Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CYH's Songs of the Moment: Thievery Corporation, Culture of Fear

You know the days where you just can't figure out what to listen to? Sometimes no matter what you put on it just doesn't jive with you? When I have those days, I click on anyone of the songs in my Thievery Corporation playlist and just let it play. No matter what, it always ended up being just the right musical choice. If I want to chill and listen to something that will mellow me out, Thievery does it. On the flip side, if I need energy and want to get into a grove while working, cleaning or something...Thievery does it. I've been anxiously awaiting their new album and it's finally here with lots of tasty dub, just how I like it. Thank you, Thievery, AGAIN, for a totally awesome album.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Doggies Need Healthy Food Too

Stanley is the love of my life. He's my parents 11 year old dachshund that is still just as full of life as he was in his younger years. We tend to forget that dogs need the right nutrition just as we do. There little pellets of dog food are very similar (nutrition-wise) to that of packaged foods for us. Just read the ingredients, you'll find plenty of additives that you cannot pronounce, just as you would picking up a packaged food in the grocery store! It's important to make sure that your doggie is getting the right nutrition, and there are a few things you can do to make sure they get it.

When I stop in at my parents, I love sharing my food with Stan. In the morning, I'll cut a piece of my banana and mash it into his food. If I'm making an egg, I'll always make an extra one for him (save half of it for the next day for him). If I've got any soup or (mild) sauce, I'll save a tablespoon or so, mix with warm water and add to his food. If my parents have any meat in the house I'll give him a bite or two. I'll also mash some sweet potato into his food, anything gentle yet nutritious that I know he can benefit from just as much as I do. My mom loves mixing in a teaspoon of nutritional yeast for some added flavor and protein too! Remember, there are some foods that dogs should NOT eat. Please review the list here.

If you haven't already, try looking for an all natural dog food. They are a good source of minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. The ideal diet of natural dog food is 100% free of grease and oil, while being rich in protein and fiber, which helps keep your dog on top of fitness and health.

You can take control over the health of your pet’s diet with your dog at home. Avoid processed foods because they are NOT healthy for your pet. Many natural food options exist. Talk to their vet about what natural diet is best for your pet. When the quality of your pet’s health is improved, they will live a longer, healthier life with you. You will also have less vet visits, which can add up!

Talk to their vet. Always talk to their veterinarian about what to feed your pet, and remind them that you would like to go as natural as possible to return to the diet nature intended. Their veterinarian will help you decide which food and products are better and what to things to avoid.

Consider supplements. Their vet can educate you about any supplements that can be a nice addition to your dog’s diet to maximize health potential. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of a diet for any dog.

Dog gone raw. Raw or organic meat diets are preferred by many dog owners, the first consists of various cuts of meat, vegetable juices and a variety of grains. The second is almost the same thing, except it is produced organically or personally harvested, depending on the type of garden space the dog ownerhas available.

Go organic. An organic dog diet is easily achieved at home with the purchase of organic dog food, meat, vegetables and grains. If you have access to organic products grown in their local area, this may be the best option for your pet. If you have time and space, consider growing your own organic vegetables for use in the diet of your dog, and of course, for yourself!

Done correctly, a natural food diet at home is sure to provide your furry friend better nutrition. However, a poorly planned diet at home with inferior ingredients can be harmful to your dog in the same way that processed food can be for us.

Photo = Stanley, my parent's 10 1/2 year old dachshund, isn't he beautiful?! His favorite snack are baby carrots. He hears the bag in the refrigerator, comes running into the kitchen and quickly stands on his hind legs, begging with his hands for a crunch! Love him-

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Take a Full Moon Bath

Each month, I practice a full moon meditation on the night of the full moon through my lineage of yoga. (See sample meditation here). Luckily, during the warmer months, I can enjoy these meditations on the Jersey shore just minutes from my apartment, facing the sea with the bright light of the moon reflecting beautifully over the water and onto my skin.

The full moon is a powerful time each month. The day of, before and after the full moon is a time to attract love, abundance, creativity and positive energy. Just as the sun has it's healing energy, so does the moon. Moonbathing is just as important as sun bathing. The benefits derived from moonbathing are equally important, however, there is not a single defect in a moonbath to my knowledge (as there is with having too much sun). Moonlight is reflected light of the sunlight absorbed by the moon and showered onto Earth. This cooling light should be bathed in from 8:00pm till the wee hours as you please, retiring right to bed after.

I encourage you to step outside and bathe under the full moon's healing light even if only for a few minutes. Breathe deep, reflect, and allow yourself to soak up the magic.

"May the Guru spirit and the Guru's Grace shine for you, within you, like the cool mind-settling light of the full moon." -Swami Veda Bharati

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dark Chocolate Banana Panini

This divine treat isn't as sinful as it tastes! Can you imagine?! If you don't have a panini maker, a George Forman grill will do the trick. If you don't have one of those either, cook the sandwich in a skillet, using a second heavy pan to flatten them as they cook. Experiment with flavored dark chocolate for some extra yumminess!

1 ripe banana, sliced in half (or mashed if you prefer)
2 slices of your favorite bread (I love Ezekiel)
4-6 squares of dark (70% or higher) chocolate
1 tsp all natural peanut butter
drizzle of honey

1. Gently coat outsides of bread with some butter. I swear by Kerrygold Butter!

2. Arrange banana slices (or mashed banana) on piece of bread, then spread peanut butter and honey. Place chocolate squares over banana and top with other piece of bread.

