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Kale Chips

Friday, August 20, 2010 5:59:32 AM PDT

I absolutely love this recipe: it's easy to make and creates a great alternative to potato chips. Even kids love these!

Makes 4 servings:

1 bunch of kale

2 tbsp of lemon juice

3 tbsp of Bragg's amino acids or salt to taste

3 tbsp of olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rip the kale leaves into little shreds and mix them in a bowl with all of the ingredients. spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the leaves are crispy and darker.

883 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Friday, July 16, 2010 5:26:34 AM PDT

 


GOOP: Dr.Frank Lipman on Vitamin D Deficiency

This is an excellent recent piece from Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter and website. Just in time for summer, Dr. Lipman shares some surprising facts about healthy levels of sun exposure. 

Vitamin D Deficiency 
by Dr. Frank Lipman 


For the last 30 years or so, doctors (dermatologists in particular), health officials, beauty experts and many product companies have been demonizing the sun. They’ve told us to avoid it because without sunscreen, exposure to the sun’s rays will damage skin and cause cancer. But this oversimplification distorts the facts. In the past few years, numerous studies have shown that optimizing your Vitamin D levels may actually help prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers. And the best way to optimize Vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to the sun. 

For hundreds of thousands of years, man has lived with the sun: Our ancestors were outdoors far more often than indoors. We developed a dependence on sunshine for health and life, so the idea that sunlight is dangerous does not make sense. How could we have evolved and survived as a species, if we were that vulnerable to something humans have been constantly exposed to for their entire existence? Is it possible that our bodies are made in such a way that the sun is really a lethal enemy? Not in my opinion. Like all living things, we need sunshine, and it feels good for a reason. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the Vitamin D it needs to 
build bones, quell inflammation, bolster the immune system and protect against cancer (including skin cancer). 

“Let the sun shine in”

Western medicine has made a practice of telling us to abstain from things that are bad for us in extreme quantities, when in fact those same things⎯fat, salt, and sunshine for example⎯are very good for us when consumed wisely and in moderation. In the case of sunshine, our UV paranoia is contributing to a silent epidemic: Vitamin D deficiency. It’s silent because most people don’t know they are deficient. And it’s deadly, because this deficiency can lead to cancer and a multitude of other diseases. But we’ve demonized the sun and been brainwashed into believing that even small amounts will harm us. We are told to slather on sunscreen whenever we are in the sun, which blocks Vitamin D production and exacerbates the Vitamin D deficiency induced by our modern, indoor lives. 

Studies show that as many as three out of four Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (a leading scientific journal), found that 70% of Caucasians, 90% of Hispanics and 97% of African Americans in the US have insufficient blood levels of Vitamin D. Indeed, it’s thought to be the most common medical condition in the world, affecting over one billion people and we now have research showing just how essential Vitamin D is to health. 
U.S. and Norwegian researchers have found that people who live in higher latitudes are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency and more prone to developing common cancers and dying of them. It’s now thought that this is due in part to the body’s inability to make enough activated Vitamin D to help regulate cell growth and to keep cell growth in check. Independent scientific research has shown that whether you live in a sunny or not-so-sunny climate, exposure to the sun and its UVB radiation will increase your production of Vitamin D and help lower the risk of a host of debilitating and fatal diseases – including many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression. 

And now the experts are concerned that we’re passing an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency down to a new generation. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency may imprint on an infant for the rest of his/her life. Infants that are deficient at birth can remain Vitamin D deficient for the first several months after birth, which may put them at risk of developing many chronic diseases much later in life. 

What is Vitamin D and how much do you need?

Although called a vitamin, it is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone. It is made in the skin, gets into your bloodstream and then goes into the liver and the kidney where it becomes activated as a key steroid hormone called Calcitriol. It then goes to the intestines, bones and other tissues, effecting metabolic pathways and the expression of myriad genes. Vitamin D's active form can interact with almost every cell in the body directly or indirectly, targeting up to two thousand genes, or about six percent of the human genome. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions, and when the body does not have what it needs to function optimally, it follows that we experience a decline in health and put ourselves at risk of disease. We now know that almost every cell and tissue in our body has Vitamin D receptors, which raises the question: Why would those receptors be there if they didn’t have a function? 

Our Vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual reactions to sun exposure, and our overall health. As a general rule, older people need more Vitamin D than younger people, large people need more that small people, fat people need more than skinny people, northern people need more than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair skinned people, winter people need more than summer people, sun-phobes need more than sun worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people. 
The best way to determine whether or not you are deficient is to 
have your Vitamin D blood levels measured and replenish accordingly. 

My Top Ten Tips for Healthy Sun Exposure and Optimizing your Vitamin D Levels


Have a healthy respect for the sun. It is powerful medicine with potentially dangerous side effects on your skin. Treat it like medication, using the lowest dose necessary, but don’t avoid it completely. Never fall asleep in the sun without protection. 

Always avoid sunburn. It is sunburn, not healthy sun exposure that causes problems. Repeated sunburns, especially in children and very fair-skinned people, have been linked to melanoma. Whereas there is no credible scientific evidence that regular, moderate sun exposure causes melanoma or other skin cancers. 

