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.

On The Waterfront: Running with Black Girls Run at Essence Music Festival

I am very proud to say that while I was in New Orleans, I had the privilege to run a quick 3K with Black Girls Run and one of my childhood Sheroes, Jackie Joyner-Kersey. If you don’t know about Black Girls Run (BGR), it is an awesome community of black women (and sometimes girls) that get together and simply run.  There are chapters all over the country and help motivate anyone and everyone from

NOLA BGR

those who may have never run before to those that have “retired” from running after that grueling half marathon, getting ready for the full marathon. I am happy to say that I recommended that my sister try BGR a few months back and she has lost over 40 pounds from running with BGR , working out, and eating right. (So proud of you Nikki!) Check it out. Its awesome! Really!  For more information, go to http://www.blackgirlsrun.com.

But now on to the 3K. First off, it was exciting being there with several other women who got up on a Saturday morning after (possibly) partying on Bourbon Street or attending an awesome concert the night before. After signing in and getting my bib, I saw many women, some were warming up while others hugged girlfriends who made it out for the run.  Everyone cheered as the founders, Toni and Ashley greeted everyone, thanked the sponsors and then..introduced Ms. Jackie Joyner-Kersey. Greeted with loud cheers, Ms. Joyner-Kersey congratulated everyone who came out,  offered words of encouragement and we were off!

The run. It was only 3K. But it was a run on the Riverwalk in New Orleans. Louisiana. In July. So, it was like running through pea soup. The path was relatively flat, with a bit of a curve, so no concerns there but any and environmental acclimation needs were completely forgotten when you saw smiles, determination and enjoyment on these  women’s faces. Even though everyone was cloaked in sweat and NOLA mist we all cheered everyone on and simply enjoyed and remained in the present moment. Jackie Joyner-Kersey and other track stars joined us- it was so thrilling to be out there!

I finished in decent time, picked up an little swag (a Coca-Cola towel), some water and a Kind Bar. ALL so very much needed. After doing some post-run stretches (downward dog with pedaling my feet, a few hip opening yoga poses, etc.) I walked toward Canal Street (I think it was Canal) to catch a ride to my hotel, I saw a lady, a little older than me, same curly hair, similar build as me, dressed for a run. She was bobbing her head to her music as she prepped for her run (as I do with near reckless abandon at times), I smiled, caught her eye, raised my hand, and gave her a high five.

Fitness Adventures: Yoga In Mississippi

YogaMiss

I am freshly back from my fabulous road trip visit to the Big Easy-Nawlins, Louisiana. Me and four other ladies checked out the Essence Music Festival.  I came back refreshed, inspired and proud that I stayed active and ate well and had a fantastic time!  Now, as I mentioned, I went with four girlfriends. Four women. With all the laughing, bonding, side eyes and..cramping. Yes cramping. I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat of a lovely Ford Fusion for a significant portion of our 14 hour drive. My legs, back and butt were not happy with me by the time we took a break to stretch out legs. So what did I do in 90 degree heat in the middle of a Mississippi? What else? Yoga.

Some of my favorite poses were:

  • Downward Facing Dog-Stretches the back and the hamstrings
  • Camel-Stretches lower back and opens up the hips
  • Upward Facing Dog-Expands the chest, lower back and opens the hips
  • Dancer’s Pose-Because it is my favorite balancing poses and it opens the hips

I also did some Sun Salutations,  yoga sequence numero uno to warm up the body and get yo stretch on.

All in all-it was a great trip. It was truly beautiful to see all kinds of women come together, hear some great music (I went to see TGT, Janelle Monet and the King/Queen herself, Beyonce) and see the beauty of New Orleans, which is officially in the top 5 of cities I love.

Stay tuned for more on my Fitness Adventures in New Orleans (One includes track great Jackie Joyner- Kersey and Black Girls Run!)

Sick and Tired

The month of October in Chicago is wonderful! The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, the transition from summer to fall is beautiful and awe-inspiring. But one thing that isn’t lovely about this time of year is the beginning of cold and flu season. Here are a few tips and facts about cold and flu prevention that will hopefully help you stay healthy so you can enjoy the fall season:

  • Going outside with wet hair will not cause a cold or flu! Just had to put that out there. I don’t care whose mama or grandma says it. Colds and the flu are viruses. While your nose will run and you will get a chill if you go out when your hair is wet, it will not cause cold or flu. However, sharing a pen with someone who DOES have a cold will contribute to you getting sick.
  • Soup does help! Hot soup prepared with lots of vegetables helps with the runny nose and congestion that goes along with a cold. Plus the vegetables add to the vitamin intake that can help you strengthen your immune system.
  • The best defense is…vitamins! Taking supplements and/or eating foods rich in Vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Get up! Walk around, move your arms..do something! Exercise is fine to do when you are sick-just don’t overdo it because that could possibly weaken your immune system. But make sure that you stay reasonably active, it will help you feel better.
  • Oh and-Drink water! Beber agua! Boire de l’eau! пить воду! In whatever language, do it and stay healthy.