Posts belonging to Category Health & Wellness



WHEN WE FEEL THE NEED TO HURRY

The other day, I was in the kitchen making blintzes.                

Truth be told, I’ve never made blintzes before in my life, let alone eaten them.

A cross between a pancake and a crepe, the recipe sounded wonderful, plus it was gluten-free.

They seemed easy enough to make – how hard could it be?

I was in a bit of a hurry, but went ahead and mixed up the batter, ladling it onto the hot griddle. The pancake looked delicate and lacy; when the edges turned crisp and golden, I flipped it to cook the second side.

Except it didn’t quite flip, landing in more of a heap.

Down the disposal it went, and I tried again.

In the end, half the batter ended up in the sink. Eventually I figured out the blintzes needed to cook just a little bit longer – before I tried to flip them.

When I waited – and was in less of a hurry – I had no problems at all.

The lesson, of course, is that things can literally fall apart when you’re in too much of a hurry. Whenever we try to make things happen on some kind of schedule we typically fall prey to one crisis or another.

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1 IN 133

What is 1 in 133?                                             

It is first and foremost, a statistic – one that describes the prevalence of Celiac Disease & gluten intolerance in our society.

It is also the name given to a clever marketing campaign, designed to draw attention to food labeling laws.

Yes, this weeks’ post is a bit different from the norm.

However, I was motivated to get on the bandwagon, due to my personal interest in this common digestive disorder.

Since May is National Celiac Awareness Month, this is a fitting time to drum up support.

Whether referred to as Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, it all boils down to the same thing – an inability to digest gluten, a common protein in food.

The only known cure does not involve medication or surgery – a big plus – but it does require life-long adherence to a special, gluten-free diet. (Please note that his has nothing to do with the current fad to adopt a gluten-free diet in order to lose weight).

The ‘1 in 133’ website neatly sums up their mission with the following statement:

‘In 2007, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) tasked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize standards for gluten-free labeling. Four years later, the FDA has failed to fulfill that mandate. To the millions of Americans who eat gluten-free food, this inaction is a big deal’.

So, here’s where it really gets fun:

To highlight their cause, the campaign has set out to create the world’s largest Gluten-Free Cake, which will ultimately be 12 feet high!

This is no small feat for gluten free baking!

For anyone not familiar – baking without gluten is problematic, at best, since gluten is the very substance which lends elasticity and moisture to baked goods.

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HEALING THROUGH CHOCOLATE

I thought I’d share a singular chocolate adventure that I experienced during my recent trip to Asheville, NC.

A group of us had just shared a tasty meal at a local restaurant, and were considering dessert.         

All were in favor of visiting a local chocolate shop called The French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Yes, that’s the correct name.

If it sounds a bit off-putting to you, rest assured that the French Broad happens to be the name of the local river that wends its way through town.

From that perspective, it’s a very fitting name indeed!

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I set foot inside the door but was immediately aware of the warmth that greeted us within, after the chill of the night air.

The fragrant, yet subtle scent of chocolate greeted me, and I followed my nose (and fellow diners) to the confectioners case filled with chocolate goodies of every variety imaginable.

This was truly a chocolate lovers haven!

What impressed me even more, though, was the selection of vegan truffles, made with coconut cream, instead of the usual dairy. The flavors had exquisite names like Strawberry-Balsamic, Buddha, and Pomegranate.

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NEW BEGINNINGS

I read the other day that the holiday festivities don’t officially end until January 2.                       

Well, that might work in most families, but in mine we have a string of January birthdays that begin, more or less, when the holidays are suppose to end.

We’re not officially done celebrating until the following week, which makes for an interesting time of year.

Some family members have been known to complain, because – let’s face it – by the time New Years Day rolls around, we’re feeling the effects of too much good food, and definitely too much sugar.

(For a post-holiday Food Lover’s Cleanse, click here).

January 1 is meant to be the official end to that week – or month – of celebration.

Right?

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LANA'I MAGIC

I’ve just returned from a wonderful, relaxing vacation on the island of Lana’i, in Hawai’i.                              

On our last morning, as we were leaving our hotel, a fellow passenger said “Say goodbye to Paradise” as we rode the shuttle to the airport.