Prepare your skin and build up tolerance gradually. Start early in the year (spring), or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the sun. 
Get 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure 2-4 times a week. Each of us has different needs for unprotected sun exposure to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. Depending on your age, what type of skin you have, where you live and what time of the day and year it is, your need will vary. The farther you live from the equator, the more exposure to the sun you need in order to generate Vitamin D. For instance, a fair skinned person, sitting on a New York beach in June, in the middle of the day, for about 10-15 minutes (enough to cause a light pinkness 24 hours after), is producing the equivalent of 15,000-20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. But the same person living further north in the U.K, or Canada would need 20-30 minutes to get that light pinkness, which is all one needs. Also, people with dark skin pigmentation may need 20-30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount of Vitamin D. For more specifics, I recommend the tables in The Vitamin D Solution by Dr Michael Holick. 

Get frequent, short exposures. Regular short exposures have been found to be much more effective and safer than intermittent long ones. Note that you cannot generate Vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window, because the UVB rays necessary for Vitamin D production are absorbed by glass. 
After your 15-30 minutes of sun-block free time in the sun, you must protect yourself. If you’re going to be out in the sun for longer periods, wear a hat to protect your face and light colored clothing that blocks the sun and keeps you cool. When you do apply sunscreen, use one with fewer chemicals. 

Check out the 
Environmental Working Group’s list of safer sunscreens. Remember that even weak sunscreens block the ability of your skin to manufacture Vitamin D, so once you have applied it, you will not be making Vitamin D. 

Boost your “internal sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidants and beneficial fats. These strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, goji berries and pomegranates and supplementing with green powdered mixes and fish oils are great options when going into the sun. 

Have your Vitamin D blood levels checked regularly. The correct blood test is 25OH vit D or 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D test. Be aware, however, that current “normal” range for Vitamin D is 20 to 55 ng/ml. This is much too low!!! Those levels may be fine if you want to prevent rickets or osteomalacia, but they are not adequate for optimal health. The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml. 

Don’t rely on food alone for your Vitamin D needs. It is almost impossible to get your Vitamin D needs met by food alone. Fatty wild fish (not farmed), like salmon and mackerel are the best food sources, but you would have to eat huge quantities of them daily to get anywhere near what your body needs. Although fortified milk and orange juice do contain Vitamin D, you would have to drink at least 10 glasses of each daily and I don’t recommend doing that. 

Take Vitamin D3 supplements if necessary. In the winter or if you don’t get enough healthy sun exposure or if your blood levels are low, make sure you supplement with at least 2,000 IU’s a day of Vitamin D3. Although I recommend moderate sunbathing, Vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine (in terms of Vitamin D needs). But, if taken in too large a dose, they can cause Vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not. It is impossible to generate too much Vitamin D in your body from the sun: Your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs, which just reaffirms to me that we should get our Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure. Here are 
specific guidelines for replenishing Vitamin D

Although irresponsible sunbathing is unquestionably harmful and precautions need to be taken, regular, moderate, unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health. It is free, easy to get and good for you when used intelligently. It is the only reliable way to generate Vitamin D in your own body, which we now know to be an essential ingredient for optimizing health and preventing disease. 

 Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, where he combines the best of Western medicine with age-old healing techniques from the East. He is the author of the recent REVIVE; Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) (previously called SPENT) andTOTAL RENEWAL; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003)

He is the creator of 
Eleven Eleven Wellness, Guided Health Solutions, a leading edge integrative health program.
27 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Fat hydrogenation

Thursday, July 8, 2010 7:59:49 AM PDT

 

 

    During commercial food processing, fats sometimes undergo the process of hydrogenation, where the structure of the fat becomes “hardened.” Almost all margarines and all products, that list fats or oils in their ingredient list contain hydrogenated fats.

 Hydrogenation allows manufacturers to start with cheap, low-quality oils, and to

 turn these into products that compete with butter in texture. The low cost of raw

 materials allows margarine to be sold at a much lower price than butter.

 Hydrogenation turns fats into trans-fats. Trans- fatty acids have been shown to increase cholesterol, decrease beneficial

 high-density lipoprotein (HDL), interfere with the liver's detoxification system,

 and interfere with Essential Fatty Acid function.

 

     Hydrogenation is the most common way of drastically changing natural

 oils. This process has major effects on health. Industry's reason for using the

 process is to provide cheap spreadable products for consumers, or to provide shelf

 stability at the expense of nutritional value.

 

    Hydrogenation changes the unsaturated and essential fatty acids present in a

 natural oil. In this process, oils are reacted under pressure with hydrogen gas at

 high temperature (248 to 410 F) in the presence of a metal catalyst

 (usually nickel, a confirmed carcinogen,) but sometimes platinum or even copper)

 for 6 to 8 hours. A "nickel" catalyst often used in hydrogenation, called "Rayney's

 Nickel", is actually 50% nickel and 50% aluminum. Remnants of both metals

 remain in products containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and 

are eaten by people. The presence of aluminum is particularly worrisome, because

 its presence in the human body is associated with Alzheimer's disease and

 osteoporosis, and can contribute to cancer.


   The problem is that many oils begin to oxidize and therefore turn into trans-fats even before they are put into the commercial fryer to make French fries. Refined vegetable oils, sold in clear bottles, react with light and begin to turn rancid already on the shelf of your supermarket. Using butter, coconut oil and pure extra virgin organic olive oil and sesame oil, sold in dark bottles will help you to limit your trans-fat intake. Avoiding all processed foods will help you even more. The following is a table of smoke point of different oils.Once a fat starts to smoke, it usually will emit a harsh smell and fill the air with smoke. Fats that have gone past their smoke points contain a large quantity of free radicals and become carcinogenic, so it's a good idea to cook with oils, which have a high smoke point.


