Archive for February, 2014

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Mushroom & Bacon Risotto

February 27, 2014


5 Ways to Avoid Exercise Plateau

February 25, 2014
    It’s so important to try different styles of exercise. Make it a goal every week that you try one new thing. It could be a night of swing dancing, a new DVD or a new fitness class. Event something as simple as incorporating an exercise stability ball or BOSU ball to the mix. I’m not asking you to switch up everything, but just enough so your body doesn’t know what’s coming next. Plus you never know, you might try something new that you actually enjoy!
    Sometimes, when our body gets used to working out, we need to increase the intensity to put our body back into shock. If you’re running, switch it up by performing 5 x 30 second sprints. If you typically do the cross-trainer, make the incline higher. If you skip regularly, break it up into sets with one full minute of high knee jumps, jump squats or push-ups in between. The point is to push it. Your body needs to feels the shift in intensity!
    If you are someone who works out five days a week, it is so crucial that you give your body at least two days of recovery. This rest is the time that your body needs to repair and recover from all the stress you have put on it during your work-outs. If you work-out two days in a row, make sure the third day is a day of rest. If you give your body adequate rest, you will see and feel the results much more effectively and reduce the risk of injury.
    Not one diet works for everyone and necessary caloric intake varies depending on the individual. If your diet isn’t right, your body won’t show the results you desire. If you plateau, it’s possible your diet is too strict for the amount of exercise you are doing, and your body is holding onto the fat for survival. It’s also possible that you are eating too much and not expending enough energy to burn it off. When it comes to food intake, everything follows the simple concept of “calories in vs. calories out,” also known as “energy in vs. energy out.” To help give you clarity, purchase a heart rate monitor to wear when you work-out, it will let you know—based on your weight, height and age—how many calories you burned during your work-out. This will help you manage your food intake and keep you on the proper path.
    This is a no-brainer! It is common knowledge that getting adequate sleep and proper hydration are imperative for good health, including reducing the risk for exercise plateaus. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water daily and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. The best time for muscle recovery is during sleep, and the body needs water for it to function properly. So drink up and sleep tight!

    This article was written by Kit Rich and appeared here:

20 Things We Can Do to Make the World a Better Place

February 23, 2014
  1. Turn off the lights, turn off the water.  Unplug your devices when not in use.  

    Admittedly, this is one I am still in the process of learning myself, but in a world where we are running out of resources almost as fast as we can identify them, unplugging our appliances at night saves an incredible amount of power (phantom power accounts for 10 percent of all household energy outputs). If you turn your shower off while you’re shaving, or letting your conditioner set, you can save a lot of water. Think about what that can add up to.

  2. Adopt a rescue.

    If you’re ready to get a pet, and have thought about all the variables, please consider adopting from a rescue agency. Don’t forget that rescue agencies often have different kinds of animals other than cats and dogs, (like rabbits, or hamsters, or lizards) which can be even more difficult to find homes for. If the time is right, consider directly saving a life.

  3. Reconsider your consumption.

    Like meat? Don’t want to give it up? Can you give it up for just a day? Just a day per week without meat has been shown to be of great benefit, in terms of animal lives saved, and the environmental toll it can take.
    I used to be a cheeseburger freak, eating them sometimes as often as three times a week—they were my ideal comfort food. While I chose the organic, humanely-raised options; our society’s demand for meat just isn’t environmentally sound.

  4. Share a meal.

    Making a meal for, and breaking bread with someone, is an intimate way of getting to know people, and it fosters a deep-running sense of community. Can you invite a friend over for dinner? Host a monthly potluck?

  5. Clean our space.

    We are all a part of this world. My mother used to say that our bedrooms were a reflection of our mental space, and I am inclined to agree with her, several years away. Cleaning our spaces helps us feel that much lighter. See what you are able to do from that refreshed space.

  6. Get involved.

    I know it’s hard if we’re working a full time job and have kids, or are struggling through the depths of winter, or have just dealt with a scarring break-up, but the world asks us to participate. Stay open to the cues and see what we might have to offer the world. If we think something needs to be changed, write a letter, start a petition, do more direct activism—whatever we can do can help.

  7. Give alms.

    This one is a bit loaded, I understand. Most of us can’t quite understand what it’s like to be living on the street, unsure of where our next meal or shelter is going to come from, and in urban centres the rate of homelessness is rising. It can be difficult and hard to resist a place of judgement when every third or fourth person we encounter in your walk to work asks us for change, but that is why we must resist judgement. I don’t want to deny anyone even the smallest bit of comfort. If you feel uncomfortable giving money, consider buying food, or in winter, donating or giving your extra or mismatched winter clothing away.

