Tag Archives: fall

We’re back!!!!

You probably noticed that Candace and I took the summer off from blogging…..but not much else, as summer in the beautiful Pacific NW beckons all of us to spend as much time as we can outside:  hiking, biking, playing golf/tennis/hooky, gardening, dreaming, reading, barbecuing , walking on the beach, rafting, canoeing, SUPing, and just plain relaxing. So that is what we have been doing the past 3 months which means we have walked our walk of trying to live lives of balance.

My daily walk with Riley, our amazing English lab

My daily walk with Riley, our amazing English lab

Fall always brings to me a feeling of new beginnings, of new commitments and of renewed energy. The daylight hours grow shorter each day, bringing us closer to the hearth, the kitchen and to indoor activities. We are excited to share some of our observations about the seasons of our lives, so stay tuned during the next few months for our musings on hormone balance, optimal living and growing through the various stages of our lives with grace and gratitude.

Fall in the wine country: c'est magnifique…...

Fall in the wine country: c’est magnifique……

In September, we recorded a webinar for ZRT laboratory, based here in the Portland area: “What you always wanted to know about menopause…..but were afraid to ask”. We used a conversational format which we think you will really enjoy, as it keeps the information accessible and relevant. Click on this link to listen in:

http://www.zrtlab.com/webinars/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-menopause-but-were-afraid-to-ask

Don’t ‘suffer in silence’ ……if you are going through the many upheavals and changes of perimenopause and beyond, you are definitely NOT alone…and help is only a click away. Join in our conversation and learn how you can gracefully transition through hormonal changes. The conversation is back ….and so are we. So glad you could join us.

Balance is attainable : learn what YOU can do to sustain it in your life

Balance is attainable : learn what YOU can do to sustain it in your life

 

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Fall cleansing is in the air

We have been truly blessed with a warm and sunny ‘Indian summer’ here in the Pacific NW this year but 2 days ago, the autumn switch turned on, dropping the temperatures down into the 50’s by day and 40’s by night. Any illusions of an endless summer were quickly abandoned, so back indoors we go for the majority of our waking hours.

I imagine many of you, like me, find yourself purging your house of excess things, rearranging cupboards and closets, raking up the fallen leaves and turning over the soil in the garden. There is something about the transition from living outdoors as much as possible to nestling inside that makes me want to simplify my surroundings before adorning the house with decorations for our fall and winter festivities. One of my fall rituals is moving all of my spring and summer clothes(after taking all of the ones I still didn’t wear to Good Will for a better home) from my bedroom closet to my spare one,  in exchange for my fall and winter wardrobe.  Doing this always makes the seasonal change so definite for me.  I actually enjoy this ritual as it makes me reflect on the activities of the past few months while thinking ahead to the upcoming holidays.

Fall lights add to a warm and cozy atmosphere: I can't resist!

Fall lights add to a warm and cozy atmosphere: I can’t resist!

For those of you who are faithful MP blog followers, you know that fall also means thinking of ways to be more conscious and mindful about the food and beverage choices we will be making in order to stay balanced despite the holiday festivities. This can be a huge challenge to many of us: avoiding unwanted weight gain, getting inadequate sleep, feeling stressed out about shopping(perhaps on a more limited budget than in years past), getting burned out by the extra demands placed upon us, all of this leading to cortisol overdrive and its many associated symptoms(irritability, insomnia, anxiety, depression, belly fat, salt and sugar cravings, to name a few).

So we will be hosting another “Consciousness Cleanse” starting on Sunday, November 17th and will run for 10 days, ending just in time for Thanksgiving. As in years past, there are 4 major food/beverage groups that we will avoid during the ‘cleanse’ . These are caffeine, alcohol, sugar and ‘the whites'(white flour, rice, potatoes, pasta and again white sugar).  Some of you who want to do a deeper detox/cleanse of sorts may also want to eliminate gluten and/or dairy and/or soy, particularly if you suspect a sensitivity to a particular food type.

