Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Trainer and YMX Giveaway

Exciting news -- I have clearance from my doctor for swimming, cycling and walking!  I've had the chance to get back on the trainer the past two mornings (thanks to Little A Bomb's improved sleeping)...and I'm starting three weeks of physical therapy to get me back to running - yahoo!  My wonderful orthopedic surgeon said there was nothing I could not do - running, hiking, skiing - only thing he wouldn't recommend is for me to join a bball team (never have, why start now?).  He did say, however, in order to help prevent more damage, cross training and building strong core and leg muscles would help stabilize my knees.  Prior to my (second) torn meniscus, I really did not do enough cross training, so that will be a focus going forward.

Hold on to your hats Chicagoland- super windy this morning - with gusts up to 50 mph!  I'm grateful to have a trainer (and a treadmill) in the basement:)

Still have a couple days to enter my giveaway for this beautiful YMX tri-pocket jersey...

YMX Giveaway

Have a great Tuesday!

Did you do any Cyber Monday shopping?

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Meatless Monday - Vegetable Bibimbap

Bibimbap (Korean pronunciation: [pibimbap]) is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed meal." Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.  It can be served either cold or hot.

Can't say that my kids loved this dish due to the mushrooms, but I sure did - and it's fun to say bibimbap. This dish reminds me of my undergrad days - my roomies and I would get this to go when we wanted something a little healthier.  Once all the slicing is done (I'm thinking maybe it's time to get a mandoline), this easy recipe tastes like authentic Korean take-out.  For a vegan version, just omit the egg...and for a quick, non vegetarian version try Trader Joe's frozen Bibimbap.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
5 cups baby spinach
2 1/4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
3 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly until wilted, about 30 seconds; drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze spinach dry with a paper towel. 

Wipe out skillet; heat 1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed oil over medium-high. Add carrots and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Add garlic and scallion whites and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook 4 minutes. Add cucumber and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add spinach and soy sauce and stir to combine. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and wipe out skillet. 

Heat 3/4 teaspoon grapeseed oil in skillet over medium-high. Add eggs, reduce heat to medium, and cook until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes, or flip once over. 

Divide rice among four bowls; top with vegetables and eggs. Drizzle each with sesame oil, sprinkle with scallion greens, and serve with Sriracha, hot sauce.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food, September 2011/marthastewart.com; background info from wikipedia.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Swiggies Review

Swiggies was invented as an alternative to fanny packs and having to carry water bottles while exercising. This new hands-free approach is simple and easy to use. You just fill them up with water and go! 

Upon receiving the Swiggies, my initial thoughts were that they are well constructed. In the mailing envelope were loose washers, which I would not have noticed had my contact not emailed and told me. I put these in the spout tops and had no leakage problems. After initial and subsequent uses, my thoughts remain that they are well made. The size is perfect for young children. The chunky rigid design is appealing and easy for little hands to hold (Little A Bomb refused to wear them on his wrists). Except for possibly losing the washers, the rest of the design is simple.

Tazer (10):  I wore them playing around outside and during the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.  My first impression of the Swiggies was that they were small and could not hold much.  After using it I realized it holds more water than I thought.  It is easy to use, you don't need to take them out of your pocket or stop or anything.  It ended up being plenty of water for my 5k.  I only used one - for a longer race, you may need more.  Overall I liked it.

Gaigai (9):  I like how they look.  They are small and easy to carry.

Munchkin (4):    When I first saw them, I thought they were awesome.  I liked the bright yellow and orange colors and the small size.  Since I had them on my wrists, I did not have to hold them.  I think they have a lot of water.  I will wear these for my next race for sure!

Little A Bomb (16 months):  paraphrased:  I love the size, perfect for my little hands.  I do not like wearing anything on my wrists, and so did not allow mom and dad to put them on as intended:)

(Disclaimer: We were sent these for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Swiggies. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are our own.)

How was your Turkey Trot?  

