Monday, March 11, 2013

springing forward

ah...we are moving into my favorite times of the year! i personally fare so much better when the weather is warm, the sun is out and little clothing is required! spring babies like myself take advantage of this season as it's fantastic time to clean out the closets, evaluate the progress of the year thus far and freshen up lifestyles.

seasonal change is also good time to freshen up your nutrition and take advantage of the changing weather. the warmer it gets, the less we usually need to eat!

here's a simple recipe for energy bites that provide just the right amount of pleasure and sustenance in your spring snacks. make a batch, pack two for when you need a little boost and store the rest in the fridge. a couple of these little drops of sunshine will certainly ensure a fresh outlook on your day!

4 pitted dates
1 cup walnuts
1/2 macadamia nuts
1/2 shredded carrot
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

pulverize the dates in a food processor until a paste forms (about 40 seconds). add the nuts and blend until finely chopped. while the blade is still running, add the coconut oil and stop as soon as its blended. take the batter into another bowl and mix in carrots and 1/2 of the coconut. form into small gumball sizes and then roll in the rest of the coconut. chill to harden. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 greetings

i know i am not alone in feeling that the turn of our new year feels like it was more than just 10 days ago, but it really was just then! amazing. 

personally, 2012 yielded some extraordinary moments to it, and one of the more amazing gifts i recently received was being included in "rate your burn"'s top 20 list of pilates instructors in la! if you click here on the links at the end of the list, you will see that i am fortunate to be in such great company of mind/body practitioners, including jill miller, the creator of yoga tune up, the third "dimension" of the practice i share, along with pilates and dance/bar conditioning. i am so thrilled to represent the equinox brand in this well-known blog! 

of course, there were major lessons last year too, which prompts me to remind us of "adaptability". mind/body work (along with other forms of exercise) can arguably be about adaptability. we work on our shoulder flexibility to "adapt" and find a graceful way of putting on a coat at the conclusion of dinner during the cold season; we integrate our core so that our movements keep us centered and "adaptable" to directional change in activities like basketball or horseback riding; we strengthen our glutes so we can "adapt" to the constant sitting or standing that threatens to tighten our hips and overuse our backs; we manage our stress by learning to "adapt" through breathing and calming our minds along with our bodies; and the list certainly goes on...

my hope for all of us is that we do take what we learn in the studio (and the gym) and apply it to our daily lives so that we are better prepared for both the anticipated and unexpected moments that this coming year will present to us. 

here's to lucky 2013 filled with happiness and good health!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

recipe time!

in my continued quest to live, look and feel great, i find ways to create recipes that are friendly for a fit and low grain/low-sugar life style. one of my favorite morning treats are muffins. they are just scrumptious when most on the inside with a hint of toasted texture on top. this delicious recipe contains only almond & coconut flour, natural occurring sugars and healthy fats to make it a delightful and super healthy treat. the autumn flavors prepare us for the close of summer. enjoy! 

kabocha muffins

in a medium bowl whisk together:
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tbps coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

in a larger bowl whisk together:
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tbsp beet juice

set aside:
1 cup mashed well-steamed kabocha squash
1/2 cup very ripe banana

1) whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
2) in another bowl whisk together the egg, applesauce and beet juice. add the kabocha squash and banana until combined.
3) fold in flour and mix until just combined
4) pour into nonstick muffin pans (or use cupcake tins) and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. top with nuts if desired. 