FatSmoke Point °FSmoke Point °C
Unrefined canola oil225°F107°C
Unrefined flaxseed oil225°F107°C
Unrefined safflower oil225°F107°C
Unrefined sunflower oil225°F107°C
Unrefined corn oil320°F160°C
Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil320°F160°C
Extra virgin olive oil320°F160°C
Unrefined peanut oil320°F160°C
Semirefined safflower oil320°F160°C
Unrefined soy oil320°F160°C
Unrefined walnut oil320°F160°C
Hemp seed oil330°F165°C
Butter350°F177°C
Semirefined canola oil350°F177°C
Coconut oil350°F177°C
Unrefined sesame oil350°F177°C
Semirefined soy oil350°F177°C
Vegetable shortening360°F182°C
Lard370°F182°C
Macadamia nut oil390°F199°C
Refined canola oil400°F204°C
Semirefined walnut oil400°F204°C
High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil405°F207°C
Sesame oil410°F210°C
Cottonseed oil420°F216°C
Grapeseed oil420°F216°C
Virgin olive oil420°F216°C
Almond oil420°F216°C
Hazelnut oil430°F221°C
Peanut oil440°F227°C
Sunflower oil440°F227°C
Refined corn oil450°F232°C

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35 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Tofu and Cranberry Salad Recipe

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 10:31:08 AM PDT

I love this salad. Cranberries can be replaced with raisins or sliced dried apricots, beans or corn can be used instead of chickpeas, celery and tofu could be omitted and almonds can be replaced with any other nuts or croutons. This way, you can get five different salads out of just one and with all of the nutritional value that this salad is packing, you are getting a full meal!

2 cups arugula leaves or mixed greens, washed

2 cucumbers, sliced

3/4 cup carrots, diced

3 shallot sticks, diced

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup tofu, cubed and marinated for three hours in 4 tbsp of soy sauce or Bragg's Amino Acids (the latter is preferred)

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)

1/4 cup of roasted sliced almonds (optional)

salt, lemon juice and pepper to taste

4-5 tbsp of olive oil 

Mix all the vegetables together, arrange avocado slices, tofu, cranberries, almonds and chickpeas on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper and olive oil!

 

 

 

1 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Change Your Attitude

Sunday, June 27, 2010 6:58:47 AM PDT

 The easiest way to change your mood or your state of mind is to change your attitude about it. Close your eyes and remember how you feel when you are doing something you love. Did your posture change? What about your breathing? Does your body seem lighter? 

   When we are engaged in something that makes us happy, we become more like children, we get filled with the joy and the wonder of that moment. And then, the moment changes, because it always does. As a result, the beautiful and the light qualities of joy go away immediately. To retain those positive qualities for as long as you wish, you have to learn to recreate how they feel inside your body.

  How does joy feel like? Close your eyes and imagine. Deepen your breathing, drop your shoulders down, lift your chest up, raise your head up high, allow your walk to be lighter and watch your attitude change right then and there. Watch your mental state becoming lighter,more expansive, happier, more luminous.

   This exercise can be applied to any feelings. Next time you catch yourself experiencing an emotion, note where in your body are you feeling it. Note all sensations and physical manifestations of it. Note your breath, your body. Then, whenever you'd like to recreate that emotion or attitude, close your eyes and actively and purposely bring on its physical characteristics. You can experiment with feelings, like joy or freedom, or mental states, like creativity.

  You can bring this "attitude play" with you to the yoga mat, invoking different states in different yoga poses and noting where in your physical body are you feeling them the most. Where in your body do you feel pain? Do you typically feel pain in the same areas? It usually indicates "stuck" energy patterns. By releasing the attitude, which causes those areas of your body to tense up, you can release your aches and pains, both physically and emotionally. Most importantly, don't forget to play: this exercise is fun!

961 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Produce to Buy Organic

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 5:25:49 PM PDT

   Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Organic farmers apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants. They practice rotating crops, hand weeding or mulching in order to manage weeds, instead of using herbicides and other potentially toxic chemicals, used in non-organic farming.

 

   Chemical residues from pesticides and herbicides remain not only on the skin of the fruit, but also can be absorbed into the inner flesh. Even low levels of pesticide consumed over time can be detrimental to human health. A study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that people who had been exposed to low levels of pesticides were 1.13 times as likely to have Parkinson's disease as those who had never been exposed. Other studies have also linked pesticides to health problems, like cancer and nervous system damage.

Organic fruits and vegetables tend to be ripening slower without the chemical additives, therefore increasing their mineral and vitamin content. Research suggests that the levels of certain nutrients, like vitamin C, some minerals and some polyphenols (naturally occurring antioxidants that may help bolster the immune system)  are higher in organically grown crops.

Organic fruits and vegetables are also more expensive and not all of us are ready to make the financial commitment to eat only organic foods. The following lists, compiled by The Environmental Working Group (EWG), nonprofit environmental research organization,  can help you lower your pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent. By avoiding conventional versions of the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables you can both limit your pesticide intake and keep your cash.