Any more exciting plans for the long holiday weekend?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yellowman sent me a shirt - Jah Rastafari (and Giveaway)!

No, not that Yellowman, though I did see him in concert in Jamaica! 

YMX, short for YellowMan Expression, was launched in 2009 as an extension of the original, high-end tattoo clothing brand, YellowMan. Built on an extensive library of original tattoo artwork collected around the globe, YellowMan offers collectible, limited wearable art prints.

Winter Flower Tri-Pocket Jersey
YMX offers multifunctional garments that bridge the gap between athletic and fashion garments. Featuring high-comfort, lightweight MadKool fabrics and detailed, original prints, YMX garments can be worn for athletic use, or for casual wear. As a matter of fact, because of the moisture-wicking properties of the fabric, many people wear YMX in both active and leisure activities without having to change

YellowMan founder, Peter Miu
On a short forced hiatus from running due to my knee surgery, I wore this super comfy jersey for both active and casual outings.  Perfect for "hiking" with my little guys, bumming around town, playing with my kids, and even going out to dinner one night. This is a great technical shirt, slim fitting with slightly elastic hem and generous arm length.  The jersey also  features three convenient back pockets for your keys, water bottle, mobile phone or anything else you want to hold while on the move. Made with silky MadKool wicking UPF 50+ fabric, it looks great for both active and casual endeavors.  

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Would you like a YMX - Winter Tri-Pocket Flower Jersey of your own?  For a chance to win, 

-be(come) a follower of my blog (let me know in a comment that you are) 

-spread the word via your blog, twitter and/or facebook (one entry per day - leave a comment for each tweet or blog mention, please)

Winner will be chose using random.org on Friday, December 2nd - Good Luck!!

For more information on YMX, YellowMan check out their website and follow them on twitter.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this garment for free to review on my blog - courtesy of YMX. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits - Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about family, football and food.  Here are some interesting facts:

A typical Thanksgiving meal packs in an average of 4500 calories.

Dark turkey meat contains about 30 more calorie and 4 more grams of fat per 3.5 oz serving than breast meat, but it also packs more iron, zinc, thiamin, and riboflavin, and still clocks in at half the fat of beef tenderloin.

People often blame tryptophan, an amino acid in turkey, for causing drowsiness after Thanksgiving dinner.  But turkey contains too small an amount to have any effect on energy levels.  The true culprits, are those extra servings of food and that glass (or 3) of wine you likely had at the feast.

The average stuffing recipe can have anywhere from 350 to 700 calories in a one cup serving and who on earth eats just one cup?

And here's how your favorite slice of pie stacks up:

Pecan Pie - 503 cal, 27 g fat
Apple - 411 cal, 19 g fat
Pumpkin - 316 cal, 14 g fat
Cherry - 486 cal, 22 g fat
Lemon Meringue - 362 cal, 16 g fat

Tidbits from Shape, foxnews.com, Examiner.com

What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Meatless Monday - Quickie: Cashew Date Bar

A while back I did a Larabar tasting with my kids, and after looking at the ingredients Tazer said, "Hey, we could make these!"  So for his first attempt, he tried a cashew/date mix - with great results!  Very simple ingredients - 1/3 c. dates (whole) and 1/2 c. cashews.  Using our hand blender (probably would be easier in a food processor), he chopped the dates and then the cashews.  Next he mixed the two together with his hands.

Then formed them into bars on wax paper.

And then we tasted :)

Tazer:  "delicious and easy to make!"
Gaigai:  "I love them!  They look kind of dry, but when I ate it, it was soft and moist."
Little A bomb:  no comment, just the more sign :)
Munchkin:  "kind of sweet...are there any chocolate ones?"

You can probably guess what will be in the next bars we make!

Happy Monday!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Fluff and Funny

Tomorrow our princess turns 9 - holy guacamole, hard to believe!  Happy early birthday to our beautiful, bright, artistic, caring, nurturing soccer stud!

One of the suggestions I found to help strengthen knees is to run barefoot... Check out this video.  It's pretty funny, but also gives some good facts, history and culture of the barefoot running movement.