His comment couldn’t have been more true.

I suppose that those of us living on the West coast have it easy, since Hawaii is a relatively ‘short’ six hour flight away.

Even so, the flight home can easily undo the complete state of relaxation that my body had become accustomed to during the previous week.

Yet, no matter how long, or tiring the flight, it couldn’t take away my memories of the breathtaking ocean views, the warm sun on my skin, fresh papaya for breakfast each morning and the feel of being gently tossed in the ocean waves as they rolled ashore.

I suppose this could describe any place in Hawaii, but for me it’s part of the magic of Lana’i.

The island of Lana’i  may be among the less popular of the Hawaiian Islands, due to its small size and the number of visitors who come here.

Yet for my husband and myself, that’s precisely what we like about it.

Here’s what else is unique about Lana’i:

  • It is a place of contrasts, offering both luxury and simplicity, with warmth and sunshine on the coast, or cool breezes and a chance of rain further inland.
  • The population is roughly 3100.
  • There are only 30 miles of paved roads. The speed limit is 35. If you really want to tour the island, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
  • Earlier this century Lana’i was a pineapple plantation, owned by Dole Pineapple.
  • The main town is Lana’i City. Actually, it’s the only town. It’s small, and quaint, taking you back in time about 50 years.
  • There are only 3 hotels.
  • Two of these hotels are Four Seasons Resorts, each with its own world-class golf course. They are located at Manele Bay, and the Lodge at Koele (a former plantation house), respectively.
  • The third hotel, Hotel Lanai’i is located in Lana’i City, and is small and quaint, just like the town. It has an excellent restaurant and features a live band every Friday evening.
  • You can spend your day playing in the waves, or relaxing on the beach at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, Manele Bay. Or, you can enjoy a game of miniature golf or croquet at its sister hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele.
  • Since the temperatures are easily 10 degrees cooler at The Lodge, you might even find yourself enjoying afternoon tea in front of a roaring fire in the rustic Great Room.
  • For a nominal fee, there is a shuttle service that transfers hotel guests between hotels, or into town.
  • In town, you’ll find a gift shop called Dis ‘n Dat, which carries exactly what the name implies. When you walk inside, you’re greeted by a symphony of wind chimes blowing in the warm breeze.
  • The word Lana’i means “hump” in reference to the volcanic eruption that formed the island many eons ago.

All this and more is the magic of Lana’i.

A TEMPLE FOR YOUR BODY

“They are architects of furniture who designed comfortable, livable pieces that define space in a dynamic way….They built temples for your body.”

David Jameson, Architect                    

The above quote was in reference to Hans Wegner and Poul Kjaerholm, two (among many) remarkable furniture designers of the early twentieth century.

Think about it.

Imagine having a “temple for your body”.

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds heavenly.

As I write this, I’m on a quest. I’m looking for comfortable furniture, specifically a sofa that will envelope my body and fit me like a glove.

I dream of a sofa, or chair, that will allow me to sit comfortably for hours on end, without having to constantly re-position my posterior for greater comfort.

Or squirm in my seat to keep from sliding off, because my feet don’t quite touch the floor.

I happen to fit that segment of the population that is ‘height challenged’ – meaning I’m five feet, two inches in my stocking feet.

In a standard home such as my own, seating of any kind is usually too deep. (Plus most countertops and upper cabinets are too high, but I digress).

In a typical day, we put our bodies through a lot of stress, from physical exercise, hours sitting at a computer, poor posture in general, and – oh,yes – carrying around excess weight.

Any one of these places extra stress on our muscles and joints.

It’s no wonder, then, that at the end of the day our tired, sore bodies are craving a comfortable place to rest.

A temple, so to speak.

Our homes are meant to be a sanctuary. A place to escape the daily grind, to unwind and be with family, and to be our truest selves.

To truly be a sanctuary, your home must also meet your every need, including your personal comfort!

This means that the idea of ‘sanctuary’ must extend to the furnishings in your home!

Are you ready to create a temple for your body?

MY YEAR OF ‘INTERBEING’

“Everything is interconnected. Our body and our universe are one. This concept, what we call “interbeing” applies to everything.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Three things happened to me recently.             

