We’re in This Love, Together.

Oddness - 15
(Photo credit: LiLauraLu)

Thanks to the people at Gogratitude for inviting the world to take 42 days to focus on love and gratitude and find ourselves Blooming Humans as, like flowers, we have opened ourselves up to all that is good and right in our world, our lives and our hearts.  Today does mark day 42 and there is no better day than this one to feel the love and appreciation we hold for the bounty of blessings we all have.  Moving forward, attention to love and gratitude should be much easier as it has now become a perfect habit!  Remember “What we appreciate, APPRECIATES.”

The Morning After and Techno Then and Now

Screenshot of play area
Screenshot of play area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night was a great gathering of the old and the new.  We had family, friends, family of family, friends of family and everyone blended well.  Food has a way of doing that.  It was nice to have new faces at the table.  Thanks for coming up, Lori and Keith and thanks for the beautiful roses!  They are so pretty–this morning, as they open, they look fake!  Kat, you missed a big meal, but glad you made it in time to try the truffles!  The rest of the usual suspects were here and it was nice to hear the billiards balls banging around and that song that infamous Pac-Man song coming out of the machine…ha, technology was just about to explode when that game came out!  Today, we work off what we ate!

One of the nicest things about Thursday Night Vegan Feast is that I don’t go near a computer or a cell phone or anything that resembles new technology.  We all need a break from the ever growing world of SCREENS!  Here’s some tips to help keep your technostress at bay:

  • Set regular “time out” periods.  Get outside, take a break…meditate!

  • Stretchhhhh, exercise.  Again, get outside of your office or home and do some deep breathing.  Think 7/7/7.  Inhale for 7, hold for 7, exhale for 7.  Do it a few times

  • Even if you have to be “on” 24/7 because of teams in other parts of the world, set guidelines and far away co-workers (and friends and family) know what they are.  You are allowed to eat, sleep and even have personal time!

  • Take a short vision break every 30 minutes or so.  Rest your eyes.  Look at things that are far away like the beautiful geography that surrounds us all.

  • Even as you multitask, take time to be in the moment.  At work, at play, we all need to stop and be present.  As the old cliche says, take time to smell the roses.  Everything else will automatically improve.

Make it a fabulous Friday.  Thanks for remembering how important both peace and fitness are for YOU!

Ballparks, Burgers and Breads and Birthdays!

English: Veggie burger eating competition, Slo...
English: Veggie burger eating competition, Slovakia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Sunday we went to the new Miami Marlin Stadium and besides seeing the new place, I was pretty excited to try their veggie burger.  It’s nice to go to a ballpark and have something to eat besides peanuts!  This park has been really priding itself on the many food choices, including several ethnic choices, seafood, (they have lobster rolls!) kosher, and even a gluten free cart.  As you walk around the stadium, it’s one big food court.  Once I found the concession that sold homemade vegetarian burgers, Mitch and I split up, planning to meet back at our seats, and eat, lunch.  This was at the very beginning of the second inning.  I won’t give you ALL the details, but suffice to say it took almost 2 full innings (missing a Marlin home run) to get my burger.  Apparently, they automatically make them with cheese, but never mention that on the menu board.  Once the first one came out and I said “oh, no cheese, please,” I have NO idea why it took so long.  Workers did try explaining the delay saying things like  “some people really like theirs with cheese,” and “this is the way they come.”  Having read and seen The Fight Club, it always have to wonder what I am really getting after I “complain” for lack of a better word!  When I finally made it back to my seat, it was the end of the 3rd inning.  Oh well, time to try the burger.  It definitely DID taste homemade, and wasn’t at all bad tasting, but Jane made a good point when she said they probably make them with cheese, to hold them together.  It definitely needed something to bind the ingredients as it fell apart with every bite.  I actually sent off an email to the Marlins the next day and was surprised to get a call from Tony, from the Marlins, on Tuesday.  He was definitely nice enough and assured me he would follow up with the people who run the concession.  Maybe it will make it easier for the next “guy.”  As I explained to Tony, who totally seemed to understand, no one would ever order a hamburger and expect cheese to come on it.  THAT would be called a

cheeseburger. Seems so simple.  And just for the record, Big Bear Brewery still gets my vote for best veggie burger, and trust me, I have tasted a lot of them.

Mango madness continues at our house, and yesterday I made my first mango bread.  Well, actually two of them.  Had to cut one to taste it and make sure it was good.   Mitch and I thought it was way better than good!   I gave half of that one to our neighbors, Steve and Sheila, who keep us in the mangoes.  The second one is for tonight’s VFT.  Here’s the recipe:

For the egg substitute mix together 3 oz water, 3 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp baking powder.  Set aside.

