Closing Time

“Closing time…every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Please be safe this evening.  AAA will be happy to drive you home and tow your car, too, should you have too much to drink.  Please take advantage of this FREE service, no questions asked.  Take cabs, walk, have sleepovers.  Do whatever it takes to keep yourself, your loved ones and all those around you, safe tonight.  Remember that its not what you eat between Christmas and New Years that you should be concerned with.  Instead, think about what you will eat and how you will exercise your body between New Years and Christmas.  This makes MUCH more sense.

Wishing you all the things you wish for yourself.  Hoping you will experience great health, love, prosperity and of course peaceandfitness in 2011.  Looking forward to new beginnings as well as the continuation of some really awesome old beginnings.  Sending huge hugs and much love to all of you.

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Simply HEAVEN and the Big 27

It’s a little on the later side for me to sit down and blog but I took the morning off to take advantage of a simply heavenly gift that I received earlier this month from my very special friend, Rita.  Due to the severe back pain she had started experiencing last spring (from an injury in class, compounded by dragging stuff that was too heavy as well as a tremendous loss that she experienced) she finally found some relief via a massage therapist by the name of Sandy.  Being the kind and ridiculously overly generous person Rita is, she wanted me to experience Sandy’s hands and knowledge…and I did exactly that, this morning.

Wow.  75 minutes later I got off that table feeling like I was not only physically tranquilized, but also mentally and emotionally.  Not only are Sandy’s hands a gift to mankind, but she is also a really interesting person.  Having taught fitness for many years, while raising a lot of kids, she later went on to learn massage therapy, studying several times in Thailand, where she not only was a student, but also got to GET massaged daily. We talked more than I usually do (or like) during my massage, but I was happy to encourage this as we shared a lot of common ground and we both know our paths will cross again.  I AM CERTAIN I WILL RESOLVE TO TREAT MYSELF TO MASSAGE MORE OFTEN, as I once did years ago.  Knowing how good it is for all aspects of our being, I am going to try to incorporate this into my “budget,” and see Sandy on as regular a basis as I can afford.  While massage is never cheap, the investment is well worth the expense.

If anyone local and in need of a massage for a medical reason or just want to treat yourself to a little bit of heaven on earth here is Sandy’s contact info:

Sandy Rabolli L.M.T.

10220 West Sample Road #3

Coral Springs, FL  33066

(954) 345-7571

She does lots of different types of massage and introduced me to what the hot stones feel like… OH MY GOODNESS was that delightful.  I love deep massage and I love heat, so that is a perfect match for me.  She will certainly modify the massage to your needs.  She also does massages at another location in Parkland if that is better for you, and I believe she will do a house call as well.

If you are not a local, getting a referral is probably the best way to find a good massage therapist near you.  Wherever you are, if you happened to stumble upon some holiday cash and want to treat your entire being to a great gift, (or treat someone you love to one) I highly recommend massage.

Thanks Sandy and thanks, Rita.

On that note, I am off to peacefully put together a very special vegan feast.  Tonight’s theme is…Derek’s 27th Birthday!  How lucky I am that it falls out on vegan feast night, or as Derek put it (and it touched my little heart) “family dinner night.”  If Kyle and Nicole were here, it would really be the icing on the cake but, who of us has EVERYTHING?  In the scheme of things, I am pretty lucky that I come very, very close.

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

Derek with one of his (more run of the mill)  animal friends.

Whatever your 2nd to last day of this year has in store for you, make it a great one.

In My Humble Opinion

In my humble opinion, (and this is a shout out to all the spammers trying to get their kettle bell ads up on this site) kettle bells are not all that.  Sure, they are weights with handles, but most routines involve a lot of thrusting and swinging, and this has NEVER been smart or safe, to me.  I am not objectionable to using them safely, but from most of the group workouts I have seen or been involved in, I find the form contradicts most of what makes sense to me.  If you are bored and looking for a new routine, I can’t recommend this one.  And for all the spammers who’s comments I have deleted, you don’t lose weight from the kettle bells—you lose weight from the math equation…not sure what that means?  Click the article link about it.  Calories in, vs. calories out!  The kettle bells can help with that, but not more than any other weight training.