Happy Friday!

What are your fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Brooks Gear Review

Once again I had the good fortune to try out some great Brooks gear!
Brooks gear head to toe (almost)
I received the Silver Bullet Jacket, Silver Bullet Wind Tight and the Infiniti Hybrid Wind Shirt.

The Silver Bullet Jacket is warm, yet super lightweight.  It is both windproof and water-resistant and has reflective details for low light visibility.  The cozy cuffs with thumbholes provide extra warmth for hands (online product details say there is a flip mitt, but my jacket does not have them?).  Initially I requested a size small, but exchanged for a medium which I feel provides a more comfortable fit for me over a light layer (such as the Infiniti Hybrid Wind Shirt).  It's a nice vibrant color (I have the cerise - initially was sent the cobalt which is also very nice) with some subtle feminine details.  Overall great jacket, truly windproof - we've had some very windy days and this jacket has been perfect for all sorts of activities from watching the kids' soccer games to hiking in the woods.

The Silver Bullet Wind Tight's wind proof and water resistant fabric makes these a great choice for wet and windy conditions.  Zippered ankles provide even easier on off and reflective stripes for safety.  My favorite aspect of the tight is the super cozy soft brushed thermal knit fabric that lines the inside of the tight.  Only suggestion I would have for improvement would be a lower rise, but that's just my personal preference.    

The final piece of my new fall Brooks gear is the Infiniti Hybrid Wind Shirt.  Super cute - I love the vibrant viola color.  Also windproof and water resistant, this shirt is soft and stretchy.  It has a 3/4 front zip and thumbholes for comfort and reflective details for safety.

Very functional and stylish, these pieces are great for running and a whole lot more! 

...like chasing the little ones!

Run Happy!

For more info or to buy products, go to the Brooks website.  You can also find them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or read the Brooks blog.

And check out Kovas' review of the men's Brooks fall gear at Midwest Multisport Life.

(Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Brooks Running. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

What's your favorite fall running gear? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits - Kneed to Know

Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Chondromalacia. Iliotibial band syndrome. Anterior knee pain.  Torn meniscus.  4 days post (2nd) knee surgery, I am focusing on how to stay surgery and injury-free in the future.  If you're squeamish about a little blood, don't look at the next image...

Day 4 post op
No doubt about it, the knee is a cranky little thing. You need only look at it to see why, and how it differs from the body's other major joints. The shoulder consists of a huge capsular contraption that holds the bones in place. The hip, too, is built like a suction cup. No such deep-fitting sockets for the knee, which swings almost like a hinge on a gate. But as the knee swings, it pivots to accommodate a thigh bone that's longer by design on one side than the other. Every flexion and extension and simultaneous rotation pulls into play four major ligaments that strap the joint together, some of them passing right through its center. 

In the center of the knee, the meniscus, a crescent-shaped fibrocartilaginous structure acts to disperse the weight of the body and reduce friction during movement.  

No wonder the knee sometimes gets sore or swollen--or worse. 

In order to protect the knees, especially after meniscus repair, maximizing core and lower extremity strength is essential. Running on softer surfaces may decrease impact forces. Barefoot running techniques also seem to decrease the impact forces on the knees, though the jury is still out on the overall incidence of running related injuries compared with heel strikers. 


Cross training and strengthening weak hips was stressed during my last round of PT and in several articles in preventing/alleviating knee pain, especially for women.  Exercise scientists have discovered a link between weak hips and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), which aggravates the front of the knee.  Weak hips cause a runner's form to slightly disintegrate which places unhealthy stress on the knee.  Check out a video routine at runnersworld.com to help prevent and treat PFPS.

In addition your off road workout should include stretching and strengthening.  Stretching your ITB to keep it from causing friction and strengthening hip abductors and glutes to keep you stable will also help prevent knee injuries.  Check out some more exercises at runnersworld.com.