3. Preheat panini maker or plug in your George Forman grill (this is what I prefer). Cook panini 3-4 minutes per side. A George Forman grill takes less time, so keep an eye on the chocolate to see how it's doing, it will start to ooze. Cool just for a minute or two and ENJOY!!!

Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
True dark chocolate is usually anything at or above 70% cacao. The higher the percentage of cacao, the more benefits and better nutritional value the chocolate contains. Studies have shown that dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). It contains serotonin, a natural mood-boosting anti-depressant. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.

Even with all these great benefits, be sure to enjoy dark chocolate in moderation.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Obsessed with Being Tan

I have a very embarrassing confession that may come as a shock to you.
I have tanorexia. (Don't laugh!)

Wikipedia defines tanorexia as the term often used to describe a condition in which a person participates in excessive outdoor sun tanning or excessive use of other skin tanning methods (such as tanning beds) to achieve a darker skin complexion because they perceive themselves as unacceptably pale.

Maybe it's the Jersey girl in me, but ever since I can remember I've been all about being tan during the summer months. I will tan and tan, then look at myself in the mirror and see a pale-skinned girl, which then forces me back out on the mission to do whatever I can to get more tan. I have fair skin and light eyes so so I've never been one to get super dark. I'm also more at risk for skin cancer due to sun exposure. I'm not talking about the ugly orange tan look, that is unattractive. Being too tan is never a good look. I just like color, that sun-kissed look as if you spend the day at the beach.

The history of my obsession began at an early age. I can remember enjoying the tan lines my speedo would create from summer morning swim practices when I was younger. In my early teens my girlfriends and I would actually cut out the initials of the boys we were crushing on with tape, stick to a part of our body and let the sun tan around them to express our summer crush! I was a year-round swimmer, so during the colder months after my tan would fade, I would apply sunless tanning cream each day to maintain some level of color to my skin. Through high school and college I would bake while life-guarding and on my summer weeks down the shore. I spent my nights itchy with sunburned skin and would heal my burns with my fresh aloe plant. Then once I graduated college and started working at Boca Salons as a receptionist, I had access to a tanning bed whenever I needed it. Those 15 minutes in the bed each day of work were the most relaxing moments of my day, and I'd walk out looking bronzed and feeling pretty. That began my tanning bed obsession. Why would I need to lay out for hours in the blazing hot sun when I could just pop into a bed and get a mega-quick dose of color without the hassle or the burn?! For years now, every summer I basically have avoided laying out in the natural sun, but rather would buy packages for tanning bed sessions. On the beach I would apply 30 sunblock, cover up with a hat and lie under an umbrella like a grandmother. BUT, every week I would happily pop into Hollywood tans for a quick 8 minute session to bronze myself up. Oh and I forgot to mention, I've been hiding the fact that I've been actually going to tanning salons for YEARS now to almost everyone I know. VERY few friends and family know. Sick.

So, I am happy to say that this is the first summer that I am completely refusing to walk into a tanning salon and hop into a bed. It's been a constant struggle, but I'm really determined not to do it. Instead I'm carefully getting natural sun tans from the sun (I'll lie out for about a half hour with no protection, then apply my 30 sunblock and/or head under some shade), and I've also gone back to using a bronzing sunless tanning lotion (on the more natural side).

Do you have a tanning obsession like I do?  I'd love to connect with others who want to tan it up just like I do!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Living Clay 21-Day Detox

Early this Spring, my doctor found high levels of heavy metals in my system. He recommended a cleanse to rid my body of the heavy metals, so I did some research on my own and embarked on a 21-day calcium bentonite clay cleanse!  I choose this cleanse because the highly charged calcium bentonite clay attracts and removes toxins and impurities from the body. I took it internally and bathed in it once or twice as well, since it can be used externally or topically to remove toxins.  After checking my levels once again, the cleanse successfully lowered the amount of heavy metals!

A little bit about the clay:
Calcium bentonite clay has not only been used medicinally for hundreds of years by indigenous cultures around the planet, but has in recent years been increasingly used by practitioners of alternative medicine as a simple but effective internal cleanser to help in preventing and alleviating various health problems. From volcanic ash rich in trace minerals, this ultra pure clay is one of the most effective natural intestinal detoxifying agents available to us and has been used for hundreds of years by native tribes around the globe.

Taken internally, liquid bentonite supports the intestinal system in the elimination of toxins. Liquid bentonite is inert which means it passes through the body undigested. In medicine, bentonite is used as an antidote in heavy metal poisoning. The list of the healing benefits of this incredible clay both internally and externally go on and on and on and on. For real...

My top 5 reasons why I'm all about this clay cleanse:

1. I have had NO intestinal issues throughout these past 21-days (could be the first 21-days of my whole adult life without them!).

2. The clay energizes me! The mornings I drink it, I'm alert and focused.

3. It suppresses my appetite, which has helped to curb over-eating binging moments throughout my day.

4. My skin has been exceptionally vibrant. I've never had bad skin or breakouts, but there has almost been a glow to my skin on a consistent basis. Very nice!

5. It was SUCH an easy detox. I would drink a small clay mixture in the morning and then before bed each night. So simple.

I made sure to buy high quality, trusted clay from Living Clay. I ordered a pretty large container (didn't realize I didn't need that much at all), but I'm still using it and don't plan on stopping because of how good it makes me feel. The clay lasts indefinitely if kept in a cool place in a plastic container. If you do embark on this cleanse be sure to drink PLENTY of water each day.

Have you used calcium bentonite clay before and have an experience you can share about it?