Apnea
Not only does lack of sleep hurt your ability to learn, but there's also a link between sleep-disordered breathing (i.e. sleep apnea) and dementia in women. Mental impairment is consistently associated with hypoxia, which is when the brain gets less oxygen due to breathing disruptions.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

5. Car Accidents
Auto accidents increase by 17 on the Monday after Daylight Saving Time occurs, which is when people "lose" an hour of sleep. Heart attacks increase by approximately 5 percent.
Source: University of British Columbia and New England Journal School of Medicine

6. Pillow Talk
For couples who sleep together (a whopping 23 percent don't), one partner typically loses about 49 minutes of sleep every night, due to disruptive behaviors. These could include anything from a companion's tossing and turning, the TV being on, the room's temperature being too hot or cold, and more.
Source: National Sleep Foundation

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trying to Lose Weight? Don't Give Up These Foods.

There is such mixed information out there about what to eat and not eat that it can get pretty confusing if you're trying to lose weight. Some say no carbs, others say no fat, while others yet tell you to eat cabbage soup (yuck). So, if you're trying to lose weight, whatever diet or method you may be following, make sure not to miss out on the important nutrients in the following foods.

Fall Fruits
Delicious apples, juicy pears, and others fruits may be high in sugar, but it's fructose, a natural and simple sugar that the body metabolizes quickly. Eating fruits will actually help you lose weight because they are bursting with fiver (a pear has six grams). Fiber fills you up and satiates your hunger, which prevents you from over-snacking.

Complex Carbs
While foods made with white flour (like bagels, regular pasta, and white bread) are a no-no, don't steer clear of all carbs. Complex carbs, like fruit, are high in fiber, and you don't have to eat much to feel full. During the chillier months, enjoy nutritious foods like whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, and barley.

Healthy Fats
Not all fats are created equal, and while you want to avoid saturated fat-filled foods like ground beef or whipped cream, you definitely want to include heart-healthy unsaturated fats like buts, but butters, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. These foods are essential to your health; they make your skin glow and your hair shine, as well as keep your brain sharp.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Does Your Hair Keep You Out of the Gym?

When it comes to excuses to miss a workout, I've heard them all. But here's a reason every woman has used at least one - skipping the gym so you don't mess up your hair. Sound familiar?

I recently asked my hairdresser for some advice and here's what she said: You actually don't have to wash your hair after working up a sweat. It's not oil that your body releases from working out, it's actually salt water. Yes, this "salt water" may mess out a perfect blowout, but it doesn't mean your hair is dirty to the point where you must wash it. Her solution? If you're pressed for time and won't have time to wash and dry your hair, skip the wash and just use a hairdryer and round brush to fix the roots of your hair.

Have curly hair? Flip your head upside down and give the roots a blast of cold air from the hairdryer. Yes, for those of us (like me) who lean toward the germophobic side, his may seem out of the question, but my hairdresser guaranteed me there is no reason to wash after every workout. Fascinating, don't you think? So, I am curious: How many of you would try this method and skip washing after a sweaty workout?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bride Brain

The past couple of days have been a bit of a wonderful blur. On Saturday, my boyfriend Mike asked me to marry him... And I of course said YES! Ever since, I have been giddy with excitement, and all I can think about is the fact that I'm getting married! I know, I know... sounds silly and sappy but it's true. I have Bride Brain. What is this, you ask? Urban Dictionary describes this condition pretty accurately:
Bride Brain ['brid'-'bran']
A less invasive, but more expensive version of a frontal lobotomy. Experienced by most brides, as they enter a catatonic state which renders them incapable of sustaining any thought or conversation that does not involve cake, caterers, flowers, wedding dress designers, Chinese wedding dress knockoff designers, updos, hair pieces, color schemes, wedding themes, and personalized M&M's.  
Bride Brain symptoms include, but are not limited to: driving erratically because they can't stop staring at their shiny diamond ring; being amused by the resentment of their single girlfriends, rewinding songs several hundred times while imagining themselves walking down the aisle, and starvation induced bitchiness which is generally followed by late night bingeing at a Dairy Queen. 
Symptoms are ordinarily well controlled with valium, alcohol, and endless hours of watching Youtube "first dance" videos. 
This Bride Brain business has been affecting me in every aspect of my life, but especially so in terms of writing posts on here. I just can't seem to focus. Bear with me while I try and get back down to earth! :)

P.S. The picture above is the view from the place where Mike proposed to me. Isn't it gorgeous?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Take It Inside!

It's around that time of year when running outside at 6 o'clock in the morning isn't as appealing as it was during the summer months (especially now after daylight savings), and working out at the gym becomes most people's only option. The Huffington Post has a great article on ways to spice up your treadmill workout and beat boredom. You can read all about it here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Have an Auspicious Weekend!

Today, 11.11.11, is said to be one of the most auspicious days in the next hundred years! So, tonight at 11:11 take a moment to think about what you really want in your life. Ask your heart what it wants and manifest it. Gabrielle Bernstein will be live streaming a talk on this topic tonight which I am oh-so-excited about. You can sign up for her live talk on manifesting here and read about manifesting (and what it is) here. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How To Get Flat Abs

The Huffington Post has a great article out today that I think everyone should read about abs. So often my clients ask me about how to get a flat tummy and want to know what is more important: diet or exercise. Well, the answer is that both are very important. Strong, firm, and flat abs are made in the gym (or Pilates studio :) and revealed in the kitchen! That means that just because you do a lot of ab work and work out a lot doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have killer abs. Downing fried food and sugary desserts after a hard workout only sets you back by contributing to your body fat percentage. So, even if you have rock hard abs they won't be visible if covered by a layer of fat. Interested in learning more about abs? Read more about this topic here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Are Meatless Mondays?

