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.

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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! Veggie of the Week: Kale

Kale

I love kale! Due to its growing popularity, kale has a nickname-“The Queen of Greens”. And here is why:

  •  It helps to strengthen your immune system. With a high concentration of nutrients, kales helps to strengthen the immune system and helps the body fight viruses and bacteria.  It also contains more iron than beef, so it is an important food for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Its a salon and spa all in one!  Kale has a wonderful mix of omega-3’s and omega-6 that helps with hair growth and keeps your skin and nails looking good.
  • Giving carrots a run for its money, kale has a high concentration of vitamin A to keep your eyes strong and vitamins K and  D to keep your bones strong.
  • Detox! High in fiber and fiber and sulfer, kale is great foor detoxing your body and keeping your liver healthy.

Kale can be eaten steamed with a little garlic, salt and pepper or added to favorite juices or smoothies. Check out some kale recipies that look delish here: http://www.eatingwell.com/search/apachesolr_search/kale

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.

Grown Folks’ Business: Are Fitness and Fashion Trends Too Much for Kids?

 

As I stare as YET ANOTHER picture of an airbrushed, dead eyed fashion model, I overhear a news report-they now make Spanx for teenagers. I shake my head and go on with my day. Later that day, I hear an afternoon radio show topic discussing plus sized clothing for girls…again-I shake my head. Then I hear on public radio that thye have Cross Fit for kids. A 10-year-old was bragging that he just did a 85 pounds deadlift. And that’s when I’d had enough.

Spanx? Cross Fit? Really?  Let’s first discuss the concern that I have about the plus sizes for girls. While I see the benefit-which is appropriate fashion choices for young ladies who are a little bigger than other girls their age instead of wearing clothing designed for grown women. But does that just encourage the poor fitness and eating habits because they know they will be able to fit into something that’s cute and styled for a kid?

And then moving on to the Spanx. Are young women so brainwashed to think that they have to basically wear a modern day corset to look good? I understand wanting to look nice for that special night out or for your wedding. But gym class? Walking home from school? I know grown women do it, so clearly that’s where they get it from, but where does it stop?

Cross Fit. I know that lots of people love it-and that’s great! It is something that gets people moving. But I question the safety of 4 and 6 year olds lifting weights. What I do know is that according to a 2008 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that it is safe for children to starts lifting weights at 8. Most doctors recommend high repititions, low weights for pre-pubesent children.

So, while I know that everyone while too look good and feel good, when it comes to kids you have to wonder, at what cost? I think its just fine to hide a bulge or two occassionally, but that should not take the place of a good diet and exercise. Exercise and sports help kid’s self esteem and of course their fitness, so encourage age appropriate activity, make it fun and interactive-not an overstressed, sprint to “perfection”.

Jump into Juicing or Stuck on Smoothies?

The debate rages on! I know people who swear by their homemade green juice in the morning. There are others that can’t go without a smoothie after a workout. Here is some infomation that might help you decide:

Smoothies:

  • To make a smoothie, all you need is a blender. Simple!
  • Smooth move…smoothies retain the fiber of the fruits and vegetables in them. Juices don’t.
  • Speaking of fiber, because of it the sugar and calories from smoothies are absorbed more slowly so it can help stablize blood sugar levels and energy levels.
  • Annnnd more on the fiber-smoothies also help promote weight loss because the fiber helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Make it a meal by adding some protien to it!

Juicing:

  • Making your own juices requires a juice extrator or citrus press. The really good ones can get expensive, but are worth it!
  • Faster than a speeding bullet! By juicing you can get a high conentration of micronutrients absorbed into your bloodstream because of the dcreased amounts of fiber in the juice. Proponents of juicing say that because of this, you receive better nutrition.
  • Detoxes your liver. Juice can help to detocify and “de-sludge” the liver.
  • Don’t worry. Be happy! Juicing is said to help ward off depression due to the high concentration of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and folic acid.
  • Juicing also has anti-aging properties from the antioxidants contained in the juice (blueberries especially!) that defend against wrinkles, and muscle tone loss.

So, although they both have their pros and cons, I think that it comes to preference. Which one is for you?