  8. Travel wisely.

    Having worked in the travel industry for the past few years, I know how popular (and cheap!) resort vacations can be—however, resorts can be extremely environmentally toxic. If you need to/want to get away and your only option is a resort, there are more environmentally friendly ones out there. Find ones which are transparent about their environmental practices, and support those. If you don’t “do” resort vacations, consider how your mode of travel impacts the environment and try to mitigate that. I know of someone who plants a tree whenever they take an airplane, but if we all try and do what we can to offset our carbon footprint, it can only be of benefit.

  9. Check your community.

    Does your social network include lots of different people? Elders? People of different ethnicities? People who identify as trans* or with different sexualities? My grandmother and extended family live across the country and I don’t get the chance to see them that often, so it occurred to me that I don’t have any “grandparents” in my regular life; my friends and the people I see on a regular basis are all of my age group. I state this not to “tokenize” any group at all, but simply to state that the more varied our communities are, the more we are able to understand and communicate with each other.

  10. Plant a (bee-friendly) garden.

    Some choices of bee-friendly plants that you barely need to pay attention to? Lavender, sage, some roses. Bees are in trouble and they could use any help you can give, in offering “pollination stops.” Even if you don’t want to help pollinate plants, your own garden can give you vegetables, herbs, and fruit to eat and is just a good alternative to buying from a supermarket. If you don’t have the space for a garden, yet this idea interests you, you could try community garden or plot sharing.

  11.  Give. Stuff. Away.

    I go through phases of being somewhat of a pack rat. I think it has something to do with how I was taught to only take what I could use and to work off what I had until it absolutely fell apart, but in this day and age it is hard to stop accumulating. As much as I may want to keep everything that I’ve (accidentally) accumulated, other people may be in need of the items I’m holding onto. 

  12. Turn the TV off.

    I don’t necessarily mean forever, although I haven’t had an actual television in years and don’t miss it at all. Some TV is great. What I’m trying to get at is how much time we as a society spend in front of our shows to relax, to unwind, for entertainment. Think of what we might do if we were able to stay off the boob tube for an hour less a week.

  13. Make art.

    Is your passion writing? Painting? Math equations? Punk music? Whatever it is, do it. Do it, and finish it. You don’t have to put it out in the world if you are afraid to, but the act of finishing something will change the very energy in the room around you. We were all put on this earth to do something, and whatever we are passionate about—that’s what we’re here for.

  14. Act locally.

    We all know about the travesties and tragedies of the present day: every day, the amount of negative news we have the chance to digest can be completely overwhelming. While we can sign Avaaz petitions and go to screenings and donate money, sometimes it is worthwhile to remember that we can make and  direct visible changes within our own communities. Don’t neglect the local just because the global is more attention-grabbing.

  15. Put our money where our mouths are.

    Places like Forever 21, MIX – Coles and Supre are corporations who have proven time and time again that they don’t care about fair workers’ wages, working conditions, or ethical sourcing. There are options to all of them—buying second hand clothing, or going to locally owned businesses. People have a misconception that a few dollars here and there won’t make much of a difference, but it matters to the people who have put their entire lives into their businesses.

  16. Do yoga. Breathe. Move.

    Chances are, if we’re living in a Western/European society, we are sitting on our asses too much. We need to move our bodies—we all do—because that is what bodies were designed to do. We have joints, muscles, skin and bone, all of which crave and desire to be moved.

  17. Reconnect with old friends.

  18. Make one day in your week a completely offline one.

    No devices, no phones, no Internet, no TV. Breathe into the emptiness that’s left over. This is what we run from, a lot of the time: the slight discomfort with being ourselves and all those questions we have about who we are and why we’re here. That discomfort is the stuff of growth. Lean into it.

  19. Check our privilege.

    Understand that there are advantages to being a certain ethnicity, gender, or economic class and learn about the inherent trickery of believing that achievement is solely merit-based. Learn from others; life is meant to be a conversation.

  20. Be honest when it’s painful to be honest.

    By that I don’t mean, “tell the truth so brutally that another person is wounded.” I mean: when it is scary to tell the truth, you need to tell it. Stand up for what you think is right.

  21. Every day you wake up, be grateful.

    It is a freaking miracle that we are all here—think about all the things that had to be in sync for us to become the crazy beautiful creatures that we all are. Life is by no means easy, and lots of things happen that we can’t foresee, but we are here to learn, and be bruised, and return to being real.
    Every day we have on this earth is a chance to make it a better place.

  22. Live by the rule of “seven generation sustainability”.

  23. Study the seasons.

    The natural world around us is very wise and has a lot to teach us, if only we listen.

