Category Archives: Western NY

Message from ZVRS

Internet Yoga

Yoga has gone high tech.

In the last few weeks I’ve come across three different websites offering “online” yoga classes.

Core Power Yoga (click “yoga on demand”)

Yoga Today (offering “outdoor” yoga classes)

&

Jiva Diva (scroll down to “live classes”)

All three sites give free classes or trial runs. I’m seriously considering trying one out because I’m about to head to Colorado for a mountain retreat for two weeks. The last time I was on retreat I found a gem of a yoga teacher who gave 90 minute private lessons out of her home for $25 (talk about a deal!). But she’s now home-schooling her kids and doesn’t have time for another student (me).

So…I’m thinking of logging on to my computer for Downward-Facing Dog time. But after debating which site to try, I actually decided that instead of Internet classes, I am going to take this time to better develop my own home practice. Tune-in next week to see if I can recall the sequence for Sun Salutations and figure out how to move into Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) without my yoga teacher prodding me to firm my thighs. I’m looking forward to rolling out my mat by my bedside and trusting myself and my practice (okay, I might bring a book of poses for a little cheat sheet, but mostly I’ll be on my own).Š

Bring It On

I’m about to fall asleep when my husband, Ron, reaches out and shakes my shoulder.

“Are you awake?” he asks.

“Yes,” I say.

“What do you want for your birthday?”

“Hmmm,” I say. “I don’t know. Let me think about it.”

But I do know. I’m debating between various brands of juicers (Green Star or Omega – any thoughts?). Ron is going to keel over when he hears this. In the six years we’ve been together, I’ve never asked for a single item relating to the kitchen.

Not a pot.

Not a pan.

Not a knife, a spatula, or a whisk.

Growing up, I never learned how to cook. My girlfriends and I — we were women of a new generation. We were going to be doctors, lawyers, and mathematicians (and we are). There would be no time for preparing meals. (I’m not sure what our eating plan was — hired help? fast food? — we didn’t think about that part). I do vaguely recall taking a Home Economics course in high school. Men were required to take it too. We baked a pie. I stared at the aluminum container holding the crust and debated between leaving it or removing it. I wasn’t sure aluminum should go in the oven so I took it off. My pie looked more like a pancake.

People change, though.

Now I see our kitchen in a whole new light. Cooking spinach lasagna the other night, I sipped a glass of wine and turned on some tunes. I had to call my mother — twice — and ask her whether I was supposed to cook the whole wheat lasagna noodles or layer them in the dish uncooked. (The first time she said, “Cook ‘em!” and the second time she said, “Yes, I’m positive. Cook ‘’em!”) I cooked the noodles. The food was delicious. I’m no longer intimidated by the kitchen. Bring on the juicer! Š

Do I Knead a Bread Machine?

Bread.

The staple of life.

Now that I’ve gotten used to making my own fresh vegetable juice, I’m thinking of bread. I recall reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few months ago and coming across a passage by the author’s husband (Steven Hopp) who makes a fresh loaf practically everyday.

He says, “I know you’ve got one around somewhere: maybe in the closet. Or on the kitchen counter, so dusty nobody remembers it’s there. A bread machine.”

A bread machine? Nope, don’t have one in the closet or on the counter or anywhere. I’m lucky if I can find a spatula in our kitchen. During a party this spring, I was talking with the host’s mother. She’s in her late 80s and makes her own bread. I told her I wanted to learn so I could make homemade pizza dough, whole wheat, pumpernickel, etc.

“But I don’t have a bread machine,” I said.

She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I guess if you really know how to make bread the old fashioned way, you knead the dough. By hand. For a long time.

“You have to feel the dough to make sure it’s right,” she said.

Call me crazy, but kneading dough by hand actually sounds fun. I think I’ll try it (although I have no idea what it’s supposed to “feel” like, so I’ll have to wing that part). In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out at garage sales for someone else’s barely-used, dusty bread machine.

The Plan: Finding the Path to Clean Eating

Once I decided to adopt a Clean Eating lifestyle I realized I needed a Plan. ASAP.

I broke my Plan into three parts.

Part One

I read a number of books and browsed websites (including Mercola.com, DrWeil.com, Pritikin.com and EatWasaFeelGood.com (the Best Life page has good snacks/recipes)). Then I sat down Saturday morning and outlined a meals for the week as well as guidelines for eating. In a nutshell: I want to wildly increase my intake of vegetables, drastically decrease my consumption of animal products (a maximum of one serving per day), and eliminate sugar, refined flour, caffeine, and alcohol.

Let me add a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian. I am simply a 33-year-old woman trying to eat clean foods after discovering that the third ingredient in my “healthy” cereal was sugar and my 100% whole wheat bread contained high fructose corn syrup. Also, I fully intend to tweak my eating habits as I explore what works for my body.

So – back to the Plan. Some changes would be easy. For example, I already found nearby farms to frequent. Eating locally grown grass-fed chicken would hopefully be smooth sailing. Some changes would be hard. I’ve spent the last few weeks weaning myself off of the very large cup of coffee I drink each morning and replacing it with caffeine-free herbal tea. I miss the aroma of those Kona beans! Some changes I’m still on the fence about, like dairy products. I’ve heard all sorts of arguments and ideas (both pro and con) when it comes to milk, cheese, and eggs. This is going to require more investigation. I’m heading to a farm in Virginia next week to learn more about raw milk.

Part Two

The second part of my plan involved making a list of my ailments. I want to track my physical problems over the course of a year and observe improvements. I’ll spare you the entire litany of conditions, but here are a few:

Eyesight: will drinking fresh homemade vegetable juice and eating clean foods restore my eyesight to the point where my prescription is weakened or obsolete?

Skin Problems: in addition to acne (yes, I’m still breaking out at age 33), my skin doctor is constantly chopping off “suspicious” looking moles. She says they’re benign but she also calls them a not-so-pretty word that I can’t pronounce. I’d love to start getting a clean bill of health during my annual dermatology appointments.

Colds: I’ve heard of people who haven’t had a cold in 30 years. Sign me up. No more colds!

Endometriosis/Infertility: This will be the most personal challege. Endometriosis has not only caused severe physical pain, but has resulted in surgery where the doctor had to remove a cyst the size of a cantaloupe as well as most of my ovary. Plus it has caused problems with fertility. I’m thinking…will Clean Eating restore my hormone balances and clear the way for a healthy pregnancy? We’ll see.

Part Three

The final part of my plan seemed crucial: restaurants. I Googled all the restaurants within 30 miles of my home that serve local, organic fare. Then I taped the list to our refrigerator. If I’m ever too exhausted to cook or if I completely demolish a recipe as I experiment in the kitchen, my husband and I can escape to these spots – one of which is a restaurant that serves vegetarian Indian cuisine. Score!

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