Friday, November 23, 2012

Hawky?

I know this is really random but I have to ask....

       I think since I moved into my room  (as a baby) I have had a hawk every morning land on my balcony and give me a good morning call. I think (along with some nightmare issues) he is the reason why I like waking up oh so early. He comes by around 6:00 to 6:15ish in the morning and says his hello. Sometimes I get up and say hi back and then he runs off. This has been going on for years. Recently I have seen him flying around more often and a little while ago saw him with either another larger hawk or some sort of crazy looking eagle.  It was such an epic show to watch. The reason why I tell you this because after telling a few people this story of mine it has come to my attention that I don't have a name for the Hawk that wakes me up every morning. A friend of mine had the idea of Hawky so right now that is just a nickname because lets be honest, how lame is it to have the name Hawky?  So....... I ask you do you all have any ideas of names for a medium sized hawk who I have grown fawned of? He is your average looking hawk with a white belly brown feathers up top and a mix of white and brown coloring on the inside of the wings and dark eyes. He loves playing around with the more little birds considering he chases that one that sings every morning and then goes of to the church across the mini canyon which I am assuming is where he has a nest or something. If you care about the type of hawk I think he is a Ferruginous Hawk.
not Hawky but this is what he kinda looks like.
I can never get a good picture

I know this is ridiculous but as I mentioned, I have grown very fawned of this hawk. He has become like my pet. I am not saying I feed him or really go near him all to often but he is my morning hawk who I look forward to hearing in the morning.

Till Next Time!
Nicoly

Thursday, November 22, 2012

post holiday workout!

I know we all are going to splurge a little more than usual this Thanksgiving. Not only that but we are going to be adding on the pounds up until New Years, right? In a 1995 study done by CNN it was indicated that the average person gains 5-10 pounds in the holiday season alone. More recent studies have put the belief aside with new results. According to  The effect of the Thanksgiving Holiday on weight gain by Holly R Hull, Duncan Radley, Mary K Dinger and David A Fields the average person can gain up to .5kg which is 1.1 pounds. I know this may seem small but look at it this way: In an assessment of weight loss in correlation between the holidays done by Meagan Stoner, BS, RD, LD it was found that a person can gain over half of the yearly added weight within the holiday season. Now keep in mind every other holiday you celebrate with food and leisure time and think of every morning after when you get on to the scale and see that extra weight added on then add on the 1.1 pounds from the season and what do you get? I like to think of it this way: for every holiday I celebrate there is a chance of me gaining about .5 pounds. Now considering I am a Jewish American that is a whole lot of holidays to celebrate. I would say that can lead up to a good 17 pounds within the year and if I let myself free with food it can be much more than that. I tell you all of this to honestly just get your attention for the moment. After Thanksgiving you can easily shed the weight you gained the night before and after the holiday season you can keep your weight steady. The question becomes how can I do such a thing? There are two key components to keeping your weight steady. First is your lifestyle and exercise routine and second is what and how you eat. Just remember as you try to keep your weight steady over the holidays that it is a simple task to do so.

Exercise is key component number one. that doesn't mean it is more important than what you eat but it is the easiest aspect to control mentally (at least in my opinion). Tomorrow after I have a delicious Thanksgiving I am first going to go for a beautiful hour long walk. don't over do it right away!!!! although you probably are considering going straight to the gym and packing on the weights or going for an epic run or bike ride please resist for at least 15 minutes and get yourself warmed up first. I like the hour long walk because it also gets me prepared mentally. Starting up strong will just put your muscles into shock and that is never fun. after a warm up then I recommend getting to the weights. In fact if you really don't want to think up a routine many gyms have post thanksgiving workout classes. check out your gym hours for the week and which classes are being offered along with any special they have going on. if that doesn't help look around other gyms. I know you don't want to cheat on your own gym because that is my thought as well but you can get day passes at many other gyms and I think you will be forgiven if it's just a day. As for the actual hard core work out it wouldn't hurt to go for a 5 minute jog or run after your warm up. I have been attempting to create a routine for you but to be honest my creativity skills when it comes to routine creating is lacking. instead I recommend  checking out my friend Melissa's blog post Express Bodyweight Workout. Pick the rendition of your choice  (you get two options) and have fun. I also recommend checking out a new site I just stumbled upon: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2009/12/17/advanced-body-weight-workout-warning-this-will-kick-your-ass/.  Myself I will definitely mix up the two different sites. Honestly if you can be creative go for it and if not well follow the instructions or as I mentioned check out the classes in the gym you are a member of or any gym close by. Lastly don't just end it with one workout day after the holiday. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour just to working out six times a week. This will keep your weight steady even after the holiday season.