This article is by Bronwyn Petry,  a writer and yoga student who likes to run.  First appearing in:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Spinach & Strawberry Salad

February 19, 2014


Repairing and Rebuilding Torn Muscles

February 18, 2014

torn muscle

A workout recovery is essential if you have over-exerted yourself during an exercise session. A good indicator of straining yourself too much during a workout is if you find that your muscles have become torn. Such tears require immediate repair and rebuilding. Muscles are best defined as contractile tissues that further stem from the mesodermal layer of your embryonic germ cells.

Your body’s muscles perform many important functions, chief among them being the production of both motion and force. This motion may either be the internal movement of your organs, or simply the actual locomotion of your body itself. Torn muscles are serious workout injuries, and if you find yourself with torn muscles, you ought to do everything possible to treat them as soon as possible.

Types of Torn Muscles

If you find yourself with a torn muscle, you will experience one of three types. The first type of torn muscle is the first-degree strain that only involves less than 5 percent of your muscle. This torn muscle will only result in mild pain and barely a loss of strength or range of motion in your muscle. The next type is the second-degree strain. It is a partial tear that is characterized by more than mild pain with each muscle contraction. However, you may not have the ability to walk or stand without limping or feeling pain. The worst type of muscle tear is the third-degree tear, which is an utter tear along the total width of the muscle, disallowing you to contract it at all. This type of tear may need immediate surgery since internal bleeding may result.

Treatment during First 72 Hours

After you realize you have torn your muscle, you have got to stop whatever you are doing. Apply an ice pack to the torn muscle area for 20 minutes, and this will slow down the flow of blood to your injured muscle area. Take care not to ever massage the torn muscle area or apply heat to it; doing either will result in more blood flow to the area, which disrupts the opportunity for your muscle to heal.

Wrapping the torn muscle area is also a good idea, as this will compress and support your damaged area. You should also take care to ensure that your torn muscle area is kept elevated above your heart. Seeing a doctor is recommended, too, so you can determine exactly how serious your tear is.

Treatment after 72 Hours

You ought to apply ice for periods of 15 minutes at a time, for up to four times a day; after three days, you may alternate between ice and heat treatments. Since torn muscles are liable to be torn once more, you are recommended to undergo physical therapy to build up the strength of your torn muscle. With regards to physical therapy, a good idea to pursue is a monitored program which actually measures the progress of your return to muscular strength, so that you are less likely to aggravate the tear in the future.

Article sourced from:

Feel Happier through Sensual Living

February 16, 2014

ImageThings have been changing for me in the past couple of months. I was at a point in my life where everything looked great from the outside: I had graduated college with honors; I had my own apartment; I got a new full-time job and numerous freelance opportunities. But still, something was missing.

Something inside me clicked and I realized I just wasn’t happy. And trust me, that was not an easy realization to make. Unhappiness isn’t something we want to admit to ourselves. It sounds so grim: “I’m not happy.”

I’ve always been an information sponge. Always looking for more ways to educate myself and better myself. I decided that my next quest would be the search for happiness.

I studied numerous books and articles about the topic, one after another. I put more and more on my plate, thinking that all of these “happiness resources” have got to help me become a happier person. I had the resources right there in front of me, but still, I wasn’t happy.

Take Action:

That’s when I realized something. Just because I had the information right there in front of me, didn’t mean that I was actually making any true changes inside of my subconscious. Reading article after article about happiness without any real action would not make me a happier person. Reading is not the same as doing. This type of information overflow will simply make me a person who’s more educated on happiness.

So I decided to stop. I decided to stop searching for happiness and start focusing on feeling happiness instead. I stopped searching because I wanted happiness to find me. Better yet, I wanted to find joy.

I decided to say goodbye to my anxieties about finding the solution and just let it go. I decided to learn to trust myself and begin learning who I was at my core. I decided to take on a journey towards something I call “Sensual Living.”

What is Sensual Living? Sensual Living is a way of living life that is more sensuous at its core. It’s about being a more mindful person; a more grateful person; more in-tune with what the body and the mind want, crave, and desire. Sensual living is closely related to mindfulness and pleasure.

How Can I Find Joy Through Sensual Living?

1. Learn to be okay with who you are at your core

You have to learn to be okay with who you are, inside and out. I’ve had my own self-esteem and body image issues ever since I was a young teen, and I still struggle from time to time. Working in the nightlife industry since I was eighteen didn’t help, since I was surrounded by beautiful women with model bodies and men who so blatantly desired them.
One day, I had an epiphany and I realized how ridiculous my obsession with weight was. I realized how terribly I was treating my body with my extreme yo-yo dieting. This was no way to live.