For general achy joints, here are some more recommendations:  stay hydrated, eat anti-inflammatory foods (foods high in omega 3s and lots of veggies), avoid trans fats, lift weights, loose extra weight, cook with turmeric (there it is again:))

Info taken from Runners World, Running Times, Whole Living.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meatless Monday - Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Still using up the wagon load of squash we picked up in Michigan..

Prep Time - 15 minutes
Total Time - 1 hour
Yield - Serves 4

2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 ounces wild-rice blend (seasoning packet discarded)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, and sage; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and 1 3/4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, without stirring, about 25 minutes.

Remove rice from heat, and stir in craisins and pecans; season stuffing with salt and pepper. Season the inside of each squash half with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, mound stuffing into halves, and serve. 

This recipe is a little sweet for my taste. Kovas felt it was missing something also, so we added grated parmesan - great suggestion!

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Larabar - Kids' Review

Since Gaigai has been asking to review something, we bought some Larabars that Little A Bomb (16 months) could also eat (we usually get bars with chocolate).  We chose Banana Bread, Lemon Bar and Ginger Snap.   Just after school and before heading off to soccer practice the kids sampled the bars.  Perfect treat to give the kids some healthy and delicious energy!

We cut each of the bars into quarters so that each child would get a taste (I sneaked a little bite from Little A Bomb's share).

Banana Bread 
Tazer (10)  - at first taste, tastes like bananas; a little bitter at the end
Gaigai (8) - nutty, don't taste much banana; chewy
Munchkin (4) - good
Little A Bomb (16 months) - no comment, but ate the whole piece and signed for more:)

Lemon Bar 
Tazer - lemony, sort of nutty
Gaigai - crumbles in mouth; very lemony; tastes like it has almonds; favorite of the three
Munchkin - awesome
Little A Bomb - no comment, but ate the whole piece and signed for more:)

Ginger Snap 
Tazer - hint of ginger; tastes a bit like the ginger snap cookies we eat, but not as sweet; favorite of three
Gaigai - ginger pops out when you bite it; chewy texture; melts in mouth
Munchkin - epic; favorite of three
Little A Bomb - no comment, but ate the whole piece and signed for more:)

To wrap up our tasting we looked at the ingredients and packaging.  Very simple - each bar had 4-6 ingredients.  Tazer was impressed and it gave him the idea to experiment in the kitchen.  Time to find some basic recipes for energy bars...  Gaigai commented on the simple, yet bright packaging.  Overall they would recommend all three flavors to their friends!

Simple. Pure. Delicious.  That's the Larabar motto.  I usually have a couple bars stashed in my car along with nuts and dried fruit.  I love the simple ingredients and that they don't contain any artificial ingredients. Great as a  healthy treat alternative.

What's your favorite Larabar flavor?

Do you have an easy, healthy, delicious 
recipe for energy bars?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits - Cure-all Concoction

Over the years I have read repeatedly about the benefits of certain spices, herbs and oils. Three that I am planning to combine and take daily (after my surgery) are turmeric, cinnamon and coconut oil.  Here's why:

Turmeric: The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye. The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric helps improve many health conditions including cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer's disease.  Turmeric has also shown to help with weight management and joint health.

Cinnamon: While it brings out (and warms up) the flavors in the foods it is paired with, cinnamon will also help keep your arteries healthy, manage blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol.  

Coconut Oil: For decades coconuts have gotten a bad rap because of their high saturated fat content.  Turns out coconuts are healthy - coconut oil is swimming in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), fats that can be metabolized faster than other oils and help absorb nutrients.  Some preliminary studies also suggest that the MCFAs in coconut oil may help treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, Lou Gehrig's, MS and diabetes.  The lauric acid in coconuts may help the body fight viruses.  In addition fresh coconut meat is an excellent source of fiber and raw coconut water is rich in minerals, including potassium, manganese and magnesium.   

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-dolgoff-md/healthy-spices_b_876363.html#s294335&title=Cinnamon, Women's Magazine, Well-Being Journal

Do you eat any spice for its medicinal properties?

