Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing day at the
spa? The positive benefits of being pampered from head to toe are
countless when experiencing treatments ranging from rejuvenating
body wraps, silky soaks in the Jacuzzi, aromatherapy massages and
warm cream pedicures. Spa days are indeed heavenly. A day (or even a
half day) at the spa can provide you with that much needed “escape”
that you periodically need in order to regroup, reflect and restore
your body and soul. You can equally enjoy this experience solo or
with a friend.
Creating that perfect spa experience takes only a little
preparation. Here are some tips to help you find your bliss:
• Do a little research (local magazines, recommendations from
friends, etc.) and find out where the best spas are in your area
• Determine your budget and figure out how much you are willing to
spend – often booking a package is cheaper than à la carte services
• When you book your appointment, talk to the attendant to find out
the best treatments for your needs
• Don’t be afraid to try something new and different – you can
always get a Swedish massage, so why not try the hot stone massage?
• Arrive in plenty of time to enjoy the fitness center, pool, steam
room or other complimentary amenity that is offered with your spa
• Leave your worries (and cell phone) at home so you can truly
relax and enjoy your experience
Working your “core” is extremely popular these days, with an
emphasis on Pilates, stability ball exercises, as well as using the
Bosu ball (pictured below). Everyone seems to have discovered the
importance of not only having strong firm abs, but a strong lower
back as well. Core strength focuses on the muscles of your abs and
back and their ability to support your spine and keep your body
stable and balanced. Learning how to properly strengthen your core
can help to reduce back pain and create strong abs.
Major muscles of the core include:
• Transverse abdominis – the deepest of the abdominal muscles –
lying under the obliques (or muscles of your waist)
• External obliques – these muscles are on the side and front of the
abdomen, around your waist
• Internal obliques - these muscles lie under the external obliques,
running in the opposite direction
• Rectus abdominis - this is a long muscle that extends along the
front of the abdomen
• Erector spinae - this is a collection of three muscles along your
neck to your lower back
A perfect core strengthening exercise is the plank. Here’s how to do
1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the
2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the
3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your
rear end from sticking up in the air.
5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, which come from specific
plants, in order to affect a person’s mood or health. Like many
other forms of complementary and alternative medicine, aromatherapy
has grown in popularity in the United States. Aromatherapy is a
wonderful way to find peace and balance in an increasingly busy
Some of the ways to use aromatherapy include –
• Skin care – skin care essential oils regulate capillaries and
restore vitality to the tissues.
• Massage – during body massage, essential oils are carried to the
organs and systems of the body where they enhance the natural
functions of these organs.
• Diffusion – place a drop of essential oil in the palm of your
hand, rub your hands together and inhale.
Smell is perhaps the most powerful of our five senses, and it can
evoke memory, hunger or emotion. Some “thought-provoking” essential
oils include –
• Basil – for improving concentration, and relieving headaches and
• Bergamot – useful as an insect repellant, as well as skin
conditions linked to stress such as cold sores
• Lavender oil – used as an antiseptic, and most commonly to calm
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different essential oils to find
which ones you prefer. Remember, though, that you should always read
about an essential oil before applying it. Happy smelling!
The Joy of Eating Whole
Many people shy away from what they consider to be carbohydrates, in
the hopes of losing weight and shedding inches. What they don’t
realize is that consuming whole grains is the key to not only
looking better, but feeling better too. Whole grains are a form of
complex carbohydrate that the body metabolizes slowly, thereby
preventing blood sugar “spikes” that are immediately followed by
“lows.” You end up getting a steady flow of energy that gets you
through the day.
The most common whole grain is brown rice, which is rich in B
vitamins, fiber, manganese and selenium. Wild rice is another common
whole grain. Other whole grains that are typically not as common
include quinoa (pictured)
and amaranth. Quinoa can almost be considered the “perfect” whole
grain because it is one of only two grains that is a complete
protein. Quinoa is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, iron and loaded
with fiber. Amaranth, like quinoa, also contains complete proteins
and is a rich source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and
Here is a delicious recipe with quinoa –
Quinoa Recipes at Epicurious.com
Remember - don’t shy away from healthy whole grains! You will be
glad that you gave them a try.
Spinach Festival Day
On the list of “Bizarre
Food Holidays” National Spinach Festival Day is March 26. In 1936,
the Governor of Crystal City, TX proclaimed Crystal City as the
spinach capital of the world. There is even a statue of Popeye
across from city hall. Crystal City is not the only place that
proclaims itself the “Spinach Capital of the World.” Some parts of
Kansas claim this honor, and so does Alma, AR. Regardless of which
location holds this honor, the health benefits of spinach are
we all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach,
you may not know that he also protected himself against
osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and
potentially other diseases. Spinach is an excellent source of
Vitamins A, C and K. It is also rich in folate, magnesium and
riboflavin. Cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron. One cup
of cooked iron provides you with 35.7% of the daily value of iron.
