Archive for January, 2011

From Prevention.com

If you bypass yoga because you’re more interested in firming your body than raising your consciousness, here’s a mind-body routine your muscles will love.

This fat-blasting yoga-inspired workout, designed by Beth Shaw, owner of YogaFit in Redondo Beach, CA, turns up the burn with multiple repetitions of each pose. In this yoga workout to lose fat, once you complete one pose, you flow directly to the next, with no resting between sequences. Yoga, when practiced in this vigorous style, works just as well as strength-training for shedding fat. The yoga workout to lose fat also makes your heart stronger and boosts cardiovascular fitness, found a study from the University of California, Davis. Practice regularly to stay slim, fit, and serene.

Workout Basics

Reps and sequences Start by quickly inhaling and exhaling through your nose for 20 breaths. Then perform each sequence the specified number of times before moving on to the next without a rest. Aim for 4 or 5 workouts a week. Each should take about 30 minutes.

Equipment A sticky yoga mat (available at most sporting goods stores for about $20).

Technique To oxygenate muscles and relieve stress, do one movement per inhalation or exhalation.

Cooldown Relax by lying on your back with hands on abdomen, legs extended, for 15 breaths.

Results You should feel stronger and look slimmer in 2 to 4 weeks.

Sequence 1Chair Flow Tones thighs and glutes


Stand with feet hip-width apart. Extend arms straight out in front. Lower body (don’t let thighs go lower than parallel to floor). Straighten legs and raise arms overhead, palms facing forward. Return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps.

Sequence 2

Moon Flowers Tones thighs, glutes, and core (abdominal, side, and back muscles)

A. Stand in a wide straddle, toes pointed out slightly. Extend arms straight up.

B. Lower until tailbone is almost level with knees (keep knees behind toes) and pull elbows down toward ribs. Return to start. Do 15 to 20 reps.

Sequence 3

Cat to Cow Tones core and upper-body muscles

A. Get on hands and knees. Pull navel toward spine and round back, dropping chin to chest and tucking buttocks.

B. Lift head, chest, and tailbone. Allow belly to lower toward floor and arch back. Return to start. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Sequence 4

Downward Facing Dog, Warrior I, Plank Push-Up Tones and shapes all major muscles and improves balance

A. From Cat position, move into Downward Dog by tucking toes, pressing palms into floor, and lifting hips. Straighten legs and press heels down. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

B. From there, step forward with right foot (keeping palms on the floor, left leg extended) and bend right knee (knee should be directly over ankle). Come up and extend arms overhead to perform Warrior I (see image). Go back into Downward Dog by bending at hips, planting hands on floor at each side of right foot, stepping right foot back, and lifting hips.

C. Shift into a modified Plank pose by dropping knees onto floor. Body should form straight line from head to knees, and hands should be directly beneath shoulders.

D. Do a Plank Push-Up by bending elbows back, close to ribs. Slowly lower chest toward floor. Press back up to Plank position. Lift hips back into Dog. Repeat sequence, this time stepping left foot forward into Warrior I. Repeat sequence 10 times per side.

Sequence 5
Boat Angles Tones core and abdominals

A. From Downward Dog, lower knees to floor, sit back, and raise torso. Shift butt to floor and bring legs around to sit with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Grasp lightly behind thighs.

B. Pull navel toward spine and, keeping back straight and feet on floor, lean back to a 45-degree angle. Hold for 2 to 5 breaths. Straighten back up. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Sequence 6Boat Lifts Tones core and thighs

From the start position for Boat Angles, contract left quad and lift and extend left leg. Lower leg to start. Repeat with right leg. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side, alternating legs.

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This dish is inspired by several tsimmes recipes in Joan Nathan’s “Jewish Cooking in America.” Tsimmes, a Yiddish word that means “fuss,” doesn’t have to be fussy at all. Sometimes the dish contains meat (and is fussier than this one), but sometimes it’s just fruit and vegetables. Warning: You may find yourself eating this for breakfast.

6 medium carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch dice

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch dice

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in medium dice

1/4 pound pitted prunes, cut in half

1/4 pound pitted apricots, quartered

2 tablespoons mild honey, like clover

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (for vegan, use Earth Balance vegan butter)

Note: Sweet potatoes may be labeled as yams. Look for dark orange flesh.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or oil a 3-quart baking dish.

2. Place the carrots and sweet potatoes in a steamer set above 1 inch of boiling water, and steam for five to 10 minutes, until just tender. Drain and toss with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Combine well, and scrape into the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and carrots are thoroughly tender. Dot the top with butter, and bake another 10 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and serve hot or warm.

Yield: Serves eight.

Advance preparation: You can assemble this dish several hours before baking. You can bake it a day or two ahead of serving; reheat it in a medium oven.

Nutritional information per serving: 245 calories; 2 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 57 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 259 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 4 grams protein

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Dieters are sometimes told to have a substantial breakfast, because it reduces the amount of food consumed during rest of the day. Not so, a new study reports.

German researchers studied the food intake of 280 obese adults and 100 of normal weight. The subjects kept records of everything they ate over two weeks, and were carefully instructed about the importance of writing down what they ate as soon as they ate it.

