Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Center Your Health!!!!!
Enjoy all the yummy holiday cookies!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Publication on Laughter Yoga

Over the summer I was interviewed by the New Jersey Life Health & Beauty Magazine on Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga) and it's finally published in their holiday 2010 issue.  Click on the image to the right to read the article, however, disregard that first sentence about "my studio"...HA! Although I don't teach Laughter Yoga classes (but am a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher), I do feel very strongly towards it and its many health benefits. I encourage you to google a Laughter Yoga class near you and give it a try. They are a blast!!

About Laughter Yoga (By: Sebastien Gendry, who certified me!)
Laughter Yoga is a deceptively simple, yet very powerful and potentially life-changing, form of exercise that anybody can do — anytime, anywhere. Its core premise is that your body can and knows how to laugh, regardless of what your mind has to say; Laughter Yoga is a body-mind approach to laughter, not something mind-body. The distinction is very important. Here you do not need to have a sense of humor, know jokes, or even be happy. Laughter Yoga invites you to fake it until it becomes real.

An article by Sebastien Gendry, C.E.O. of the American School Of Laughter YogaLaughter Yoga is non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening, and non-competitive. It comes with no strings attached. There are no jokes or comedy, and there is no judging. Because there is no mind, there is also no ego, and no room for conflict or power struggle. Laughter is a universal language that transcends all barriers: language, age, gender, race, and social background. It improves interpersonal relationships and enhances communication. It interrupts the power struggle and breaks down the instinctive barriers between people.
At a deeper level it proves that pain can be overcome and also that we can all live in peace together. It is now indisputable that laughter plays a role in healing, staying healthy, controlling stress reactions, and maintaining emotional balance. Laughter has been rediscovered as a powerful tool in the battle against many mental and physical diseases.
Laughter Yoga also teaches you emotional resilience: how to make happiness a choice and not a consequence, and how to respond positively even in the face of adversity.
Should you laugh every day? Only if you want to feel good.

Click here for some example Laughter Yoga exercises to help get an idea of what it's like. It's very silly, but SO much fun! Poke around that site for videos of exercises to try. =)

Best Albums of 2010

Throughout this past year, I've been logging in and jotting down a sentence or two each time a new album comes out that is worth mentioning. Here is my list below, along with many others that I totally enjoyed along the way.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Best album of the year. Period.

Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EP
I wrote a blog post on how beautifully amazing this EP is. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not too into Age of Adz. It's good, but too electronic for me. I totally dig electronic, but this was a little to over the top.

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
This album is totally ridiculous from beginning to end. The sounds of drums have never excited me the way they do in this album. It may just make my list of one of my favorite albums ever.

Beach HouseTeen Dream
I went to see the National at Prospect Park this past summer and as I was walking towards the park I heard Used to Be playing. I skipped along to it thinking they were just playing the album but it turns out they were opening and my girlfriend never told me! Best surprise EVER!

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
I was definitely hesitant of how this album would be since their last were so right on and complex, but they blew me away. I was lucky to catch a show this past Spring around my birthday in NYC. Amazing watching so many of them live on stage together!

I still think I love their first album more, but Oddblood was definitely amazing. I missed their show this past Spring because I had stupid strep throat, boo!!! Sleigh Bells opened for them and I heard they blew so it made me feel a little bit better about missing the show.

The Black Keys - Brothers
When I hear the Black Keys I think: Raw. SEXY. Blues. Garage-rock & roll. This is their best album yet, hands down.

Gonjasufi - A Sufi And A Killer
A yogi with a raspy voice, hip hop beats with a psychedelic-rock twist. Yes please. The Caliph's Tea Party (his latest album, released 7 months after this one), is much more haunting and trance-like...I dig it.

The National - High Violet
This album is brilliant.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - The Wonder Show of the World
My friend, Colin, one of my few musically inspiring friends (you know who you are) that I constantly exchange albums with, introduced me to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy this past year. It was love at first listen and luckily enough, he came out with a brand new one to enjoy this year. I love the song, With Cornstalks or Among Them!!

Wolf People - Tidings
This album is totally unrefined, but that's what I love so much about it. Along with its British rock sound, it's so reminiscent of early Floyd that it makes me turn on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn after listening.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
I love Bradford Cox and anything musically that he is affiliated with! Did you know his blog offers albums of the music that Atlas Sound creates on the side for free?! Just another reason to love him more.