What else should I add to my "cure-all concoction"?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meatless Monday - Pumpkin Cheesecake

Local, seasonal and delicious!!

(Miss Zippy - for a vegan version you could try using tofu and Tofutti cream cheese - 
I wasn't so adventurous:) - maybe next time) 

Did you know that a pumpkin is in the same family as a watermelon and is actually considered a fruit? Some other interesting facts:

-Pumpkins are 90% water

-Pumpkins were once used to remove freckles

-Roasted and shelled pumpkin seeds are called "pepitas"

-1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in the US in 2010. Illinois produced the most - an estimated 427 million pounds. California, New York and Ohio were also major pumpkin-producing states, each with an estimate of more than 100 million pounds.

-The "Pumpkin Capital of the World" is Morton, IL where Libby is located

-Size of a pumpkin ranges from 1 lb to over 1000 - the Lemon Tree Grocer in Downers Grove, IL had the largest one in Illinois this year - weighing 978 pounds!

-Early settlers used pumpkins to make beer 

-Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in calories and sodium

Here's a recipe which is not low in calories, but certainly a delicious treat:

Mini Pumpkin (or full size) Cheesecake(s) 
with Cinnamon Whipped Cream 

For the crust 
1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs (Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps are perfect for the recipe)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1  1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
14 ounces cream cheese (do not use light cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut pie pumpkin in half, seed and place in casserole dish. Add 1" water and bake for one hour. When cool to touch scrape pumpkin from rind. If in a crunch for time - use store bought puree.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 F. Lightly butter the wells of a miniature cheesecake pans or 9" springform pan.

For the crust(s), combine the gingersnap crumbs, cinnamon, butter and sugar and stir until blended. Divide the mixture among the prepared pans and press evenly into the bottoms. Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat paddle and set on low speed, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat until completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour the batter into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the pans.

Bake at 325 F until the filling is set, about 20 to 25 minutes for minis or 1 hour for 9". Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before unmolding.

Before serving, make the cinnamon whipped cream: In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with the vanilla and cinnamon until soft peaks form. Spoon onto the cheesecakes and sprinkle with the grated nutmeg.

Makes one 9 inch cheesecake or 12 mini cheesecakes.

Recipe adapted from Chefscatalog.com; tidbits from Chefscatalog.com and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Friday, November 4, 2011

Live a Longer, Happier Life and Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet Winner!

What do Sardinia, Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria Island, Greece and Loma Linda, California have in common?  These 5 areas of the world, known as "Blue Zones," are places where people live longest, according to researchers and Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and Thrive.  Check out these ten life style habits which contribute to their longevity and may help you live a happier, longer life:

Have a couple of glasses of vino a day. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 drinks per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food.  (K - another good one to try for your list of 100). 

Never graduate. Continue working or working at learning all your life. Acquiring new knowledge may in turn reinforce youthfulness.

Toughen up your telomeres.  Blood samples from elderly Nicoyans showed longer-than average telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes that dictate how many times cells can divide before dying. Avoiding anything that may shorten them, mainly stress, will lengthen life. Stress leads to chronic inflammation which is associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour. Find a stress shedding strategy that works for you and make it routine.

Get moving! The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They live in places where they can walk to the store, to their friends house or places of worship, their houses have stairs, they have gardens in their yards.

Know your sense of purpose. The Okinawans call it “ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Do an internal inventory. Be able to articulate your values, passions, gifts and talents. What are the things you like to do and the things you don’t? Then incorporate ways to put your skills into action.

Grow your own garden.  And eat locally grown food.  Meat is okay to eat, but consider it a condiment and try the leanest, finest meat you can afford. Try to limit it to a portion the size of a deck of cards and only twice per week. Beans, including fava, black and soy and lentils are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Snacking on nuts–about a handful a day has been associated with and extra 2-3 years of life expectancy.

