While spending a weekend in Great Barrington, Massachusetts back in October, I was introduced to a a new libation.  While lunching at Railroad Street, my friend Lesleysuggested I try some of her raspberry beer.  Served in a decorative flute glass, the flavor said “raspberry champagne” even though the label clearly called it a lambic beer.  It was wonderful!

Upon returning to south Florida, I stumbled upon raspberry beer at my local Crown Wine and Liquor store.  Mitch and I brought home a bottle to see if it was similar and in fact it was exactly the same.  Lindenans Framboise is sold in 2 sizes, 12 ounce and 17.4 ounce bottles.  It is quite pricey for a bottle of beer, but nothing about this drink  says beer.  

As I am always checking calories, I had to google this product to see how fattening it was.  Surely it must have a lot of calories, as it tastes so decadently sweet!  Though I have found some conflicting information, I believe that the caloric content is  is just under 75 calories for a 5 ounce serving.  It’s slightly carbonated quality makes it easy to sip and since it’s best served in a flute glass, it seems appropriate to drink it that way.  If you are following Weight Watchers, a 5 ounce serving is just one point.  It’s yummy enough to drink a glass and call it dessert!

I think this is a perfect bring your own bottle when visiting friends and family this holiday season.  You’ll probably have the pleasure of introducing a new product, while you can enjoy a glass or two without calorie guilt.  The gorgeous color is just perfect this time of year and drinking from a flute glass always seems special. 

I found Lindemans Framboise at Crown Wine and Liquor on University Drive in Coral Springs. The 12 oz bottle sells for 6 dollars and change and the larger bottle closer to 11 dollars.  Make sure to buy one to try and one to share!  Let me know where you find yours and how you like it.   Remember, celebrations don’t always have to be off limits!

Stay in the Moment

One might think the surest way to combat holiday stress AND extra consumed calories, is to give 110% to their workouts.  In theory, this is very logical and would work wonderfully.  In reality, due to the added stresses (good and bad) and distractions that this time of year brings , working out too intensely may very well lead to injury.  Now, more than ever, we need to stay in the moment in order to complete our exercise sessions in a safe and effective manor. 

Back in September of this year, I was walking from my car to my first class of the day.  With an extremely busy day ahead, I knew I was preoccupied before I even left my house.  The little voice in my head suggested I skip my first class and start my day a little later but feeling badly about my students arriving to find no class, I pushed myself.  Thinking, talking to someone else and feeling the pressure of the day ahead, I stepped up on the sidewalk, looking in a different direction and ended up slipping in a pile of mud and tearing my hamstring.  The second it happened I was reminded of a saying a learned in my Pilates training (and use often when teaching)—our body goes where our eyes go.  Had I been looking in front of me,  I would have noticed the pile of mud and easily avoided it.  Instead, I let the distractions get the best of me and ended up on my butt, in great pain and out of the work and workout loop for a while.  There were several morals to that story.  One was to practice what I preach and a second was to listen to the little voice inside my head!

Often times when we are stressed we look to blow off steam during our workouts.  If we start out too strong we set ourselves up for failure as our endurance dwindles before we have completed the session.  If you are out running, you need to be able to maintain proper form to avoid injury and proper attention to avoid obstacles on the road such as cracks, rocks or potholes.  Cyclists need to be even more careful this time of year as drivers are overly distracted, trying to find store locations, while wondering how they will pay for the gifts to go under the tree.  Kickboxers may want to punch and kick harder than usual in an effort to de-stress, but stress naturally lowers our immune system and  makes us more prone to injury, so again, finding balance is paramount!

So during this festive yet stressful time of year, certainly do try to keep up with your fitness routine.  Both exercise and routine do help to keep us feeling in control of our lives.   A great way to stay healthy, fit and sane this holiday season is to stay in the moment.  This will allow you to get through the next 5 weeks and still maintain peaceandfitness.

Where are They Now?

Exhausted and pre-occupied this past Wednesday night, I only watched half of the Biggest Loser special and the half I did watch, I only saw parts of.  Thankfully, those of us with DVRs no longer have to miss anything on tv, ever, so yesterday I watched from start to finish.  One thing that was clear right away, was how much heavier the contestants have gotten each season.  It was interesting to see the before pictures of contestants during the first few seasons, as they really didn’t even seem that overweight.  I found Dr. H’s words at the intro so real.  Never before had an extreme, exercise intensive weight loss program been tried on regular Americans and shown on television.  In his own words, the doc admits he had no idea how it would work and was pretty frightened that first season.  With season one a success, they obviously decided to get a little more extreme each and every season after that, as this current season began with some of the heaviest contestants so far. 