Tama Impala - Innerspeaker
This album will forever remind me of the Summer of 2010 and my drives to and from Asbury Park. Sun, ocean, sandy feet, boardwalk, paying parking meters, rompers, beach bars, sun-kissed skin…all that beachy-summer stuff.

Junip - Fields (and Rope & Summit EP)
Dear Jose Gonzalez, how I love thee. Your soft voice and lovely guitar strumming continually captivates my heart. Junip's new album does just this along with your Rope & Summit EP. Please don't stop.

Govindas & Radha - Light Inside You: Kirtan Vibrations
Let's not forget, I am a yogi so I totally get down with kirtan…like, at some point of each and everyday. I chant during my long commutes, while I clean my house, as I cook, work, etc. I've been anxiously awaiting Govindas & Radha's new album since their last one. This one has quite a few solid tunes on there to chant along too, yay!!

If i had all the time in the world I would write a bit about each below because there are definitely some gems, but life gets in the way. You know how it goes!

Some of my other favorites this past year:
The Morning Benders - Big Echo
Wild Nothings - Gemini
The Drums - The Drums
Band of Horses - Infinate Arms
LCD Soundsystem - You Wanted A Hit
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part 2: The Return of the Ankh
Los Campesinos - Romance is Boring
Sean Carey - All We Grow
Department of Eagles - Archive 2003-2006
She & Him - Volume II
Natacha Atlas - Mounqaliba
Caribou - Swim
Philip Selway - Familial
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Broken Bells - Broken Bells
The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme

DId I miss any? What were some of your favorite new albums this year? Please do share below!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

CYH's Song of the Moment: Roses & Cigarettes by Ray Lamontagne

I've been wide awake since 4:30am this morning. It was pitch black when I left my place and there were wispy light flurries throughout my drive to NY. It was a Ray Lamontagne morning. This song was an extra on his 2nd to last album, Gossip in the Grain. I adore his song-writing and but for some reason these particular words in this song just get to me, especially this morning.

Ray LaMontagne: Roses And Cigarettes

Plastered in your newspaper palace
Dishes and the backdoor slams
The dogs on the floor
They don't roam anymore
And the rivers gone deaf at the dam

The dust falls like rain on your doorsteps
Chokes you when you lift your rake
A wine so sweet is the taste of your mouth
But your love aint the kind you can keep

Oh roses and cigarettes
Pillow case that remembers you
the scent of you still lingers on my fingertips
Till I think I might go insane
When will I see you again

Seen how you look at the stranger
I see how you waite when he's gone
If I told you I thought that there was a sin in your heart
Could you honestly tell me I'm wrong

Oh roses and cigarettes
Pillowcase that remembers you
the scent of you still lingers on my fingertips
Till I think I might go insane
When will I see you again

He tells you that he needs you, he's a liar
He tells you he's a hero, he's a fool
He tells you he'll stay till the lords breaking day
Then babe he ain't nothing but cruel

Oh roses and cigarettes
Pillowcase that remembers you
the scent of you still lingers on my fingertips
Till I think I might go insane
When will I see you again

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bragg's Sprinkle

Bragg's has done it again! Not only is there Liquid Aminos a staple ingredient for my foods in my diet, along with their Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with its endless health benefits, but now this lovely jar of seasonings, Sprinkle, will be too.  This delicious blend of seasonings has been getting SO much use in my kitchen. Just yesterday I baked up some mochi then tossed it in Bragg's Liquid Aminos with a few dashes of this seasoning...SO good! Then I was blending up some hummus and instead of using my usual seasonings I tried this and it gave it an excellent new flavor.

I'm super psyched about it. It's a MUST have!