As for what you eat, that begins the moment you wake up and decide on what you will eat during the day. Don't act like you don't think about it because you and I both know in your mind you are thinking "maybe I just won't eat to make up for it." my recommendation for that is DON'T DO IT!!!!! Starving will just mess you up big time. if you wanna cleanse out your system do so with the proper cleanse. I still am a big fan of a cleanse especially after the holiday season and for that go to my cleansing expert Annette Borsack with Zen Enterprises Inc. you can find out more about her and how she works at http://www.zenenterprisesinc.com/. If you are looking for a do it yourself kind of routine here are 5 tips you should consider:
  1. Prepare before the holiday- eat lightly before the big meal and DON'T starve yourself.
  2. Enjoy the holiday!- don't just eat during the holidays. Thanksgiving is a day for football, fun and family, which all should be enjoyed throughout the day.
  3. Try not to over-overindulge. Overindulging is not the culprit, going beyond that is. stick to one plate for the meal and no more than one to two desserts. or go with the little bit of everything idea and take half a slice of pumpkin pie and half a slice of the cinnamon swirl bunt cake. 
  4. Next day start of with a healthy breakfast:
                  1 Cup of quinoa
                      2 cups light vanilla almond milk
                      2 cups unsweetened apple juice
                      2 tbl ground cinnamon 
                      1.5 cups  of craisins
                      2 tsp vanilla extract
      5. Eat light throughout the day- eat snack foods like yogurt with fruit or a light protein bar. My favorite protein bar of the day is Perfect Food Bars Cranberry bar. SO YUMMY!!
      6. Stick to a healthy routine of eating 5-6 clean meals a day after the day after routine. Don't be afraid of fats, carbs or proteins and remember to keep a healthy balance of clean, healthy foods. 

I hope that helps you all out. For now I am going to spend my day walking and enjoying the holiday with my family. For dinner I am staying strong with sticking with sugar free. smoked turkey breast, with green beans and mushroom, braised sweet potato and parsnip, and a home made cranberry sauce: 1 Trader Joe's bag of frozen cranberries, about 1.5 TB Seaport Oil & Vinegar red apple balsamic, half a medium sweet onion and stevia to taste. put it all in a pot with water and let it reduce down. Lastly a pumpkin dessert: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, stevia to taste, vanilla, 1 TB almond/cashew cream, a little bit of egg white, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, place in oven at 400 for about 20-30 minutes. I am also making a whipped topping and if it works out I will share the recipe. 

