Friday, March 30, 2012

Introducing Stephanie ...

I would like to formally introduce Stephanie, the new guest blogger for "Healthy Hair and Body".  You may have noticed her recent posts on Fitness and Healthy Eating that are featured every Monday/Tuesday.  She has degrees in Exercise Science and Biology in addition to heading her own blog entitled Infinite Life Fitness.  She is also an athlete of over 10 years with additional knowledge gained from several trainers and coaches.  Be sure to check her out in her corner of the World Wide Web (Infinite Life Fitnessand look forward to more weekly guest posts from her here at HHB.  Don't forget to "like" her fitness Facebook Page as well.

P.S.  If you have any questions for her or would like her to write a guest post on a particular subject, leave a comment below.

A Healthy You in 2012!
Valentine Day Treats � Lower in fat but still so YUMMY!
Reader's Question: How to Gain Weight
Simple, Healthy Recipes for a Busy Schedule
Foods to Fill You Up
Fitting Fitness Into Your Busy Life
Women's Fitness: What's True and What's False
Fitness Fashion 101

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How I Avoid Type II Diabetes

From the CDC: "Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%�95% of diabetes cases and is usually associated with older age, obesity and physical inactivity, family history of type 2 diabetes, or a personal history of gestational diabetes. ...  Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthy food choices, physical activity, and weight loss. ... . A person with diabetes has a shorter life expectancy and about twice the risk of dying on any given day as a person of similar age without diabetes." {Source}

Type II diabetes is a part of my family history.  My late maternal grandfather had it.  My older brother died from it.  My mother has it.  I want to avoid it.  Because of this reality, and because I generally want to remain healthy, my meals have the following guidelines:
  • eat a lot of fish, fresh vegetables, and whole grains (instead of processed grains).
  • only eat sweets (i.e., cakes, cookies, ice cream) once every couple of weeks or month. 
  • eat dried fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • rarely eat beef or other red meat.
  • refrain from sodas and juice cocktails.  
  • drink water and 100% cranberry juice.
  • only use extra virgin olive oil to cook.
If you have a family history of type II diabetes, then you may want to read the following links for how to avoid the disease:


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Twist Series: Strong vs. Weak Twists

Demonstration of a "weak" twist.

"Strong" twists frizz far less and last longer than "weak" twists. So what is a "strong" twist?  How do you make one? Naptural85 explains it in this video (starts at 1 minute 23 seconds):

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reader Advice Day: What to Make for Passover Seder?

I realize that very few of the HGK readership celebrates the Jewish holiday of Passover, so please bear with us on this one. In the last few days I have gotten so many requests from readers asking for no-oil Vegan recipes for Passover. This is very new territory folks, and we are the pioneers!

It's not that hard to find Vegan recipes for Passover on the Internet, but it is totally impossible to find no-oil Vegan recipes. Everything is going to have to be adapted, so I hope you guys all have your thinking caps on. I am asking everyone who is Jewish to chime in here with ideas and suggestions for how you are going to prepare your Passover Seder food this year.

The Passover rules are as follows: In addition to avoiding leavened bread, Jews are also supposed to avoid foods made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats - unless those foods are labeled "kosher for Passover." All five of these forbidden grains are collectively called "chametz." (Pronounced ha-mets.) By the way, did you notice how much whole wheat Matzoh is on the shelves at Whole Foods?

Read more �

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fitness Fashion 101

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

One of the most important things that is most often overlooked when someone thinks about fitness and getting healthy is if they are actually wearing the right things to workout in!

There are some VERY important staple items that women (and men) need to have in order to be prepared for their rigorous workout routines.

1) Good, comfortable, appropriate shoe!
One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they start working out with just any average pair of shoes�or a pair of shoes they have tucked in the back of their closet.
It is optimal to find a shoe appropriate for the activities you plan to be doing.
If you do go out to find a new pair of shoes, running shoes are meant for running and walking shoes are meant for walking. These shoes are designed to help give you support in targeted areas. For those who will be jogging, walking, and spending time in the gym, cross-trainer shoes are a good suggestion. These shoes are usually light weight but also give you great support in all of the main areas. Most (if not all) major shoe stores have workers that are supposed to be educated on what type of shoe is best for certain activities. So if you are ever in doubt please be sure to ask!
Also your workout shoes should be used for one thing�to work out in! They should not be used for everyday common uses. Even if you need to break them in, break them in by working out in them. That is the best way to get the optimal use out of those shoes.


2) ATTENTION WOMEN: Are you working out with the right sports bra?
Yes sports bra�not a regular bra�but a bra made to support you during your workouts.
When looking for a GOOD sports bra, be prepared to spend a little money on one. But in the end it will be worth it! You want to find a bra that will house each breast in its own cup. This is the best to find because it can help reduce bouncing significantly compared to regular shelf bras and help support them. Look for �High Performance/High Impact� on the bra sale tag. This is a good indication that the bra is built to help support you through high intensity workouts. You also want to try to focus on bras that come in bra sizes and not the regular small, medium, or large. This is because the bras built to specific sizes are better engineered to fit your body type. Purchasing your bra from a �bra store� is also a good idea because the workers there can fit you into a bra that works best for you. Be sure to give the bra a test run when you try it on. Don�t be afraid to jump around and flop your arms (as if you are doing real exercise activities). This will allow you to know if the bra is comfortable to workout in. Also, you can check out this article for some great sport bra options.