3/4 cup canola oil

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 cup diced mango

Preheat oven to 350 and oil a loaf pan (I used two small ones).  Mix flour, both types of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  In a separate bowl mix the egg substitute and the oil.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and once well mixed, add the mango in.  Spread into pan/pans and bake for about an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Happy birthday to two very special people, Carole, my first and forever friend, and Dr/Farmer Ted.  It’s not surprising that you two share the same birthday.  Love you both! Enjoy it all.

Sarco What?

Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...
Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SARCOPENIA:  a disease causing the gradual loss of muscle mass, strength and function.

CAUSE: aging, decreased hormones and inactivity

SYMPTOMS:  muscles that move more slowly, impaired balance

SOLUTION/REMEDY:  Resistance training.  Plain and simple.  Resistance training is the most effective intervention, prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.  It positively influences the the neuromuscular system, hormone concentration and protein synthesis rates.  In as little as 2 weeks you can begin slowing the age-related muscle loss and in 26 weeks and actual reversal of the process can be seen all the way down to the gene level, meaning those mighty mitochondria (the powerhouse of the muscle cell) are working just as the youthful population.

As if to emphasize how sad it is that most of us have the words botox, plastic surgery and even osteoporosis over and over again, but no one is talking to us about a disease that we have total control over, the word sarcopenia is not even recognized by my spell check!  And as a footnote, our muscles peak in our 30s so all of us need to get busy doing our resistance training.

3 Kings and A Whole Lotta Thanks

LeBron James (right) prepares to dunk a basket...
LeBron James (right) Dwyane Wade (left) and Chris Bosh (center) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The three kings!

Here in South Florida, it seems like everyone is celebrating the Miami Heat’s World Championship victory…and if there is one thing we do well here, it is celebrate.  This morning, I am not only proud of our 3 kings, Lebron, DWade and Bosh, and their incredible court, but also of our people.  All those people gathering in one place, no violence, no rioting, no negativity, just a great big love fest and tribute to the team that lived up to it’s hype!  It makes me feel a little prouder to live in this state that doesn’t always get things so right.

Here in South Florida, we also celebrate the mango.  When summer gives you mangoes (and they are incredibly abundant this summer!) you make mango EVERYTHING.  Not only are my students bringing them in by the bag-fulls to share and not only is our neighbor sharing theirs (they got hundreds this year) but the tree we planted in memory of my brother, Mike, is giving us fruit for the first time.  The fruit is really good and gives us promise for years to come.  Of course it is extraordinary just as it is, with so many, I am putting them in my oatmeal, my shakes and my fruit salads.  I made a mango salsa with 2 diced mangoes, about 3/4 cup of rinsed and drained black beans, 1/3 of a red onion, diced,  one jalapeno pepper seeded and diced small, some cilantro and the juice of a lime squeezed over the whole thing.  It is a delicious along with almost anything, or all by itself.  I put it right on top of my garden salad which kicked it up a whole bunch of notches!  If a few of them ripen at the same time this week, I will be baking some mango bread.  My students Al and Margo make juice using a little water to thin them out in the blender.  They freeze the juice and have it all year.  Mangoes are a nutritional powerhouse, high in Vitamins A, B-5, C and E as well as flavonoids like beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.  They are also a great source of  potassium, fiber and copper.  So very healthy and yummy, personally I am thinking mango martinis this weekend.  Yes, we know how to celebrate our mangoes.

Today we celebrate day 38 of our journey along the love and gratitude trail.  “Gratefulness in the character is like fragrance in the flower.  A person however learned and qualified in his life’s work, in whom gratefulness is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes the personality fragrant….There is much in life we can be grateful for, in spite of all the difficulties and troubles of life.  Sa’di says ‘The sun and moon, and the rain and clouds, all are busy to prepare your food for you, and it is unfair indeed if you do not appreciate it in thanksgiving.’  If we answer every little deed of kindness with appreciation, we develop in our nature the spirit of gratefulness.”  –Inayat Khan

In Gratitude we grow –remembering what we appreciate, APPRECIATES.  Thanks to the Blooming Humans for sharing these thoughts with us.

Make it a productive day filled with gratitude for the bounty of blessings YOU have!

