The Good and Bad News About Obesity: It’s No Longer Rising, but It’s More Dangerous Than Ever

The most prevalent and most unnecessary cause of death. It both shocks and disturbs me at how VERY much information is literally AT OUR FINGER TIPS and yet, our culture and social surroundings allow for such unnecessary weight gain and health ailments caused by weight gain, let alone death! We need to wake up and start living healthy, proactive, no-more-sitting-on-the-sidelines lives!

Health & Family

Obesity is more deadly than previously thought, but a nationwide survey shows that after rising for decades, rates have not increased for the first time in 30 years.

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GEEK Out Saturday.

When I was a young girl, with eyes as big as the world, I viewed winter as a magical, romantic, and beautiful time. I longed for snow, and the smell of a fire burning in the fireplace, and the taste of perfectly warm and chocolatey Hot Cocoa. (Get the Perfect Hot Chocolate Recipe HERE!)

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Now that I am older, I feel as though that magic has all but disappeared—a distant memory that I am not sure when I will circle back to. (Feeling Moody…)

Now that I am older, I view winter as a cold, dreary and somewhat depressing time of hibernation. And, also, a time that I can not wait to be done with! I am so very ready for Spring, Summer, Warmth, THE SUNSHINE! Ahh it will be so very lovely to walk outside and be kissed and hugged by the warm, lively sun!

But alas! We have a good month before such loveliness enters our atmosphere here in the Volunteer State. So until then my dears, here are a few links to bring you to a fanciful place in terms of snow, winter, and downright Geekdom! Enjoy!

How to make an AT-AT Imperial Walker snow sculpture.

How big is the biggest Snowman you’ve ever seen??

Five Ways Jennifer Lawrence Ruined My Life.

Having a Lego Pancake Bot would make my weekend mornings TEN TIMES BETTER.

Imagine if we were all driving this 3-wheeled, two passenger, eco-friendly beauty?

Enjoy your weekend!!

Have you ever done Yoga with your pet?

Meet my new puppy! Clancy James. AKA Ball of Absolutely Undeniable Fuzzy Cuteness and Love. You can imagine how much he gets spoiled!!

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One of the most humorous and fun experiences we’ve had together is when I attempt to do yoga. I lay my mat out, I take a few deep breaths, and go into the sequences…Clancy however, thinks that Downward Dog is an open invitation to play tug-a-war with my dangling ponytail, or to jump energetically at my leg when I raise it in the air! As for Bridge pose, well forget that! He runs under my back and instant paranoia sets in: “What if I fall on him!? Oh God!!”

Needless to say, I had to alter my practice quite a bit with him scurrying about! Not to mention the fact that he took the opportunity of being fancy free and able to mischievously dig into the laundry basket, catch-all basket, and  a school book of mine that I had foolishly left within paw’s reach.

While Clancy is still far too young to truly respect the art of yoga, I feel that as he matures and becomes a bit more…how should I put it, obedient? Yeah. Obedient, I think he’ll be a great Yoga partner! Inspiring a deeper Downward dog if nothing else! Check out these silly, yet inspiring-me-to-want-to-train-my-pup-in-yoga pics I found online!

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What do you think?? Would you ever take up Yoga with your Fido?!

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And if you’re feeling lack-luster, just think, “If a bear can do this, so can I!!”

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A Few Random Thoughts.

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As the day goes on, I find myself scouring the internet, and more often than not it’s entirely unintentional. It’s more of a checking the e-mail, which leads to a cool link, which triggers another cool link, and so on and so forth until I have ten tabs open and my LapTop is drained and ready for more battery.

I thought that, for today at least, I would share with you some of my finds from today! Hopefully they will enlighten you or tickle your fancy the way they did for me! (I also highly recommend watching the 2013 Movie Trailers! I’m so excited for some good ole Box Office Entertainment.)

20 Movies for the new you of the new year.

Have you ever been misquoted?

Vivienne Westwood and the Climate Revolution.

5 Questions with Alexis Wineman, Miss America’s First Autistic Contestant.

Start the day out right! De-Bloat During Breakfast.

Awesome, blood-sugar quenching recipes.

Desserts with No-Baking Required!

 

 

Read, think, learn, share.

World

What’s billed as the largest single gathering of humanity is taking place right now in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. At the confluence of the Yamuna, Ganges and (mythical) Saraswati Rivers, as many as 100 million people will participate over the next month in an ancient Hindu festival known as the Kumbh Mela. The pilgrimage, which dates back millennia, occurs in 12-year cycles — in 2001, the Indian government estimated a staggering 70 million congregated by the Ganges’ banks to ritually bathe in its sacred waters.