3) Are you wearing the right clothes?
To be honest I like to wear old t-shirts and a pair of basketball shorts to workout in. The attire you wear it strictly up to what YOU like. Some people like to wear form fitting clothes and other like to wear baggy clothes. No matter what you wear, make sure you are comfortable in them and that they do not limit the activities you will be able to do during your workout. It is suggested that you remove your sweaty clothes as soon as possible after your workout. Those sweaty clothes house sweat, bacteria, and dirt/oils secreted from your body. Try to wash whatever clothes you wear according to the washing label. Washing clothes in the wrong temperature/condition can cause more wear and tear on the clothes and not allow them to last as long. Ladies, you may want to consider washing your bras and high elastic sports tops/bottoms in the gentle cycle to help preserve the elastic that is in the clothing. Try not to wear the same outfit several times in a row if you can avoid it (yes this includes socks). It has been suggested to let your workout clothes dry out instead of balling them up and throwing them in the hamper right after a workout. This will allow the sweat to dry out and limit the chance for more bacteria growth or the growth of mold/mildew.

I hope these few simple tips will help you when starting (or continuing) your workout routines. Some of the things listed will also help you prevent injuries with your workout (having the right pair of shoes is very important to help limit the chance of injury).

Please feel free to stop by my site for more fitness and health related topics.

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Oatmeal Facial for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin
2. Too Busy for Healthy Hair?
3. When You Get a Knot ...
4. Natural Skin Care - On a Budget
5. 100% Juice vs. 100% Vitamin C

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Spring Break Mental Vacation and More Crazy Chia Seed Dressings

Greetings everyone! I'm writing from New Jersey, where my kids and I are visiting with my parents for Spring Break. I didn't quite know whether or not I would be up for blogging while I was here, and what I have found is that I need a mental vacation! So I'm using this time to catch up on my sleep and some well needed down time.

But before I sign off for the rest of the week, here are two more recipes for those awesome Chia Seed salad dressings. Enjoy!

Read more �

Friday, March 23, 2012

Preserving Homemade Products: The Basics

"Preservation" is essential for many of those who mix their own homemade products.  It not only reduces the wasting of ingredients but it prolongs the shelf life of recipes.  Additionally, it saves time spent on concocting product after product for one-time use.  The following list consists of basic preservation methods that are imperative for any mixologist: 

Use refrigeration to preserve water-based products (e.g., spritzes) for a short period (a few days to a week or so).  The cold temperature of the fridge will delay growth of bacteria and fungi.

Use the freezer to preserve water-based products (e.g., deep conditioner mixes) for a longer period (few weeks to a month or so).  The even colder temperature of the freezer will delay growth of bacteria and fungi.  Place the product in the refrigerator to thaw on the night prior to using it.

Use clean utensils and containers:
Bathe utensils and containers in a solution of soap and hot water.  An alternative is to wipe down utensils and containers with alcohol.  The soap or alcohol will essentially kill any bacteria that would otherwise contaminate your mixture.

Add an essential oil (but pregnant women beware):
Essential oils can act as a slight preservative due to their antimicrobial properties. Tea tree, lavender, lemon, thyme, and rosemary are just a few essential oils known to have these properties.  Those who are pregnant or sensitive to essential oils should speak with their doctors before use.

Do not use fingers to obtain water-based product:
Our fingers contains tons of bacteria and can contaminate such products.


Add vitamin E oil or rosemary extract oil:
These oils can slow the oxidation of products containing oils, such as avocado, evening primrose, flax, hemp, or sweet almond oil. Vitamin E and rosemary extract are antioxidants, not preservatives.  Thus, they will not prolong the shelf life a product prone to bacteria and mold growth.

Other tips:
Seal containers airtight
Store non-refrigerated products in dark, cool areas


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Hidden" Sources of Breakage

Breakage, breakage, breakage.  When we experience breakage, our first inclination is to presume dryness, over manipulation, or heat usage as the source.  However, sometimes the actual culprit may run a little deeper.  Here are some "hidden" sources of hair breakage:

1) Overstretching the hair: Do you stretch your hair prior to styling? If so, be sure you are using one of these least harmful methods: twists or loose braids. Banding is another option as well, depending on the tension.  On the other hand, tight banding or tight braiding can overstretch the hair and lead to weakened strands. Also, be sure you are stretching on damp hair instead of wet hair.  Wet hair will be more susceptible to breakage under tension. Lastly, refrain from using rubber bands or any other harmful hair tie (e.g., cotton) during the drying process.

2) Styling on wet or drenched hair: Hair is most fragile when wet or drenched with water.  Styling the hair in this state may lead to mechanical breakage.  Depending on the manipulation required for the desired style, it may be better to wait until the hair is damp or damp-dry.

3) Diet low in protein: Hair largely consists of protein (i.e., keratin) which is built from amino acids extracted from foods we put into our body.  A diet low in protein can translate into weaker, thinner hair strands (and thus breakage) or even hair loss.  Mitigate this issue by incorporating more nuts, chicken, fish, and beans into your diet.

4) Diet low in zinc, iron, and/or Vitamin B-12: A deficiency in any of these nutrients can result in weaker strands (and thus breakage) or even hair loss.  Taking a good multivitamin on a daily basis can ensure that you are receiving a sufficient amount of these nutrients. If you are severely deficient in zinc or iron (e.g., anemia), I highly recommend that you see a doctor.

5) Use of sulfate shampoos: Certain sulfate shampoos (e.g., shampoos containing SLS and ALS) can be harsh on the hair thus weakening the strands. Switching to a more gentle sulfate shampoo or a natural shampoo can mitigate this issue.