In my humble opinion, the veggie burger at Houstons was disappointing.  Not the burger, but the fact that they serve them on EGG buns and specifically call them that.  They serve them with a mayo sauce.  Sure, I swapped my egg bun for the only other choice on the menu (a french roll, which probably also contained some animal products) and swapped the sauce for some ketchup, but all and all…disappointing.  Why in the world, with vegetarians and vegan populations on the rise and even somewhat trendy, wouldn’t every eating establishment offer a simple vegan choice, besides a salad, which by the way usually is made fancy with bacon, cheese, and creamy dressings.  By the time one says “hold  the cheese, the bacon and bring me vinegar and oil,” it’s not really an exciting meal.  I do love that my friend Bonnie always says “can you add a bunch of nuts and seeds,” to her salad.  She used to be the “difficult” one when ordering, but now I am sure it is me! Even last night, at a favorite local Italian establishment, I was quite disappointed when they did not have any whole grain pasta.  What are we talking about?  How much can it cost to stock some whole grain pastas at ALL Italian restaurants???  I  am really, really not that picky of an eater, but sometimes I sure seem and feel like I am.

In my humble opinion, Big Bear Brewery still makes THE best veggie burger in town.  Just hold the cheese!  It and the bun it is served on are promised to be free of ANY animal products. If you live in other parts of the country and have found a great vegan veggie burger, please let me know!

In my humble opinion, I am more and more convinced that people take too much medication and don’t practice nearly enough meditation.  Did you know that drug overdoses are up in most all age groups?  Dr. Richard Miech, head of health and behavioral studies at the University of Colorado – Denver attributes the increase to the simple fact that the number of prescription drugs taken in the U.S. by ALL ages, is also up.  Sadly, the upward trend is showing no decline.  A separate study shows that placebos work better than no drugs at all…even when patients know they are placebos!  Patients in this were told outright that they were taking a placebo and did NOT have to believe they would help–they just had to take them.  People, think about this.  Why are we falling into the trickery of big Pharma.  Are we now all willing to pay big bucks (or have them charged to our insurance providers) for sugar pills?  Try meditation.  Cheaper, healthier—PROVEN to work.

Speaking of meditation, my beautiful, artsy, youthful and delightful student, Iris, gave me a gorgeous book about meditating with mandalas.  Some of those pictures are so beautiful I cannot wait to sit down and spend time with them.  I have already realized that I am always drawn to the ones that are symbolic of the sun.  No great surprise there!  Thank you so much, Iris.

I’ll be at Bally today for an 11:30 SilverSneakers class and a 12:30 Senior Fitness class.  Then no classes until Monday the 3rd, when I return to TFC and go back to a full and “normal” schedule.   Enjoy your day.  Thanks for “listening.”  Please remember that all of the above is simply my opinion.  Please feel free to disagree or share your own…

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The Mind Body Connection or Exercise as a Drug

Yesterday’s blog ended with thoughts about Blaze’s youthfulness, which I attribute to his daily walks.  I mentioned it makes happy, but didn’t talk about our own human endorphins.  Last week I had a day or two of feeling really blue.  Sure, there were plenty of good reasons, but it is NOT in my nature to get “down in the dumps,” regardless of what is going on in my life.  Case and point is when Derek, at 16, asked Mitch why I was “so OK” when his grandma, my mom, Ruth, passed away.  I was mostly OK because she had pretty severe Alzheimers and it was a relief for all of us.  There was, however, a part of me that was lucky enough to have the rush of endorphins almost constantly flowing through my body. Exercise, in that way, is like a drug (rarely with any negative side effects!).  In fact, just a day or two after my mother passed away, I remember “sneaking” into the gym to get on one of the then, very new, elliptical machines.  Mom definitely would have understood and been happy!

Getting back to last week, though I was teaching classes daily, I was missing running a couple of times a week and my every other day swims that I took from last spring until the beginning of this month.  Mitch and I had just learned that our friend Michael passed away and I was sad about that but the feeling in my body was much more chemical and I knew I was in need of a tough workout.  The next morning I got up and ran just about a mile and then did wind sprints, running as fast as my feet would take me, recovering and doing it again.  I always work in 8s when I do those.  After that workout (which took well under 30 minutes) and a hot shower, I felt brand new.

This was a reminder for me about a lesson I know very well and ALWAYS wish to share with others.  What is good for our body is good for our brain and exercise is the magic bullet!  Anyone who is a regular at a gym, knows that the people who workout regularly are just generally nicer, kinder and all around happier people than those that don’t.  What a lucky girl I am that that I get to work with the happiest people in the world!  As you set your goals for the new year, remember that regular exercise might just be the single best antidepressant available to all of us.  That’s a pill I can swallow.