News-agency photographers, of course, have a field day (or month) during the Kumbh Mela. It’s a time when India’s rising global clout and simmering social tensions take a backseat to images of ascetic sadhus — their faces doused in ash, their feral, matted hair coiled like serpents upon their heads — charging the river in religious ecstasy. Of course, it’s nothing new…

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Veggie Burgers!

Back from my weekend hiatus with a new recipe for you all!

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Veggie Burgers, as you might have guessed by the post title, are my meal of the day. And I am pretty proud of these guys. I scoured the internet to discover all of the recipes that were a) hassle free, b) incorporated ingredients I already had in my kitchen versus ones that I would buy once and never use again (eh hem… Tahini Sauce for $8-$18! No thank you…) and c) sounded pretty darn tasty to my Veggie Ears.

veggie burgers the mix

After looking through numerous recipes, I discovered about three that incorporated the use of Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, and Beans! Three of my all time favorites in one stellar burger? Sure! So I decided to take bits and pieces from these recipes and create my own with these three superb ingredients as the base.

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Here’s what I came up with:

Simple Veggie Burgers

Ingredients *indicates a note for alternate variations of the recipe.

2 Small Sweet Potatoes (by small I mean the size of my palm, 1 Large sweet potato would work swimmingly)

1/2 C of Quinoa

1/2 C Lentils*

3 T. Finely Chopped Onion (Red or Yellow, whichever you prefer)

1/2 T. Coriander**

1/2 T. Cumin**

1 t. Turmeric**

1 C Add-Ins (Optional)***

*Lentils were my choice, however, there is no reason you couldn’t make these guys work using mashed Chick Peas(Garbonzo Beans) or mashed Pinto Beans, mashed Great Northern, etc. etc. Just make sure you mash them then measure out 1/2 cup.

**These spices, Coriander, Cumin, and Turmeric, were my own choices, however, you could literally use any spices you have available in your pantry. Want a more Italian twist? Try Oregano, Garlic and Basil. Opting for Mediterranean? Have at it with Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Garlic. Options=endless.

***Add Ins: Okay, here’s some more recipe freedom for you! I chose to got bare bones on this first go around. That way I could get an idea of what they taste like and what textures would be a good combo. I decided that chopped fresh Kale would be great! Also, chopped fresh red/green/yellow/orange peppers, chopped, mildly steamed carrots, broccoli, celery-anything with a mild crunch, would probably be great. This is what makes this such a fun and easy recipe, you can go with the flow of your fridge! AKA What you already have!

Directions

1. Cook the Quinoa and Lentils (or beans of choice) according to package instructions.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. While it’s preheating, pop the Sweet Potatoes in the microwave for about 2.5 mins on each side, per potato. (You can bake them any way you like really, I just prefer this quick method). When they are done, remove the skins and scrape the potato into a medium sized mixing bowl, lightly mash them.

3. Chop up any add-ins you would like to use. If you’re going with cruciferous veggies, I would recommend steaming them lightly first, only to the point that they are still mildly crunchy, then chopping them up. If you go Kale or Peppers, I don’t think it so necessary to steam them.

4. Add the Quinoa and the Beans to the Sweat Potato(es) followed by the Add-Ins and finally by any Seasonings you like.

5. Mash all of the ingredients together. You can get down and dirty and use your hands, or you can opt for a fork or spoon method to obtain the desired outcome.

6. Roll the mixture into a fist-sized ball and flatten onto a cookie sheet (I like to line mine with Parchment Paper). The recipe should yield 4 large or 5/6 medium patties. Pop the tray into the oven and set a timer for ten minutes. When the timer buzzes, flip the patties over (caution: this can be tricky as the mixture is a bit crumbly-it’s worth it though!). Close the oven back up and set the timer for 10-12 more minutes, or until the patties reach the desired golden crispiness you prefer.

7. Cool and enjoy! If you are dairy-friendly, use a mild cheese like a provolone or mild white cheddar. Nothing Sharp. If you didn’t add Kale to the mix (or even if you did!) top them with Kale (steamed or fresh) or any other kind of leafy green. I prefer to eat awesome bread like Whole Foods Seeduction bread. Oh man, so tasty! I highly recommend it if you live by a Whole Foods!

Yields 4 Large or 5/6 Medium sized patties.

What would you add or subtract from the recipe? Any Ideas for a growing Homemade Veggie Burger connoisseur such as myself??

 

Super Eating.

I think that the term “Superfood” is entirely overused. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I see an article in a magazine that’s focused on “Superfoods” I role my eyes a little bit.