Till Next Time! 
Nicoly


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanks before the Shopping

Thanksgiving is coming soon and I feel like it has been a forgotten Holiday. I have been walking around town, in malls, grocery stores, at the beach and in town and I notice that everything is about Christmas. I know that this is because we live in a world where consumers need to be sold to and Christmas is the biggest selling holiday there is but honestly people before you put up your lights (which I know it's to late for some) and before you buy your Christmas gifts breath a little and remember that this month on November 22nd there is in my opinion a more important holiday.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are family oriented but if you look at history that wasn't always the case with Christmas and as for Thanksgiving although the history is harsh it still the truth that it started as a way to give thanks to friends and family. Christmas started as a more community based holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In the late 19th century this changed after a ban on the holiday. It was brought back more as a family oriented holiday. I wouldn't say in recent years but it hasn't been long since Christmas became a consumer based holiday. Not saying I don't love Christmas cause this is one Jewish girl that loves Christmas time. I love seeing my neighbors put up their large Christmas tree, going to the stores and watching everyone buy gifts and considering in my house hold we do tend to celebrate an Americanized Hanukkah I totally take pride in saying I join in the shopping, and I love the concept of it being not just about Jesus's birthday but a continuation of being thankful for Jesus and for your family. As I mentioned before though Thanksgiving has been forgot because of this change in what Christmas has become and I hope that you all begin to remember the importance of thanksgiving after this blog and in the long run.
  The first example of Thanksgiving was the thankful feast that was put on by pilgrims in November 1621 after a couple Native Americans taught them how to harvest crops and fish successfully. This however wasn't the start of a holiday. A thankful feast wasn't brought back till two years later after the end of a drought for the pilgrims and throughout history there have been days of thanks for end of wars, droughts and so forth. In 1817 several states began to celebrate some form of thanksgiving as a state holiday. It wasn't until 1863 when president Abraham Lincoln made the last Thursday of November the national holiday we know today as Thanksgiving.
   Isn't it interesting how this one man has been brought up so frequently lately? Two movies about the man just this year in theater (One isn't exactly historically correct but it still depicts him as one bada** president and vampire slayer) and to top that off this past election he was brought up numerous times. In my belief he has been one of the best if not the best president this country has had. off topic I know, I am continuing on...
  Today thanksgiving has been a bridge between Halloween and Christmas. It was a sign that sales for     Christmas will begin in a few hours. I kid you not. Black Friday has become a nuisance and to top it off you don't even have to wait for after Thanksgiving anymore. The biggest stores like Wal-Mart and Target are actually starting their sales on Thanksgiving. Seriously What happened to family time for Thanksgiving.
Soon thanksgiving with the family will be the Monday before spending it online with your family buying them the gifts they want for the holidays then Thursday night going out to Wal-Mart to get the new Nintendo system or the new and improved Furby up till the next morning where you will still be shopping. I guess I talk from a passionate place in my heart where Thanksgiving family dinner is. I grew up appreciating the meaning to Thanksgiving. If we put aside the horrible truth about the up coming of Thanksgiving and how pilgrims basically kicked out the Native Americans after years of a shared friendship and trading relationship than we can go up to why Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday and in fact go beyond that. Abraham Lincoln wanted Thanksgiving to be a way of the country to be gratetful that we are "One Nation," he wanted the country to see this holiday, both the confederate states and union states and be reminded that we are grateful for this great country. Thanksgiving today has been and should be more than that. Thanksgiving has become a feast at home with the people we love sharing what we are grateful for along with a rather large turkey feast.
  For myself it is both a national and family holiday. Ever since I was a child we would celebrate mainly at my grandparents' house with anyone who was family and that includes even distant cousins and just friends. We gave thanks for what we had and for myself and my brothers sometimes that included the spoiled aspect of toys and computers and so much more along with things that have occurred in school and with friends and family, but most importantly although we never would really all say it, we were all grateful that we were American. Because of America and it's wondrous opportunities my grandfather was able to move states and cities, follow his dream to be an actor, switch careers for his family and marry the woman he fell in love with. Because of America my grandmother was not only able to graduate high school at a young age, raise three children to be great parents and cook as much as she wants, America also let her do this after they allowed her to move here after the Holocaust and the loss of her family. Thanks to America I wouldn't really exist and we wouldn't have such a strong large family that loves each other. This year on the 22nd of November this is one thing I will be giving thanks for along with my recent good health, and the fact that my parents haven't kicked me out of the house yet.
  Even while all of the change in our society is occurring all around my family somehow we never really bought into black Friday. I went with my mother once to the Macy's in Fashion Valley and it was really just to experience the craziness of it all. To be honest it is so overrated. The truth is that we had a great time. We woke up way to early to get to Macy's before it opened and we did buy a few things in the hustle and bustle but with my mother's shopping skills somehow we always get a good deal no matter what day it is so black Friday meant nothing. It really just became a way to spend time with my mother although it was done shopping(not my favorite activity).
  I guess it all just confuses me. Why is it the Thanksgiving has become such a consumer drawn holiday, why is it that many of us are forgetting to just sit down with our families and give thanks for one on other and what we are blessed with in life, and why is it that I am passionate about this topic? I guess it is because I was raised with such a strong family so that I won't give in to this new found reason to not celebrate thanksgiving and I guess it truly is because if I see one more commercial about buying on layover for the holidays or how Target has the best deals for Thanksgiving shopping before black Friday I will have to restrain myself from breaking the T.V. Either way I think we all need to just stop before we shop this year, sit around a table with whoever we want to and just be thankful we are where we are in life. Hopefully we all can do this because believe me when I say it will be a great way to relieve stress.
  I Hope this Thanksgiving for you will be just like mine shall be. An all American family gathering with the ones you hold true to your heart and is a day you give thanks to who ever you believe in and to those around you along with this great country we live in (even if Texas disagrees).
 

Till Next Time!
Nicoly

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bruised Ribs and kiwi & Vinegar Sweetness

  This past week I have wanted to write about my bruised ribs, Kiwiberries and of course Thanksgiving coming up soon. I don't really know how to put them together in one post without it sounding like such a bizarre post. I have come to the conclusion that this week there will be two different posts starting with this one.   