INGREDIENTS: rosemary*, onion*, garlic*, thyme*, red bell pepper*, carrot*, tomato*, black pepper*, basil*, Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, parsley*, tarragon*, lemon peel*, orange peel*, Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar*, celery seed*, dill seed*, oregano*, savory*, sage*, ginger*, coriander*, bay leaf*, turmeric*. * organic ingredients

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CYH's Song of the Moment: Andrew Bird - Lull

I love Andrew Bird. I love Andrew Bird even more during this time of year. The strings in his music seem to compliment the dancing of the leaves as they fall from the trees. This is an older song from his album, Weather Systems, but it's a special version of it. Click above to give it a listen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Roasted Root Veggies

I love this time of year in the kitchen. Every week I've got a bowl full of root vegetables waiting to be cooked up! I love the warm and sweet smell they create as they roast in my oven. I almost always burn my fingers on them once they are done. I can't help but eat a few before they cool! Below is my super simple (and favorite) recipe for roasting sweet potatoes and beets. I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Roasted Root Veggies

5-6 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil OR coconut oil, divided (see below)
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a something with a top (Tupperware, bowl with lid, Ziploc bag). Place the sweet potatoes into the bowl, Tupperware or whatever you're using, cover and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.
4. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, (until all vegetables are tender enough to stick a fork through). Eat as is or serve with a whole grain such as brown rice. Sprinkle some pumpkin or sunflower seeds on top and enjoy this festive and simple dish!

Benefits of Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A & C, iron, carotenoid antioxidants and contain calcium. Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating, because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. It's time to move sweet potatoes to the GOOD carbohydrate list!

Benefits of Beets:
The health benefits of beet include anemia, digestion, constipation, piles, blood circulation, kidney disorders, skin care, dandruff, gall bladder disorders, cancer, and heart diseases. Health benefits of beet roots can be attributed to their richness in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are a source of carotenoids and lutein/zeaxanthin. Beets are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Beet is a source of beneficial flavonoids called anthycyanins.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GTS Kombucha is BACK!

It was a great weekend. Before I spent my Saturday in Colts Neck apple picking, my friend brought me a Synergy from Dean's because they're slowly making their way back to our shelves!!!! I enjoyed every sip of it this morning as I ate my delicious breakfast burrito from the Cinnamon Snail at the Red Bank farmers market. Then drank the rest tonight as I cooked up the apples, Brussels sprouts and spaghetti squash that we picked fresh yesterday. Life is good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

CYH's Song of the Moment: Carmensita, Devendra Banhart

This album rules, Devendra is my favorite, & Natalie Portman is the prettiest girl in the whole wide world.  Also, I <3 this video!

Breast Cancer: Risk Factors Rarely Mentioned

Annemarie Colbin was one of my favorite guest speakers while attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This information was in her October e-newsletter for cancer awareness month and I thought it was worth sharing.

Breast Cancer: Risk Factors Rarely Mentioned
By Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.

We have been told that women have a 1-in-8 lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. To the statistically naive, that appears to mean that one in eight women will be stricken at some point in her life. Scary? Well, it's not that simple. Here is a more accurate description of the statistical chances of contracting breast cancer according to ages:

At age 20: 1 in 2500
At age 30: 1 in 233
At age 40: 1 in 63
At age 50: 1 in 41
At age 60: 1 in 28
At age 70: 1 in 24
At age 80: 1 in 16
At age 90: 1 in 8

Looks quite different, doesn't it? The risk increases with age, and 1-in-8 figure applies only if you live to be 95. That gives us some time. As Mark Twain once said, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Let's now look at the variables that affect breast health, and I'm going to focus on some of the lesser discussed ones:

Number of children. Having children is protective against breast cancer; in fact, the more children, the higher the protection. One study found that women who have seven or more children had a 47% less chance of developing the disease than women who'd had only one child. This probably has to do with the fact that with more children a woman has less menstrual periods, thus less up- and-down estrogen fluctuations.

Breast-feeding. The function of a woman's breasts is to secrete milk for her newborn, especially if she has actually been pregnant. Pregnancy initiates changes in the breasts, preparing them for lactation. If that process is interrupted or not allowed to proceed, through miscarriage or by bottle-feeding, the body has to deal with the aftermath. Plugged milk ducts can result in lumps; while these would start off generally benign, over time, with other risk factors, they could become cancerous. In fact, all breast cancers arise in the milk ducts. Short breast-feeding has not shown any protective effect; what counts is the accumulated time of breast-feeding during the whole of a woman's life. In the study mentioned, women with a lifetime total of 25 or more months of breast-feeding had a 33% lower risk for contracting breast cancer as compared to women with natural children who had never breast-fed. I will assume that suppressing lactation with drugs can also have serious adverse effects on the breast.

