Looks Delish! Cinnamon

Cinnamon

 

Cinnamon. A spice. Often described (in songs anyway) as sweet..but it isn’t really is it? Be that as it may, there are some pretty sweet health benefits of cinnamon:

1. It regulates blood sugar. It has a 3-5% effect on blood sugar, similar to what older generation diabetes drugs had, making it helpful for pre-diabetics.

2. Reduces pain linked to arthritis.  I have also read that because of its natural warming capabilities, it is mixed with oil used in massage therapy.

3. Research has shown that it may reduce the proliferation on colon cancer cells (!). Who knew?

4.  Cinnamon can effectively reduce menstrual pain. It has cinnamaldehydes (Wow! Scientists had to stretch to come up with that one, huh?) that could help balance hormonal levels.

5. It helps put a temporary end to the cruel, cruel winter (or as we know it here in Chicago spring) as a mood enhancer. Ancient wisdom says that the smell of cinnamon helps to ward the winter blues away. A study out of West Virginia showed that the scent of cinnamon reduced driver irritability. I’m sure there are many city drivers that will test that theory by keeping several rolled bundles of cinnamon in their car-maybe it will help curb road rage during construction seas..er..Chicago summer.

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Spring Renewal Part 2: Oh, Kale Yes.

Swinging 4.7.14

 

 

Day 2 was much, much easier. Did I want solid food-sometimes. But the best thing I had today was a cup of green tea that I had right after coming inside after playing outside with my son. It was marvelous. I’m finding that I just get it over with and drink them up it doesn’t seem like a chore. I tried to not be to rigid in my schedule, although, when you do that, you risk getting very, very hungry.

I feel good! I really do. My energy levels are higher and I have found a sense of strength and pride in that strength that I have been able to deny temptation that is literally everywhere. I got to do three wonderful things today:

1. Played outside with my son.

2. Did some yoga and meditation.

3. Took an epsom salt bath while listening to some wonderful jazz music.

Simply wonderful. Now please enjoy the above photo of my swinging at the playground, flying above the lake.  I feel good.

Spring Renewal Part 1: The Detox Begins

 

 

 

Bite JuiceSo I had a grand idea. A juice detox! We had a turrible (just turrible!) winter here in Chicago, I wanted to break out of hibernation and into a Spring Awakening! I also need to focus to propel my personal goals forward, I’m interested in taking my nutrition to the next level…so-why not? I started yesterday-a Sunday. I thought it would be not too tough, serene even. I wanted to incorporate specially selected strengthening and renewing yoga poses for the full experience. I mean, I knew I would be working off of fewer calories so I didn’t want to overdo it.

I woke up with the best intentions-I really did. I started with my Groupon purchased green juice from Peeled, a juice bar here in Chicago. It has kale, spinach cucumber and other goodies that I enjoy in solid form.  Now, I was pleased because I hate pulp and these are pulp free. The taste of the green juice or Green Lantern was alright. Just more salad-y that I am used to at 8 am. I wanted to do some yoga and meditation but my son woke up, so there went that opportunity.

I did however, have an opportunity to set an intention for the day. It was ” Focus on the blessings of the day, remain in the present.” And I did remain in the present.  My mind wandered throughout the day..thinking about..potato chips, barbecue and the like.  Stuff that I haven’t been craving at all before today, now became the object of my desire, presently but it dissipated.  Did I always think about food like this? Did I always mindlessly run and get a snack (healthy or not)? Hmmm..

Before I left out for the day, I journaled 3 things that I am grateful for and my feelings after my first drink. My feelings were journaled in one word. “Apprehensive.” but I noted that I was looking forward to mental clarity.

I went through my day, drank a lemonade concoction, a red drink called “Maroon 5” and another Green Lantern and finished up with the last two drinks of the day “Maroon 5” and Cashew Milk (I liked it because it is sweet!).  I’m not going to lie. I had moments that my skin was tingling and I felt energized. Then I had a few headaches-not sure if it was from the detox or dealing with my son throwing up his breakfast right after church (he’s fine by the way!) I did try to prep for the detox by eating a vegetarian diet and drinking as much water as possible.