I realized that reaching a goal weight would not magically make me happier with myself. Instead, I decided to focus on just listening to my body and being comfortable with myself—regardless of what society and the media threw at me.

You have to learn to be fine with the way you look, what you enjoy doing, what you dislike, and what your passions are. Even if your likes are not necessarily deemed as “normal” or “conventional.” If you like something that no one else in your circle of friends enjoys, you have to accept that and stop pretending. Your likes and dislikes are part of what makes you, you.

Even though I’ve been a healthy living blogger for almost two years now, I hid this fact from many of my friends simply because I felt like it wasn’t the social norm. After embracing sensual living, I realized that I didn’t want to hide who I was anymore. It’s better to have a few friends who accept and support your passions than having a lot of acquaintances that you feel like you have to hide your true self from.

The sooner you begin to accept yourself as a whole, the sooner you can begin living life with sensual joy.

2. Spend more time doing things that give you pleasure.

We have evolved into a society that shames pleasure even though it is at the very core of our existence. We were made to feel it. That’s why this feeling exists. Once you figure our what you enjoy, you have to make a conscious decision to do these things more often. Don’t deny yourself pleasure just because you don’t feel like you deserve it—you do.

You might have grown up thinking that it’s “bad” or “selfish” to put so much focus on yourself. Many of us are shamed into becoming perfect selfless saints and devoting our whole lives to other people. But I believe life is not worth living without any pleasure.

Let go of any of your preconceived notions about pleasure, and begin living a life that is filled with beautiful pleasant things and activities. It’s worth it, even if you can only give it a few minutes each day. Five minutes is better than none. Go on a walk during your lunch break and listen to your favorite music or a podcast that you like. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi or something else you enjoy.

Feeling more pleasure in your daily life will reflect in your well-being, and it will make you a happier and more pleasant person in return.

3. Become more mindful of your surroundings.

I live in the city and I always see people rushing on the streets. People are going from office to home with their headphones in their ears, without really connecting to anyone or anything around them.

I won’t say I never listen to music when I commute, because sometimes I find that pleasurable, but it’s also important to learn to become a more mindful person. There are so many beautiful and amazing things you can see and experience on a commute to work: The tree branches moving in the wind; the leaves rustling and falling; birds singing.

Becoming more conscious of the beauty that exists in the world really lights up the beauty in your own life. It’s like a domino effect and it really works.

4. Spend quality time with yourself.

Spending time in solitude is just as important as spending time with friends and family. It’s only during solitude that we are able to truly reflect on who we are, what we like and how we feel. As a natural introvert, I love being alone and I spend a huge chunk of my time in solitude.

There are many things you can do to make your solitude even more special. For example, you could read a book or treat yourself to an in-home spa day. If I’m going to spend an evening by myself, I’ll pretend to prepare for a date. I’ll light a deliciously scented candle and shut the blinds. I’ll put some sensual music on (I love chillstep). Then I’ll spend time meditating through movement. I absolutely love feeling the music as it flows smoothly through my body. It’s like a seductive dance and massage combined into one, but you are doing it for the very sake of movement. You are mindful of your body and how it feels. The whole experience is extremely pleasant and euphoric.

There are many ways to experience sensual living in your own life. All of the little things you add to your life can lead to more sensual joy—and overall happiness.

This article first appeared here:
is a healthy living blogger at Sensual Appeal Blog. She has created a FREE challenge for busy people called “14 Days Into Sensual Joy” where she shares simple action steps that can help you find your inner calm and joy in less than 5 minutes a day.


