Let the Music Move YOU

music therapy
music therapy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for a quick, fun, immediate sense of stress reduction?  Let the music move you.  A study in Nature Neuroscience found that listening to our favorite songs or even simply anticipating certain parts of a song can cause a pleasurable flood of that feel good chemical, dopamine.  Pick a few of your favorites and listen to them a few times a day.  “These doses of dopamine can lower your stress, removing the trigger that cause you to seek alcohol.” says Edward Roth, M.T.B.C, a professor of music therapy at Western Michigan University.

Another great way to use music as a pick me up is to start with a song that matches your mood and then pick one a little more upbeat and finish move on to the totally feel good and happy selections.   The change in the mood of the tunes, will transfer to your moods and the next thing you know, you are whistling a happy tune.

Well beyond stress reduction, music has so many great benefits.  Self-medicate with music.  It requires no doctor’s prescription and has no negative side effects. Hope this Saturday finds you singing a happy song.


Pictures from the fundraiser are up at jjrphotography.com  Click the link to the soup kitchen and then to the fundraiser.  There are stills and candids as well.  All proceeds from sales of the photos will be donated back to the soup kitchen.  Thanks Jeff, Jon and of course Debs and Nicole.  Much love.

Simply Soup-er

What a great, great party last night.  Well over 100 people came out last night to support Lesley and Richards fund-raising event for the soup kitchen.  The theme was soup-er and everyone who attended, no doubt, had a soup-er time.  Really, who has 2 bars in one backyard?  The Epsteins do because they most definitely know how to throw a soup-er party.  It was absolutely wonderful to be a part of the love and as a result of last week’s class and this blog, through my students and family I was able to present checks totally $800.00.  That’s a lot of meals and a lot of mouths fed.  Thanks for your soup-er generosity and support.  Though this event is over, it is our hope to continue to spread awareness about the hungry.  If we could all do just a little of that, all over the country, all over the world, we could make a big impact on hunger.  Don’t we all remember our parents telling us to “eat up,” because there are people starving?!?  Well, just because other people are hungry, we do NOT want to overeat!  That just makes us a more disconnected society.  Why should some have so much more than enough, throwing out leftovers and unused food when others could benefit.  There are so many ways we can bridge the gap, if we only stay aware.   On my way out, Mitch and I took a couple of treats from the Conscious Cupcake display.  So beautiful and so good, Liz…and it was great talking with you in person!  A special thanks, too, to Jon, Jeff, Deb and Nicole of JJR Photography.  Need pics?  They are the ones to go to.

Ironically, my Real Age health tip of the day is ….a soup-er way to lose weight!  Yup, a simple reminder that people that eat more soup, lose more weight.  Take the leftover vegetables (pretty much any of them) and cut them up and throw them in some water, and cook up a big pot of vegetable soup.  You can add some protein with some beans ( or chicken if you must!)  If you keep the soup high in vegetables and low in fat and  sodium (you can add some broth, just watch the sodium content) you can drink your soup all day long and watch your waistline shrink.  Soup.  It does a body good.

Wishing you all a soup-er Friday.  You know I HAD to say that 🙂

Worth Repeating

READING, PA - OCTOBER 20:  An out of work coup...
The number of people living in poverty in America, 46.2 million, is now at its highest level for the 52 years the Census Bureau has been keeping records. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

In 2010, 17,200,000 households, 14.5 percent of households, (approximately one in seven) were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.  My guess is that the number cold have only gotten higher, given the state of our country’s economy.

This morning I would like to say thank you to Richard and Lesley for all they are doing to help those here in South Florida, who might otherwise worry about where their next meal was coming from.  Your commitment is amazing and no doubt greatly appreciated by the countless people that benefit and will continue to benefit from your incredible efforts.  Thanks to everyone at The All Saints Soup kitchen for their dedication to the mission.  Thanks to my family, friends and everyone at Tamarac Fitness Center for your contributions to my mini fund-raising effort.  Tonight I will present YOUR donations at the maxi fund-raising event….where there WILL be vegan options!  Gotta love that.

Here’s hoping that you and your loved ones never, ever have to wonder where your next meal is coming from.


Everyone Eats. Thank you, Paul.

Newman's Own
Newman's Own (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How exciting to see them giving away so much food to the contestants local food-banks last night, thanks to Newman’s Own, as part of the pop challenge on BL.  Contestants would load up trucks with 15 and 20 pound boxes of Newman’s Own and the one who finishes first would win a 1 pound advantage at the weigh in.  Mark has a great strategy and skates past Kim and Megan to win the challenge and food for his local pantry, but then Alison announces that if the rest of the contestants finish loading, their local pantries will also get a truckload of food donated.  Mark has plenty of energy left and helps them and they all complete the challenge.  Nice.