Environmental causes. There are a number of external factors that may affect a woman's hormonal health. The main ones are pesticides, particularly organochlorides, and living near nuclear reactors. Many petroleum-based pesticides imitate the form of estrogen, and confuse the body into accepting them into their cells. They are sprayed on fruits, vegetables, and animal feed; when these are consumed, the pesticides then are stored in human and animal fat, which, according to Connecticut nutritionist Phyllis Herman, may explain the link between a high animal fat diet and breast cancer. A 1990 study in Israel found a strong link: between 1976 and 1986, the rate of breast cancer declined 20% after a number of organochlorine-type pesticides were banned. Industrial countries where breast cancer mortality declined between 1971 and 1986 had no large commercial nuclear reactors operating within or near their borders; the other 12 industrial powers did, and breast cancer rose in them all. It is thought that low-level radioactive contamination enters the groundwater, affecting produce, and is also carried downwind, affecting both animals and people. These environmental reasons are perhaps why breast cancer mortality rates for Long Island went up 39% between 1970 and 1989.

Use of antiperspirants. Here is a very intriguing thought. Kerri Bodner, publisher of the excellent Women's Health Letter, points out that 50% of breast cancer tumors appear on the upper quadrant of the breast closest to the underarm. Antiperspirants are strong chemicals, usually containing aluminum, which prevent sweating. Now sweating is a way for the body to eliminate toxins and unwanted materials with the help of the lymphatic system. Preventing this activity is, in Bodner's words, "like damming up a river." Sweat backs up into the lymphatic ducts, and the toxins become trapped in the under-arm lymphatic area. The fatty breast tissue allows for efficient storage of these unwanted toxins. Breast cancer often involves the lymph nodes. Could there be a connection?

Tight and underwire bras. I remember reading an article that pointed out an increased risk of breast cancer for women who used tight bras, particularly if they wore them for more than 12 hours. Tight bras also interfere with breathing, which may in turn cause oxygen deprivation in the cells. I personally have great antipathy to underwire bras: the metal in them crosses the body's acupuncture meridians, and so can block the normal flow of Chi which in turn can cause stagnation and disease. Why do women through the ages feel they have to mold themselves into some shape dictated by social whim?

The use of oral contraceptives. Numerous studies have shown the direct correlation between hormone-based drugs and female cancers. The latest is a study published in The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, on the effects of The Pill on 150,000 women. It found that all users face an increased risk, even 10 years after stopping. Women on the Pill had a 25% higher risk of contracting breast cancer. A study in 1994 had found that women who started on the Pill before the age of 20 had a 3 ½ times higher risk, while 97% of the women who got cancer before the age of 36 had used birth control pills at one time or another of their lives. Note that this does NOT mean that 97% of the women who took birth control pills got cancer; it's the other way around. Obviously there are other variables triggering the disease.

Diet. Fat is suspect, but studies give conflicting results and the issue is not conclusive. It is often mentioned that Japanese women eating their traditional low-fat diets have little if any breast cancer, but when they come to the US they soon catch up. I maintain that fat is not the issue: milk products are. The Japanese diet has no milk products, but now that they are picking up "Western" dietary habits, their use of these products is going up and so is their breast cancer. The highest rates of the disease are in Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden, Holland), the UK, the US, and Canada -- all countries where cow's milk is a major food. Frequent consumption of whole milk has been found to be a risk factor in cancers of the lung, bladder, breast, and cervix; even more interesting, breast cancer patients were found to have twice as high a consumption of Vitamin D (usually added to milk) as cancer-free controls.

What foods protect against cancer? Cruciferous vegetables clearly do: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi. Soybeans have also been developing a good reputation as anti-cancer foods. Miso and tofu are excellent additions to your diet.
Here is a simple recipe:

½ block soft organic tofu, steamed for 3 minutes and cooled (about 5 oz)
1 tablespoon brown rice or barley miso
1 tablespoon flaxseed or extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated onion

Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl, and serve on wholegrain bread or rye crackers.

About Annemarie Colbin:
Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D, founded the Natural Gourmet in 1977 and is currently its CEO. She has been called a "maverick nutritional theorist", and is an internationally recognized health educator, author, consultant and speaker, specializing in food and its effects on health. She is the author of Food and Healing, which has been translated into six languages, The Natural Gourmet (both from Ballentine Books) and her latest book, The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones (New Harbinger Publications, 2009).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Doggies Like Healthy Foods Too!