makes 6 servings at 135 calories each 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

tanning tips

  oh my goodness, i've been enjoying the spring so much that i haven't had a chance to write!  i have been thinking about you all and have a fun little segment as the summer starts.
  for some of us, the sun's rays are very beneficial and energizing (some constitutions don't require sun and for others it can be harmful). like anything else, it takes a little work to obtain a healthy and radiant glow. for those who are friends with the sun, here are my tips on getting some great vitamin d and warm color.
1. use product in excessive doses, the sun can damage skin and cause wrinkles, so it's important to use hats  and the appropriate spf. apply spf first before any tanning aid. its been said that any spf over 30 is pointless, so just make sure you use a paraben-free one to prevent burning. (i apply sunscreen on my face regularly and on my body if i will be exposed for an extended amount of time) next step is your tanning aid. if you are short on time, i love using this maui babe browning lotion as the coffee accelerates absorption but keeps you hydrated. be careful as it will stain fabric, so this one's best used away from the pool. for straight oils, i like pure coconut oil and hawaiian tropic spray. the spray's good for posterior application when a friend isn't able to help you out :) keep your skin moisturized to prevent any peeling.  there's no harm in using a little self-tanner to even out, by the way.
2: timing is everything the sun is strongest between 11a-2p. for your first couple of times out, i would recommend laying out 30 minutes outside of that window, so that your skin doesn't go into shock. once you start laying out in that prime time window, you can go up to 1 hour total. to build a nice base, 40 minutes total at 3 times a week for a couple of weeks is good. once you have your base, you won't need more than 20 minutes per session a couple times a week to maintain. with that base and a good spf, you will also be able to hang out poolside or at the beach and not worry about burning ever!
3. think even and turn turn turn! like anything, consistency and balance is key. so if you plan on laying out for 40 minutes, make sure to split your time between laying on your stomach, on both sides and on your back. this is easy to do when you're with friends, then you can play a game of chess, chat or read. if you fall asleep, make sure you have a way to wake up when its time to turn.
4. know your limits don't rush into getting a dark tan right away by staying out for longer than the suggested times. that will only burn your skin and poison you. intuitively, your body will tell you when you have had enough. you can sense what is a good color to maintain and what is appropriate for your skin tone. again, like most things, moderation is best when it comes to tanning.
  and there you have it! if you heed these tips, you will nurture a great, long-lasting and healthy glow that will take you through the whole season and into autumn!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

let's talk about the tush

over the past couple of years "barre" classes have taken over like wildfires spreading all over southern california. the reason why these types of classes are so popular is because not only are they fun and allow people to work out like dancers - who, not coincidentally, have some beautiful behinds - these classes yield great results, especially when it comes to tushies.

well-conditioned behinds, formally and simply speaking, your gluteals - maximus, medius and minimus, are not only sexy but functionally very important. not only do round, toned, gravity-defying tushies look good, they help support our backs and keep our hips from tightening up. in addition, they stabilize our hips in cooperation with our abdominal core and are therefore crucial to maintain healthy postures
as we go about our daily lives walking, standing, going up stairs, etc....

the main purpose of the gluteus maximus, the most well-known, outermost muscles of all the gluteals, is to extend the hip, i.e. when we bring a leg back when we walk. it also turns the leg outward and lifts it to the side. underneath the maximus, the medius helps bring the leg out to the side, turns it inward & outward; it pushes the hip forward and also flexes it (like when we bend over). the innermost the minimus also flexes the hip, helps pull the leg out to the side and also rotates it inward.

it's no wonder, therefore, that there are so many different ways to work these all important muscles. they move the leg in so many directions! and how often do we rely on our legs? all the time!! it might be easy to forget to condition them, letting fatty tissue in the area take over (ever heard of the phrase "secretary spread"?) as we spend so much time sitting - at our desks, in our cars, having dinner with friends, etc...but thankfully, there are many fun options in which we can get them nice and healthy.

so now you know a little more about what's "behind" you, get up off of it and find a class near you (mine are at the equinox club in west hollywood on friday mornings at 9a). your back, hips and not to mention, your significant other, will be very happy you did!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a valentine love letter

usually i don't post about personal relations, but i've been a bit obsessed with perfecting my work lately, so i figured i'd balance things out by writing about other topics of interest. and so this time i write about men and marital status.

