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Friday, August 22, 2008

Energizing A.M. Nutrition

Breakfast: How to Break the Fast

Most people start the day on an empty stomach and then quickly grab something (which usually contains caffeine, dairy, and/or sugar) to sustain energy and avoid a mid-morning slump.  This creates a roller coaster effect of high and low energy levels throughout the day.  Try these nutrition suggestions to establish & maintain a high level of energy from the a.m. to the p.m.!

1) LEMON WATER: drink a glass of warm water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon upon waking.  The properties in lemons help to...
  • alkalize the body, cleanse the skin, and soothe the digestive system
  • stimulate the liver & kidneys
  • provide calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C
  • relieve asthma
*if lemons aren't appealing to you try the same thing with lime.  A different taste with the same benefits!

2) HEARTY BREAKFAST: plan a well-sized morning meal that includes a portion of carbohydrate and protein (wait 1/2 hour after drinking your lemon water to eat). 
  • eating healthy calories in the beginning of the day maximizes the amount of calories you burn throughout the day and reduces mid-meal cravings
  • eat foods in their purest form, the best health benefits come from foods that are the least processed 
  • try these breakfast suggestions and note how you feel a) immediately after eating, b) 2 hours after the meal, and c) how long it takes for you to actually feel hungry again...
-poached eggs & roasted potatoes
-cooked oats sprinkled with crushed almonds
-plain yogurt with fresh fruit
-whole grain toast with peanut butter & banana
-cooked quinoa with ground flax seed
*quinoa is a must-add to your diet: it is the only grain that is a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids)!!!

3) YERBA MATE: A species of holly, this drink is traditionally prepared by steeping dried leaves in water, and sipped out of a gourd!  It does contain stimulants such as caffeine and xanthines, but also has healthy elements like potassium, magnesium, and manganese.  The flavor is similar to green tea and can be slightly bitter.  Mate's beneficial physiological side effects are similar to coffee & tea, with less severe negative side effects.  Yerba Mate is known to...

  • increase mental alertness & focus
  • have less jolt than coffee on the central nervous system
  • refrain from producing 'jitters' or heart palpitations
  • enhance energy without affecting ability to fall asleep
*you can purchase Yerba Mate in tea bags or loose leaves from your natural health food store.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

*****New Workshop*****

in Brooklyn's Prospect Park!

flexABility is my new workshop designed to stretch your muscles, strengthen your core, and maximize your energy throughout the day!  Learn a morning exercise routine to wake up your body, as well as nutrition, breathing & meditation techniques to sustain a high energy level.  More than just a great's a fresh start with new healthy habits and tools you will use long after the session is over.

Starts Wednesday August 27th for 4 weeks! (8/27, 9/3, 9/10, 9/17)

We'll meet @ 6:55-7:45am, 9th street & Prospect Park West

Interested? Sign up by contacting the Park Slope Fitness Collective 718-499-1849

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stretch of the Month: The Triangle Reach

This month's highlighted stretch, The Triangle Reach, is amazing because it simultaneously stretches and strengthens the muscles in your thighs, knees, ankles, abdominal and back muscles!  The Triangle Reach also stimulates the abdominal organs.  Try it after you have warmed up sufficiently as an invigorating and energizing pose.

  • Stand up tall with your legs together and the feet parallel. 
  • Step the left leg back about 3ft and turn in the left heel so the toes are angled slightly to the left.  Make sure you can draw an imaginary line from the right heel to the center of the left arch to be in proper alignment.
  • Spiral your hips and shoulders open to the left and extend your arms up with the biceps hugging by the ears and the palms facing towards each other.
  • Inhale lengthen the spine and move your hips to the left.  As you exhale reach the body to the right, keeping your legs grounded and engaged.  Ideally, your torso is parallel to the floor and your arms are reaching beyond your head.
  • Cultivate strength from your core muscles.  Feel your tailbone moving slightly forward, navel drawing in towards the spine, lower front ribs shifting in toward the back, and the back of your neck in line with the spine. 
  • Grow in this pose for 5 deep breaths, inhale to bring the body up and repeat to the other side.
Modifications: What if ?...
  • "...I can't keep my back straight" Try the pose with the entire back body against a wall.
  • "...It's too difficult to keep my arms by my ears" Take the right arm down the right leg (or on a block) and the left arm extended up to the ceiling, or take both hands to the hips. 
The Triangle Reach will give you extra energy for all your summer activities! 
See the class schedule at the right to try this pose in Stretch class all month!