It happens all the time when I'm visiting my parents house - I sit down to eat and Stanley sits quietly next to my chair and stares up at me with his big brown eyes longing for my food. Since what I'm eating is almost always healthy foods, I can't help but save a few small pieces for him. When I'm finished, I slowly feed him what's left. The picture of him on the right is exactly the face and position of him in full begging-mode. He's sitting on his hamburger bed (yes, he's a hot dog with a hamburger bed) and waiting anxiously for me to feed him some carrots. Wouldn't you cave too?!

I'm a big believer that if you’re going to feed your dogs “people” food, you should feed them something that’s actually good for them. Here are some healthy, easily obtainable options straight from the food store that can be added to spice up your doggies regular fare. There are, of course, a few cautions to keep in mind. First, none of these items by themselves constitutes a “complete and balanced” meal, and if your dog has health or weight issues, check with your vet before introducing them. Next, considering that many dogs are willing to eat almost anything they find, they can be surprisingly fussy about new things in their food bowls; start with a small portion to see if it’s a go… or no. And finally, always introduce new foods gradually.

10 Healthy "People" Foods for Doggies

1. Banana
. High in potassium (great for muscle and blood vessel function as well as for regulating the acidity of body fluids), fiber (a handy home remedy for the occasional bout of doggy diarrhea or constipation) and magnesium (important for energy transport and protein building in the body). Bananas have lots of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), which helps metabolize proteins and regulates blood cell function so the blood can bring more oxygen to the brain and muscle. They also contain Vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and helps build cartilage. Pup Prep: Mash a banana and mix it in with your dog’s food. Be forewarned that the compounds in bananas that make them smell banana-y are offensive to some canines.

2. Sweet Potato. 
Loaded with nutrients, such as the carotenoids and Vitamin C, in addition to some lesser known antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are high in pyridoxine, potassium, fiber and magnesium. They also are good sources of copper, iron and manganese–all essential minerals that perform myriad functions in cells, from transporting oxygen to assisting in the assembly of proteins. Pup Prep: As with rutabaga, boil, mash and add a bit of good oil.

3. Flaxseeds
. Small seeds–known for their alpha linolenic acid (ALA) content and benefits to coat, skin, bone and brain function–that pack a big nutritional punch. These seeds are also high in fiber and lignans (a fiber type), which may be beneficial for insulin action. They are a great source of manganese, pyridoxine, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. They also contain the B vitamin folate, which is important for cell regulation. Pup Prep: Grind fresh flaxseeds, which are nutty and crunchy; flaxseed oil is also available in most health food stores and contains a more concentrated amount of ALA. Add the ground seeds or a teaspoon of oil to your dog’s food and increase the nutrient density of any meal. (Note: Store in refrigerator to maintain freshness.)

4. Yogurt. 
Active cultures known as probiotics (necessary, friendly bacteria) help keep the bad bacteria away. Yogurt, which may improve gut function, contains a number of nutrients, including protein, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin B12, potassium, zinc and iodine. It is also a fair source of other B vitamins such as riboflavin and pantothenic acid (required for enzyme action and energy production, as well as other cellular functions). Pup Prep: A dollop of plain yogurt (with very little sugar of course) is a great way to disguise some yucky medicines.

5. Salmon. 
Bursting with Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s do wonders for skin, coat and brain as well as limit inflammatory processes that cause arthritic pain and other chronic canine conditions. (If your dog has any of these conditions, ask your vet if fish oil in capsule form might help.) Salmon is also an excellent protein source, with many essential vitamins and minerals. Pup Prep: When you’re cooking salmon steaks for yourself, toss a few extra on the barbie for your dog. Refrigerate or dehydrate the grilled chunks and serve them cold.

6. Nori. 
Dried edible seaweed (red algae species), a Japanese staple. Often associated with sushi, nori is available in some supermarkets, and certainly in those with Asian food items. It has protein, galactans (a soluble fiber), Vitamins C, E and all the Bs, and minerals such as zinc and copper. It also contains some lesser-known sterols and chlorophyll, which have been investigated for their effects on regulating metabolism. Nori may have beneficial effects on fat metabolism, immune function and anti-tumor response. Pup Prep: Nori does not have a strong odor or flavor, and the paper-thin sheets can be torn and soaked in broth, then added to food, or just added dry. Puppy sushi, anyone?