6) Overexposure to sun: Hair that was overexposed during the summer months can be showing signs of weakness and breakage in the fall/winter months. Depending on the extent of weakening, mitigation can range from regular deep conditioning the hair with protein to trimming for a fresh start.

7) Use of an improper comb: Thin-tooth combs or combs with seams can tug on the hair and yield mechanical breakage.  Stick to seamless, wide tooth combs.

8) Hair that used to be heat styled: Even if one has not used heat in a while, heat usage from months or even a year prior can be haunting the person now. Mid-shaft splits can be opening and yielding breakage. There is also the issue of split ends widening.  Trims are the best way to mitigate this problem.

9) Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase: Cotton can be both drying and abrasive to the hair.  Sleep on a satin/silk pillowcase or use a satin/silk bonnet to put a stop to this breakage source.

10) Hair that has been colored: Dyeing can weaken the hair shaft by lifting the cuticles. Depending on the extent of weakening, mitigation can range from regular deep conditioning with protein to trimming for a fresh start.

11) Protein-moisture imbalance: Hair can either become brittle or stretchy and thus break due to a protein-moisture imbalance.  Read this post for more information.

As always, please speak with your doctor before adjusting your diet or lifestyle.

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Oldies, But Goodies

1. Tips for a Sensitive Hairline
2. Soy Smoothie Meets Green Smoothie
3. Healthy Ice Cream Alternative
4. Antibacterial Soap Debate
5. Natural Nail Polishes
6. Homemade Shampoo Recipes

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Best. Interview. Ever. An Interview with Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.

This is quite long, but worth every minute of your time to read. I think you will learn new things and be surprised at some of Dr. Esselstyn's responses. ~Wendy

National Health Association Facebook Page
National Health Association Website

An Interview with Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.
by Mark Huberman

�On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, my wife Wanda and I (along with my 93 years young mom, Ruth) had the privilege of hosting a dinner for the renowned Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his dynamic wife, Ann. They were in town prior to Dr. Esselstyn delivering a lecture at Youngstown State University (YSU) sponsored by the University�s Wellness Program. For those of you who attended the NHA Conference at the Regency Health Spa in 2009, you know what an incredibly thoughtful, highly motivated and distinguished physician he is and the extraordinary respect he enjoys in the progressive health movement. He spoke to a sold-out crowd at the University and left them inspired. While sitting in the audience, I was struck by how Sheltonian he is in his views and decided to interview him the following morning for Health Science � so that all of you could discover how in tune he is with the message our association has been teaching for over 60 years. If you ever have the opportunity to see him in person, don�t miss the chance. If you can�t, check out his website or read his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. He is truly one of us!�

Mark Huberman

My late father used to say that most people don�t worry about their health until after they have lost it. Did that apply to you or were you one of the fortunate ones who were able to recognize the wisdom of another way of thinking about health and wellness without having to go through a personal crisis?

Read more �

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crazy Chia Seed Dressings? Crazy Good!

A few weeks ago, Debby, The Healthy Librarian, did a post about a new idea that she had: using Chia Seed as the thickener in salad dressings instead of nuts. Debby calls them "Crazy" dressings because the concept is so out there, so different, that she thinks it's crazy. But once word of these dressings gets out, no one is going to be calling them crazy.

So many of us are trying to limit the volume of nuts that we eat, either keeping it to an ounce or two per day (a la Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations) or eliminating most nuts altogether (a la Dr. Esselstyn's recommendations). And many, if not most, oil-free salad dressings contain either nuts in their whole form, or tahini, which is ground sesame seeds.

So of course I was intrigued by the idea of a dressing thickened by chia. It's not that chia is calorie or fat free, it's not. It's just that the fat that is in chia is the uber healthy and rare kind--omega 3.

Read more �

Monday, March 19, 2012

Women�s Fitness: What�s True and What�s False

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

When it comes to health and fitness, there are tons of advice and tips that have been shared. The problem is not all of those are true! Today, I would like to go over the true and false facts when it comes to fitness.

Women think that if they train with weights, this will cause them to look muscular and bulk up like men

FALSE: It is very unlikely that you will bulk up to gain muscles like those of body builders. It is almost impossible for the average woman to look like that with a light weight routine added to their fitness routine. Yes some women may bulk up a little more than others, but not to the extent of someone who looks like a body builder. Lifting weights helps you to get a well-defined, toned, fit looking body. Women who do have masculine type muscles most likely take anabolic steroids (a synthetic type of testosterone) along with other drugs in order to achieve the intense muscularity they show off in fitness competitions. Weight lifting has been proven to help you lose weight faster and to help you keep it off in the long run.

Doing only crunches (or an abs machine) will help you gain that 6-pack you always dreamed of

FALSE: There is no such thing as target training. You cannot just do one thing and expect it to magically work in that area. In order to achieve your desired fitness goals you have to have a well-rounded workout. You have to target the main areas as well as have a cardio workout. To get rid of belly fat you have to slim down by losing those extra calories.

Drinking water will help you lose weight

TRUE: There are many different articles (such as this one) that support evidence of drinking more water to aid you in shedding those unwanted calories. Drinking water is a great substitute to other drinks you have during the day. It will help you cut down on calories as well as keep your body hydrated.

If you are not sweating you are not working hard enough

FALSE: When you sweat that is your body�s way of trying to cool you down. Everyone�s body is different! If you may notice some people sweat way more than others and in some cases some people do not sweat very much at all. It is possible to have a great workout without your body pouring out with sweat.