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Please know that all the ads on this site are sponsored by the geniuses at Google and are, therefore, quite safe to click on.  Though they are posted for you, I have been known to find a few great links, myself!

Random Thoughts about Diet and Exercise…

As we rapidly approach the first of the new year, almost everything we watch, read and talk about is either who headlined the news in 2010 or what we are going to do to improve our health and more specifically our weight, in 2011.  Jennifer Hudson claims to be sporting a size 4 and has put out a new song, just for Weight Watchers, showing off her new self.  Having seen it this morning, I can tell you she looks awesome!  Alison Sweeney, after 7 seasons “hosting” Biggest Loser, (and two babies along the way) has put out her first book called “The Mommy Diet,” which I believe hits the book stores tomorrow.  And speaking of Biggest Loser, they have hooked up with AFAA, (Aerobic and Fitness Association of America) the company that certifies me as a Fitness Instructor, to help turn viewers in to Doers (and Losers).  I have just checked out their sight to see how I can get involved as this is something of GREAT interest to me.  One final note on BL…new season (Couples) starts a week from tomorrow.

Every year I investigate the fitness trends, but honestly this is a “quiet” year on trends, which I think is a good thing.  Fitness shouldn’t really be trendy and doesn’t really involve much re-invention.  While physical fitness is paramount for every single one of us health-wise, most weight control is done in the kitchen.  There are so many great ways to get in aerobic, strength training and flexibility work, you just have to DO IT, and really, to be truly fit in all 3 of those aspects, we are all best off doing a little of this and a little of that.  One of the positive aspects of taking a group fitness class is that your body ends up moving in all directions as opposed to walking or running on a treadmill.  When it comes to improving bone density you DO need to move in all directions to impact all the muscles that tug on the bones.  A simple example of this is walking backwards and stepping sideways as opposed to being a rat in a maze.  Consider this when doing an outdoor workout.  I generally try to add some “grapevines,” and even backwards running, when running on the street or a track.  Sure, you have to be careful, but it not only impacts your body differently, it definitely helps prevent boredom.

So as you begin to think about your health and fitness resolutions or goals, make WELL ROUNDED your fitness goal.  Mixing things up during each workout, or spending different days attending to different goals, or both, all work!  As for your diet/weight loss/gain/maintenance goals, consider LOTS of fresh veggies and mix those up, too!  Get ample hydration through water (even on these frigid winter days).  I beg you to move away from the mentality that says the more animal protein, the better.  I guarantee you WILL lose weight cutting out an entire food group (like carbs or protein) but you will sacrifice too much, like your health.  You will probably increase your risk for most every disease we try so hard to avoid.  Sure, animal protein helps you build muscle, but too much of it will cause you to have fat marbled in those muscles.  In fact, getting your protein from plant-based foods will make your muscle JUST that, perhaps a bit smaller, but only because there is no fat layered in them. I hope you will consider all of this as you think into the new year.

If you haven’t read The China Study, this is probably a really good time to do so.  Worth its weight in good health and knowledge, you WILL revisit the way you look at what you consume.  Once you read it, you will probably have no choice.  I will take this time to share that I have indulged in quite a few non-plant based items over the past week or so, including milk chocolate and probably some items that used eggs and or butter in them.  I made a conscious decision to “let my hair down” over the holiday weeks.   As it turns out, and not at all surprisingly,  NOTHING that I ate was anything I really miss or wish I could eat more often.  Nothing.  By far, the best meals I have had over the past few weeks were at Falafel Bistro and Sublime.  The only non-vegan food item I still really enjoy (and occasionally do) is a good slice of pizza.  If you are local and have never been to Antonios in Miramar, you haven’t really had good pizza (even according to New York pizza-snob standards).

Time to bundle up and walk Blaze.  Mitch and I have come to realize that his daily walks not only make him a happy dog, but they really, really do keep him young, healthy and agile.  Even with his “bad” leg, at 9 and half years old and well over 100 pounds, he exhibits NO signs of arthritis and still acts like a puppy even though according to the articles I have read recently, he should be the equivalent of a very senior citizen.  There is a lesson here for ALL OF US.  Once again, what’s good for one is good for all!

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I will be at Bally for my 11:30 and 12:30 Silver Sneakers classes later today.  Maybe I will see you there!