7. Blueberries. 
Member of the Heath family and loaded with phytochemicals. Available year round either fresh or frozen, blueberries are a great treat for your dog. The deep blue color comes from anthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants, and the berries also supply Vitamin C, Vitamin E, manganese and fiber. Slow introduction in small quantities is particularly essential here; as anyone who has ever gorged on this tasty fruit knows, the blueberry “trots” are most unpleasant (and you’re the one who will be cleaning up!). Be judicious. Pup Prep: Rinse and serve whole, or mash lightly.

8. Swiss Chard.
 A pretty veggie known as a “green.” Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and has tons of nutrients, which are best maintained by blanching and not boiling the leaves and stalks to mush. (Some feel that, in order to lap up any leeched nutrients, the water in which chard is blanched should be consumed too.) Blanching sweetens the leaves and frees up some of the oxalates, which can bind minerals. Chard’s nutrients have the potential to maintain bone health, blood vessel integrity, eye health and immune function and benefit optimal muscle function and energy production. Pup Prep: Offer your dog some blanched, chopped chard enhanced with a bit of olive oil; if you’re lucky, your best friend will want the blanching water too!

Information adapted from

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lunch N' Learn with 3 Healthy Chicks: Nutrition 101

3HC's Lunch N' Learn will be this Friday, October 8th at 12pm at Fair Haven Yoga Studio and it will be on Nutrition 101.Confused about health and nutrition? 3HC's can help!
Come and learn everything you need to know to get started with a healthy lifestyle.
Bring a healthy (teehee) bagged lunch if you'd like!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bumble Bars

Dude...have you tried these Bumble Bars yet?! Holy Toledo, they are SO good! My next mission in the kitchen is to recreate my own version of them (with less sugar) so that I don't have to keep purchasing them. Stay tuned for a recipe, but in the meantime definitely pick up a few and give them a try. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Banalmond Sandwich

At a friend's BBQ this past summer, my friend John (he's below with a big red lipstick kiss on his cheek!) brought a plate of banana and almond butter sandwiches all cut up for everyone to enjoy. They were the perfect snack to grab while we were all hanging out and oh-so-good!!! I told him then and there that I would publicize this wonderful concoction of his on my blog to spread the deliciousness! I made a few adjustments and roughly jotted them down below for you to try. They are the perfect sandwich for you or your little munchkin to pack for breakfast or lunch. Or you could always steal John's idea and show up to a party with them!

Banalmond Sandwich

1/2 banana
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon shredded coconut
your favorite bread (I always recommend Ezekiel bread)

Mash banana with the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl using a fork. Add more of an ingredient depending on what you (or your child) like (more banana, more coconut, etc.). Once mixed, spread onto your favorite bread. Either pack up for the little one or enjoy right then and there! Enjoy!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yoga Festival by the Sea - Global Mala 2010

This weekend was the Yoga Festival by the Sea in Asbury Park, NJ. It was an exciting weekend of yoga, yummy vegan food and great people! =)
The Global Mala was founded by Shiva Rea to unite the global yoga community from every continent to form a "mala around the earth" by spreading peace in hopes that it has a ripple effect throughout the world. On Sunday, we gathered and practiced 108 sun salutations together on the Asbury Park boardwalk. All of the money raised for this event will go towards bringing yoga into Asbury Park Schools.
The first two pictures on here were shot by Kiersten Rowland of Prema Photographic (she got so many lovely shots of the day!) and the rest were a few that I snapped myself.

Ming, one of my wonderful yoga students flowed through ALL 108 sun salutes next to me with not one break! I was so impressed and proud of him, GO Ming!
Me flowing!
Jody, from Shrewsbury's Lululemon, cobra-ing on her mat together.
Chris (in red), my faithful yoga student and good friend. I knew he could do it!!
Reggie, from Yoga Basin who made this whole event happen.
Thanks, Reggie and all other yoga studios, yoga teachers, local businesses and vendors
for such a wonderful weekend!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sufjan's All Delighted People EP

Sufjan Steven's new 8-song EP, All Delighted People, is straight up wonderful. I love how Asthmatic Kitty Records describes him, "Sufjan mixes autobiography, religious fantasy, and regional history to create folk songs of grand proportions." His indie-folk sound is so eclectic and broad with an electronic twist, I just can't get enough of it. I adore ALL that he has ever created and always look forward to more. He will be releasing his next full length album in October. I obviously am counting down the days!