Running on a treadmill (or other machine) puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement

FALSE: Any type of fitness routine that involves running will bear on your knees and other joints. It does not matter what type of surface, but overall it will still have the same end result�.sore knees. The best way to help limit this is to vary your workout. Trying doing several different types of cardio routines that you can switch between. This can be done by using other machines in the gym or using a bike.

Stretching before a workout can help you prevent injuries

TRUE: It is actually suggested that you stretch before and after your workout to help your muscles. There have been dozens of studies done to help prove this to be true. Stretching your major muscle groups for about 30 seconds each before and after your workout is something you should incorporate into your fitness routine.

Sports bras are only good for helping prevent your boobs from painfully bouncing all over the place

TRUE AND FALSE: Yes sports bras help to prevent your boobs from bouncing out of control during your workouts, but it has also been proven to help prevent your breast from sagging. Yes it is a known fact that gravity and time are attributed to the cause of sagging, but is has also been shown that high intensity activities loosen the connective tissues that keep your breast firm. So be sure you have the right type of bra when you are working out. And it is also suggested that you get your bras replaced once a year.

Carbs are bad for you

FALSE: There are some diets out there that suggest that you should stay away from carbs if you want to achieve your desired results. Well that is not all true. It is never good to cut out one whole food group from your diet (no matter what type of diet suggests it)! You need carbs to fuel your body! The main idea should be to lower your intake on carbs (not cut them out of your diet completely). You should learn what good carbs are and what bad carbs are so you can make sure you are consuming the best nutrients for your body.

I hope that I have helped clarify some popular fitness myths.

Please check out my personal health and fitness blog that shares more recipes, workouts, and other health tips!

Mixology || Herbal Soap Recipe

Do commercial soaps irritate your skin?  Does the call for "lye" in homemade soap recipes scare you?  Well here is a simple recipe for an all-natural exfoliating soap with no direct use of lye.

1 lg Block olive or veg soap
25 g Loosely chopped herbs
3 dr Essential oil - thyme, rosemary, horse chestnut
1 tb Oatmeal, finely ground

Grate the soap into a basin and add the remaining ingredients. Heat gently in a bain-marie until it melts and mix well. Line an egg box with waxed paper and pour the soap into each section.

FOR MORE RECIPES: 250 Bath Body Recipes

Brussels Sprouts with Orange and Walnuts over Parsnip Puree

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post about what kids eat. It seems like many of us are in the same boat, fighting to feed our children food that we know is healthier and meeting with a lot of resistance. We all agree, we will keep trying and keep pushing matter how difficult it is, because we understand the importance of real food. The magic seems to be in letting go of the idea that the children are going to eat what the adults are eating and just keeping their meals very simple-whole fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds. My oldest daughter's new breakfast of choice is a banana plus an ounce of walnuts and almonds. That makes us both very happy.

Here's a recipe that is out-of-this-world. But your kids wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. And that's good, because it means there's more of it for you!
Read more �

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reader Advice Day: What Do Your Kids Eat?


Asking the HGK Community to respond to reader questions are quickly becoming my favorite kind of blog posts.

A few days ago, I received this question from a reader, "I have recently started the LEAN program by Dr Fuhrman through my gym and have already seen results and feeling better. But I am hitting a road block not finding recipes I and my family will enjoy. I also have a feed 5 so I am hoping your blog helps me with this issue."

Here is my response:

Read more �

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twist Series: Mini Twists & Micro Twists 101

Done on real hair.

Mini twists are essentially really small twists.  Micro twists are twists so small that the hair appears loose rather than twisted.  Sometimes micro twists are also considered mini twists.

Mini/micro twists last longer -- anywhere from three to six weeks -- than larger twists. They also allow for more versatility in styling

Mini/micro twists can take hours to a day to put in or to take down.  Watching a few movies or television shows can help pass the time.

Single-strand knots and locking are more likely to occur in mini/micro twists than in larger twists.  In order to prevent locking, those with tightly-coiled hair should not wear this style for longer than three weeks.  Four weeks is pushing the limit.  (Naturals with looser coils and curls can wear mini/micro twists for a longer period.)  Additionally, twists along the edges and nape should be redone weekly or biweekly to minimize locking. 

If you lack patience, then mini/micro twists may not be for you.  Patience is necessary during the installation and takedown.  If you wash your hair frequently, then mini/micro twists may not be for you.  Washing the protective style can encourage single-strand knots and locking.  Naturals with tightly-coiled hair should be cautious when wearing this style being sure to monitor their hair for meshing and locking.  If you desire a long-term protective style that offers versatility, but do not quite have the patience for mini box braids, then mini twists may be a viable option.  


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Raw Food Diet: The Basics

The "raw food diet" has been a big nutrition trend for some time.  What does it entail? Meals consisting of raw, unprocessed plant foods, such as vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, and fruits.  Is the diet worth it?  Well, that is a more complicated question to answer.

The concept behind the raw food diet is that foods are consumed in their most natural, and thus healthiest, form.  Cooking vegetables and legumes tends to kill the nutrients.  Processing such foods tends to add chemicals and preservatives.