 

The MOST Contaminated Fruits and Veggies (Buy These Organic)

  1. Peach           
  2. Apple
  3. Sweet Bell Pepper
  4. Celery           
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries        
  8. Kale   
  9. Lettuce          
  10.  Grapes - Imported  
  11.  Carrot           
  12.  Pear  
  13.  Collard Greens       
  14.  Spinach
  15.  Potato


The produce with the LEAST amount of pesticide residues (don't have to buy these organic)

    1. Onion
    2. Avocado
    3. Sweet corn (frozen)
    4. Pineapple
    5. Mango
    6. Asparagus
    7. Sweet peas (frozen)
    8. Kiwi
    9. Cabbage
    10. Eggplant
    11. Papaya
    12. Watermelon
    13. Broccoli
    14. Tomato
    15. Sweet potato

Print out these lists and carry them with you to the grocery store for easier and healthier shopping.

 

 

 

6 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Shower of Loving Energy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 4:50:23 AM PDT


Starting your day with a shower is a wonderful way of cleaning your physical body. Your energy also needs a cleanse when you wake up. There are many yogic techniques of breathing exercises, meditation and visualization to help you feel stronger, more clearheaded and more focused.

Today, we will learn a very simple, yet extremely effective one: the shower of loving energy. Shortly upon awakening, close your eyes and visualize yourself under a shower of loving warm energy, coming from the sky and hitting your body at the connection pulse zone level –right at the top of your head. This energy can be of any color. White is the most neutral one, gold is the color of spiritual wisdom, purple is the color of connection to the Higher Source. You can also experiment with bright colors, such as blue, which is there to give you peace, or red- the color of earthy vibrant energy.

 Imagine the energy going through your body, washing out all negativity and everything that no longer serves you. Imagine all negative thoughts, patterns, ideas being washed into the Earth. In turn, visualize the shower of energy giving you back the love and acceptance of the universe. Visualize this love filling every cell of your being, making you lighter

 

Repeat this exercise every morning and after every situation, which leaves a negative impact on you.

9 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Healthy Muffin Recipe

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 6:48:15 AM PDT

 

(makes 12 muffins)

1 cup (240 ml) old fashioned oatmeal, not instant
½ cup (125 ml)unsweetened applesauce
2 mashed bananas
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml)  baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cinnamon

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup of milk or milk alternative
½ cup (125 ml) whole wheat flour 
½ cup (125 ml) dried cranberries or raisins 

1/2 cup of dates or dried apricots

1/4 cup sliced walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375oF (190C). Line muffin pan with paper or silicon liners or coat with non-fat cooking spray. Combine oatmeal, molasses, applesauce,  milk, eggs and oil. Mix until all ingredients are blended. Measure and mix all dry ingredients. Mix the wet and the dry ingredients. Add dried fruit and nuts if using. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

What Do I Feed My Toddler

Monday, June 7, 2010 11:42:17 AM PDT

 I have an almost two year old and just like every Mom, I am concerned about what he eats.
I am big on whole grains,since they contain a lot of protein, vitamins (especially B-vitamins,) and keep you fuller longer because of their low sugar content. So I buy quinoa (it's a complete protein, by the way,) buckwheat, millet, amaranth, wild and brown rice. I cook those according to the package instructions and it takes 10-30 minutes. Sometimes, I make one grain and we eat it fresh for a few days and sometimes I make a bunch of them and freeze them for later.

I also sautee whichever vegetables I have with some organic extra virgin olive oil and Bragg's amino acids (it's like soy sauce, but healthier) and sometimes add beans or tofu, and sometimes do not. I take toddler plates I bought in Babies R Us and put the grain on one side and the veggie mix on the other side. Depending on how many plates I make, I either refrigerate or freeze them. I also take leftover veggies and mix them with Quinoa pasta (this one is my kid's favorite.) I buy this pasta variety at a health food store -it contains no wheat.

I also make juices for my kid, when I have the time. The key is to stick as many veggies as possible into the juice. The way I do it is by putting a couple of sweet apples in there, to hide the taste of all the celery and the broccoli I put in there for health purposes. Putting the vegetables in the blender, instead of a juicer, preserves them whole, which is better. unfortunately, I don't have a good blender right now.


I am also big on dried fruit. Since the kid never eats any candy or cookies, he thinks that dried fruit IS candy. The figs and the dates are his favorite. If you really have some extra time, then stick some figs, dates, prunes and nuts into the food processor, form little balls and roll those in shredded coconut. I also give my son apple slices and banana pieces as snack foods. Surprisingly, he enjoys snacking on boiled eggs, which have all the protein he needs to grow, so I don't object!

Another thing is smoothies.
I stick things like spirulina powder in my little man's smoothie (spirulina is a complete protein, all amino-acids, super digestible. It also has iron, vitamin C, calcium and other good stuff.)  I take a banana, any berries I got, spirulina powder, a bit of rice milk, ice cubes and stick it all in the blender. I also put a cucumber in his berry/banana smoothie sometimes. He doesn't notice. I also put almond butter in smoothies for protein, but it can be used to make the smoothies extra yummy. Also, , if your kid doesn't want to sit down for a meal, smoothie is a great a nutritious alternative to one.
 