The song Enchanting Ghost, (click image on right to play on YouTube), is lovely and reminiscent of his unmistakable sound that resonates so well with me. The Owl and the Tanager (click Sufjan image to listen on YouTube) may be the most gorgeous song I've ever heard him sing (I'm totally exaggerating, because I can say that about 10 of his other songs) as he wails through a bunch of "ooooo's." I sing along and try to harmonize with him but it probably doesn't sound as pretty as I think it does. The end of the EP is Djohariah, a 17-minute treat for the ears with noisy guitar jams, strings and horns while a dramatic chorus and beautiful Sufjan sings. Heaven!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

This past labor day my friend Danny had another rooftop party on his lovely roof in Asbury Park. The weekend, as you all know, was a gorgeous one. He was grilling up some fresh veggies and had prepared his delicious roasted red pepper hummus, roasted lemon garlic hummus and fresh salsa for all who came to party. I brought a batch of chocolate rice crispy treats for everyone and they were a total hit! SO easy to make, so delicious and just a little sugar!

Lauren's Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

1 cup brown rice syrup
½ cup almond butter
½ cup barley malt sweetened chocolate chips
3 cups brown rice crispies cereal
1/2 banana (optional)

Heat brown rice syrup and almond butter in a large skillet, over low heat until creamy. Stir in the chips until they melt. Remove from the heat and stir in rice crispies. Gently press into a baking dish. Slice thin banana rings and press gently on top of mixture. Sprinkle with a dash of raw sugar on top (optional). Allow mixture to set until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy. As you can see from the pictures, Danny sure did!!!

About Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener produced from fermented cooked rice by treating it naturally with enzymes from sprouted barley.
 Brown rice syrup is a good source of minerals, magnesium, potassium and iron.

Lundberg makes an organic, non-GMO and gluten free brown rice syrup called Sweet Dreams that is available at any health food store.  I got a good two batches out of one bottle.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sivananda Ashram in Paradise Island, Bahamas

Serve. Love. Give. Purify. Meditate. Realize.
I've finally been able to upload my pictures from my beautiful trip to the Sivananda ashram in Paradise Island, Bahamas. It was one of the best trips I've ever been on and I look forward to visiting there time and time again.

About a decade ago, I was blessed to have a yoga teacher at FIT who was Sivananda certified and she introduced me to this lovely philosophy. Living in the city then, I was literally a few blocks away from the Sivananda center on 24th st. so I was fortunate enough to frequent there often for yoga classes and vegetarian meals. It's the one philosophy of yoga I feel most connected with. My Sivananda book that I purchased back in my NYC days has been my bible still to this day.

Sivananda yoga focuses on the 5 points of yoga:
1. Proper exercise (asanas)
2. Proper breathing (pranayama)
3. Proper relaxation (savasana)
4. Proper diet (vegetarian)
5. Positive thinking (vedanta) & meditation (dhyana)

I booked my trip to the Sivananda ashram for 10 days of relaxation, reflection and studying and I was able to do all of that. I filled a whole journal of thoughts and read 3 books! It was exactly what I needed. I practiced yoga 4 hours each day (2 hour class in the morning, 2 hour class in evening) on docks looking out to the water. There was beauty everywhere. I feel stronger than ever and completely blissed out from the whole experience. It reminded me of my love for yoga but I totally did NOT want to come home!

The food was definitely one of the highlights of staying there. Awesome sattvic (pure, clean and wholesome) vegetarian food was served two times a day and I always ate looking out at the water.

Towards the end, Mother Mayatitananda came to give a 3 day course on Living Ahimsa. She initiated us with a vow of ahimsa, a sanskrit word which translates to nonviolence through your thoughts, speech and actions towards all living beings. As a yogi, I have practiced ahimsa for years, but I am human so my thoughts and speech still need a lot of work! I'm excited for this vow and am confident that I can stick to it as best as I can. Being in Mother's presence is always a blessing. Meditating with her was so powerful and the fact that I was able to catch this course in Paradise Islands was so amazing!

Om Namah Shivaya-