You’ve Got to Move it, Move it…

emotion icon
emotion icon (Photo credit: Łukasz Strachanowski)

Yesterday morning I caught the last few minutes of Anthony Robbins on an Oprah Network show.  He was talking about the connection between motion and emotion and how they effect one another.  Sometimes we can’t change the events happening in our lives, but we can change how they impact our health.  No doubt when we are sad and depressed it’s hard to pick ourselves up and move, but in fact, it’s exactly what we need to do.  Just picture a sad, depressed person.  We all have the same image.  Someone with their head down, slumped and moving slowly.  Sure they are moving slowly, in that slumped position our lungs are constricted and breathing becomes shallow causing us to have lack of oxygen which creates fatigue.  If we just put one foot in front of the other, both figuratively and literally, we can use motion to change emotion.  There is nothing like a good round of fitness, to change our state!  There is no question we all feel accomplished after a good workout.  Makes us want to jump up and down and say “YES, I DID IT!”  In just a short time we can go from slumped over like an old fragile being, to jumping up and down like a kid filled with energy and joy.  As Robbins says…”Change your state and you change your life.”  From a personal standpoint, I workout almost every day and have done so for the past 30 years.  Even during extremely sad and stressful times, I can’t ever remember being truly depressed.  I am certain my emotions follow my daily motion.  And on that note, I am up and moving.  With love and gratitude I wish you a day filled with motion that guides your emotions.

Mixing Things Up

bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

I just saw such a cute, easy, clever, appealing recipe and though I didn’t try it, (yet) I thought of some of the moms who “visit” here and how they might want to try these for their kids…all you do is peel a few bananas and cut them in half so you can pop each half on a Popsicle stick.  Then you roll or dip them in some yogurt of choice (I would use soy yogurt) and then roll them in granola mixed with some chocolate chips.  Lay them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze them.  They would make a great breakfast or treat for any time of day….and I am pretty sure adults would love them just as much as the kids and kids love anything on a stick!  Low in calories, high in potassium and fiber, with just the right amount of sweet…and we can all use some variety in our options!

Variety (ok, we call it cross training) in fitness is really important, too, for both physical and mental reasons!  Getting bored or in a rut, is a sure fire way of falling off the band wagon and repeating the same workout over and over is a sure fire way of risking overuse injuries.  In the past week or two, along with students and clients, we  have worked out inside and outside, on land and in water, fast and slow, hard (like boot camp) and gentle (yin yoga).  We have lifted weights, pulled on resistance bands, and played with rubber balls.  We have done Pilates with equipment, and without.  We have walked, run, jumped, skipped and hopped and while we all like a certain sense of routine, we have pushed ourselves out of comfort zone, in order to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing just that….and that sense of accomplishment feels so good!

So if you find yourself in a rut, today is the best day I can think of to get busy mixing things up!  As one of my students reminded me yesterday, none of us know how much time we have left on this earth.  Ain’t THAT the truth!



Where to Eat, When You Don’t Want Meat!!!

English: Veggie burger (vegan). With mustard, ...
English: Veggie burger (vegan). With mustard and tomato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nice to wake up to a front page (food section)  article called “No Longer Sides,” about the rise in vegetarians and vegans and what restaurants are doing to keep up with the changing times.  While Sublime continues to be about the best vegan restaurant in South Florida, it is pricey and not necessarily a place that some mainstream eaters want to dine (though they really do have some great food for ALL!).  Anyone that knows me, knows how much I appreciate a place like Falafel Bistro, where we can ALL find something delish, or Big Bear Brewery for offering up one of the best veggie burgers I have ever eaten.  Derek and his posse love Sarah’s Kosher restaurant in Hollywood, though I have yet to try it, so can’t say, personally.  I am unimpressed with the vegan burger at Elevation Burger, even after giving it a second chance.  This morning’s article enlightened me to the fact that Johnny Rockets, the burger chain has a vegan burger and their buns and fries are also vegan.  TooJay’s Gourmet Deli, known for their over-sized corned beef and pastrami sandwiches also have several vegetarian and even vegan dishes.  Seasons 52 in Boca, where all the dishes are calorically sound, offers many meat-free entrees and I have tried and enjoyed their market vegetable plate with grilled tofu (a small portion) and tabbouleh.  They also offer an herbed polenta cake with mushroom casserole.  They say they NEVER have used butter in any of their dishes.  Maybe that’s how they keep the calories in check!  At the Yard House, which features over a 100 beers on tap, there is an entire section of the menu dedicated to those on plant-based diets and featuring Gardein products.  I have NOT gone there yet, but it is definitely on my list of to-dos this summer!  Additionally, ALL dishes on the menu can be made with Gardein instead of chicken or beef.  Now that’s progressive!

Thanks to the Sun-Sentinel and correspondent Jan Norris for this timely (it IS VFT!) article.  Here at this vegan mama’s kitchen, we’ll be feasting on grilled veggie subs, garden salad, bean and corn salad, garlic tofu and lots of fresh mangoes, cherries and berries.  It’s a menu fit for the first Thursday of summer and summer we shall celebrate!  First, it’s fitness time which means getting my butt out of this chair!  Wishing you a day of peace, fitness and an extra veggie or two!  Much love…and let’s go Heat.  We can wrap this thing up tonight, right here and now!!!