Stories and Wellness Support for my clients and interested viewers!

Archive for February, 2012

Extra Bounce in My Being!

Chef B curls herself up and back in some beautiful Pilates Roll-Ups – independently!  I always enjoy watching her because it is a demanding exercise and she performs it so smoothly.   

Chef B arrives with a giggle in her voice, her eyes bright, eager to experience her strength and flexibility and to try new exercises.  She is fueled well, and is always prepared with her bottle of water.  Her annual physical exam last week boasted superb health and unusually healthy markers. I am honored that she continues to come my way. 

I write about her today because her nourishment is so supportive and such a cornerstone to her health.   Some would offer a disclaimer that her nutrition is easy in that she is a chef and knows all the secrets to eating well and healthily, and she does – it’s true.  However, her current routine doesn’t revolve around rare and expensive ingredients, and doesn’t feature piles of green herbs or accent cheeses on every plate.  It features local produce, well cooked beans, and super grains.  So, not only is it nutrient dense, it is inexpensive.  (One pound of raw beans costs approximately $1.50.)

We might argue that we just don’t have shopping and prep time, or maybe are not interested in cooking batches of beans.  I grant you that knowing what you’re doing in the kitchen is an advantage, though it isn’t worthy of a reason to not nourish your fine self well.  I have asked Chef B a few questions, hoping that her answers will stimulate and inform us as we learn more about nourishment.

Q:  Chef B,  What are good spices, herbs or sides for enjoying beans?

A:  Onion, Garlic, dash of Red Pepper Flakes.  Serve with Green Salsa and Plain Yogurt.  (I, Sarah, offer that a teaspoon of Cumin will help with digestion in bean dishes.)


Q:  Chef B,  If not cooking raw beans, how about canned beans?

A:  Be careful to rinse (several times) the beans, covering with water and then straining them.


Q:  Chef B, How about mixing beans in salads or soups for protein?

A:  This is a really good idea.  The beans offer not only high protein but high fiber content as well.


Q:  Chef B, I know you freeze cooked beans in containers.  Do you freeze super grains also?

A:  I cook a pound of beans and divide into 10 three-quarter cup containers.  I cook one cup each of rice, farro and quinnoa and create 12 three-quarter cup containers.

Chef B always has healthy meals at her fingertips because she invests a LITTLE time each week in uncomplicated food preparation, so that she continuously has nourishment at her fingertips.  She comments today that when she consumes beans (complex carbohydrate) everyday she has no carb cravings, that “they hold you.”


Pyramid Power

Hopefully, the ancient Egyptians knew how to change mass when they constructed the pyramids.  If not, they must have been incredibly healthy and fit – lean-body-strong people!  (I don’t want to imagine other possibilities, unless it might a cadre of body-builder-angels on the night shift.)

A Pyramid, in the fitness world, is a specific routine targeted at one muscle group.  Just like the shape of a pyramid, an individual begins an exercise with a set number of repetitions, rests, and repeats with fewer, continuing for three sets or more.  Often trainers will create a “reverse pyramid” in which the reps increase, and sometimes, the pyramid will go up and back, using both routines.  There are many ways to vary this, and a trainer is recommended to maintain alignment and integrity of movement.

My clients this week will enjoy the pyramid routines, customized, of course, to  fitness levels.  We will NOT be pulling, tugging and lifting heavy stone, hoping for a crust of bread in the middle of the day.  We WILL be having fun, increasing our strength and muscle definition, enjoying optimal nutrition*, and feeling empowered!

* Optimal Nutrition = before training session: grain for fuel (1 pce WW toast OR ½ C rice, oatmeal, quinnoa, or multigrain cereal).  = before or after session:  protein from eggs, lean meat, beans OR light Muscle Milk.  Low-glycemic fruit is a healthy addition, offering consistently delivered energy and hydration. 

Joy of the Zone

As I write, the annual and local 26.2 marathon runs past my house.  I think I have more important things to do than hang out on the street all day, and yet, when I hear the motorcycles, I leap for the front door, street-side just in time to see the Kenyans pass, well over half way finished.  I call them the “Kenyans”, not because I have any idea of their heritage.  I attach the term to documentaries I have watched, revealing, specifically, Kenya citizens who just accept running long distances, never questioning their bodies’ abilities.  They move with such beauty! 

You can cheer these front runners and they will not respond.  They are in the zone: running.  It’s cold today, and some of them wear neon green hats and gloves – so cool. 

I momentarily decide to become a runner this year, and next year, complete at least a section of this race, and yet, I know I am probably going to find my own zone on the long hike or in the gym.   Whatever your fitness zone preference, I offer some words off a Nike poster:

“That’s right.  I’m out of here.  Do not chase me down or text me or try to talk me into going out to lunch.  I don’t have time to figure out if I have time for a run.  I’m just going.  The world will not fall apart in my absence.  I might miss somebody’s birthday cake or a discussion of last night’s season finale.  Even if I do, who cares.  I’m coming back with a state of mind three coffees, two flirtatious e-mails and a week of vacation can’t buy.”

Now, back to the race and the continuous flow of individuals, running in their own health, for the health of others, or maybe, the joy of the zone….

Tip:  “Don’t eat it if you can’t pronounce the ingredients.”  (

“One Foot Two Foot

… red foot blue foot” (Dr Seuss:  The Foot Book)

I had a foot Xray this week (minor issue).  The orthopedic surgeon and I stood before the image.  We were both silent for a few moments as he studied and measured.  I, on the other hand, was in awe, “My foot is beautiful!  Oh wow, I can’t believe how lovely it is!”  My eyes widened to take it all in.

He began to explain, briefly, and I was trying to pay attention, and yet, all I could think was how gorgeous my foot was.  Some part of my brain was instructing, “Get it together, Sarah, and listen to what he is saying.  This is important!  You have asked for his assessment!”  But it was so difficult to tear myself away from all those pretty bones lying there is such symmetry – I was entranced.

Even as I left the office I imagined these delicate-looking-but-notbones working together, moving me along the hallway and out to my car.  I have to say that the compiled, skin version is no more exquisite an image than the skeletal one.

19 muscles and tendons, 26 bones, 33 joints and 107 ligaments – the community of Foot-dom, works in harmony, patiently and continuously at the direction of one’s intentions.  How divine is that?

I know this is Heart Month and still:  Let’s spend a week loving our feet!


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