   I guess I should start with the bruised ribs, give you the bad news before the good news. a little over a week ago I bruised my ribs, left side to be exact about it. I don't know if you all know this but bruising a rib HURTS. Honestly though I haven't really thought of it aside from preventing pain with these amazing homeopathic pills called Arnica Montana from my favorite health food grocery store down the street, Windmill Farms. They have been a great help but sadly the mental toll brought on by an injury kind of sucks and yesterday I think it got to me. Yesterday I was so Hungry for some weight training. I have my weights at home and every Sunday I go to the gym for a strength class. Yesterday I was sitting at home looking at my weights thinking if I stay home I know I am going to take those weights and cause this bruise or crack whatever is going on in my ribs to get worse. For those of you who have gone to Real Life with me you know in about five minutes or less I would have had those weights in hand. It upset me that I had to stop myself but I did. I thought to myself if I go to the gym to this class I have a great trainer who would give me that you are out of your mind look and point to a treadmill. That is exactly what happened for the most part thank goodness. I did sneak in a lower body upper body twist with weights which is where I got not just the look but a mouthful of "are you kidding me" then the point to the treadmill. Needless to say I watched the entire group do burpies, twists, medicine ball tosses, rows and a bunch of other things while I was at a 5.0 incline at 3.0 speed most of the time. Honestly I was perfectly fine with it until after about 15 minutes on the treadmill. I all most forgot how dull it is to be walking on a treadmill. at the 15 minute mark not only did boredom set but thinking had begun and like any other person sometimes thinking is never wise and for me that is why I have such an empty mind at points, I try to prevent that type of thinking. Anyways I didn't really think of much except for the fact that I was dreading not working out to my full potential and that just sucks so bad. To be honest my ribs have been healing rather quickly considering they only hurt at certain points and if I do something stupid but still it sucks that I have to slow down. It is like driving on the 1-5 with no traffic, you are speeding up to the 80s and even 90s and then there is that one slow car that slows you down. I was still getting some exercise in just like I would still end up at my destination. Anyways I needed a little pick me up after that and although I would have gladly said it was a Ben and Jerry's pint it wasn't thank goodness. Nope I went to the fridge opened up the door and remembered something, "it's so not worth it especially for something so tiny in my mind." 

   This leads me to the kiwiberries. I wasn't really thinking about Ben and Jerry's when I opened up the fridge but about the new fruit I had stumbled upon at Sam's Club the other day. I stood at the fridge looking at the container of these sweet berries that I have become intrigued by and fell in love with. I had some before I went to the gym with breakfast and fell in love. the kiwiberry is this lip puckering sweet fruit that is related to a regular kiwi. It even looks like a little baby kiwi. The difference is no hair on the skin, the skin is edible and the kiwiberry is as small as a grape. It tastes like kiwi that was drenched in sugar (in a delicious kind of way).  So I am looking at this container, with probably two or three servings and at the time did not really care up until the positive thought of "it's not worth it" came into my mind. Instead I started questioning everything about this new and amazing fruit and what do I do when I have questions? I do what every other person raised on a computer does, I went to the computer, typed in www.google.com and did my research. I learned so much so far. I know that it has more Potassium than bananas, a low sodium count, no fat or Cholesterol, it has numerous other minerals like Manganese, Calcium, Zinc and many others. It has More Vitamin C than an orange, Twice the amount of Vitamin E than an avocado, a few different Carotenoids and Flavonoids, and a few different B vitamins including B6, B2, and Folate, along with 4 grams of fiber in a serving. So ya it is very healthy for you. What you should also know is that the calories vary depending on types of kiwiberries and if they are cultivated in the states or wild in Asian countries. The wild kiwiberries have less sugar and can range between 90-100 calories give or take and cultivated berries can have about 130 calories per serving which is about 6 oz of berries. The sugar thing actually got me to curb my craving for them even more considering it is extremely hard to get wild kiwiberries and I am sure the fact that the ones I bought aren't screaming Wild Kiwiberries on the front of the packaging I am just going to take a guess as to whether or not they are wild. Not saying they still aren't healthy considering most farms that cultivate the  kiwiberries are considered organic farms and the amount of vitamins that prevent cancer and minerals that help balance out the body's system are enough to say have a serving every so often. Instead of eating all of them at once I will be savoring them with a serving in the morning and I have made a delicious shake with them which included the kiwiberries along with a mix of other berries, almond milk and protein powder. I loved it and I believe my dad did as well. 


To be honest I don't know how to end this post aside from assuring you that the next blog will come sooner than usual since I am getting excited for some Thankgiving goodness. maybe I will even add my new found love for kiwiberries into the mix or... OH I totally forgot to mention the amazing flavored vinegars  I couldn't resist buying at Seaport Oils and Vinegars. Seaport Oils and Vinegars is a company that has mastered the art of infusing oils and vinegars with other flavors. They have oils infused with Blood Orange, basil, Lemon, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, and even harissa infused EVOO. I tasted that harissa oil and can I just say it is so spicy, yummy but spicy if you wouldn't mind a bit of spice in your salad or in whatever you cook it is amazing. I however didn't want the oils I wanted the vinegars and I wanted to test out the balsamic vinegars. I tested nearly every single on of them and there are many different ones including chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and pomegranate but the one I fell in love with was the fig balsamic. The undertone of Fig creats this sweet bitter after taste that I couldn't resist so I got a bottle. What was even more amazing was that with the purchase I got a small bottle of another vinegar. I chose the red apple vinegar which made my day today. It inspired me to change up my Ketchup with some sauteed sweet onions, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and the red apple balsamic and I think it is one of the best I have made. this is a very odd ending to a blog but the vinegars popped into my head while typing so please forgive me. I will try to make the next blog a little more ending friendly. 
Till Next Time
Nicoly!