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Don’t get me wrong, I still read the articles and see what “Superfoods” are being touted this month. It’s interesting to me that so many of these foods get so much press and fly around health magazines and recipe magazines like wildfire, and yet they are still very misunderstood and under-consumed by, well, the consumer.

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One of my favorite things to do is go grocery shopping! I love the fresh produce section; discovery new delicious and intriguing veggies to add to my cart.

All Lost In the Supermarket.

Kale was, I believe, my first “different” veggie to fall in love with. I eat it regularly and make different salads with it raw, steamed, sauteed….I’ve even tried a fresh, homemade juice with it before! (Yes it turned the drink green, but it was SO good! I honestly would drink it daily if I had a juicer of my very own!)

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Beets were next-introduced to me by my awesome, innovative dad. I no longer live with my parents, but we talk regularly and one evening I got a call from my mom insisting that my dad had lost his mind and gone Beet-Crazy! (Word to the wise, chopping beets can create quite a mess in the kitchen—it will look like a blood bath, so don’t have a crazed look in your eyes wilst chopping or you’ll garner some odd looks) Anyways, he was going “Beet-Crazy” because he had discovered the amazing properties that beets possess!
Here are a few:
-They provide 18 vitamins and minerals including: Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. WOWsers.
-They act as a natural, no starvation required cleanse for the toxins in your body. They clear out the liver and purify the blood, and act as a natural means of lower stomach acidity. Some even hold them up as cancer-preventative agents. (Much like Kale!)
-They are low in calories but provide energy from the “healthy” sugars they contain (stop being afraid of sugars people! Everything in moderation.) so they are the perfect thing for someone with one of those stellar new years resolutions.😉
**BONUS** they are the perfect topping for a Kale and Spinach Salad; their juices act like a light vinaigrette even. I highly recommend it.

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Quinoa is by far my favorite discovery of all! For a vegetarian, I feel it is an essential grain. Learning how to perfect the cooking method with my limited types of pots (which is one pot…that’s not ideal for quinoa cooking) but I experimented and perfected it! Now, I just need to graduate from college, get a big-girl job, and earn an amazing Le Creuset Pot!! Yes, please.

And as far as Quinoa goes, well that’s just the thing! It can go as far as you want to take it! I mean it, you can try virtually anything with it because it’s the perfect base for all sorts of sauces, any and all veggies, and you can even treat it as a new, higher protein version of traditional oatmeal! Yep, just toss in some berries, cinnamon, and a dash of ginger, top it with some slivered almonds or walnuts and you’ve got a SuperBreakfast!

As for it’s benefits?
-HIGH protein
-9 Essential Amino Acids
-High in Fiber and Magnesium
-Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. –BodyEcology.com.

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There you have it! These are only a few of my personal favorites, but I also believe that these three are probably the easiest to incorporate into your pre-existing diet. They are all simple, and yet so powerful! Easy to purchase, cook, and there are so many ways to enjoy them and experiment with cooking (mayhaps even baking?!) them that there’s just no excuse to not try! So ENJOY! Be adventurous at the supermarket. Take a walk on the granola-eating, veggie lovin’, hippie side. You’re body will appreciate it.

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FitFrosting!

Are you excited about the opening of www.FitFrosting.com?!

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If you have no idea what I am talking about, go check it out! As previous posts might suggest, I’m a fan of yoga and pilates and jogging…not that I’m a fitness guru or a gym rat, I just like to keep moving! And this site, described as “a members-only sale site for active women with discerning style in the studio, gym, and life.”

Sort of like www.TheClymb.com or www.LestLaneSports.com.

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You haven’t heard of those either!? Go check them out, and save some dollar signs on some quality gear!

A bonus, if you hurry and go like FitFrosting’s FaceBook page, you can enter for a chance to win a different great prize every day between now and their official site-launch (on January 15th!)! That’s 7 more days of opportunities to win. Get on that!

Have any other sweet discount sites you use often? Let me know! I’m always on the hunt for a deal. And as always, have a wondrous day.:)

 

A Deep Breath…

…can do a body good.

I am an avid yogi: I do a little 15 minute routine every morning to get my day started and every evening to wind my day down. I have a minor…ok…it’s a mondo obsession! But what can I say?! Ever since I started doing yoga, I have been able to understand my body and heal it after a rough day of biking up hill, or a long run, or even a mentally stressful event.

However, I have a confession to make.

I have many an issue with the ever-so-important and necessary component of not only yoga, but of life: Breathing.

How it's Done.
^How it’s Done.