Another little trick I created once out of despair was a blended pasta sauce. He went through this phase where if there was pasta on the plate, he wouldn't eat any vegetables with it. So, I'd saute a bunch of veggies with a lot of tomatoes, blend the mixture in the blender and pour it over the pasta. He thought it was liquid, but mama knew that it contained kale and broccoli and carrots and tomatoes!
 
464 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Foot Placement in Yoga

Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:20:40 AM PDT

 

    Yoga explores your connection to everything around you. This connection starts with your relationship to the Earth. I teach my beginner’s classes by exploring the wonderful grounding effect of the standing poses, mostly because the connection to the Earth through the feet allows one to open up creatively in other poses.

  Like in everything else, in yoga practice, it’s important to build your foundation first.

Placing your feet correctly on your yoga mat can eventually realign your hips, your pelvis, changing your posture and your walk as a result, so the benefit of feet placement extends way beyond the mat.

   Stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. You can make sure the feet are parallel by aligning your second toe to the center of your ankle, or by making sure your second toes on both feet are parallel to each other. Lift your toes up and separate them in the air. As your toes are lifted, pay attention to the four corners of your feet. Imagine your foot is a car with four wheels. The weight needs to be evenly distributed between all four wheels of your car, so place equal weight on every corner of the foot. Ground the inside edges of the feet first an then move on to the outside edges. Slightly lift the arches. Now, maintaining this connection to the Earth, gently lower your toes down, keeping them separated from one another. You just learned the foundation of yoga practice: a strong and joyous connection to the Earth through your feet! This position of the feet is a base for all standing poses in yoga, allowing the energy to flow more evenly and freely to your internal organs, glands and joints.

 

3 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

YogaPulse Videos on Youtube

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 6:21:20 AM PDT

 http://www.youtube.com/yogapulsedvd#p/a/u/0/3WMlsft8C3k

 

Check out YogaPulse's YouTube Channel with new videos uploaded weekly. Right now you can find Total Toning with YogaPulse program there, with 5-minute long yoga videos for your legs, arms and abs. You can also find free short yoga programs for your upper and lower back and a yoga program for your posture and back strength. Keep tuning in for more yoga programs!

7 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Cravings

Friday, May 28, 2010 8:18:07 AM PDT

 

The need for artificial sweets usually signifies inner nutritional imbalance. Constant cravings for sweets are mostly the result of not consuming enough complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables as well as Omega 3 fatty acids.

When I look at sugar cravings, I look at the underlying imbalance first. The quickest and the easiest way to stop bingeing on sweets is to look the other things you are eating. Every processed food product that comes in a box contains way too much sugar, so if you are trying to stop eating candy bars, the packaged foods should be the first thing to go form your pantry. This includes popcorn, crackers, chips and other foods, which are not necessarily sweet in flavor. Eating too much highly concentrated carbohydrates over a long period of time can cause insulin insensitivity that can lead to diabetes and other health conditions. 

Sugar disrupts the vitamin-mineral balance in the body, it messes up with your energy levels, it depresses the immune function. It can contribute to various diseases, ranging from osteoporosis to diabetes to cardiovascular disease. It can also cause wild mood swings and depression, among other things.

Including more complex carbohydrates in your diet should dramatically help with sugar cravings. Instead of eating white bread, switch to whole grain version. Eat whole unprocessed grains at least once or twice a day. You can pick from quinoa, oats, bulgur, buckwheat, barley, amaranth, brown or wild rice or millet. These grains can be easily found in a health food store and cooked in ten to twenty minutes with some salt and olive oil. The grains make a delicious alternative to potatoes or white rice, which should be avoided, if you are looking to get rid of your sugar cravings.

Include more fruits are vegetables in your diet. Green vegetables (broccoli, kale, zucchinis, celery, cucumbers, etc) should be eaten at least once a day, as well as red vegetables (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes.) Fruits of all kinds can be eaten once-twice a day. For drinks, all artificial sodas and high-sugar fruit juices should be avoided in favor of pure water, which could have lemon added for taste.

Extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or natural fruit purees with lemon juice should replace all packaged salad dressings, which are frequently loaded with preservatives and sugars.

 

Strive for every meal to include salty, pungent, astringent, bitter and sweet tastes. Sweet flavor can be obtained naturally, through nutritious foods, like sweet vegetables, dates, figs, dried apricots, bananas, apples, mangoes and nut butters.

 

 Lack of dietary omega-3 fatty acids can also result in an increased intake of sugar, according to some recent research. To correct this problem, eat more fish or take fish oil supplements (make sure the oil comes from small, mercury-free fish) or flaxseed oil capsules. Another supplement, proven effective for sugar cravings and imbalances worth experimenting with is an Ayurvedic herb, called gymnema sylvestre.

433 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Giveaway

Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:48:05 AM PST

 

 http://www.givedaddy.com/yogapulse/ -my newest review.

 

What made me happy was how many mothers of young kids responded. Mr. Baby is 19 months old and I easily relate to those that can't make it to the actual yoga class. YogaPulse System is designed for those that have to or like to exercise at home, but enjoy variety: there are six DVDs to choose from, plus a nutrition booklet and a position brochure: a lot of value.

3 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Rye Bread Recipe

Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:05:35 PM PST

 

Rye has ability to restore and unclog blood vessels. It is rich in iron, and ootherwise, very healthy. This rye bread recipe, is easy to make, even if it seems long and confusing at first. Rye flour can be bought in any health food store.