This week’s excuse was “exercise is boring.”  I had the same reaction as Bob….WHAT? EXERCISE BORING??  REALLY???  But I understand that many people feel this way.  Bob takes his group biking (not my favorite at all!) and Dolvett takes his group to a Zumba class….definitely NOT boring.  Dolvett’s team has a blast, totally getting into the whole spirit of Zumba.

The contestants meet Alison at the grocery store…enter the challenge…a cook-off.  The contestants will have 7 minutes to shop for the foods they will need to prepare a dish that will be judged on its nutritional value, creativity and taste.  They will have 20 minutes to prepare that meal.  I have to say that even in as much as I cook, I am not sure what my go to dish would be?!?  Poor Jeremy is clueless.  He was going to make french toast, but forgot to buy eggs.  He ends up making a cooked banana open faced thing.  Conda makes a cabbage stew, Buddy a grilled chicken salad, Megan seared tilapia, Mark a chicken dish, Chris and undercooked chicken dish and Kim a stuffed portobello mushroom.  Enter the judges, Vinnie, Antone and Becky from Season 12.  The judges pick Kim’s stuffed shroom and her prize is $1000.00 for every pound she loses at the weigh in.  NICE!  There is some drama between Chris and Antone.  She is hurt and offended by his comments.  I probably would have been, too…but she can go home and I wouldn’t be sad.

At the weigh in Kim loses 7 pounds and wins $7000.00!!!!    Mark loses nothing and falls below the yellow line with Megan.  I am sure they all voted Megan off because Mark doesn’t seem like he can win this thing…he is already looking so good, not sure there is enough weight left for him to lose.  Megan posed a bigger threat and went home like her mom did last week.  At home we see her down 70 pounds (189) and  back in the saddle, racing her horse just like she used to before she gained all her weight.  Her boyfriend, who has lost 80 pounds at home while she has been on the ranch, has proposed to her and we see her shopping for a wedding dress.  I cried a lot of happy tears for her.  A lot.

Next week is makeover week!!!  OMG will they color Chris’ hair?  Will they cut Conda’s?  Will Mark let them shave off his beard thing?  They are, after all, headed to the White House with their new look, where they will meet a great advocate for health and fitness, Michelle Obama.   How cool is that?


To Cut or Not to Cut…That is the Question

I am trying hard to understand and wrap my brain around the news that gastric bypass surgery is also being called diabetes (type 2)  surgery.  News reports (based on a study at the Cleveland Clinic) say that studies on patients immediately after the surgery show such great improvement in their glucose numbers that the surgery is being recommended as a treatment (even a cure) for some,  for this disease and that weight loss through diet and exercise is NOT at all as impressive in terms of treating this disease.

Call me crazy, call me skeptical…it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.  Though the thought of being able to cure this rampant disease is exciting, I am just not buying into it so quickly.  Where are the LONG terms studies?  Surgery itself always causes big changes in all our numbers.  First, we have to consider the fasting that goes on before the surgery.  That alone would positively impact numbers dramatically, especially if you are used to eating thousands of calories a day.  Secondly, if you don’t change someone’s brain they probably will figure out a way around the surgery and like my friend Joyce who has been through it  (and gained back a lot of the weight lost) find ways to eat often, even if you can’t eat a lot at one time.   Surely if one gains back weight, that is bound to increase the glucose numbers once again.  This whole thing, sorry to say, makes me think it’s simply a way to get insurance to cover these costly surgeries and who wins?  The surgeons.  Sorry.  I would need to see many more studies,  MUCH more proof and year after year follow-up studies, to believe this can really be THE answer to type 2 diabetes.  I will be following this one for a long, long  time.  All this said, IF a patient has the surgery and learns to eat healthfully and exercise regularly, the surgery might be an answer.  Statistically, this is NOT the case for most that undergo weight loss surgery.   I also can’t help but say that many studies, short AND LONG term, prove over and over again that a plant-based diet also reverses type 2 diabetes without the surgery, without the downtime from work, without the scars, without a recuperation period, without the many, many thousands of dollars spent, and without so much more of the negative aspects of major surgery.

Surgery (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

People really do need to change their brains in order to overcome eating disorders.  I am in the middle of taking a really interesting home study course in just that—eating disorders.  It is kind of sad to learn just how many people are effected by anorexia and bulimia.  We live in a society obsessed with perfection, yet we all know perfection is NOT possible.

My suggestion….count your calories, get some daily exercise, avoid the animal products as much as you can and practice some peaceful disciplines like yoga, Pilates and/or meditation because they will absolutely let you find more peace in your body and soul.  This is a prescription for overall good physical and mental health and a way to help realize that perfection is illusive.  Of course, this is just my humble opinion.  I would love to hear yours!