But where are those contestants from previous seasons, now?   It was great to see so many doing well and maintaining their healthy weights and lifestyles.  I loved seeing a group of them getting together to run and support one another in a half marathon!  What a huge accomplishment.  I am both jealous and inspired at the same time.  I was particularly pleased to see dad Ron  with son’s Mike and Maxwell all looking happy, healthy and terrific!  My money was always on Mike and he is one hot college freshman.  While I wasn’t as confident in Ron, I believe he is a loving dad who was pushed beyond his limits in order to help his son’s achieve what once seemed impossible.  What a great role model he turned out to be.  Former model, Tara, seemed to keep off all her weight, and twins Jim and Bill looked every bit as good as when their season ended.  Neil, inspired by his desire to be healthier for his gorgeous, then girlfriend, looked fantastic in their wedding video.  Suzy and Matt kept it real, sharing their struggles to keep the weight off after marrying and having 2 babies.  Their love story is beautiful and I believe, together, they may have found some balance in their lives, despite having put back on some of the weight. 

Sadly they did show trainer Bob paying a visit to season 3 winner, Erik Chopin, who has managed to gain back most of the over 200 pounds he lost on the show.  This saddens me not only for Erik, but because it makes me realize Erik just represents the many that have gone this route and were NOT shown on this special.  Food addiction is just that.  As with all addictions, relapse is not just a reality, but a great probability. 

With food, just as with other addictions, we must live life ONE DAY AT A TIME.  Today is Friday November 27th.  It is no longer Thanksgiving, or even the day after.  There is a couple of weeks till Chanukah and almost a full month till Christmas.  This is a great day to get refocused on YOU.  If you have had a few extra carbs this week then you probably have some extra fuel in your tank so take advantage and do something that requires endurance.   Depending on your size and how hard you work at it, an hour of skating, basketball playing, cycling, jogging or aerobic class will burn off around 500 calories.  For even more caloric expenditure, try running or dusting off those old roller blades.  Either of those activities, done with intensity for the full hour, will burn closer to 1000 calories. 

Take a tip from the Biggest Losers who successfully kept their weight off, so  that after the New Year you will be happy and proud of where YOU are.  Wherever you are, whatever the weather, take at least one hour for yourself today and fill it with peaceandfitness.

Keeping the Stuffing OFF our Thighs!

Wake up and get active!  On one of yesterday’s talk shows,  I heard that we take in about 5,000 calories at a typical Thanksgiving feast.  Good news, though, as a  student of mine, visiting family in New York, wrote to let me know that Mayor Bloomberg declared any calories eaten on Thanksgiving, don’t count.

In reality, the best way to not wear yesterday’s stuffing on your thighs, today, is to get out there and burn off the extra calories.  If you are indulging in the annual tradition of shopping for bargains, you are probably already out there.  Hopefully you are walking a little faster than the usual shopping pace.  If you belong to a gym, try getting in there for one hour of intense cardiovascular work.  Adding some weight training to your routine will help boost your metabolism.  If you are lucky enough to have today as a vacation day, grab a friend and try to get outside for a brisk, long walk, if your weather allows for that.  Adding some push-ups at the end will keep your heart-rate up and add some upper body strength training to the workout but don’t forget to stretch when you are all done.  Doubling your water intake, today,  will help rid the body of some of the extra sodium ingested yesterday.  Even if you never picked up a salt shaker once at yesterday’s feast, you can be certain your sodium intake was still quite high and drinking alcohol probably just added to the bloating effect.    Eating foods that are natural diuretics will also help reduce that bloat.  Grilled asparagus is my personal favorite.  In fact, consuming lots of vegetables and fruits today, along with the added water, will help detox the body naturally.

In the world of yin and yang, yesterday was a very yang day of family, friends, football and food.  Today we can find balance by making it a yang day of exercise coupled with a yin day of food.  If we can maintain this type of balance through the holiday season, we are certain to enjoy all the festivities, without wearing our “stuffing” on our thighs.

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving and Enough

Happy Thanksgiving.  In just a few minutes I’ll be lighting the grill and getting the turkey ready to go on it.  We’ll be stuffing it with apples, oranges and onions this year and once cooked and carved, it will sit peacefully beside the tofurkys on our Thanksgiving table.  My son’s rather inked up friends will break bread with the matriarchs and patriarchs of our family.  The little children will play games with the “adult” children and all these acts remind me that we really can all get along!  For all of  this I am so thankful.

There is no doubt that holidays can be very stressful.  My personal survival guide includes remembering that today is all about loved ones, food and gratitude.  By inviting a lot of people, cooking a lot of food and appreciating all of it, I will keep my stress level low.   I will take some deep breaths throughout the day and do some stretching before I get in a hot shower and give myself time to look and feel part of the holiday festivities.  I will indulge in the drinking and the eating, but I will not overindulge.  While I definitely will not count calories,  I will not eat myself into a food coma because that never feels good to me.  I will accept help in the kitchen and I will allow myself time to sit with my family and friends and hopefully even get in a game of 8 ball with my father-in-law.  I will remain thankful that even in this crazy economy, Mitch and I can provide this opportunity for all of us to be together.