 
Rye Sour Starter
1/2 cup rye flour
1 cup water
 
Mix the ingredients together and leave in  a clean glass jar, covered with a loose lid, stored in a warm place for three days.
 

Rye Sour Leaven
3 cups rye flour
2 cups water
1 cup starter
Mix in a ceramic bowl and lit sit overnight until bubbly with a sour smell.
Yield six cups
 
 
Rye Bread
6 cups rye sour leaven
2 cups cold water
8-9 cups rye flour
2 teaspoons natural gray sea salt. 
 
Pour the water into the rye sour leaven and mix until everything becomes smooth. Add salt and then begin to slowly mix in the flour, until the mixture is perfectly smooth. This may take a while and is a lot easier done ina  food processor witha dough mixer. If the dough appears too hard, add a little water. The dough should be sticky. Leave to stand for an hour or two.
When you come back, the dough should change texture. Divide and loosely shape the dough into four loaves. Allow one or two hours of proofing time in the pans, covered with a cloth. The pan should provide moisture and at the end, a bit of heat.

Preheat the oven to 450 degreesF. Place the loaves in the oven and after ten minutes reduce the ehat to 350 degreesF. Do not open the door for the entire hour of baking time. At the end of the hour, the loaf's bottom should be able to make a crispy sound when pulled off. The loaves can now be cooled.
 
Adapted from The New Bread's Biological Transmutations, by the Grain and Salt Society.
5 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Prenatal Yoga

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:57:11 AM PST

Every woman wants to have a healthy baby. Yoga poses and breathign exercises, when done with care, can make a woman's body stronger and more flexible. Yoga poses tone your muscles, improving the overall balance and circulation, while making your joints more limber.
Yoga poses help you breathe and relax, which can help you adjust to the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. Learning how to do yogic breathing gets you ready for labor and childbirth, by training you to stay calm when you need it most. If you are afraid during labor, the body produces adrenalin and shuts down the production of oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. Yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel the pain, and show you how to breathe instead.
 
The practice of meditation is extremely beneficial for you and your baby. It has been proven to slow down your heart rate, relax and focus your mind - all great for the baby. Meditation does not have to be a two-hour a day affair. Sitting quietly for fifteen minutes and focusing on your breath would be very beneficial. You can take the time you meditate as way to connect to your baby and feel his or her moves, as you quietly sit with a hand on your belly and breathe.
 
As a general rule, avoid anything that seems painful. Slightly uncomfortable is ok with caution, painful is never fine. Avoid extreme backbending poses, as well as extreme forward bending. Place your legs apart for seated forward bend.Work on squeezing your muscles towards the center: this will help you to avoid overstretching, which is especially important towards the end. Practice side-stretches daily, to give the baby more room, as the intercoastal muscles between the ribs stretch.
 
If you never practiced inverted poses before, now is not the time to start. However, if you have a practice of inversions, you may carefully continue for the first two trimesters. Don't hold the poses for too long.
 
You may want to skip any movements that require you to lie flat on your back for longer than a few minutes, especially after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Lying on your back can put pressure on your inferior vena cava, the vein that returns blood from the legs to the heart, and can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea. But many women are comfortable lying in this position well into their pregnancies, so watch your body and your instincts.
 
Start a love affair with yoga props: blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters: you can see the demonstration of a correct way of using them in a YogaPulse: Pregnant, Fit and tight video.
 
First trimester
You don't have many restrictions this early in your pregnancy. If you're a regular yoga practitioner, accept that your routine will require modifications as time goes on. Do not practice on a full stomach to alleviate nausea. Start practicing the "legs up the wall" pose, insteaf of a shoulderstand. Listen to your body: even though you are probably not showing yet, your blood volume increases greatly, making you more tired. Be gentle and loving with your body. If you haven't yet, start a daily meditation practice. Do breathing exercises. Write in your journal: it would help you to better connect to oyur body and your mind.
 
Second trimester
Don't try to hold poses for a long time, and remember to sink into yoga positions slowly and carefully, in order to avoid injury, because of your loosening joints. Your expanding belly will effect your sense of balance, so keep your feet separated hip-width apart or wider.
 
Third trimester
You're probably feeling less graceful now that your belly is bigger, so perform standing poses with your heel to the wall to avoid losing your balance and risking injury to you or your baby. Props such as blocks and straps can also help you move through different poses with greater stability. Introduce multiple seated hip opening poses to your practice, if you haven't yet. It will help you with birth.
 
And finally: love your expanding body as you are walking on this magical path to healthy motherhood.

21 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Is Coffee Good for You

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 9:50:33 AM PST

 

With a coffee shop on virtually every block, and "a grande iced triple-shot, extra-whipped skim mocha" being a normal way to ask for an afternoon drink, it's not always easy to remember what it was that we drank before the mass-caffeination of America. With a couple of cups of java just to get going in the morning and a double espresso to concentrate better in the afternoon, coffee is becoming synonymous with energy. But is it good energy?
 