Try to enjoy your spinach
organically. Spinach has been found to be one of 12 foods on which
pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Here is a link
to a great spinach recipe to try – Turkish Spinach Salad
Love and Appreciation
February is that time of year when
Valentine’s Day is on many people’s minds. It’s that month when
significant others are reminded to reach out to one another to show
how much you love and appreciate that other person. Valentine’s Day
is a great reminder to show your love, but I would emphasize that we
all need to remember this throughout the year.
It’s also important to not only recognize your “love” interest, but
to show many people in your life how much you value them. Make an
effort to reach out to your close friends, your parents, siblings,
and anyone who makes a difference in your life. Far too many people
learn the hard way that life is finite, and the unspoken words and
kind gestures regretfully go unexpressed.
So take steps now to show your love and appreciation all year. Here
are some tips to get you started:
• Spend quality time with a person
• Give an unexpected small gift
• A thoughtful note can go a long way
• Schedule a brunch, lunch or dinner date – or better yet, cook a
• E-mail and text messaging contact is good, but don’t forget to
pick up the phone and call sometimes
Eucalyptus possesses wonderful decongestant and
antibacterial properties. The month of January is in the midst of
the cold and flu season, and preventing the spread of germs is the
key to not getting sick. The essential oil from the eucalyptus plant
helps stop bacterial growth and reduces the risk of contracting
A great way to take
advantage of the healing properties of this plant that is native to
Australia (as well as parts of New Guinea, Indonesia and the
Philippines) is to use it in steam inhalation. Inhaling steam that contains eucalyptus
is a useful remedy for respiratory problems, including chest
congestion, bronchitis, sore throat and sinusitis. Warm steam
soothes the lining of the bronchial tubes, looses secretions,
promotes healing, and can discourage secondary bacterial growth.
Use a small handful
of whole leaves or a teaspoon of the essential oil in boiling water
for twice-daily steam inhalations. You can also mix in sage for
additional soothing relief. Stay healthy and breathe well in the New
It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again – when the
holiday parties abound and the temptations are limitless. Many
people coast through the year and maintain control with respect to
their eating and are diligent about exercise until November and
December roll around. It seems like all of the parties with their
food and beverage
temptations are just too much for them to handle. In between
conversations and moments of laughter hundreds of empty calories
seem to be devoured with abandon.
Instead of avoiding wonderful opportunities to socialize and have
fun (which is also vital to your health), it’s important to have a
game plan before you get to the party. One critical thing you can do
to avoid overindulging is to never arrive at a party starving.
Always have a snack or mini-meal at home before you head out the
door. Choose something that provides you with a good mix of protein
and carbohydrates so that you feel satisfied – such as pita bread
with hummus or some fresh vegetables with hummus or a healthy dip.
Here are some other tips to think about:
• Avoid creamy drinks like eggnog, especially with calorie-laden
alcohol. Either choose lower fat versions or drink cider or a
sparkling water with 100% juice.
• Choose alcoholic drinks without a lot of sugar mixed in (like
mojitos) and opt for straight alcohol (like vodka) instead.
• Steer towards fresh vegetables and fruit dishes to make sure you
are getting some vital nutrients.
• Don’t stand around the food or buffet table while you chat. Take a
few items and walk to the other side of the room for that great
The Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a form of traditional
Chinese medicine that involves inserting and manipulating needles
into acupuncture points along the body. There are several hundred of
these points distributed along meridians or specific interconnected
channels. The body’s vital energy, or “qi,” – pronounced “chee” –
circulates through these meridians (or channels). Acupuncture
treatments restore health and well-being and are particularly
effective with treating pain. There are many diseases that can be
treated successfully by Acupuncture – lower back problems,
headaches, and allergic reactions.
Acupuncture treats the human body as a
whole. Chinese medical theory dictates that acupuncture works by
normalizing the free flow of qi. If the flow of qi is insufficient,
unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang (opposite forces) become
unbalanced, and illness may occur. Acupuncture is said to restore
the balance. Tiny needles, made of high-quality stainless steel,
silver or copper, are inserted into acupuncture points along the
body. Safety is an issue; however, injuries are rare among patients
treated by trained practitioners.
Make sure that you work with a licensed Acupuncturist to guide you
on a path towards wellness and wholeness. In the Washington, DC
area, Mary Rieger is a wonderful practitioner, who works on Capitol
Hill and Silver Spring. In Silver Spring she can be found at the
Spectrum Center for Natural Wellness
http://www.healingspectrum.com/index.html and on Capitol Hill
she is with Healing Arts of Capitol Hill
The Benefits of Pilates
A German by the name of Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method of
exercise in the early 1900’s. He developed a series of exercises
known as “matwork,” (done on the floor) and he created equipment
with spring resistance – with pieces such as the reformer, the
Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, and the wall unit. The Pilates method is
a wonderful form of exercise that focuses on your core – your
abdominal muscles, your lower back and your glutes (A.K.A. your
butt) – as well as breath control, and pelvis and shoulder
stabilization. It’s designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the
The exercise regimen Joseph Pilates
developed is known as “Contrology.” “Contrology is complete
coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first
purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then
through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and
progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination
associated with all your mental and subconscious activities.”
