Five for food

A delicious way to get new ideas for healthy vegetarian meals? 5 min food! This great site offers short (5 mins) videos demonstrating how to make all types of food, and there is a section dedicated strictly to vegetarian cuisine. The personalities are fun to watch and the food looks so appetizing, you’ll want to jump into your kitchen to recreate the fabulous foods. Give it a try–it only takes 5 mins!

http://www.5min.com/Category/Food/Vegetarian

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Sweet dreams

Winding Down Twist

I know I have not been focusing my posting on food lately, and I promise I’ll get back to that (!), but the past few weeks I have gotten the worst night sleep of my life. I fall asleep fine and then a few hours later I am wide awake with thoughts spinning out of control, keeping my mind active and therefore, preventing me from returning to slumber. This started with a few nights a week and has gradually gotten to the point where I am down to about 5 hours of sleep a night. To pass the time, I read in bed so that I don’t just lay there, tossing and turning. I need help! I began looking into yoga as a sleep aid on Monday and have found tons of interesting articles that just might be my salvation!

One article  http://www.healthcentral.com/sleep-disorders/c/33137/53544/yoga-sleep/ has a simple legs up the wall pose to encourage the mind to slow down and begin preparing the body for sleep. The pose is simple; I have done it before, and it does provide relaxing properties, so I am hopeful that a quick adjustment to my bedtime routine to include this position might help me finally get some shut-eye.

Another site http://www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/bradlyjacobsmdmph/yoga-for-sleep–8643 says “If sleep problems are chronic for you, consider doing yoga 2x/day for 10-20 minutes each time- preferably in the morning and then 1 hour before bedtime.   If you awake in the middle of the night, I would suggest you do yoga in the middle of the night to calm your mind and body-  5-40 minutes of yoga depending on your needs. ”

Finally, a third Wed site offers an 8 minute yoga sequence to do before bed http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/yoga/poses/yoga-routine-before-sleep/?page=2  (one pose includes legs up the wall). I believe I could spare 8 minutes before bed to counteract all the time I lose when I wake up prematurely.

From all my searches, it is important to note that I did not find one site that said yoga was bad for sleep problems. The only negative I found came from those people who did an intense yoga workout right before bed. The workout energized them instead of calming them down, so it is best to do yoga designed for relaxation and not for weight-loss if you are doing this routine for sleeplessness.

Pleasant dreams!

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Feed the birds

With the cold weather comes lack of food for animals to eat. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds are all creatures that might be out and about in your area looking for dinner, but finding only dead plants and frost/ snow-covered ground. “Most birds will die at night from a lack of food, water and protection. Food and water are life’s essentials, protection helps your birds to conserve vital calories.” http://www.birdparadise.org/bird-articles-general/winter-care-wild-birds.htm So, here is something you can do to help out the little birds in your neighborhood that greet you in spring with their beautiful song: make bird treats.

“If the bird doest not find enough food to produce the necessary energy to make it trough the night or a severe storm, the bird will die.”
http://www.kaytee.com/wild-birds/winter-bird-feeding.htm What food will give your bird friends the energy to survive? Kingston Field Naturalists, Sharon David and John McLaughli, http://kingstonfieldnaturalists.org/bluebill/feedingbirds.html offer a great list of high fat/ protein foods to give your birds during the winter months. While there is suet on the list, you can give your birds a healthy vegetarian ‘suet’ cake by substituting the lard for another oil (peanut butter works great). Also, the nuts listed are all 100% vegetarian so you are saving animals without sacrificing your ideals. I made a great bird ‘cake’ the other day and the birds love it! I’ll post the recipe this week

 For more information about birds visit: htps://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/090320.html

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New year, new foods

With the second week of Whole Living’s detox and get healthy program (I just made up that name), I noticed that there is a section on modifying typical foods that show up on our plates. http://www.wholeliving.com/photogallery/simple-switches Instead of croutons on a salad, walnuts–or any nuts really–have tons of health benefits and are just as crunchy.  Or what about trying sweet potatoes instead of yellow/ white ones? I have also heard about adding cauliflower or white beans to mashed potatoes to add extra fiber and nutrients. There are a ton of ways to get those little extra health boosts all day long, but you have to look for them and get creative!

Do you know of any other ways to add to our daily menus without sacrificing on taste? Please share tips and tricks!

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Digestion aid

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After starting the detox program that I wrote about earlier, I wanted to have something that I could continue to put in my diet to keep the digestion track clean (without having to detox all over again!) I did some research and found this article from 1978. Now before you roll your eyes at me, let me say quickly that it is posted on a well-known site–Mother Earth News.

The premise is to use natural methods to keep your body healthy and strong and as we have gotten into the 80s and 90s, we saw a movement towards drugs as our salvation, instead of the traditional herbs that had been used for centuries by native peoples. One of these ancient medicines was Lemon Grass, a tall grass that grows in a warm climate (think CA or Mexico) and is used to make a tea with many healing properties. One of the selling points (for me) is that it aids in digestion and it is something that can be grown easily indoors in a pot (for those of you living outside the ‘warm’ climate of CA) or outdoors. With spring just around the corner, I am starting to look for what I will be planting  so that I can begin starting my seeds and planning my layout of my garden. I will keep my eyes out for Lemon Grass and try my hand at cultivating this ancient herb…it should be an adventure!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/1978-09-01/Lemon-Grass-Tea-Benefits.aspx

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Yoga for all problems

I can’t believe that it has been 2 weeks since my last post! (And I thought I was doing so well!) Anyway, at the start of January, I began a yoga class that runs for 15 weeks. Part of the class is to keep a yoga journal where you explore the ways that yoga can affect your life outside the class and the teacher encourages the students to do research on different yoga topics. With this motivation, I began to look for yoga to relieve sciatic pain.

My mom suffers horribly for her sciatica and while she has tried many medicines, therapies, and acupuncture, nothing seems to help. Maybe some yoga will do the trick! I found two sites that I believe anyone could benefit from but especially those with sciatic pain. One site offers poses for relief, while the other gives a great scientific explanation of what is happening to cause sciatic pain and gives a book to look into that can offer natural remedies. If you suffer from this condition, try these moves and see if you notice any improvement.

http://www.womenfitness.net/top10_yoga_exercises.htm

http://www.ctds.info/sciatiexer.html

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Horrible!

I just ran across the most horrid post–the post wasn’t horrid, but the topic made me sick. It was all about eating animals…while they are still alive! It has always bothered me when people joke about the cow still ‘mooing’ when they cut into steak and blood runs out (ick!), but to actually see an animal still breathing while you are about to eat it seems barbaric and inhumane.

http://ahimsablog.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/eating-animals-while-theyre-still-breathing/

What is wrong with people that they can’t put themselves into this animal’s situation? We look down on societies that had human sacrifices and cannibalism, but when it isn’t one of our species then it is ok to watch something suffer?! I cannot believe that this happens today; it seems that we are pushing the limits farther and farther to see what we can get away with, and in the process, we callous ourselves to the pain of others, animals and people alike.  How sad for our world and everything that lives here.

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