At this point, the raw food diet is looking mighty enticing.  Compared to the average meal, a raw food alternative is higher in fiber, lower in fat, and lower in sugar.  However, one must beware of certain deficiencies (e.g., vitamin B12) that can occur when avoiding animal products in a raw food diet.  Additionally, certain foods need to be cooked in order to obtain certain nutrients.  For example, when tomatoes are cooked, the lycopene content is highest.  (Lycopene is a carotenoid thought to play a role in disease prevention.)  Meanwhile, eating raw egg whites can actually be a catalyst for a biotin deficiency. This is because avidin in the egg white binds to biotin in the egg yolk and prevents it from being distributed properly.  To avoid this, the egg should be cooked (which denatures the avidin) as opposed to eaten it raw ... or eggs should be avoided altogether and replaced with biotin supplements.

Now back to the original question: Is the raw food diet worth it? If done properly, the raw food diet can be beneficial.  The American Dietetic Association (ADA) offers the following guidelines for raw foodists in order to ensure sufficient intake of nutrients naturally found in animal products:
  • Eat almost twice the iron as nonvegetarians. Good sources of iron are tofu, legumes, almonds and cashews.
  • Eat at least eight servings a day of calcium-rich foods like bok choy, cabbage, soybeans, tempeh, and figs.
  • Eat fortified breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, and fortified soy milk for B12. Supplements are a good idea.
  • Eat flaxseed and walnuts. Use canola, flaxseed, walnut, and soybean oil. These are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You may also want to take an omega-3 supplement.
I also recommend incorporating sushi into the raw food diet.  As always, please consult with your doctor before making any changes into to your diet or lifestyle.


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Vegan Gajar Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

I am so sorry! I feel like I have been disconnected from you for days. Sometimes life gets so busy that I have no time to read all of the other blogger's blogs that I adore, let alone take photographs of the food that I am making, type up the recipes and blog about it. I hope you will bear with me during this busy time in my life.

Today I want to blog about something that I have been working on for a while: Carrot Halwa. It's a delicious dessert that you might find at an Indian restaurant, but it would be full of butter or oil, milk and sugar. Not so with my version, which I think tastes better to boot!

Read more �

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HWC Out and About this Spring - Volunteers Needed!

Spring is in the air!  Healthy World Cafe will be selling delicious, healthy foods at two upcoming events in #iloveyorkcity.  First, "Going Green in the City," Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., North Beaver St., between W. Market and W. Philadelphia Sts. and at the Olde York Street Fair, Sunday, May 13, 12:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. along E. Market St., (near 1st Presbyterian Church).

We will need volunteers to help staff our booth, sell our amazing food, and get the word out about Healthy World Cafe.  If you are interested in volunteering at either of these events, please contact us at  We will need help on the day of the events as well as the day before each event (at our prep kitchen).

Healthy World's Advisory and Guiding Committees have been working hard over the winter months to get organized toward opening our cafe on a more permanent basis.  We hope to have some exciting news to share soon!

Until then, thanks for all of the support.  We hope to see you at our upcoming events!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fitting Fitness into Your Busy Life

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

�I just do not have time!�

�There are not enough hours in the day for me to squeeze in a workout!�

�I am just so tired at the end of the day I do not have any energy to go workout!�

�Go Workout!? I have barely had time to eat something today!�

The above are excuses I have heard from people who ask me for health and fitness advice. Excuses are lies that we tell ourselves and others to help get out of doing things or to just hide the truth. Some people get in the habit of making excuses for almost everything they DO NOT want to do. And that is usually the case when it comes to being healthy and trying to incorporate fitness into their day.

Anyone who wants to take a stand and make a change for their life can! All you have to do is STOP making excuses.


MAKE TIME to work out:

This means schedule a workout time in your busy schedule. Look at your schedule and see when you can fit in that time. If you can fit in time to go to the spa, time to go to the movies, or even time to watch your favorite television show you have plenty of time to schedule a workout session 3 times a week. Look to see when it would be best (morning, afternoon, or night) to workout. When you finally set your schedule and start it, it is easier to keep and maintain your routine.

DO NOT make fitness a chore:

I hear so many people complain about �oh I HAVE to go workout today�. Make your workouts fun! Try to attend fitness classes or create a workout group with some friends. People steer away from working out if they feel like they have to do it. No one is making you do anything�but you won�t achieve your health goals by couch surfing every day.

Master Multitasking:

I have learned that if I can do more things at once, I get so much more done during the day! For instance, say you need to start your crockpot for dinner. Start the crock pot, and then go workout! If you have a show that you regularly watch, try to plan your workout during that show time so you can watch the show at the same time! You have then knocked out three things as once! Got dinner going, got in your workout, plus make time to watch your favorite show. Doing more things like this will help you to plan your workout times as well as get more things done during the day. Multitasking is a great skill to have, and it can help you in more ways than you think.


Have a Plan:

When starting your workout schedule you have to have a plan! Whether it is doing 30 minutes or cardio or attending a fitness class at a local gym. You have to know what you want to do in the amount of time you are going to schedule to work out. Having a fitness plan will help you to plan out your fitness goals.

Who does not like to treat themselves or splurge every now and then? When you set your fitness schedule, set your fitness goals along with that! For example, say you are going to work out 3 or 4 times a week, and you want to lose 10 pounds that month. If you stick to BOTH of those goals go ahead and treat yourself to something small that you have wanted for some time. Or if you have been sticking to a good diet all month treat yourself to a piece of cheesecake or another treat you have steered away from to help you reach your fitness goals.

I hope that some of these suggestions will help you to figure out how to incorporate fitness into your busy schedule. Yes it will be hard at first. But when you start seeing the results it will all be worth it! So stop making excuses and start making plans to work out TODAY!