 
Symptoms of caffeine overuse include depression, anxiety, restlessness, stomach upsets, nausea and vomiting. Moderate to heavy coffee consumption may even lead to heart disease. Addiction to sugary coffee drinks or sweet colas may also lead to extreme mood swings or even diabetes.
Coffee may also cause an increase of stress hormones, according to Stephen Cherniske, author of "Caffeine Blues." Everytime we drink coffee, the adrenal gland produces adrenaline, the same thing that happens when we are afraid or angry. After a prolonged period of excessive caffeine consumption, the adrenal gland doesn't have any more adrenaline to produce. This leads to chronic fatigue, constant exhaustion and susceptibility to disease. Dr. James D. Lane, who studied caffeine for 15 years, found that stress hormones produced by a cup of coffee did not leave the body of the participant for 24 hours after consumption.
 
"If your eating is imbalanced, you are going to require another stimulant, following your cup of coffee, to get your adrenaline back, New York-based Dr. Craig Fishel says. Most people reach for a cookie or a piece of chocolate after their skim latte precisely for this reason.
Caffeine is a substance found naturally in the leaves, seeds, fruits and nuts of more than 60 different plants, and is added to food and many over-the-counter medicines. It is absorbed and distributed very quickly into the body; it passes directly into the central nervous system or the brain. Often combined with vast amounts of sugar in beverages, caffeine can be hard to quit for some.
 
 
Eighty-five percent of all Americans drink coffee on a daily basis, according to the Duke University Medical Center -- maybe whether they want to or not. "Caffeine is similar to nicotine in its addictive properties," Feishel says.
But caffeine can be kicked.
"The best way to quit caffeine is to replace half of your morning beverage with a decaffeinated alternative, gradually decreasing the caffeinated portion," Fishel says.
 
Sometimes quitting coffee brings quite unexpected results, like taste buds becoming more sensitive after quitting coffee. Discovering a whole world of herbal teas and other delicious beverages, instead of just mechanically gulping coffee could be another unexpected benefit.
 
Since everyone has a different tolerance level to caffeine, the key is knowing where to draw the line and how to get that New York-energy buzz while staying healthy, physically and emotionally.
 
Here are some ideas to help beat the cuppajoe blues.
 
Try natural supplements with anti-inflammatory properties to decrease the risk of heart disease: turmeric, an herb used as a spice in many Indian dishes, has a compound called curcumin with strong anti-inflammatory properties; ginger root is a spice with many medicinal properties, including being an anti-inflammatory; omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in deepwater fish, have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Coffee alternatives in New York do exist. Try going to your local health food store, to try multiple varieties of herbal teas. You can also experiment with chicory root and barley drinks. As always, don't forget to be hydrated by drinking water.
 

2388 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Yoga Bricks

Monday, December 28, 2009 10:54:20 AM PST

So you got a brand new pair of fancy "yoga bricks." Now what?

Yoga mat is pretty self-explanatory : just get on it and start practicing. The block usage in yoga can be somewhat confusing.YogaPulse DVDs always show the correct ways of using these props to enhance your yoga practice.

Generally, yoga bricks are used to:

1. Bring the floor closer to you. If you are a beginner, are pregnant or simply cannot reach the floor while being in a standing yoga position, without compromising your allignment, it's better to put a block on the floor and then place your hand or fingertips on top of it. The yoga block can be placed on three different height levels: depending on where you are in relationship to the floor. You can make the block higher or lower, if you wish. Always start with a level higher, than what you think you need, gradually going down a level, if desired. Poses to use the yoga block s with include: half-moon pose, extended angle pose, triangle pose.

2. To enhance the pose's effect on you. Strategically placed yoga bricks can be used to intensify the experience in a yoga pose. Placing the block under your forehead while in pigeon pose should force you to keep your upper back in as great of an allignemnt as your hips, which are supposed to have equal weight on them in this position. Holding a block between your thighs moves your legs into their full potential while in a wheel or a bridge pose. Yoga bricks, used for this purpose, also have a tendency to focus your mind entirely on the postion you are in. As the physical experience intensifies, so does the elvel of mental concentration.

3. To help you further relax into the pose and hold it longer. While you are seated in a wide straddle forward bend, you can put your hands or your forehead on the block. This way you can focus on moving your inner thighs towards the earth, without having to worry about your upper body. In an ankle-to-knee pose, where the ankles and the knees are in line with each other, placing the forehead on the yoga block would take some of the edge off of this intense position.

4. And finally: be creative!  Yoga blocks have unlimited use in yoga practice, and you can come up with a new way to use them every day. Bricks can be used to lie on, to hold, to move. They can even be used as weights to increase the effect of the yoga poses!
And when you are done with your yoga, your kids can build themselves a tower out of these magic bricks, or you can use the blocks to put things on.

2827 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia H.

Healthy First Birthday Cake

Sunday, December 13, 2009 12:24:53 PM PST

Whether you are celebrating your child's first birthday, or simply would like your cake to be both healthy and delicious, baking this yummy treat would surely make your day (or end up all over your baby's face, for that matter.) Based on molasses - an excellent source of iron, calcium, potassium and other minerals, this cake has a natural, not overpowering sweetness about it: perfect for the fresh little taste buds!

 

Molasses Cake

1/2 cup unrefined organic molasses

1 cup applesauce

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour

 

Warm the oven up to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together and pour the mixture into a buttered  baking dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a wooden stick, inserted into the cake, comes out clean.