Side note: I would also like to note that while my son was throwing up, a woman came by out of nowhere (we left church early (don’t judge me) so no one was outside yet) saw him throwing up and offered baby wipes, tissue and minty gum (brand new pack) to help his stomach!  I was so grateful to her in that moment. So, I did have a little reminder of how to be grateful in the present.

I will say that so far, this detox has me thinking a little differently about food and how I actually think about it. So that’s cool. Did I achieve the mental clarity right out the gate? Kale nawl. But I have two more wonderful days of juicing to go and I am no longer apprehensive but proud that I made it through the first day. Stay tuned for Day 2.

Straight Trippin’

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I’m going on a road trip! Yup! Me! Hitting the road and going to New Orleans to check out the Essence Music Festival with some girls and I am so excited for this adventure!  Other than the change of scenery and female bonding and the promise of seafood, music and fun when we get there, one of the things about being on the road, is the one the road food. Fast, fried food that can sometimes taste soo good, but be soooo bad for you. What’s a girl (or guy) to do?

Well, believe it or not, there are some things that you can take with you to have a healthier time on the road! Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Almonds. Tasty, filling and come in different flavors.

2. Hummus and pretzel snack packs.

3. Water-of course.

4. Pouches of tuna. You can add this for some healthy protein on a side salad (or two) from the drive through.

5. Granola bars

6. Trail Mix or any other fruit and nut mix.

7. Pirate’s Booty in Aged White Cheddar-yum!

8. Pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables. Apples, celery and carrots usually travel the best. I love bananas, but hate the hot banana smell in a small space.

Add some music and some mystery novels and I’m all good until it is my turn to drive. I am too excited for my trip and will be scouting out my next fitness adventure. I can’t wait!

And now, get out there an get some FIT STARTED! Until next time!

Looks Delish! Fruit of The Week: Kiwi

Kiwi-Fruit

 

Summertime makes me think of all of the warm weather fun to be had hanging out with family, working out in the sun and eating all kinds of good fruit.  Here are a few reasons why kiwi is a so good for you:

  1. Good for your skin. Its a great source of vitamin E, which defends skin from degeneration.
  2. Its safe! Kiwis are considered naturally organic because it is generally safe from pesticide residue.
  3. No prunes for you! Kiwis have lots of fiber which promotes intestinal health. Because of that fiber, you feel fuller, longer-which can help promote weight loss.
  4. Its a sweet way to keep your blood pressure down! Kiwis have high levels of potassium, which helps to counteract the effects of sodium.
  5. Kids love them! They taste different, but kinda like strawberries. It gives you and them variety in your diets!

Looks Delish! The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, I know a few people, but it is safe to say that chocolate is one of the move sought after, craved for treats and with good reason. The good for you, vitamin packed dark chocolate version gives you even more reasons to indulge. Here are a few:

  • Celebrate the sweetness of life! Researchers have found that dark chocolate helps to reduce stress hormones and keeps kids happier (which ALSO helps reduce adult stress hormones!)
  • Dark chocolate has flavonoids (antioxidants that fight aging and disease) that assists the skin in absorbing UV light, helps to increase blood flow to  the skin and improves skin hydration and overall complexion.
  • How sweet it is to be loved by you..dark chocolate can heighten senses and increase endorphins which enhances arousal.
  • Raise of hands of people who saw Ex-Lax pieces (or even baker’s chocolate) back in the day and was tempted to eat it because it looked like chocolate? (I know I’m not alone in this) Dark chocolate has 4 grams of fiber per serving, which helps you feel full as well as keeps you regular.
  • Keep that sweet tooth-dark chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity that causes tooth decay.

These double chocolate cupcakes look delish! Try and enjoy!