Eat the super tuber. Okinawans tweak the traditional Japanese diet of leafy greens, rice and fish, by substituting sweet potatoes as their carb. Just as important as what you eat, is how much. “Hara hachi bu” – the Okianawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomach is 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. Serve food at the counter, store leftovers, then sit down to enjoy the meal. Replace your big dishes with 10” plates.

Make your own moai. The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies show that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness is contagious. Assessing who you hang out with, and then proactively surrounding yourself with the right friends, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything else.

Pray for your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or some other religion that meets as a community. If your worship has waned, you can still tap the effect by regularly meeting with like-minded people to nourish your soul.

Put family first. This means keeping your aging parents and grandparents near by or in your home. (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.) Work on being in a positive, committed relationship and invest in your children with time and love. (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes.)

Read great blogs like this one.  Just checking if you were counting, or even read the whole post:).

Residents of these areas outlive the rest of us by an average of 10 years - many living past 100.  By incorporating some or all of these strategies in your life, chances are you will not only live longer, but enjoy your life more!  (Strategies taken from Men's Health and BlueZones.com)

And on to making someone a happy winner of the 
Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet.  
Chosen using Random.org, the winner is...

(no, sorry Kate) -  Colleen of IRONDIVA

Congrats Colleen!  Take a look at the Endorphin Warrior website and choose a word or phrase for your bracelet and figure out the correct size for your bracelet.  Please email me the info and your mailing address at womensendurancegear@gmail.com.

Have a great weekend!  Any interesting plans?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

WEG Columbia Sportswear Sponsorship

Exciting news - Women's Endurance Gear is being sponsored by Columbia!  We've really enjoyed the gear that we received in the past - and love the new gear that came in the mail last week.  Here's a peek at what I'll be wearing to keep me warm and comfortable while hiking, biking, iceskating, etc. to just bumming around town with the kids:

Columbia is a family business gone global. It started out as a small hat company in Portland 70 years ago. Today Columbia makes high-quality performance products which are available around the world.  Columbia makes technical yet very versatile gear - great for adventures on the mountain and in the city.

For more information, click on their logo on the side bar, check out the Columbia website, read their blog, like on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  To read my reviews of the Columbia Master of FasterDrainmaker and Bug Shield Long Sleeve Top, check out my posts on OutdoorHub.com and more gear here.    Check out Kovas' Columbia reviews at Midwest Multisport Life also! Click on the sponsor logo in the right sidebar to check out the Columbia website.

From front yard to forest, Columbia keeps you comfortable and protected 
so you can stay out longer. 

Disclaimer: These products were sent to me for sponsorship purposes, courtesy of Columbia Sportswear. I was not compensated in any other way, am not obligated to give them a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this post is taken from the company website.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits - Eat More Leafy Greens!

After all the candy and sweets of Halloween, I'm craving some healthy greens.  Usually for dinner on Tuesdays we have some sort of salad as the meal.  The mention of salad for dinner doesn't exactly excite my kids, but it's a way to get a couple more servings of veggies in them (and me).  In honor of our Tuesday Salad Day and World Vegan Day, here are some tidbits on healthy greens...

Calorie for calorie, chard, collard, kale, and other leafy greens may just be the most nutritious food you can eat. They’re packed with vitamins A, B, K and others, and rich in essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants. The phytochemicals in greens can help prevent heart disease and cancer and have been shown to boost mental clarity, prevent depression, and reduce risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

Some of the healthiest greens - swiss chard, arugula, collard greens, bok choy, kale and watercress.

Bagged or fresh greens? Bagged greens can be as nutritious as fresh but are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria. Always wash before eating, even if the packaging specifies “prewashed” or “triple washed.”

Cleanliness and common sense are keys to reducing contracting foodborne illness from leafy greens.  Wash hands prior to preparing greens.  Wash greens well in running tap water to remove visible dirt.  Remove and discard outermost leaves.  Use a clean cutting board, free of other foods.  Avoid preparing food for others when you are sick.  

Tidbits taken from Men's Journal, Chicago Tribune, CDC.

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