The benefits of Pilates are numerous and
include increased spine mobility, increased muscle flexibility,
improved posture, and decreased low back pain. To find a certified
Pilates instructor in your area go to
Excel Movement Studios is a great
Pilates studio with locations in Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD –
And of course for the proper attire as
you participate in Pilates, don’t forget to purchase the AHA!
Red Fruit of the Summer!
One of the best things about summer is
the abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables. All kinds of
melons, asparagus and zucchini to the beautiful red and juicy
tomatoes are available to tempt the palate. Tomatoes are often the
shining stars of the garden, and they really shout summer like
nothing else. The debate is age-old ? Are they a fruit or a
vegetable? Botanically speaking they are a fruit, but they are
typically served as a vegetable. Either way, they are delicious!
The varieties are boundless:
- Beefsteak: large size and thick and meaty flesh
- Plum (or Roma): thick skin and flesh and contain less water than
- Cherry: bite-sized and great in salads
- Grape: smaller than the Cherry tomato, but sweeter (my favorite!)
- Yellow & Orange: higher sugar content than the red variety; mild
- Green: a Southerners favorite, usually unripened and perfect for
making Fried Green Tomatoes
Besides their delicious taste and attractive colors, tomatoes are
rich in lycopene. Lycopene is one of nature's most powerful
antioxidants and has even been found to be beneficial in preventing
Here is a simple, quick, tasty recipe to satisfy your tomato
Plyometrics ? Hopping to
Plyometrics is a form of exercise that uses explosive movements to
develop muscular power. It?s ?explosive-reactive? power training.
While obviously a muscular contraction, plyometrics also involves
the central nervous system ? producing a neuromuscular event.
Athletes can use plyometric exercises to develop a competitive edge
in their specific sport ? increasing the basketball player?s
vertical jump or the runner?s pace in a marathon. Make sure you warm
up properly prior to beginning plyometric training and graduate from
low intensity, to moderate intensity and ultimately high intensity
exercises as appropriate.
Once you obtain proper instruction from a trained fitness
professional, here is a low intensity plyometric drill you can
? Two-foot ankle hop: keep your feet together and remain in one
place while you hop up and down using only your ankles and calves.
Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the
ground as soon as you land. When you land, make sure your knees are
bent to take the stress off your joints.
Hop, jump and bound your way to strength, speed and power!
The Joys of Massage
Massage therapy is recognized as one of
the oldest forms of healing, and it is one of those pleasures in
life that far too many people think of as a luxury and not a
necessity. Bodywork such as massage therapy can be therapeutic, just
like visiting the chiropractor or getting physical therapy. Massage
can be healing for the entire body, since it can relieve
psychological stress, help manage pain, better digestion and
intestinal function, and improve circulation. Also, it just plain
There are numerous types of massage to try ? depending on your
condition and what you are looking to get out of the session. Some
of the more common types of massage therapy include Swedish ? the
most popular form in the United States, deep tissue (not for the
faint of heart!), aromatherapy, and sports massage. Some methods
that are growing in popularity consist of hot stone massage, Thai
massage, reflexology, and Shiatsu massage. Always talk to your
massage therapist about what method is best for you.
You can enjoy massage at various locations, whether it?s a
destination spa, a day spa, or a health center. You can even find a
massage therapist who will come to you! For more information on
massage ? from its history to how to dress for a massage ? check out
this ivillage article on massage
In the meantime, prioritize your well-being and make an appointment
for a massage today! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for
Magnificent Green Tea!
There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, ?Better to be
deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.? While the
Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea for
thousands of years, those in the United States have only recently
begun to catch on to this delightful beverage in very recent years.
While all tea comes from the same plant, Carnellia sinensis, what
distinguishes green tea from the others is the way it is processed.
Its leaves are steamed, rolled and dried ? a method that preserves
its antioxidant compounds.
The powerful antioxidant in green tea has been shown to inhibit the
growth of cancer cells, lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad
cholesterol), and inhibit the abnormal formation of blood clots. And
did you know that there is more Vitamin C in a cup of green tea than
in an orange?! Now that the summer temperatures are here, you can
enjoy a nice brewed cup of green tea either hot or cold.
For more great information on green tea, check out The Book of Green
Tea by Diana Rosen. Drink up!
Food as Medicine
Food is one of those things in life that we must consume in order to
survive ? like wate
r and air. One of the blessings of living in the
United States is that there is an abundance of food with plenty of
choices. With all of the choices, however, comes a lack of
understanding for many people of what are the best options for
optimal health. Many people sustain themselves on nutritionally
depleted foods ? and then cannot understand why they lack energy or
never feel ?quite right.?
It?s time to take control of your health and well being, and you can
start by making sure you are feeding yourself properly. The key to
proper nutrition is consuming whole foods. Get rid of the processed
foods and start eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Here
are some other tips to help you make the best food choices:
? Eat whole grains - like quinoa, barley, brown rice and amaranth.