As I mentioned, yoga has been a consistent part of my life, but I have only just recently decided to finally introduce Pilates into my life. And I believe that in doing so I brought a new and greater sense of breathing into my routines! Now, I cannot tell you why Pilates has brought me to bettering my breathing abilities, but it has! Maybe it has something to do with the more vigorous motions (I find I can perform them better and “push” my body further when I breathe in sequence) or mayhaps it’s just my mind telling my body “Hey! It’s time to wake up and breathe in the Om!” Either way, it brought me to do some research on why breathing is as important as it is when it comes to mastering a zen Yoga pose or lengthening one’s muscles with Pilates.

Here’s what I found.

Firstthere are differences in the methods of breathing utilized in the two routines; Yogis prefer to take their breath to a deeper level. This practice, called Ujjayi (which means Victorious!) Breathing, is where one breathes in and out through their nose. Long and smooth, deep breaths in and deep breaths out, energizing and yet calming. 
Ommmm...

Ommmm…

 

Pilates aficionados focus more on their core and positioning while breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Breath is of course quite important, and is encouraged by good instructors, however, it is not something that they will focus on. Yoga instructors may dedicate an entire class to the skill of breathing, otherwise known as Pranayama. 
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Second; the importance of teaching oneself how to breathe properly is a matter of health! “A breath-holder usually feels a “catch” and may actually struggle to initiate the exhalation after a tough pose. You can reduce the holding by consciously relaxing your abdomen just as an inhalation ends” (YogaJournal.com – a clear favorite source of mine!).
Experiencing these “catches” can severely alter how deeply your body will not only allow you to go into a pose, but also how deeply you are able to meditate and free your mind from the clutter and hub bub that we all collect throughout our day.

Which brings me to Thirdly; MEDITATION! This is the aspect of Yoga that does not exist as greatly in Pilates, but is extremely potent in Yoga. One’s Breath is One’s Ticket. Keep that in mind…when you stop breathing, or you focus too much on the zillion other thoughts racing through your brain, you are far more likely to fall victim to a “reward-less” Yoga session. **To be honest, I find that I get a better burn and stretch in my Pilates routine when I breath properly too, so I would even go so far as to say that Pilates practicioners may have a less rewarding session too.

Deeply in Yoga.

So there you have it! My personal breathing discovery! A difficult and roller-coaster like journey, not unlike the journey of life.

How do you keep the focus on your breathing? Any go-to methods for when-in-doubt out there??

Quintessential Livelihood

Long ago, when people believed that the earth was made up of four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—they thought the stars and planets were made up of yet another element. In the Middle Ages, people called this element by its Medieval Latin name, “quinta essentia,” literally, “fifth essence.” Our forebears believed the quinta essentia was essential to all kinds of matter, and if they could somehow isolate it, it would cure all disease. We have since given up on that idea, but we kept “quintessence,” the offspring of “quinta essentia,” as a word for the purest essence of a thing. Some modern physicists have given “quintessence” a new twist—they use it for a form of so-called “dark energy,” which is believed to make up 70 percent of the universe.

 

Thanks to my handy-dandy Merriam-Webster iPhone App and it’s Daily Word feature, I was enlightened by this very interesting dig into the history of the word “Quintessence.”

Isn’t it a lovely picture this history has painted, too?

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I don’t know much about the medical field other than that I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of those out there conducting research and finding cures to disease and cancer. However, the core of my being relies on the attempt to not pump my body with man-made chemicals and instead to rely on the “old-school,” dare I say “hippie” ailment remedies. gaia_rings

And, quite frankly, while I think those Middle Agers were over-shooting a bit when they concluded that harnessing stella-lunar power would cure all diseases, I do think that they were on to something that was lost over time. I think that people jump too quickly at the chance to “trick” nature or mask it and pretend it isn’t there by disguising the pains by way of modern medicines. Instead of taking this route, I think it’s important to first go back to the quintessence of one’s body and mind to see if there is something somewhat more simple that’s the underlying cause of the problem at hand. For instance, I happen to be pretty anemic. I tend to fall under deep lethargy and sometimes feel achey and flu-like due to my iron dropping too low. I came to realize that if I ate large amounts of spinach and other high-iron, vegetarian-friendly foods, I was cured in a jiffy. This can also be said of my admittedly bad knee and hip (I really shouldn’t run, but it’s such a great release!). When they ache, I find that not only a dose of vegetarian Glucosamine can help, but adding flax, turmeric and ginger to my meals, can be extremely beneficial.

The next time you’re feeling achey and low, maybe try checking out a homeopathic, cheaper cure to what ails you! What do you think..?