Please check out my website for more health and fitness tips!

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Avocado Conditioner Recipes
2. Hair Knots ... Be Gone!
3. To Buy Organic?
4. Baking Soda for Skin
5. Boar Brush: Damage to Your Edges?
6. "Soul" Food: Perseverance

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Weekend Recovery Food: Cabbage Soup Like Grandma Used to Make

My girlfriends and I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a one night girls' weekend this past Saturday and Sunday. You're probably thinking, "Pittsburgh? Why Pittsburgh?"

Well, it's a short two hour drive from Cleveland, for one.

And two, hmmmm, I can't even think of number two.

Turns out Pittsburgh has a lot of cool stuff going on. Gorgeous old neighborhoods with beautiful architecture, a really awesome warehouse district with loads of ethnic grocery stores, produce stands, imported stuff, a local version of Sur la Table (loved that place!), and an Ikea.

We didn't even have time to tour The Andy Warhol Museum, which gets rave reviews. Next time, I guess. There will be a next time. I liked Pittsburgh.

Except for the food--not a lot of Vegan food going on in Pittsburgh, and forget about finding Plant-strong fare. I did my best with what was available.

But there was this one place. We heard it was the best restaurant in town. And they always have some Vegan options. It is called Salt of the Earth, and it did not disappoint. One of the most fun restaurant experiences I have ever had. Phenomenal creative cocktails, warm and welcoming wait staff and cooks, an open kitchen (if you ever wonder what goes in to great tasting restaurant food, I highly suggest watching an open kitchen--you will never be the same again. The amount of butter and salt that is added to the food is simply astonishing), and ONE Vegan menu option! Hurrah!

I ate an amazing Beet and Frisee salad. And the Seitan dish I ordered with Broccoli Kim Chi and Wild Rice Porridge was outstanding and unusual. And no butter! I forgot to click this picture until I had already eaten a lot of it, so I'm sorry, it doesn't look very pretty.

But after this past weekend, I need some recovery food. And this soup is the perfect prescription. Just like Grandma used to make, only without the cow, or the oil!

Sweet-n-sour Cabbage Soup
makes about 12 cups-serves a crowd

2 cups water
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
2 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 medium-large green cabbage, cut into 4, core removed and cut into about 1 �� sq. chunks
2 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup maple syrup
Juice of one lime
Pepper to taste
salt (or not)

Place a large heavy pot over medium heat. Bring water and tomatoes to a boil.

Add cabbage and onions.

Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes.

Add bay leaf, maple syrup, lime juice, salt (or not), and pepper. Stir well and cover. Cook for at least another 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is very soft.

Freezes well.

Have you traveled lately? What has your experience been finding Plant-strong food? Comments are welcome and encouraged! To get to the comments section, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Protein Moisture Balance Solved

Are you trying to perfect the protein moisture balance?  Many women who have relaxed and/or colored hair face the issue of maintaining a proper balance between protein conditioning and moisturization.  (A few non-colored naturals face this issue as well.)  If the scale is tipped too far to the "protein" side, the result can be dry, brittle hair with little elasticity.  On the other hand, if the scale is tipped too far to the "moisture" side, the result can be mushy, stretchy hair. Audrey Sivasothy, the author of "The Science of Black Hair", discusses how to set the protein moisture balance in the following articles:

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Mixology || Seaweed Body Lotion

Do you want to know exactly what is going onto your skin?  Do commercial lotions irritate your skin?  Well here is a homemade recipe for a moisturizing body lotion incorporating natural ingredients.

Aloe Vera Gel--1/4 cup
Powdered Kelp--1 tbsp
Purified Water--1 cup
Sweet Almond Oil--2 tbsp

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Use a 12 oz bottle flip top bottle.

FOR MORE RECIPES: 250 Bath Body Recipes

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Heart Attack Grill Diet

I want to thank every one who took the time to comment on my last post about The Pleasure Trap. Your comments REALLY help me to figure things out in my head. As much as I blog because I want to help other people find their way in this crazy mess of a food world, blogging helps me to stay the course, even though that course may be rocky from time to time. Being someone who is public about my struggle with food is one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it's also one of the most rewarding. I honestly do not know where I would be without HGK, because I would have no real accountability. With HGK, I am accountable to all of you, every day, and that is a very good thing for me.

This guy choose another path to go down with his food addictions. The nicest thing I can sayabout this video  is that at least he was honest.

Was. He's dead now, age 29. It's not funny anymore, is it?

The Heart Attack Grill. Is there really taste worth dying for? I kind of doubt it!

If you are here, reading HGK, you have made the decision to go somewhere very positive with your food choices. Give yourself credit! Be happy about it!

Had you heard of this restaurant called The Heart Attack Grill? What did you think when you first found out about it? 

Comments are very welcome. Please click on the title of this post (the orange text) to read or leave comments.

Shedding Too Much Hair?

Each strand of hair on our head goes through three phases:
--anagen (the strand is actively growing for 2-3+ years)
--catagen (the strand is converted to a club hair for 2-3 weeks)
--telogen (the follicle is at rest for 3-4 months)
Not all strands are in the same phase simultaneously; most strands are in anagen, a few in catagen, and a few in telogen.

Shedding is when club hair falls from the scalp.  Unlike broken hairs, shed hairs have a bulb attached at one end.  The process of shedding occurs at the end of the telogen phase (i.e., resting phase).

A normal scalp sheds up to 100 strands of hair daily.  This number is up to 0.1% of the hair on our heads.