? Eat two servings a week of oily, fatty fish such as wild Alaskan
sockeye salmon (for Omega-3s)
? Limit your intake of sugar ? including the kind you add to your
coffee and the sugars you get from eating pre-packaged sweets.
? Get plenty of fiber from the whole grains listed above, as well as
beans and legumes.
? Use extra virgin olive oil as the main oil in your cooking and
Fresh, flavorful, organic foods can be healing for the body, and
they carry an extra ?punch? when you prepare them with love. Bon
Spring Fruits &
It looks like spring has finally sprung, and one of the best ways to
enjoy this season is to eat your way through it. In moderation of
course! Sticking with the fruits and vegetables that are in season
this time of year will delight your taste buds and awaken your
Here are the top five fruits that are at their peak and also
cheapest during the month of April:
Remember to buy organic (as much as possible) for a healthier,
tastier and more wholesome dining experience. Eating fruits and
vegetables when they are at their peak helps you to enjoy more of
their nutrients. Asparagus alone is chock-full of Vitamins A, C, K,
lots of the B vitamins, and folate. Enjoy the season!
It?s hard to believe we are three months into 2006. The hours, days
and years seem to roll by ? faster and faster. One of the great
things about timing moving on is the ability to look back and see
how things have progressed or haven?t?how life has changed or
hasn?t. Hopefully we have grown as individuals ? maybe matured a
little but ultimately remained true to ourselves and to our essence.
Spring is a time of rebirth, and in preparation for spring we should
all take the time to take a step back and evaluate our lives and
take stock of what direction we are heading. Too often we become
stuck ? in our ways, our thinking, our priorities, our values.
One way to regularly evaluate who we are is to practice the art of
journaling. Take just a few minutes out of each day to sit quietly,
collect your thoughts and pour your heart out onto paper. Journaling
can be cathartic and freeing. It?s a great way to help you clear
your head and dig deeper into old ways of thinking and being that
might need to be changed ? or at least slightly modified for the
moment. Perhaps you can journal what you eat, or how you feel when
you eat to help you with your weight loss goals. Or try jotting down
what triggers your anger or sadness or frustration. Putting pen to
paper can help you thoughtfully reflect and make positive movement
in your life.
Here?s a great place to practice journaling (and have a fabulous
Now that February is upon us, it?s a
great time to ?check in? and see where you are in fulfilling those
lofty goals for the New Year ? otherwise known as New Year?s
Resolutions. On December 31, many people decide to look back over
the year and figure out where they have gone astray ? Have you
gained weight? Is your fitness routine off track? Is your life
unbalanced? Do you need to find more ?me? time? Now that you have
established some well-intentioned goals, it?s time to review the
past month and see where you stand.
Here are some tips to get the process
Review your goals and determine how
realistic they are.
Did you start out enthusiastically
with all of the best intentions, and your enthusiasm lasted all of
two weeks? If so, it?s time to redefine your objectives, adjust
your goals and start anew.
Give yourself credit for setting
goals and move forward with a positive attitude.
Check in periodically throughout the
year and plan to readjust your goals if necessary.
Remember to stay focused, keep your
chin up and continue to strive for your best!
Letting Go and Moving On!
It?s hard to believe that a new year is upon us. As each year rolls
by, I begin to believe that time really does go by faster as we get
older. January of each year is an opportune time to reflect on our
lives and establish a plan to make positive changes.
Besides developing the traditional ?New Year?s Resolutions,? we
should focus on letting go and moving on at the beginning of each
year. Let go of past failures, release your hurts and
disappointments, let go of preconceived notions about life and love.
Learn to move on this year.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Be honest and identify what?s holding
you back in life ? fears, failures, bad relationships?only you know
the answer to this question.
Focus on taking concrete steps to make
those positive changes.
In the midst of everything, don?t forget
to be good to yourself ? feed your spirit and your soul with quiet
reflective thoughts and positive energy.
It?s the holiday season (already!), and it?s that time of year when
there are countless culinary temptations. Food symbolizes so many
things to people ? comfort, love, power?the list goes on. A great
method to dealing with food and the cocktail and holiday parties is
to practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating is a wonderful way of taking time to enjoy your food
? its tastes, colors, textures, and aromas. You can learn to savor
your food and appreciate it so that you truly feel satisfied.
Ultimately the key is to slow down and stay in the moment.
Here are some tips to get you started:
? Look at the food on your plate and appreciate the various colors
? Eat slowly and savor the flavors of each food item.
? Take in the aroma of your food.
? Take the time to appreciate your meal and the nutrients it will
? Visualize your body becoming energized with each bite you take.
In the end, you may find that your eyes were indeed bigger than your
The Skinny on Dark Chocolate!
Is it true that
eating chocolate can be good for you? Well, it?s partially true.
Eating dark chocolate has been proven to have heart-healthy
benefits, but not its close relative milk chocolate. So, what is it
about dark chocolate that makes it so healthy?
Dark chocolate is
made with a higher percentage of cocoa than milk chocolate, and
therefore typically contains more flavonoids. What?s a flavonoid??