Like many Americans, I partake in Meatless Mondays (I am also meatless on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and every other day of the week). Though I am a vegetarian and advocate that others eat a plant-based diet, I understand that taking the plunge can be a lot to take on for some people. Partaking in Meatless Mondays is a good place to start. Why would you want to do this? Watch the video below and learn more - it's pretty compelling. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Harry Potter Workout

Have you heard of the guy who lost 60 pounds by listening to Harry Potter in audiobook format while he ran on the treadmill? RunHundred just recently wrote an article on this and I found it fascinating. Such a good idea, don't you think? Read more about it here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hot Naked Yoga

Just when I thought I had heard it all, now comes along a new and very interesting form of exercise: Hot Nude Yoga. Scroll down for a little sampling of what to expect in one of these Hot Nude Yoga classes (warning: some of the pictures are a bit graphic). Definitely not something I would feel comfortable doing, but I'm curious: would any of you ever try it??

Friday, November 4, 2011

Upcoming Mat Pilates Workshop!

Do you want to learn how to safely and effectively perform Mat Pilates on your own? Le Petit Atelier Pilates is hosting a Mat Pilates workshop on Friday, November 18th, at 6:30pm. This hour-long workshop will teach you how to tone your core, shoulders, glutes, and so much more - in the comfort of your own home! Afterwards, stay a while and enjoy some wine and hors d'oeuvres, and chat with other Pilates peeps!

When:  Friday, November 18th, at 6:30pm
Where: Le Petit Atelier Pilates
Cost:     $20/person
RSVP by emailing

Please remember to bring your own mat. Workshop is limited to 15 people so sign up fast! Can't wait to see you all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

10 Healthy Travel Tips

Healthy Crush has all kinds of amazing tips on healthy living and wellness. The latest post talks about how to stick to your healthy ways when you're on the road. Whether it's for work or pleasure, traveling can sometimes wreak havoc on a healthy routine, so here are some easy ways to stay on track:

1. Drink lots of water and add lemon to your water
2. Cut down on the coffee/caffeine
3. Eat greens and veggies as often as possible
4. Be prepared - bring healthy snacks
5. Snack on fresh fruit when it's available
6. Get enough sleep the night before you travel
7. Get a little bit of exercise whenever you can - take a walk, do some yoga or Pilates in your hotel room
8. Map it out before you go - look up healthy restaurants, health food stores, etc.
9. If you have to stop at a gas station for food, raw nuts are the best choice
10. You won't always have access to your regular foods so just do you best and have fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yoga Poses for Tight Hips

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is having tight hips. Tight hips result from a number of different causes, but the most universal reason people experience tightness in their hips is from sitting too much. When you sit at a computer for most of the day, your hip joint is in constant flexion, shortening the hip flexors and causing tightness. Oftentimes, a weak lower back accompanied by aching shoulders is a telltale sign that the computer is the culprit.

So, how to fix this? First, check in with your HR department to see if they have an ergonomic workstation consultant who can set you up with a body-friendly setup. If not, HR will often reimburse you for an ergonomic chair or laptop dock.

Second, here are some yoga stretches you can do on your own whenever those hips start to bother you:

1. Begin in downward facing dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms, keeping your hands on the floor. Lower your left knee to the mat, and release your elbows to the floor as well. Wither rest your hands on the ground or bring your hands together in prayer position.

2. Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and gaze forward to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor. After five breaths come back onto your hands. Tuck your left toes and step your right leg back. Step your left foot forward, and repeat this pose on the left side.

1. From downward facing dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.

2. Stay here with your hands resting on your right leg or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here, breathing into any areas o tightness and tension for at least five breaths.

3. Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes and step your right foot back. Step your left foot forward and repeat Pigeon on the left side.

1. Sit on the floor, bending both knees and bringing your feet together. With your hands, open your feet up like a book and use the muscles in your legs to encourage your knees to lower further toward the floor.

2. Lengthen your spine, drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Relax your shoulders and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet. Slowly begin to fold forward, drawing your torso toward your legs.

3. Keep your hands on your feet, pressing your elbows against your inner knees, or extend your arms out in front of you to encourage your spine to lengthen After five breaths, come to sit up and straighten your legs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Detoxifying Benefits of Cayenne

Anyone who knows me knows that I am completely obsessed with all things spicy. If it's not dessert, then it's got to be spicy in my book. Well, let me share with you the wonderful benefits of cayenne pepper, one of my favorite ways to spice up pretty much any dish.

It is said that cayenne pepper:
- Is able to stop heart attacks
- Nourishes the heart with vital nutrients
- Removes plaque from the arteries
- Heals stomach ulcers
- Rebuilds stomach tissue
- Alleviates disease
- Improves circulation
- Rebuilds blood cells
- Lowers cholesterol
- Removes toxins from the bloodstream
- Improves heart health
- Equalizes blood pressure
- Heals the gall bladder
- Eliminates waste through urine and built-up fecal matter in intestines
- Has scientifically proven anti-fungal properties
- Alleviates allergies and muscle cramps
- Helps aid in wound healing

Impressive, right? Maybe you're not a spicy food fanatic like me, but just a little sprinkle in a pasta dish or quinoa recipe won't spice up your food too much and you can think about all the wonderful things your cayenne is doing for you!

If you want more information about cayenne pepper, check out this cleverly named website:
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