Extreme shedding tends to occur when one is under physiological stress.  Under such stress, a disproportionate number of hairs can prematurely enter the telogen phase.  At the end of the phase, those same hairs are shed.  This extreme shedding is what is termed hair loss.

According to WebMD, the following are stressors that may cause extreme shedding:

  • Being on a strict low-calorie diet
  • After childbirth when estrogen levels fall
  • Severe illness
  • Having a high fever
  • Having major surgery
  • Severe infections
  • Certain medications (e.g., blood pressure medications)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Nutritional deficiencies (e.g., vitamin D)
  • Excess vitamin A

Determining the exact cause of extreme shedding can be difficult because there may be a lag between the stressful event and actual hair fall.  Start by remembering what event occurred 3-6 months prior to hair fall.  Additionally, visit a doctor as soon as possible because he/she can help you better determine and address the stressor.


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Dietary Fiber and Colon Cancer

According to the CDC, 52.7% of the American population were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007.  The black population showed the highest rate, followed by whites, Latinos, and then Asians. (Source)

According to certain studies, including this one, intake of dietary fiber is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.  One theory is that "insoluble fiber from foods adds bulk to stools and moves them through the GI tract swiftly, thus reducing the contact time with potential toxins in the colon."

Foods high in dietary fiber, include (but are not limited to) whole grains, beans, raspberries, and artichoke.  For more on whole grains (including label reading), read my post here.  Please consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet.


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The Pleasure Trap Book Club

Thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post with your food movie recommendations. I have added all of the available movies to my Netflix queue and look forward to watching them all. The first one that I just HAD to see was Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, so I watched it this morning at 4:45 am, if you can believe it. I'll save my thoughts on this video for another post. 

Why? Because something interesting kinda popped up on the Internet a few days ago. It seems that Lindsay Nixon (The Happy Herbivore) had the brilliant idea of forming a book club. Our peep Natala Constantine over at The Engine 2 Blog thought it was a great idea and blogged about it too.

The first book Lindsay chose?  The Pleasure Trap, Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health and Happiness by Douglas J. Lisle, PhD. and Alan Goldhamer, D.C.

Well, there you go Lindsay, sucking me in to another project! I've been wanting to read this book for what seems like forever, so I couldn't resist ordering my own copy from Amazon. I was pretty stoked when it arrived unexpectedly the next day. I started reading almost immediately.

As best as I can, I am going to share my experience of reading this book with you. If I start to think that you are getting bored, as sometimes starts to happen with projects like this, I might stop talking about it. But I can't say where this will go, other than I'm starting right now.

The author proposes that people are motivated by three general things: to seek pleasure, to avoid pain and to conserve energy. Why? Because these three things "encourage behaviors that are associated with survival and reproduction." It's all embedded into the design of every living creature.

I'm just guessing here, but I think as the book plays out we will come to understand why those three motivations have conspired against us in the modern age and have caused the epidemic of obesity and poor health. And I'm also going to guess that Dr. Lisle is going to give us coping strategies for modern times so that we don't need to be another statistic.

But I'm getting way ahead of us. 

Back to the beginning. The first thing that really struck me was this sentence in Chapter 2, "Very often, in both human and animal life, the rewards of pleasure are not immediate. Pleasure requires work, effort, skill development, and risky competition."

So motivation cannot be sustained by pleasure seeking alone. We need to know if we are on the right path to achieving pleasure, we need signals. Enter our moods, happiness or unhappiness. Moods "work like the clues in a treasure hunt." They are subtle feelings, but they keep us going (or they stop us) in our hunt for treasure.

For me, and I think all humans, one treasure is achieving and easily maintaining a healthy weight.

But biologically, the treasure of food consumption causes pleasure also. "Pleasure was designed as the unmistakable signal of success for reaching survival and/or reproductive goals." If we don't eat, we are going to starve and if that happens, we won't be surviving, let alone reproducing.

It made me think of how difficult it has been for me over the past year to remain "plant perfect." There was a time when it was very easy. Some might have even labeled me as"orthorexic." A label that I would glad wear today considering how difficult it is for me now to make the best choices day in and day out.

Enter happiness.

"Happiness is not a final destination." You don't get there and stay there forever. But happiness signals to us that we are on the right track. We can get happiness from being productive, from being with friends, from feeling secure, and from feeling relief (amongst others).

At the time when I was really "on it" (and that did last a good, long while) I was very focused on the happiness that I got from eating plant-perfectly, even though the pleasure and the rewards were not immediate ones. I always had in the front of my mind all of the great reasons why I was eating so plant-perfectly. I derived a ton of happiness from making good decisions about food and the thought that someday in the future I would be rewarded with the size body that I wanted and good health.

As time went by, the good happy feeling that I got from saying "no" to the wrong foods faded a little. It didn't fade entirely, but it wasn't front and center. So it became easy to have a bite of this or that, and then a piece of this or that, and then two of this or that. Because the rewards of eating the wrong foods are so immediate (and oh-so-short lived!).

And now I can see how the mindset of happiness of plant-perfection has gotten somewhat away from me. Enough to cause me pain (emotionally). So I want my old plant-perfect, orthorexic-if-you-will, mindset back. It worked very well for me and had no downside other than some wisecracking friends and family. And that is why I'm very interested in reading this book and discussing it with all of you.

If you'd like to read this book along with us, may I suggest that you order a copy here? A teeny weeny bit of the money goes to help support HGK!