A flavonoid is a plant compound that is commonly found in fruits,
vegetables, wine, teas and cocoa. Dark chocolate also contains
micronutrients such as magnesium, copper, potassium and calcium.
These particular minerals have been associated with reductions in
the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Remember not to
overdo it, though, since dark chocolate has lots of calories and
saturated fat. A 100-gram serving of Hershey?s Special Dark
Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, while an apple (approximately the
same serving size) has only 52 calories. Check out the American
Heart Association?s website for guidelines on fat consumption (www.americanheart.org).
Following Your Dream!
One of the many lessons that I have
learned this year is the importance of following your dream and not
being afraid to let your heart lead you. In the midst of all of the
uncertainty in the world, the one thing that always seems to hold
true is that ultimately life is very short ? and uncertain. At some
point in all of our lives we all wake up one day and wonder with
amazement where the time went and how so many seasons seemed to pass
We all have secret dreams and goals that we know have the potential
to ultimately make us happy. But how many of us actually step out on
faith and make those dreams a reality? What is holding you
pursuing your passion in life? Is it the stability and security of
your paycheck from being a lawyer, when you never really wanted to
be a lawyer in the first place?but your parents did?so you fulfilled
their dream and not your own?
Step away from fear and start taking steps to fulfill your lifelong
passions. Now is the time to start charting your path towards
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is
devastating and heart wrenching for those affected in Louisiana,
Mississippi and Alabama. The footage on television allows everyone
throughout the United States and all over the world to see and feel
the pain and sense of urgency that no one should ever have to
experience. This catastrophe is yet another example of how people
come together and reach out for one another during a crisis. Th
a time when people will have to dig deep and renew their spirits in
order to pick up the pieces and start over.
The lesson that we can all take away from this event is a lesson on
rebuilding. Those who have been directly affected by the storm will
have to rebuild various aspects ? if not all ? of their entire
lives. Others who were not impacted by the hurricane should focus on
renewing key aspects of their lives. For some it may be physical,
such as losing weight or quitting smoking. For others rebuilding may
need to occur in the psychological realm by changing unhealthy
relationships or developing stronger resolve to let go of past
Take this time to make positive changes in your life?from within.
Many people are uncertain
how best to take steps to living a healthy lifestyle and how to stay
committed. There is so much confusing information about what to eat
and when to eat, and how much to exercise. Is it really necessary
to exercise 90 minutes a day?
The USDA recently
implemented a new Food Guide Pyramid. It?s no longer a one-size
fits all pyramid. The new pyramid now has 12 different versions
with dietary recommendations customized for a person?s age, gender,
and daily activity level. Go to
www.mypyramid.gov and play around with various options regarding
your suggested caloric intake and food needs.
Regardless of what food
plan you decide to follow, here are some things to keep in mind:
Watch your portions ?
the bottom line is that 3,500 kilocalories equal a pound.
Eat whole grains ? stay
away from refined ones.
Limit your intake of
saturated fats ? fish, nuts and seeds are healthy alternatives to
high fat proteins.
Savor your food ? take
time to chew and really taste and enjoy your meals.
Many people suffer from various types of sleep problems ? from
insomnia to the inability to remain asleep throughout the night.
Inadequate sleep can be debilitating. Everyone should strive for a
minimum of six to eight hours a night, depending on individual
needs. Many important bodily processes take place during the sleep
cycle, and lack of sleep has been shown to contribute to weight
What are some steps you can take to guide you to a quality night?s
sleep? Here are some tips to get you started:
? Keep your bedroom free of distractions and use it only for
sleeping and relaxation purposes, i.e. don?t do work from bed.
? Eat early enough in the evening so your food has time to digest
before going to sleep.
? Light exercise several hours prior to bedtime has been shown to
help ensure restful sleeping.
? Take a warm bath with lavender oil to help you relax and prepare
for a night of sweet dreams.
? Don?t stress about not being able to sleep ? that will make
matters worse. Instead, practice some breathing techniques and some
gentle yoga poses.
, without the inconvenience of nasal congestion, is
something that many people take for granted. For those who suffer
from allergies and the occasional cold, however, normal breathing
doesn?t come easy. The Washington, D.C. area in particular is
difficult for allergy sufferers and can even cause those who have
never had allergies to suddenly experience the draining side
effects. To make matters worse, there has been some strange
cold/allergy/flu bug circulating for months, with some people
unlucky enough to deal with two rounds of the illness.
While you should always visit a doctor when you are seriously ill,
there is one key preventive measure you can take to help you relieve
nasal congestion ? performing a saline nasal wash. It?s an effective
way to maintain the health and function of the nose and sinuses.
When performed regularly ? at least once a day ? you can flush
excess mucus from the nasal passages and shrink swollen nasal
membranes. What does that mean? You can breathe easy! Purchase a
Neti Pot from any health food store and make a wash with non-iodized
salt and water. Start enjoying life ? one breath at a time.