The Great Outdoors

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...
Two views of local Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, ... (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

If we only kept ourselves physically active on a regular basis, we would probably never need to “go” work out.  I say this because with as much working out as I do, teaching classes and training with my clients, I find it interesting that as soon as I do something different, I feel it!  Last week, I talked about how my legs felt walking in the sand at the beach.  This weekend it was washing my car (reaching way up to clean the top, bending, squatting and reaching way down to wash the wheels, etc.,) working in the yard and the garden (again, a lot of bending and reaching) and even working inside the house, on a large photograph collage project, that has my muscles feeling worked out this morning, though I have to admit that the jump squats I did with Jane on Saturday morning probably contributed.  Moral of the story, mix things up and get involved in some physical activity for a portion of every day and your body will become fit not JUST for the gym, but for  every day activities, which is clearly the big goal.

Donation continue to come in and I will keep collecting them until Thursday night, when I present them on your behalf.  Thank you so much.

A huge happy birthday to two of my favorite women in the world,  Lesley and Joy.  Enjoy YOUR (shared) day!  I love you both and you both wear your years youthfully and beautifully.


Kindness and Love. Plain and Simple.

The Public-Soup-Kitchen F272 Vincent van Gogh
The Public-Soup-Kitchen F272 Vincent van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the first weekend of spring, and love is totally in the air!  A huge thank you to everyone who supported my fund-raising event, last night.  To those who came out to “wine” and unwind, (and thanks, Anne, for being so generous and thoughtful and bringing some cheese and crackers!) and to those who didn’t or couldn’t come (near and far) but still opened their hearts and wallets to help feed the hungry, I simply say THANK YOU.  I am not going to give a grand tally till after I present the donations to the Epsteins and the soup kitchen this coming Thursday evening, but I will say that your generosity will supply many, many hundreds of hot dinners to many, many hundreds of hungry people, right away.  Once again, I thank Ron and Wendie at Tamarac Fitness Center for their support in this as well.  May you all feel really good about your part in this effort.

As I am always off and running early on Saturday morning, I will leave you with this quote:

“Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness is giving creates love.”

–Lao Tzu


Yoga postures Shavasana
Put YOUR body here...Yoga postures Shavasana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first Friday of spring.  YAY.  Can’t wait to welcome the weekend in with some incredibly peaceful postures tonight at TFC, while we raise money to feed the hungry in Ft. Lauderdale.  I’ll be at the gym at about 6.  In keeping with the idea that we all have more than enough to share with others, I’ll be bringing some bottles of wine that I have received through the year, but haven’t opened yet.  If anyone wants to get to the gym a little early we can toast to the weekend, the season and the reason we are all together.  The generosity of my students, friends and co-workers has helped us raise enough money to feed hundreds a people a hot meal!  Remember to dress very comfortably and bring whatever helps you be more comfortable (ie., socks, sweatshirt, towel, washcloth and in Carol’s case….gloves!)  If you are planning on coming and haven’t made your donation yet, please get to the gym a little early so that once the clock strikes 6:30 we can be down on our mats in shavasana, cell phones off, and breathing in peace.

Wherever you are, celebrate spring…the weekend…and remember that if you have more than enough, you have much to be grateful for.  Namaste.




Always Choose Love…and I LOVED the Stroganoff!

Beef Stroganoff
(Photo credit: jennylaujennylau)

Last week, my Facebook “friend,” Dr. Liz,” aka the Conscious Cupcake Lady, posted something on FB that most mom’s can really relate to.  She said something about how nice it was to cook something that her whole family enjoyed.  I remember how frustrating it was when my kids were young, to prepare something that we all agreed upon.  Anyway, Liz made a beef-less stroganoff and as soon as I read her post, I started craving some good broad noodles (egg-less ones, which I easily found at Publix).  I sauteed up a bunch of mushrooms and some Boca crumbles, added some frozen peas and enough vegetable broth to make the whole thing saucy.  I dumped that on the noodles and was in stroganoff heaven.  Quick, easy, inexpensive, comforting and quite filling!  Thanks for the inspiration, Liz.  I will definitely be making that for a Thursday night feast, sometime very soon! In my love/hate relationship with social media, having the opportunity to connect and share with like-minded people is way up on the love list.

I read a great quote about love recently.  It simply said “go where the love is.”  Doesn’t THAT make sense?!?!?!  When having to make choices, maybe many of the decisions are as simple as going where the love is.

I am off to share a little love with Bigred.  Given a choice between walking with him, now, or doing most anything else in the world, I’ll go where the love is.  Nothing says love more than that 100 or so pounds of pure mushy retriever.  Kisses and all.

Hoping you’ll consider a meatless meal or two today.  It will do your body as much good as it will do the world around you.  Thanks for stopping in.