 

 

 

2 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia

Yoga for Tennis

Sunday, December 13, 2009 12:14:40 PM PST

You are on a tennis court and everything is looking good: your backhand is as strong as ever and your serve is impeccable. Point after point, you are winning the match. Inspired, you come back to the same court the next day and unfortunately, are faced with a different scenario: nothing works, every ball goes out and the more points you are losing, the more irritable you become. Sadly, this scenario is too familiar to most tennis players. If you are not a pro, you are likely to experience some degree of unsteadiness in your tennis game.

Yogic practices can tremendously help in making your tennis game steadier and stronger.

Meditating for just ten minutes a day can greatly improve your concentration during a stressful match and dristi (single-pointed gaze) would prevent your tennis instructor from screaming: “Watch the ball!” For seventeenth time during a half-hour practice. Pranayama (breathing practices) increase the lung capacity, so you don’t run out of breath while your tennis partner is busy running you from one corner of the court to the other. Regular asana practice would make you more flexible, therefore increasing your reach on the court. Sun Salutations make the spine suppler, so if used as a pre-game stretch, they can greatly reduce the risk of injury.

While most yoga poses can be used as an aid for a tennis game enhancement, some poses are still better than others, as they target tennis-specific injuries and problem areas. These poses can be done both on and off the court and of course, if you’d like to see quick improvement, you should try to practice regularly.

Before starting your yoga practice, take a moment to center your breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply and fully through the nose (ujjayi breath.) Try to remember to go back to this type of breathing in between difficult points during your next match. You will notice the soothing and the centering effect of ujjayi when you are stressing out about a tie-break or about losing a game.

Inhale and lift your arms in prayer pose up to the sky. Exhale and fold forward, placing your palms on the floor, with fingertips in line with the toes. Then, straighten your legs, if you can. Inhale and look up. The spine is straight. Exhale and jump or step back into chaturanga, bending your elbows straight back. Look in front of you, not down. The elbows have to be very close the body, don’t let your tailbone stick out in the air. Keep the space between the shoulder blades broad. Hold the pose for five breaths. This pose strengthens the arms and the wrists, so you’d never have to use one of these annoying wrist machines again, because practicing chaturanga should eventually give you a better control of the racquet.

Inhale and move forward, lifting to upward-facing dog. 
Your thighs should be a few inches off the floor. Gaze at the tip of your nose. Make sure that the inner elbow creases face forward, thus opening the shoulders. Hold for five breaths. 
Up-dog is great for tennis elbow treatment and prevention. Because the pose opens up the shoulders, there is less pressure on the elbow joint. The pose also strengthens the spine, the arms and the wrists. It can improve your serve.

Exhale and make your way into a downward –facing dog, pushing back, straightening the legs and trying to place the soles of the feet on the floor. Gaze at your navel. Spread your fingers wide and make sure the inner elbow creases are still rotated forward, while the middle fingers are parallel and pointed straight forward. This way you are preventing the tennis elbow through stretching the shoulder joint. Activate your quadriceps and hold the pose for five breaths. 
Downward facing dog is one of the best pre-game stretches. It stretches the spine, the sides of the torso, the shoulders, the arms, the neck and the backs of the legs. If you practice downward-facing dog regularly, you should have a better reach on the court and you may feel lighter while running to the net. Your ground strokes can improve tremendously from all of this stretching. If you love this pose, you are unlikely to develop post-game cramping of the legs, because of the regular hamstring stretch. The serve should become very powerful from the shoulder opening.

From a standing pose, inhale and lift your right knee into the chest. Exhale and open your right knee to the right, placing the right sole of the foot into the inner side of the left thigh. Imagine energy, lifting through your left leg. Lift your pelvic floor in and up. Keep your torso straight and on the inhalation, lift your arms in prayer up above your head, with forearms being behind the ears to tree pose, vrksasana. 
Keep your gaze steady at an unmoving point in front of you. Hold for ten breaths and repeat on the other side. 
Tree pose is excellent for balance and coordination, necessary for tennis. It also strengthens the back and the torso muscles for a great serve and works on the leg muscles for ground strokes and volleys.

Yoga practice can make your tennis game steadier, through improving your strokes and helping your injuries. Most importantly, yoga can steady your mind, so you are able to get “into the zone,” necessary for winning.

 

12 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia

Healthy Holiday Juice

Friday, December 11, 2009 11:32:01 AM PST

In America, we are used to overeating during the holidays and dieting later. As an alternative to this, not-so healthy holiday tradition, try incorporating more nutritious, fresh and healthy foods into your diet. Doing so can give your more energy to attend various holiday-related events and family gatherings. It can also help you eat less. When the body's nutritional balance is in check, one tends to crave a lot less unhealthy foods.  When you are getting enough fruits, vegetables, grains and healthy nutrients, you are not as likely to reach for that second cookie.

Try those nutritious holiday juices to get your vitamin levels up and your digestion going this winter:


1. Green Juice
for  two glasses:

Kale -3 leaves
cucumber -1 large
Celery- 2 stalks
Apple -1 green
parsley -half a bunch
Juice everything together and drink on an empty stomach. You can also add quarter of a lemon and just a touch of ginger to increase immunity.


2. Red Juice
for  two glasses:

Apple -1-2, red
Carrots- 4
Beet -1/2
Celery 2 stalks


Juice everything together and drink on an empty stomach

3 Comments | Posted in News By Anastasia