Purchase ONLINE @
Balance is something we
all should strive to achieve. It?s easier to focus on and attain at
various stages of our lives, depending on what issues we are faced
with and how we deal with them. The best-case scenario is that we
adequately balance all aspects of our lives ? personal, work,
spiritual and physical. The worst-case scenario is that we
emphasize one area over another, thereby neglecting a key component
or components of ourselves.
Balance is a work in
progress, and we should always approach it that way. Here are some
steps to help you lead a more balanced lifestyle:
Set aside time each day
for yourself, whether it?s to meditate, read, exercise or
Work hard, but play hard
too. We all have to put in long hours sometimes, but don?t let
that become the norm. Take time to balance the hard work with
some ?play? time.
Give of yourself, but
learn when to say ?no.?
Easing Into It
Spring is here, and the temperatures are
starting to rise. Those who have been hibernating are heading
outdoors to enjoy the fresh air. We are beginning to think about
the potential for warm weather vacations, summer at the beach and
all of the less forgiving attire that is so popular during the
With that in mind, many people will
forget the need to ease back into an exercise routine. We are a
society of immediate of gratification, and therefore we believe that
we should be able to pick up where we left off last summer. Take it
easy and slow down or you risk setting yourself up for injuries.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Start slowly ? don?t go for a run if
you haven?t stepped foot in a pair of athletic shoes in six
months; start with a walk/jog combo and build up from there.
Don?t forget to stretch ? stretch
after you?ve warmed up and focus on all of your major muscle
Temper your excitement ? don?t begin
exercising seven days a week, quickly get burned out and then stop
exercising completely; focus on getting in shape and make it a
Tips on Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is very difficult for most people. Temptations
abound, and readjusting your taste buds away from refined sugars,
white flour and heavily processed foods can be a challenge. The key
is to take it one day at a time and set small achievable goals. Here
are some tips to get you started.
?° Eat several small meals throughout the day
?° Drink lots of water ? aim for 2-3 liters per day
?° Replace heavily processed foods with whole grains and unrefined
?° Eat a different color fruit and/or vegetable each day
?° Stay away from artificial sweeteners
?° Make vegetables and whole grains the centerpiece of your meals
?° Eat lean cuts of meat
?° Slow down and chew your foods slowly and savor the flavors
Women & Heart Disease
Too many women take the condition of
their cardiovascular system for granted. Most people are surprised
to know that breast cancer is not the number one killer of women.
In fact, heart disease kills ten times more women than breast
cancer. Shocking but true!
Knowing this statistic is a first step
towards understanding how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Women
must learn to prioritize their health and stop putting their family,
careers and other aspects of their lives before their health. Heart
disease is a silent killer, and women must empower themselves by
making smart decisions regarding diet and exercise.
Here are some tips to get you started:
? at least three times a week for ma
intenance and four to five
times a week to lose weight.
Make healthy food choices
? limit intake of refined sugars; eat plenty of fruits and
vegetables; consume lean cuts of meat and whole grains
Eliminate stress ? find healthy ways to deflect stress
in your life: meditate, deep breathing, yoga ? figure out what
works for you.
The recent catastrophe in Asia reveals
so profoundly how little control over our lives we have when Mother
Nature is concerned. A new year is upon us, and we should all use
2005 as an opportunity to give thanks, make improvements in our
lives and implement some positive lifestyle changes. Many people
enter the new year with well-intentioned new year?s resolutions that
quickly fade away. This is the year to stop smoking, exercise at
least three times a week, eat more nutritious meals?the list goes
Here are some tips to stay focused:
Only choose a couple of goals to work
on. You risk becoming overwhelmed if you aim ?too big.?
Select realistic goals. Don?t decide
to run a marathon if you don?t like to run.
Forgive yourself if you have a
setback. Quickly get back on track and only look forward?one day
at a time.
As winter rolls upon us, many of us have
a tendency to hibernate. Winter has a way of making tepid outdoor
exercisers want to crawl inside and never come out ? or at least not
until the wind chill rises above 50 degrees.
So, if you won?t go out and play, then
stay in and focus on stretching this season. Many people discover
the many benefits of stretching after they?ve been sidetracked by an
injury and are forced to slow down and nurse themselves back into
shape. Stretching should play a critical role in your fitness
routine. If you?re feeling daring enough to venture out, then try
out a yoga or pilates class for some guided stretching.
Stretch after you have thoroughly
Hold your stretches for about 10-15
seconds (never bounce)
Focus on all of your major muscle
Fall is a busy time
of year for races of all distances, but especially a marathon.
Whether it?s your first or your twentieth, it?s a momentous
occasion, and there is nothing better than having your friends and
family out there to cheer you on. Here are some tips for those who
are watching and supporting your friends and loved ones during a
1) Go out and cheer ? find out the person?s pace, look at the course
map, and plan to ?meet? at several points along the course.
2) Bring goodies ? take along candy, orange slices, bananas or
whatever your marathoner prefers to use as a pick-me-up or sugar
rush along the way.
3) Bring necessities ? carry Vaseline, Tylenol, body glide or other
more critical items to help your racer ease the pain.
Quick Tips for Staying Fit!