Boxing Day

Though not celebrated in the United States, Boxing Day is a holiday designed to give alms to the poor.  So boxing has to do with how gifts are packaged, not that thing some of us like to do in a gym, or a ring 🙂  When it falls on a weekend, it is moved to the first weekday, so it is actually tomorrow.  Ironically, feeling a need to purge stuff from my house, I not only cleaned up all the gifts, cards, ribbons and wrapping yesterday, but also cleaned out my closets and drawers, making a few bags of clothes to give away.  Having gotten some new workout items, (thanks, Mitch, for introducing me to the sporting goods store, Dicks) from Mitch and with some of my holiday cash, I had to get rid of some of the old.  It just feels so much better in my closet now.  I feel like cleaning out the closet is a good metaphor for life…and eating!  Yesterday I cleaned out the closet…today, I am planning on cleaning up my eating act.  The time has come.

Go Dolphins…please get this one right.

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Hoping you all had a very, very Merry Christmas filled with love and loved ones!

Simply Sublime

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Yay.  I got to go to Sublime last night.  It was…simply Sublime!  I do believe Mitch, also really enjoyed the entire experience.  Atmosphere was nice.  Pretty waterfall to see if you sit in the right place.  The restaurant is very big, with lots of tables.  With a $50 groupon, coupon (that we paid $25 for) and the December special being 40% off wine, we were set to eat, drink and be merry.  We started off with a bottle of organic Chianti and it was EXCELLENT!  Smooth, mellow and very easy to drink, we did finish off the bottle over the course of the dinner.  Miso soup was the soup of the day and we shared a bowl and also shared a salad, which had beautiful presentation.  Both were very good.  While we waited for our crispy and spicy cauliflower appetizer (frito misto), the waitress put a couple of pieces of pesto polenta on the table.  It was interesting and got eaten…but the cauliflower was TO DIE FOR.  We actually ended up bringing an order home for tonight’s vegan feast, too.  It had an Asian flare and really is a must for anyone going.

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I ordered the spinach ravioli and Mitch ordered the penne pasta with kalamata olives and capers.  Both dishes were yummy!  Mine used a rice (not soy) cheese.  I believe they use the rice cheese in all their “cheese” dishes.  I ordered a side of mac-n-cheese because I had to taste it.  We ended up bringing home a box of leftover pastas, and trust me, we will be eating them for lunch today.

For me, it was an experience I had been looking forward to for quite some time.  For Mitch, who enjoys meat and fish and does not eat tofu or most soy based foods, he was pleasantly surprised with how un-intimidating the menu and atmosphere was.  Our server was very pleasant and helpful and we topped the huge, delicious meal off with a piece of apple pie with currants and a side of vanilla soy ice-cream.  Mitch said the apple pie was like his grandma used to make.  I am not really a dessert girl as a rule, but enjoyed both the pie and the scoop of ice-cream.  It was, after all, a special occasion.  FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN A GOOD VEGAN MEAL, IF YOU LIVE LOCALLY YOU MUST TRY THIS PLACE.  IF YOU ARE A TOURIST IN THIS NECK OF THE WOODS, SAME FOR YOU!!  There is a definite bonus to knowing you are consuming this absolutely awesome food, that no animals had to suffer for.  Carole, next time you are here, we are definitely going.

My day was made even more special by the card I got from Kyle and Nicole, and coming home to a card and some cool books from Derek.  I might actually learn how to take full advantage of my iPod now.  How clever. Packages from friends in various parts of the country also helped make the day all that it was.  Being with old, long time friends, as we said good-bye to Gruber was definitely “big chillish.”

Tonight its cauliflower appetizer, Tofurky roasts, potatoes, salad, veggies and brownies.  The theme “the eve of Christmas eve.”  Can’t wait.  Life, with all its ups and downs, is…simply sublime.  Enjoy…

With Gratitude

Welcome to the winter.  What a gorgeous moon we have had this week!  The good news about the first day of winter is that the days start getting longer…

Keeping things very short and sweet this morning, I just want to thank EVERYONE for EVERYTHING.  My family, friends, clients and students have spoiled me rotten this season and I am thankful and appreciative beyond words.  While some think I get cheated by having a birthday in the middle of the holiday season, I think it is extra special to celebrate amidst the magic. I had a great time opening up cards and packages this morning.  Thanks Arlene, Carole and Dolores for your packages, which sat on my birthday chair till this morning.  I love everything!!!! Thanks, Mitch for everything, but mostly for your kind heart and for being such a big man.  I love you more than you can possibly believe.

Thanks, too, to Ruth and George for bringing me into this world 53 years ago.  The journey is awesome.  Thanks to all of you for being in my life.  Much love….