Do I sound like a nut case? Am I making any sense here? Thoughts? To leave a comment or see the comments section of this blog, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Netflix: An Insurance Policy?

My husband and I have been resisting signing up for Netflix for years. A combination of not enough time to watch movies and already paying for subscription movie channels, like HBO, with DIRECTV for movies we hardly ever watched made it seem really silly.

But then we got some technology sorted out in our house that made it possible for the WiFi signal to reach the room that our Wii is in (the playroom). And when my kids asked me over the weekend if they could sign up for Netflix I was like, "What the heck!"

You see, it's been gnawing at me for years that I have missed seeing many of the important movies about food that have been made in the past ten years. Food, Inc., Fast Food Nation, FoodMatters. Missed them all. Having young kids at home is not conducive to movie viewing in any way, shape or form. Unless you are comfortable paying $70 a pop for you and your beloved to go to the movies.

Why do I care so much? Because I consider time watching these movies to be time very well spent. An insurance policy against falling back into my old eating patterns if you will. Case in point: two nights ago Sophia (my 12 year old)  and I started watching FoodMatters. The movie has a big emphasis on the disease prevention qualities in raw vegetables and fruit. Mid-movie Sophia asked me, "Mom, is this real?"

To which I replied, "Yes, it is."

Next morning she grabbed an apple instead of a cereal bar. That night she asked me to make her a smoothie--with greens. When I thought that the smoothie that I made for us had too much of a green taste for her palate (in the past, she would have rejected it), imagine my surprise when she told me she loved it. And could I remember how I made it so that I could make it again for her?

I believe in the power of the mind. I believe that if we fill our brain with the right messages, making better food choices becomes so very much easier.

And who doesn't need a good kick-in-the-pants every now and then?

I certainly can use one. So my food movie dry spell is over!

Before getting NetFlix, I had seen Forks Over Knives, May I be Frank, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Got the Facts on Milk. Check off  FoodMatters as of last night.

What movies have I missed? What movies have you seen that have had the largest impact on your eating choices? What changes did you make after seeing a particular movie?

To leave a comment or see the comments section of this blog, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above). 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Foods to Fill You Up

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Have you been looking for a snack or something to add to your meal to help make you feel full and more satisfied after you have eaten? Well it is common to find that you are not always satisfied when you are done eating a meal. It is important to learn the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling full. If you have the �I feel full� kind of feeling then you have eaten too much! You want to consume food that will make you not feel hungry but not make you feel like you have eaten too much either. Learning the difference does take some time. And at first it is uncomfortable if you are accustomed to eating until you �feel like you are full�. Just because you are trying to cut back on calories does not mean that you have to starve yourself! Never starve yourself! Find snacks that are healthy for you and find foods that will help keep you satisfied and full longer.

Here are some great suggestions for some foods that will help you to eat less but satisfy those cravings you may have.

  • Bananas: These are a great snack to carry around with you! These do not hold a lot of calories and they help to stop those hunger feelings if you are in between meals. Not only is this a great snack but it is not very expensive and these can be found at almost any store any time of the year! For those who want to keep those in their office drawer try dehydrating banana chips (you will need a dehydrator or find a baking recipe!) This is a great way to preserve a bulk of bananas you have bought and you can keep them in your purse or anyplace just in case you need a quick snack!
  • Oatmeal: This is a great power food! It is high in fiber and is low in calories. This is also a great snack because you can add things to it to spice it up (just as long as you do not add too much to make it not a healthy snack anymore)!  This is a quick snack to make, and it is also relatively cheap! Store brands and the name brands taste pretty much the same; the only difference between them is the price.
  • Peanut Butter: The best kind of peanut butter to find is the kind that says �100% roasted peanuts� on the nutritional label. This kind can be found in the organic aisle or placed with all the other peanut butter. It is important to get this kind because this is the healthiest kind of peanut butter to get! The other brands are fine but they are packed with other ingredients that make it not as healthy and slightly more processed. Peanut butter helps to keep you full for some time and you can pair it with almost anything!!
  • Whole Grain Pasta: These are packed with fiber! And, it helps to keep you feeling full for some time. You can also pair pasta with other things to help spice it up (like veggies or a salad). Try to stay away from creamy sauces (like alfredo sauce). Creamy sauces have more calories. Try to use low fat marinara sauce or make a vinaigrette type of dressing to drizzle over the pasta. You can add feta cheese, nuts, or anything else to add to the flavor but will keep the calorie count low.
  • Nuts: Nuts are great for snacking. You can try pistachios, almonds, pecans, nuts, and seeds. Just make sure to stick to the suggested serving size (which is usually about a handful)!! Nuts are packed with monounsaturated fatty acids and protein. These may be a little more expensive but they are great for helping you feel full longer.
  • Eggs: These are FULL of protein! A secret weapon to feeling full longer and to help you lose that unwanted weight. New studies have suggested that consuming eggs for breakfast may HELP you with losing weight! Just as long as you are not having a dozen every morning you should be fine. I would suggest about 2-3 eggs and try not to fry them in regular canola oil! Try boiling the eggs or if you want them scrambled or fried try to use olive oil. Egg whites are also a great option. I like to mix my egg whites with at least one full egg (for taste and for the extra things that are found in the yolk.

If you start your day off feeling satisfied you will be less likely to binge eat to try to catch up to feeling satisfied. So it is also a great idea to have a great breakfast in the morning to help start your day.

Hope that these are some great suggestions and hope that these tips help you to make healthier food decisions.

Please do not forget to check out my website for more health and fitness tips!