All too often we find excuses not to exercise
and stay in shape. Becoming and staying fit requires effort, and the bottom
line is that you have to prioritize staying in shape. Here are some secrets
to fitting in some metabolism boosters into your busy schedule:
1) Park your car relatively far from the store entrance so that you are
forced to walk that extra distance through the parking lot.
2) Invest in a pedometer and wear it. Aim for 10,000 steps each day.
3) Take the stairs instead of the elevator, especially if you are going up
or down only one or two floors.
4) Thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity per day is ideal, but feel free
to break your workout up into 10 or 15-minute increments. Try splitting your
workout into hal
f in the morning and half in the afternoon or evening if you
are unable to allocate one block of time for the entire session.
5) Instead of taking that afternoon java jolt break, go for a short walk.
6) Don?t sit at your desk all day. Stand up for a few minutes to give your
back and your body a break. Besides, standing burns more calories than
7) While you are sitting, pull in or tighten your stomach muscles for 10
seconds and release them for five seconds. Do this exercise eight to 12
8) Trade in your chair and sit on a stability ball for a few minutes each
day. Sitting on a stability ball helps to strengthen your core.
9) Use your lunchtime to fit in a quick workout.
10) Are the kids keeping you from staying fit? Take them with you in a
jogging stroller or a bike canopy for a family workout. Do overhead presses
with your toddler and get a workout while they enjoy the fun.
Last Taste of Summer!
Summer is quickly coming to an end, and fall is approaching. Despite
the intense heat and humidity there are so many wonderful things
about summer. It?s time to embrace those last minute things we love
about this passing season.
Head for the beach ? ocean water and silky sand are
therapeutic for the mind and the body. Grab your beach towel,
sunscreen and sunglasses and take a weekend getaway.
Enjoy your favorite piece of fruit ? one of the best parts of
summer is the delicious fruit ? melons, berries, peaches and so much
more. It?s all juicy, sweet, delicious and great for you.
Go to an outdoor concert ? check out the line-up, pack a
picnic basket and a blanket and catch one of the last opportunities
to see an outdoor concert.
Warm up the grill ? cooking out is the hallmark of summer.
Grill your favorite food, and invite your friends over to relish
those last few days of summer.
Living Life Stress Free!
Stress is an unpleasant part of life for most if not all of us. However,
there are ways to deal with stress that can help us all to live healthier
and more fulfilling lives. We all want to feel our best regardless of the
circumstances. Here are some stress-reducing tips:
1) Focus on your breath ? there are a number of breathwork techniques that
you can use to help you bring order and calm to your day. One simple
technique is to follow your breath, or pay attention to it. Don?t try to
influence your breathing, instead just notice it and follow it with your
2) Meditate ? go to a quiet space and attempt to still the thoughts in your
mind and give yourself permission to enjoy the stillness. Practice this a
few minutes each day and you will find that you?re gradually able to
increase your meditation time.
3) Imagery ? when negative things happen to you, create positive images in
your mind of the situation. Recognize that things could always be worse.
Imagine your life and situation a certain way before circumstances even
arise. Create positive energy in your life.
Summer is a wonderful time of year to incorporate some
positive lifestyle changes into your daily and weekly routine. Here?s a
top-ten list of ways to make sure this season is fun and healthy:
1) Drink lots of purified water ? eight glasses should be your minimum
2) Try a new fitness activity ? get outside and roller blade or try that new
s? class at the gym
3) Pick up a new fruit you?ve never tried ? ever had a kumquat?
4) Experiment with seasonings or herbs you normally don?t cook with ? add
?big? taste without extra calories
5) Buy a new piece of exercise equipment or an exercise video
and use it
6) If you normally workout inside in a gym, get outside and sweat for a
7) Mix up your exercise routine ? add short bouts of intensity to stave off
boredom and boost your metabolism
8) Get plenty of sleep ? lack of sleep can make you gain weight or make it
difficult for you to get it off
9) Find ways to relax and fight off stress ? yoga, meditation, deep
breathing?whatever works best for you
10) Take a vacation!
Summer is a wonderful time of year to plan
delicious, healthy meals that don?t require a lot of planning or
preparation. Fresh fruits and vegetables are bountiful. Seasonal fruit
such as various types of melons and berries are a perfect snack or can
complement a wholesome breakfast with whole grain cereal or yogurt. Instead
of reaching for a candy bar or some other processed food, why not reach for
a slice of watermelon or a handful of strawberries instead? Many fruits and
vegetables are rich in Vitamin C ? a powerful antioxidant that strengthens
the immune system, and potassium ? a mineral that maintains fluid balance in
the body (critical during those sweaty summer months).
Warm weather is perfect for lighter fare
such as salads, fish and other types of seafood. Better yet, get outside
and heat up the grill. The grill is ideal for cooking thicker fish such as
wild salmon, which is also full of heart healthy essential fatty acids.
Grilled vegetables are also wonderful, with delights such as asparagus,
zucchini, squash and all kinds of peppers ? hot and sweet. There is no
excuse not to eat well during the summer. So, take advantage of the season,
and make your heart and your taste buds smile.