Tomorrow I will workout a little harder and burn some extra calories.  Mitch and I will go donate much needed blood at the blood bank, in an effort to give something back to our community.  We will take some time to relax and appreciate all that we have, for we have more than enough.  From our house to yours, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving filled with love and peace.  We also wish you enough!

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough.     

by: Bob Perks, Beliefnet contributor

                      Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


The Final Four

It’s a good thing I am not a gambler, as I am pretty sure I’d be broke!  With only 5 contestants left before last night’s elimination, my vote went to fireman Allen.  I didn’t believe he still had enough weight to lose to actually win, but he has an awesome smile and was already looking hot enough to know he would soon be in shape for a firefighter calendar picture!  Alas, Allen was sent home and now we are down to the final 4.  Next week Amanda, Danny, Liz and Rudy will come back and America will vote off one of them, leaving the other 3 to compete in the season finale.  May the best man or woman win, I have loyalty to none.  I am, however, as excited as always to see all the contestants transformations, especially Shay and Abby.  Apparently several romantic relationships evolved this season, so I am curious to see and hear how those are going, as well.  Biggest Loser, part weight loss show, part dating game, all LIFE ALTERING AND LIFE SAVING!  As a bonus round this season, tonight we get to see previous season’s contestants and winners and where they are now.  Look for that at 8pm eastern time on NBC.  I’ll be watching as I begin my preparations for tomorrow’s holiday. 

Family and family friends will be arriving around 4 tomorrow and the turkey eaters will mingle with the tofurky eaters as several generations of loved ones fill my home with laughter and love and give me endless reasons to be thankful.  Though Kyle’s presence will be missed, we are happy that he will be happy spending the day with his girlfriend’s family.  With so much to be thankful for each and every day, hosting the Thanksgiving holiday is something I look forward to each and every year. 

Why not begin your holiday a little early and take a moment, now, to meditate upon all the things you have to be thankful for.  It will make tomorrow that much sweeter.

The Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2010

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released it’s predictions for the hottest fitness trends of the new decade.  Personally, I am happy to find Pilates in the top 10 once again, as it was this past year, as well.  Actually, Pilates is related, in some way, to almost every single one of the other trends.  I remember in the 90s how skeptics suggested that Pilates was a passing trend.  Somehow in my heart, I knew once it became integrated into the fitness world, it would be here to stay.  It’s too good not to be.

The top 10 list reads like this:

1)  Hiring educated and experienced fitness professionals

2)  Strength training

3)  Children and obesity

4) Personal training

5)  Core training

6)  Special fitness programs for the older adult (think SilverSneakers)

7)  Functional fitness

8)  Sport-specific training

9)  Pilates

10)  Group personal training

and 11 -20 round out the list

11)  Outcome measurements

12)  Exercise and weight loss

13)  Wellness Coaching

14)  Yoga

15)  Spinning

16)  Boot camp

17)  Physician referrals

18)  Stability ball

19)  Balance training

20)  Comprehensive health promotion programming at the work site

It makes me happy that there seems to be a trend toward working with experienced professionals, doing fitness programs that are sensible and help promote over-all wellness.  There are endless ways to lose weight and gain strength but not all fitness programs are created equally.  I hope as you continue to seek health and wellness you will consider the above list. 

Get out there and have a terrific Tuesday!  I’ll be back tomorrow, probably rambling on about tonight’s Biggest Loser episode.  Till then, keep peaceandfitness in your day.

What’s Good on a Monday Morning?

“I don’t like work–no man does–but I like what is in work–the chance to find yourself” Joseph Conrad

If everyone is working for the weekend, what’s good on a Monday morning?  Personally, I have always loved Mondays for the chance to begin again.  To me, it’s a lot like New Year’s Day.  A chance to erase the slate and start all over.  Perhaps at work I can try to do something new.  A new exercise or two, a new choice of music  or a even wear a new outfit.  I can try to be more prompt and more compassionate.  Perhaps I can talk to someone I have never talked with before or  I can listen a little harder to something a student wants to share.  I have always contended that I love work.   In fact, I often think I am a workaholic.  In reality, I think  it’s more about the above quote, as work grounds me and always gives me a chance to find myself.

In fact, what’s good on a Monday extends well beyond work.  This day I can choose to make healthier food choices and better lifestyle choices for myself.  I can reach a little further to help someone less fortunate and I can stay more mindful to protecting my environment.  I can read something new, learn something new and open up my mind to all  new possibilities.