the thing is, it's been an interesting time, being without a solid mate for some years now. it has definitely provided some comedy but also some serious introspection. ever since a final breakup from a very intense and passionate 15-year relationship with one man, i’ve met some, err, interesting males lately - the ones that "sext" right away, the ones that asked if i was single because i was crazy, the ones that wanted me to be their sugar mammas, etc...and meeting them made it pretty easy to stay by myself!

comedy aside, i’ve also experienced a couple of very intriguing “connections”, but alas, neither stuck – whether it was due to bad timing or the fact that i subconsciously made choices that kept me from being a part of a long-lasting pair. sure, i love my friends, family and the people i work with wholeheartedly but i asked myself, “what did it mean to open my that way?”

a recent article addressing being an unmarried/single woman actually helped me answer this question. it reminded me to embrace this time as an independent person. i am guilty of seeing time as an unmarried as a temporary stop – a time to pass through - but living this way, one can’t experience the important moments that are the true gifts in life that actually feed one’s heart. i wholeheartedly needed to embrace my strengths, weaknesses, failures, accomplishments and my dreams, just like i did before i was with my guy. this was the key - to consistently love my life choices as i am without any relation to one man. by embracing who i am and where i am now, i face the world with honesty and purity, and perhaps one day will be with a mate who will be the best complement to my true self.

of course, for me, there’s nothing better than being in a pair and part of a team – it’s the best feeling to have when you each know you have a mate and partner to protect, care, support and comfort one another. so no, man, i'm not crazy. i’m just not going to settle for anything less than extraordinary, it’s just not my style.

i know i’m different. i don't get excited by chocolate on valentine's day. but sure, i love gestures of stargazer lilies & pony roses and jewelry (on any day). i'm particular as i am open-minded...and like anyone, selfish at my worst and selfless at my best. it took a special man to inspire me to stick with him (and to put up with me, frankly!). and so i continue on, with my sweet doggie as my protector and companion. life is rich and extraordinary full of intangible gifts. no more questions really, just loving gratitude for all that i am and all that is right now.

Monday, January 9, 2012

pilates and pregnancy

ever since i started teaching pilates several years ago, i've had the great fortune of having a very high client retention rate. i've seen my clients move through major life stages, i.e. getting a dream job, sending kids off to school, wedding planning, etc...and one of the more fascinating physical examples of these stages is pregnancy.

being pregnant might be just one of the most powerful processes in which one can find and truly understand the mechanics of one's core. sorry fellas, we might have ya on this one! the muscles, joints and bones that are at a woman's core go through some very drastic changes and its conditioning is the key to making this process as pleasurable as possible.

my teacher jill cassady of the pilates technique has referred to this work as training to keep the endurance up for the marathon of labor. the exercises we do during pregnancy build on the conditioning done before conception and work to maintain the pliable strength of the core muscles as well as protect the changing architecture of the joints. during labor, the transverse abdominus, the innermost muscle of the abdomen that surround our waist, is a prime mover to "squeeze" the baby out. the diaphragm is the key muscle for breathing. the pelvic floor learns to dilate. click here for jill's dvd on pilates for pregnancy!

this picture shows a practitioner doing an exercise on the wunda chair that strengthens the shoulder, core and leg/gluteal muscles by forcing core stability with a dynamic push-up like movement in the upper body along with simultaneous hip & knee flexion in the lower body.

the multitude of safe exercises done during pregnancy include isometric, resistance-based, cardiovascular and active-static techniques that not only condition key core muscles, but also condition the stabilizer muscles of the shoulders, hips and back so that the body remains adaptable.

pilates is amazing for pregnancy. not only is it ideal for core conditioning and healthy joint mobility and stability, it keeps endorphins flowing so that one can stay positive and confident about her ever-changing body. it helps maintain good posture, keeps the body as free from aches and pains as possible and reduces risk of injury, swelling and edema. and of course, the delightful prize (second to the gift of a magical newborn!) is that recovery is that much quicker after delivery!