First, I came across this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, about mindfulness and the body – what he refers to as “Interbeing”.

Then, I read this amazing article by Lisa Rough called “The Body Knows…”

OK, I thought. My body knows something. But what?

You see, I’d been feeling sorry for myself. For most of this year I’d been living with painful inflammation in my neck and shoulders.

My doctor said I had arthritis, which made me feel old, indeed.

I had months of physical therapy, took lots of Advil and had two cortisone shots. Nothing helped.

As if that wasn’t enough, I was experiencing sporadic bouts of vertigo and dizziness.

The dizziness didn’t go away.

That’s when I was referred to a vestibular therapist.

I can now toss around the word ‘vestibular’ with ease, although I will admit I had to hear it several times before the word finally sank in.

“A what?” was my initial reaction.

Most people say the same thing.

Suffice it to say that the vestibular system refers to the inner ear.

Along with our vision, and our muscles and joints, the vestibular system is what helps us maintain balance.

It’s all inter-related. (Isn’t everything?)

This is what Thich Nhat Hanh and Lisa were saying.

They were both correct.

While I’d known for some time that vertigo and motion sickness  (something that has plagued me since childhood) are closely related, I hadn’t realized the extent to which I was affected by it.

No one was more surprised than I, to learn that the problem I’d been battling the entire year, had to do with my inner ear.

One question still remained:  Why was my body hurting?

Well, as I mentioned, our muscles and joints also help us maintain balance. Seems mine were working extra hard. In fact, they were over-worked.

Even though I wasn’t feeling off-balance or out of alignment, my body knew something was up.

I realize this is a rather personal account about interbeing, and the connectiveness of all things. But it’s equally about what the body knows.

How about you?

Is your body trying to tell you something?

I sincerely hope you’re able to figure it out!

WHO WILL YOU BE WHEN YOU’RE 100?

I know two elderly women, ages 85 and 86 respectively.

The younger of the two is your classic little old lady, right down to the white hair, gray polyester pants, and a purse that never leaves her side.

In her mind she has decided there are many things she should no longer do because she’s ‘too old’. A lifelong artist, she no longer paints. She rarely reads, although her shelves are filled with books.

She has decided that she has lived long enough.

The second elderly lady, who jokingly calls herself ‘OL’(Old Lady for short), is still a going concern. Her cheerful, upbeat personality infuses everyone around her with her joy for living.

She loves to travel. She loves to meet people. She wants to know all about you, your work, and your family.

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HOW TO TRAVEL ‘GREEN’

Ah, the joys of travel.                                  

Not only do we have to deal with the hassles of flying, but other healthy habits such as diet and exercise also often fly out the window, which only adds to our level of frustration and fatigue.

For myself, I have the added challenge of travelling with gluten intolerance and food allergies, so staying ‘Green’ can seems fairly low on the list.

I know it can be very hard to maintain our eco-friendly ways while on the road. We tend to opt for convenience when crunched for time, or when we’re tired and far from home.

Still, it is possible, and needn’t take too much effort.

So here are my tips on How to Travel Green:

Staying Hydrated

Yes, it’s definitely important to stay hydrated while traveling, especially while in the air. But my point here is more about the bottle you drink out of, than your fluid intake.

Yet, how do you do that without going through gallons of water packaged in plastic bottles?

My method isn’t foolproof, but here it is:  I travel with a stainless steel water bottle. I empty it prior to passing through security at the airport, then request a refill at the nearest Starbucks.

A friend of mine gave me this tip a few years ago, and it really works!

Your second option is to buy bottled water, refill the stainless steel bottle, and then recycle the plastic container in the nearest recycle bin.

It may not be possible to find a recycle bin every time you need one, but I think this is more about doing what you can. Every little bit helps!

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9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter

Actually, this week I’m featuring a favorite guest writer, Christine Kane. I think you will enjoy her wisdom and sense of humor.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be “without all that bloomin’ stuff she keeps everywhere!”

He’s right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don’t want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity.

If you’re a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself. Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: “I’d be a bad mean horrible person if I…”

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, or unwanted gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads out into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 – “I spent so much on it!”

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the hell out of you?

You won’t. And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 – “I might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of.

Why?

Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day – in spite of technological progress – you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.

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