In this week that we are especially thankful, if you have a job to get up to this morning, consider yourself fortunate!  Why not go out there, with your pass to all new people and things and make this day matter.   Maybe today is the day you will take that long walk during your lunch hour, or try a new class at the gym this evening.  Maybe you can grab your husband, your child, your dog or all of the above and get in a walk before or after dinner, or try that Wii-Fit you got for the holidays last year!  On a more peaceful note, maybe today is the day you finally decide to try just 5 minutes of meditation, or sit for a just a moment and practice some deep breathing.

Whatever you do today, make it a magnificent Monday filled with peaceandfitness.

Make it a Great Sunday!

Thanks to some great demo workouts yesterday at Fusion Fitness, this morning my muscles are letting me know they got involved in the moves.  From cardio strip tease, to core xtreme, to kettle bell cardio, barre work and yoga, we traveled from sexy, to strong, from ballet to zen and all had a great workout and a great time.  Food was collected to help locally hungry people right here in Broward county and all and all it was a win/win afternoon that I was happy to be a part of.

Several people have gotten back to me regarding yesterday’s blog, particularly about vitamin D deficiencies.  I am incredibly curious as to why this is happening and will be doing some research into this.  If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency in D, please let me know and also let me know if you are on any medications.  You can leave a comment or send me an email through my contact page or @

This being Thanksgiving week, remember to stay thankful!  Think balance as we move into the season of non-stop holidays and too much eating and drinking.  I don’t agree with the guy who says we shouldn’t eat stuffing on Thanksgiving–that’s not balance!  Thanksgiving only comes once a year.  Eat the stuffing, just don’t eat it again on Friday and Saturday and Sunday!  Get your workouts in best you can to keep you from falling off the exercise wagon between now and the new year.  Balance will allow you to enjoy this wonderfully festive time of year without moving into 2010 feeling beaten up and defeated. 

Last Sunday I was too busy blogging to join Mitch and Blaze on our traditional Sunday walks.  This week,  as I repeat the balance mantra, I am off to join them.  Whatever makes your Sunday special, enjoy!

The Ever Changing Facts

It’s troubling that experts come out with huge news, suggesting the TRUTH, only to find out years later, the truth has changed.  The new recommendations on screening woman for breast and cervical cancer both changed this week.  Personally, I have been getting annual mammograms since I turned 30.  Please don’t anyone try to tell me that diligently having my breasts smashed into pancakes, for 21 years, was in vain!

Remember when eggs were good for you?  Then they were bad for you and your cholesterol?  Now we are told that cholesterol is altered by consuming too much bad fat, not eggs.  In fact, just this morning in a current fitness magazine,  I read an article that suggested we stop throwing the yolks out.  What about all the advice to stay OUT of the sun because of skin cancer.  In the past few months I have learned about too many people having vitamin D deficiencies, which leads to, among other things, poor bone density.  Best source of this vitamin is sunshine.  Most frightening part of that is I reside in sunny south Florida, where sun is abundant, as is poor bone density. 

It seems like every day, something we were told to be a truth, changes.  Should we have a glass of wine daily, in an effort to protect our hearts?  Are the good fats still going to be good next year?   Think about the many controversial findings in the world of pharmaceuticals.  Will that pill you take every day really lessen your odds of having a heart attack or stroke or will it end up weakening your muscles and in fact do nothing for your heart?    Will the botox injections that make you look younger, some day be found to make you look older?  YIKES!

Every day we must question the FACTS.  We must look to see who funds studies and if there might be a bias.  In my heart,  I have to question the new guidelines on mammograms and pap smears and wonder if the urgency to reform health care is behind these new findings.  Just for the record, I am all for health care reform.  Just please don’t take away the things that are working to keep us healthy, such as screenings and fitness programs! 

As consumers on this planet, my single best suggestion is finding balance in your own life.  If you want an egg, have one, just don’t have the whole dozen.  Most of us can enjoy unwinding at the end of a long day with a glass of wine, without any negative consequences.  Again, just don’t finish off the whole bottle.   Balance is important in our fitness programs, as well.  I always recommend long distance runners also lift some weights to maintain strength and do some yoga to increase flexibility.  Body builders need to remember to do some cardio for their hearts and lungs and definitely some stretching  to keep from tearing those muscles for a strong muscle is also a tight muscle.

Consider your own risk factors for all things, because cookie cutter decisions are never right for EVERYONE.  Learn all you can about what you put into your body and the choices you make regarding keeping yourself  healthy and fit.  Always question the facts, for they are ever changing. 

If you live locally, remember that you can help feed some hungry people in Broward County by coming out to Fusion Fitness and Yoga at 10000 Sample Road.  There will be a master class from 12:30-2:30 and some vendors with their jewelry and workout clothing, as well.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and cross a couple of holiday gifts off your list, or find a new class that you have been looking for.   A couple of cans of food from your pantry will be your ticket to this event.  Hope to see you there!