Exercise on the Go!
diligent about your exercise routine while you?re away from home can
you stay on track with your fitness goals. Don?t use your time on the road
as an excuse not to exercise. Leave home prepared and ready to sweat! When
you?re packing your bags, don?t forget to take along some portable workout
some great pieces:
Jump rope ?
jumping rope is a great cardiovascular activity and can be used as a warm-up
or the actual workout.
? use this lightweight tubing for strengthening and toning the entire body.
toning ball ? you can pack a lightweight 4lb toning ball without adding too
much bulk to your luggage. Tone your upper and lower body and your abs.
that you can do a ton of exercises using your own bodyweight, such as push
ups, sit ups, pull ups, squats and lunges. Also remember to take the stairs
instead of the elevator. And last, but not least, check out your hotel?s
gym. Many hotels offer a decent selection of cardio and strengthening
equipment. If necessary, use a combination of equipment at the hotel gym
and your own portable equipment.
Spring is Here!
It?s a new
season, and it?s time to set a new health and fitness goal. Think of the
arrival of each season as an opportunity to work towards an achievable
goal. Adopting a healthy lifestyle should ultimately be a way of life
forever, but for all too many people, this is not attainable. Make it
easier on yourself and take baby steps throughout the year so that you
accomplish your objectives and feel good about yourself along the way.
Spring is an
ideal time to step up the exercise routine or get committed to eating
healthy ? or both. Spring is a time of rebirth, so u
se these next few
months to focus on yourself and do something good for your body. The days
are getting longer and warmer, so that is a natural motivator to get out
side and go for a brisk walk or jog, tend to the garden, play frisbee or do
whatever feels good. As the temperature heats up, start eating a little
lighter and really prioritize eating fresh fruits and vegetables. These are
all little steps you can take to help you feel your best and prepare for the
dog days of summer.
It?s Almost Spring!
Spring it just around the corner, and it?s
that time of year when we are all a little more motivated to exercise and
eat well. After all, once spring is in the air then summer is only a few
showers away. What does this mean for your health and fitness? It means
that you can set realistic goals for yourself and achieve them.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as Mother
Nature gives us sunshine, warmer temperatures and beautiful blossoms instead
of cold, icy and snowy days:
Move your workouts
outside ? enjoy the fresh air and go for a walk or jog, play tennis, golf or
whatever you like. Just move it outdoors! The beautiful weather should add
an element of motivation.
different ? experiment with a new form of exercise. If you normally do more
intense forms of exercise like running or skiing, try something more calming
like yoga. If you are the kind of person who can?t stand to miss your
Pilates class, then try something more ha
rd core like kickboxing.
Focus on your diet ?
as you start exercising more, you have to feed your body wholesome food so
you will have adequate energy. Go easy on meat and dairy and make
vegetables, fruits and whole grains the centerpiece of your meals. Be sure
and hydrate yourself properly. Drinking plenty of water is important, and
it?s even more critical when you are exercising regularly. Not drinking
enough water can zap you of energy, but drinking the right amount can give
you a big energy boost.
The bottom line is get moving (outside!) and
feed your body good, wholesome food. You will feel the difference in no
?seasonal workout? approach can help you stave off boredom and keep you
energized and excited about your workouts. Think of winter as a time to get
creative. Many of us are experiencing a challenging winter filled with
frigid and frequently inclement weather. Because of this, and in spite of
our best efforts, we are not always able to be consistent with our
workouts. Don?t fret! Take advantage of this season and use it as an
opportunity to get moving and do something different.
Here are some
ways to stay in shape and have fun at the same time over the next few cold
winter months. 1) Shovel snow (and ice!) and get a great full-body
workout. Be mindful of your form and protect your lower back. 2) Take your
dog for a walk and take the long route to the park. Play a game of chase or
throw the ball and get moving with your furry friend. 3) If you don?t have
hand weights or rubber tubing, grab some canned goods or a gallon of juice
for a ready-made strengthening workout without leaving the comfort o
home. 4) Turn up the radio and dance! Dancing is a fun way to burn
calories and stay in shape, and for those who are modest ? you can do it in
the privacy of your own home.
Recovering from the Holidays
are what you eat! During the holidays it?s easy to consume extra calories
and hidden fats that lurk not only in our food but in our beverages as
well. It only takes 3,500 kilocalories to add on one pound of body fat.
Excess food consumption and too little exercise is one of America?s biggest
health problems. What can you do to turn back the clock and add healthy and
energetic years to your life? After all, your goal should not be just to
live, but to live well.
these five easy steps on a daily basis, and you should notice a difference
in how you look and feel: 1) Don?t skip breakfast ? a bowl of fruit or warm
cereal is the perfect way to start your day; 2) Drink at least eight glasses
of purified water a day; 3) Eat a different fruit and/or vegetable each day
for variety in terms of taste and nutrients; 4) Make your vegetables and
whole grains the centerpiece of your meal instead of meat; 5) Find a form of
exercise you enjoy and stick with it.