For both groups, a large breakfast simply added to the number of daily calories they consumed. Whether they ate a large breakfast, a small one or none at all, their nonbreakfast calorie intake remained the same.

The study, published in Nutrition Journal, found that the foods most often responsible for the variations in daily calories were among the morning’s favorites: bread, eggs, yogurt, cheese, sausages, marmalade and butter.

This may mean that exactly the opposite of the commonly offered advice is correct: A smaller breakfast means fewer daily calories consumed, not more.

“Whenever someone comes to me for dietary advice and says, ‘I never eat breakfast,’ I say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing,’ ” said the senior author, Dr. Volker Schusdziarra, a professor of internal medicine at the Technical University of Munich. “Eating breakfast is just added calories. You’ll never compensate for them at subsequent meals.”

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Check out this great article from SacMidtown.com – at the end, Ms. Carlson mentions “Also, if you want to try a safe and vegan detox, check out http://kaengraeng.com/. I forgot to mention that.”

By Danielle Carlson, SacMidtown.com

The holidays, as great as they are, always seem to add a couple pounds to my waistline.  It’s all those delicious treats, cookies and candy that surround us in the late months of the year.

Thank goodness January gives us the perfect opportunity to cleanse and detox, get back on the wagon and eat right, exercise, and shed those extra pounds.

To get back on track, I have some healthy weight loss tips taken from one of my very favorite vegan books, The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone.  If you haven’t heard of this book yet and you’re interested in the kind life approach (being kind to your body, each other, animals and the earth) you must go buy this book as soon as possible (It will be worth the purchase, it’s also a cookbook!)

After reading her book I immediately lost 10 pounds just by 86ing most of the processed crap out of my diet.  Not only will you lose weight, but you will have an abundance of energy, all from natural foods that this gorgeous Earth provides for us.  None of this sugar-free over processed and refined junk, just real food.  I promise once you eat the real stuff, you’ll never want to go back!

Tip 1

Eat up your veggies and whole grains!  I guarantee you will never get hungry and will have so much energy!  Some grain examples: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, oats, wild rice and the list goes on.  For veggies, try to get what’s in season.  Many people believe that our bodies are also “in season” and react positively to local produce.

Tip 2

Eat up some delicious daikon!  Daikon is in the raddish family and is a natural diuretic.  You can use it in soups, stews, vegetable dishes, and even tea!

Try Alicia’s amazing weight loss tea:
½ cup grated (into pulp) carrot
½ cup grated (into pulp) daikon
¼ umeboshi plum
1-2 drops of shoyu (fancy name for soy sauce.)
¼ sheet nori, ripped into small pieces (optional)

Bring the carrot, daikon, umeboshi plum, and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add the shoyu and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Add the nori, if using.  Drink hot once a day for 10 days.  After that, drink three times a week for three weeks.  If you want to continue, a couple of times a week should do the trick.

Tip 3

Chew your food properly!  The more and better you chew the more energy you will get from the food and the more satisfied you will feel.

Tip 4

Do your best to eliminate white sugar out of your diet.  White sugar is addictive and can slow down weight loss.  Transition to sweeteners like brown rice syrup to break your white sugar habit.

Tip 5

Keep fattening and indulgent foods out of the house for a while; Even if they’re vegan.  It’s ok to have something sweet every once in a while but keeping things in the house will only tempt you to indulge.

Tip 6

Cut back on the salt consumption.  Seasoning should taste mild.  Too much salt can set you up to overeat or crave strong sweets.

Tip 7

Eat a big nutritious breakfast in the morning.  This will start your day out right and keep you full and energized, cutting the chances of an afternoon binge.  For example, this morning I had a big bowl of fruit (1 banana and 1/3 cup blueberries) and topped it with some soy yogurt and granola.  It was absolutely delicious and it kept me full until lunch.  Oatmeal is also great but try to avoid the sweetened and flavored stuff.  Regular ‘ol oatmeal is awesome with fruit, there’s no need for the extra sugar.

Tip 8

Don’t be too hard on yourself!  If you mess up, don’t give up everything that you’ve worked for.  Just sit down, take a break, and snack on some veggies and grains and you will feel much better.

Tip 9

Don’t eat anything 3 hours before bedtime.

Tip 10

Do some kind of fun exercise three to five days a week.  Whether it’s a jog around the park, or a yoga class at the studio down the street, get out there and move your body.

My Bonus Tip

Cut back on the caffeine for a few weeks.  Try to get your energy from the food you eat and not the stimulants and sugar in your lattes.  Plus, with less caffeine, you will get a better night sleep, which is proven to aid in weight loss.  (If you’re a Starbucks junky like me, try cutting back to 2-3 cups a week and substitute decaf for the regular stuff.)

If you follow these tips for the next few weeks you will see dramatic results in your body, mind, and spirit.  Good luck and I wish everyone a very healthy and happy new year!

Vegan Stat of the Week:

97% of egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages.  Even if you’re not vegan, please be conscious of the food you buy, where it comes from, and how it’s maker or gardener is treated.  The easiest way to do this is to get to know the folks who sell you your food.  Make friends with your local farmers and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Also, if you want to try a safe and vegan detox, check out http://kaengraeng.com/. I forgot to mention that.

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