Healthy Inspiratons Recipe of the Week – Greek Style Slow-Roasted Beef

February 13, 2014

greek style

7 Ways To Avoid Drama & Have Healthy Friendships

February 11, 2014
True story: I once got into a screaming match with a girlfriend in front of a Shake Shack in the middle of Times Square, while holding a milkshake in one hand, a cheeseburger-to-go in the other, and screeching at the top of my lungs, “You’re not hearing me! Why aren’t you listening?!”
Needless to say, this is an episode I like to file to the back of my mind. In fact, every time I walk by said Shake Shack, I cringe. I look back at that behavior and that drama, and it makes my skin crawl. I blame it on my youth, but it still makes me uncomfortable.
I can’t imagine behaving now the way I did back then. There’s not a single friend in my life today with whom I could imagine having a blowout fight! I count my close friends to be some of the biggest blessings in my life. However, there was a time when I had some pretty unhealthy friendships. I missed a few red flags to begin with (or chose to ignore them), and then those same relationships were nourished with unhealthy practices.
Positive, supportive friendships can be one of the greatest gifts we can receive; but they require honesty, maturity and care. Some people may not be capable of this for a variety of reasons, so I’ve learned to be a little picker when it comes to who I include in my inner circle.
Here’s a short list of things that helps me avoid drama these days:
1. Steer clear of people who post too much personal information on social media. 
It’s a sign of narcissism or deep insecurity, and both conditions scream high maintenance.
2. Heed red flags. 
If a friend cancels frequently, bails at the last minute, or is constantly back peddling, take note. These are red flags regarding dependability. No one’s perfect, and every once in a while things come up at the last minute. But by and large, a good friend will show up on time and be there when they say they will.
3. Forgive, but don’t forget. 
Forgiveness is key for your own health. We know that holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to get sick. Nevertheless, keeping a safe emotional distance from certain people is necessary because they’ve taught us to do so. Don’t become someone’s punching bag.
4. Know your worth. 
When it comes to friendships, don’t sell yourself short. Stand up for yourself. Walk away from people and situations that give you a funny feeling. You’ll respect yourself more, and each time you assert your worth it builds confidence to resist settling in the future.
5. Don’t gossip. 
People who talk about other friends behind their backs will absolutely do the same to you. So think twice about engaging in gossip yourself; you’ll lose trust as well.
6. Choose your outlets wisely.
We’re all guilty of complaining about our circumstances from time to time, and misery loves company, but beware; some friends only want to stick by when times are tough, and they may get jealous if your life improves. So the next time you’re with your “blue crew,” simply say, “Nothing to report,” change the subject, and gauge the response.  You’ll find out who your real friends are fast.
7. Go with your gut. 
We usually get a quick read on people within the first few minutes of meeting them. I was once introduced to a person “everyone loved!” but got a gut instinct to steer clear. In the long run, I’m glad I did. Trust your little inner voice. It never lies.
Article sourced from

Keeping your Spine Healthy & Happy

February 9, 2014


Five Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy and Happy
Your spine has many nerves, muscles and ligaments that serve as connections to areas throughout your body, so keeping your back in top condition is one of the best things you can do for both your back and your overall health. There are a number of simple things you can try to help keep your spine as healthy as possible and minimize complications from your back condition and/or prevent future painful episodes.

Let your spine really rest while sleeping
While you’re sleeping, all of the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated. Using the right mattress and pillow will support the spine so the muscles and ligaments can be stress-free and have a chance to become refreshed. A large part of the decision of what type of mattress and pillow to use is based on personal preference. As long as the basis for the choice includes ensuring that the correct support and sleeping position will be attained, any of the many available types of mattress can be helpful.

Choose your shoes carefully
Whether you’re walking for exercise, or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear have a big effect on your back. They should be well balanced, flexible and most certainly comfortable. Good shoes provide not only protection for your feet, but also a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. Selection of the right shoes, and correctly using inserts if needed to provide even further balance, can help you avoid muscle strain and possible injury.

Enjoy the benefits of a massage chair
Many people love a good massage to relax their muscles and relieve stress. Therapeutic massages not only improve flexibility and decrease tension; they can also improve blood flow and increase the level of endorphins in your bloodstream, which is a chemical in the body that makes us feel good. While it’s not the same as going to a massage therapist, having a massage chair in your home can be a practical and easy way to get some of the benefits of a Shiatsu or Swedish massage.

Sit up straight – with support
The discs in your lower spine are loaded three times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can often create or aggravate a painful back condition. Moreover, when sitting in an office chair, many people slouch and lean forward, and this poor posture usually leads to muscle tension and pain in the lower back and legs (e.g. sciatica). The right office chair plays an important role in promoting good posture and supporting the natural curves of your back. In addition to a comfortable chair, most experts recommend getting up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, as prolonged static posture is stressful for the structures in your spine.

Specifically exercise your abs and back
One of the most important components of good spine health is exercise. Specifically, performing abdominal and back exercises (which don’t get much exercise from daily activities) will go far in helping to keep your spine healthy. These exercises are simple and can be performed in 20 to 30 minutes as part of a daily routine. If back and abdominal muscles are not in good shape, additional pressure can be put on the spine, which is already under the stress of supporting your entire body. When these muscles are well maintained they help support the spine and minimize the chance of injury.

The topics discussed here are simple ways to help your spine and back stay in alignment and maintain a stronger, healthier you. Even if you are in very bad pain and are undergoing extensive medical treatments, we encourage you to still try to remember the simple things you can do for your back to help it heal and get stronger and healthier over time.

Article sources from:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Moroccan Chicken Skewers

February 6, 2014

Moroccan Chicken Skewers