Some examples of the kinds of food you CAN eat and that will make you feel wonderful

Some examples of the kinds of food you CAN eat and that will make you feel wonderful

Last year we had approximately 60 people participating in our fall ‘cleanse’ and it was pretty remarkable to listen to the various comments people had about their personal experiences.  To view these, please go to ‘Kyle’s blog’ and scroll back to Oct 2012 and March 2013 blogposts to learn more about the cleanse and the reactions of the participants.  We are excited to be doing this again and we hope that you will join us.

For those of you who are interested in a longer term detox, please click on this link

http://bit.ly/HkqEyt

to work along with Andrea Nayakama and her staff of functional nutritionists for 21 days starting on Monday November 4th. Once you click on the link, you can listen to the  webinar she did yesterday: Tipping the Scales. This which was a really nice overview of the link between what we eat and our hormone balance and I recommend that all of you take the time to listen to it. We have written quite a bit about the importance of hormone balance and health/ optimal weight over the past 2 years so some of the content will be familiar to many of you, but I know that no matter how much I learn about this amazing and complex topic, I inevitably take away another ‘pearl’ with every new talk or article I come across.

Stay tuned. We will be posting more in the upcoming weeks to help you get ready for your 10 day fall cleanse. I promise you that if you partake in either the deeper detox or the 10 day mini-cleanse, you will gain a new awareness that what you put into your mouth  really matters . More about the details and benefits in upcoming posts. For now, remember to drink tea(all types but green is great for weight control and immune system), plenty of water, choose organic foods as much as possible, exercise  a minimum of 4-5 days a week and get at least 7 hours of sleep every night for optimal health and wellness.

Fall morning walk at sunrise: a lovely way to get daily exercise

Fall morning walk at sunrise: a lovely way to get daily exercise

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Cold and Flu Season are almost here: How to eat to boost your immune system: Part 1

Ah, October: one of the loveliest months with its fall colors and crisp days: I just love this time of year. I have my Halloween lights up, an orange berry wreath on the front door and candles lit throughout the house, making staying inside cozy and inviting.

Brilliant fall colors on my morning walk: breathtakingly beautiful

Brilliant fall colors on my morning walk: breathtakingly beautiful

But as we all know, fall is also known for an increased incidence of cold and flu viruses. Some of my friends have already been sniffling and coughing so it is time to think about the ways we can boost our immune systems.

As we have talked about in past blogposts, how and what we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies fight infections. Every magazine that I have opened lately has spent some time discussing this so obviously this is an important and timely topic. So what are some of the best foods that we can include in our diet?

Garlic and onions: these odorific foods are members of the lily family and they contain sulfur-containing compounds. One of the most important of these is called allicin, which has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,which can help fight off many types of infections. It is so easy to include these foods in many of the recipes that you make every day: add them to soups, salad dressings, sauces, casseroles for extra flavor and immune boosting power.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squashes and pumpkins are all rich in beta-carotene, which help your body fight off respiratory infections.  Try these in soups, breads, salads or serve them on their own. They are delicious and full of nutrients.

Pumpkin heaven: full of nutrition and wonderful to look at

Pumpkin heaven: full of nutrition and wonderful to look at

Mushrooms are considered to be powerhouses of the immune system and there are so many varieties to try: shitake, maitake, chantrelles, oyster, portobello, lobster, you name it, along with the familiar brown and white button mushrooms.  They help your body fight infections by boosting the activity of your natural killer cells and they are also rich in the mineral selenium, which helps you fight flu viruses. Try sauteeing them in olive oil and season with herbs, add them to soups, salads, omelettes and casseroles.

Yogurt has long been considered a ‘health food’ but often times it has been sold as over-processed and over sugared, a distant cousin from the really healthy kind. Look for yogurt in its natural unprocessed form: it should say that it contains live active cultures, such as S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus and Bifidus and try to buy types that are higher in protein(like Greek yogurt) and low in added sugars. These beneficial bacteria are known as ‘pro-biotics’, which help to restore healthy bacteria to your intestines(back to gut health, once again), which in turn help your body to fight the onslaught of infections that arrive in the fall and winter months.

Part 2 will review some more important foods to include in your daily diet but before I sign off, I want to share one of my favorite and SIMPLE recipes that combines a few of today’s ‘super foods’ : it is full of flavor, protein, immune boosters and easy on your waist.

Kyle’s recipe for Tsatsiki:

2 cups of high quality, high protein yogurt( I prefer Greek style, normal fat content)

1 cucumber: peeled and grated: squeeze out all of the excess liquid

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Stir all of these ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover, chill and let the flavors blend for at least a few hours . Serve with whole grain pita chips or crusty whole grain bread.  Yum! great for watching football games or your favorite latest TV series. Enjoy!

Back again with more foods and recipes. As always, we love to hear from YOU and how you incorporate nutritious foods into your daily lives.

Salud and bon appétit.

Don't forget to enjoy the wonders of fall's beauty each day, as soon the leaves will fall and only the memories will linger

Don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of fall’s beauty each day, as soon the leaves will fall and only the memories will linger

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Confessions of a tea lover

Well, it’s official: fall is here again and I for one am happy it has arrived. Although I love summer with its carefree rhythm, warm days, easy fashion and simple fresh foods, I am always more than ready when the days begin to shorten, the nights cool off for perfect sleeping weather, I get to pull out my favorite boots and corduroys(like old friends) and pore through my many cookbooks looking for hearty recipes to serve to family and friends.

Fall is also the season to bring out the tea kettle and sip on many varieties of tea throughout the day. Personally, I tend to drink hot tea all year round but I find it particularly appealing once the days and nights begin to cool.  I like to keep a wide assortment of teas in my cupboard at home, as well as in my office at work.

Some of my favorite teas: the choices are endless

Some of my favorite teas: the choices are endless

As a small child, my mother introduced me to the joys of a great cuppa, although in our family we could choose from orange pekoe tea with either milk and sugar or with fresh lemon and honey. I didn’t venture into ‘herbal teas’ until the early 1970’s  when companies like Celestial Seasonings made a wide variety of yummy and nutritious teas. Once I discovered my first ‘health food store’ back on Long Island in 1973, I was in tea and food heaven!

I have passed on the tradition of tea drinking to my own children, who both also love to drink a hot cup of tea on a cold morning or  evening(or afternoon for that matter).  The most wonderful thing about tea is not only does it taste yummy, but now we are discovering how great it is for our health.

As many of  you may already know, all different colors of tea are good for you: green, black and herbal but probably the one that has gotten the most attention is green tea. We now know that green tea is rich in EGCG(epigallocatechin-3-gallate): this is a compound that blocks a particular enzyme needed in the digestion of starchy foods.  If you drink the recommended amount of green tea( 1 and ½ cups) while eating a meal or snack high in starches, your blood sugar will only increase by 50% of its normal rise. This is very important in terms of helping to prevent insulin resistance, which is a precursor to developing Type II Diabetes.

In addition, studies have shown that drinking 3 + cups of green tea per week for 6 months(not even per day, although other studies have shown even greater benefits if you do drink more!), women will have a 14% reduction in developing cancers of the digestive system.  2 cups of green tea/day helps to shrink your waist and causes a reduction in overall fat and weight.

And if that’s not enough to get you to drink green tea on a regular basis, EGCG stimulates the growth of neurons in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is involved in our memory.  I know that all of us worry about our weight, our risk of cancer and diabetes, and also the loss of memory, particularly as we age.

Some people complain that green tea can be a bit bitter so I encourage you to find a type that you like. I agree that sometimes I have found it a bit difficult to get down, but I love a blend that has jasmine and green tea as well as those that have some mint blended in, or are combined with chai tea spices. Tazo makes a lovely blend called “Zen”, so aptly named, as it gives you a warm mellow feeling. And green tea has a much lower content of caffeine that black tea does so it shouldn’t make you feel jittery or have difficulty falling asleep.

There is something about the tradition of brewing and sipping on tea.....a cross cultural experience with far-reaching health benefits

There is something about the tradition of brewing and sipping on tea…..a cross cultural experience with far-reaching health benefits

So get your kettle, some of your favorite mugs and tea out and warm up your insides while treating yourself to some amazing health benefits.  It’s a lovely way to usher in the ‘contemplative season’, a time to reflect back over the last year and nestle in while dreaming of the months and year ahead.

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