SAVE THE DATE!!

– ASL-Interpreted Shabbat Morning Services (February 12th)

From Martin Luther King’s birthday (January 15th, our most-recent one) to
Abraham Lincoln’s (February 12th, our next one)…that’s pretty distinguished
company!

New York’s Tifereth Israel-Town & Village (T&V) Synagogue (www.tandv.org)
will be hosting another sign-language-interpreted Shabbat Service on Saturday
morning, February 12th, and we hope you can join us!

The Service will include full readings from the Torah and Haftorah (Prophets),
and will be held from 10:00 AM — 12:30 PM at 334 East 14th Street, between
1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan.  Our Deaf/hearing interpreting team will
again include Naomi Brunnlehrman and Christopher Tester, and their work will
be underwritten thanks to UJA-Federation of New York’s Jewish Community Deaf
Interpreter Fund.

A Kiddush (refreshments and social hour) will follow Services, and all are
welcome to participate!

(Please note:  Out of respect for Shabbat, pen, paper and cell phones cannot
be used at T&V on Saturday morning.)

For additional information, please contact Bram Weiser at
or (212) 677-0368v.

Thanks, and we’ll hope to see you there!

(Schedule is subject to change.)

P.S.  Next month(!!) is Purim and T&V proudly offers an ASL-interpreted
Megillah reading (and, don’t forget, fun for all ages, too!) for the fourth
consecutive year, so mark your calendars now!  Saturday evening, March 19th…
Details are coming soon…so don’t miss out!

P.P.S.  ASL interpreters are available at T&V when requests are made in
advance.  Please contact me () for more information.

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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!

Soul Food

It’s been raining ever since I arrived in Los Angeles. Pouring, actually. The weather reminds me of the 1997-1998 El Nino. It’s all good though. I’m here at a university working on a book project and the rain is keeping me indoors where I’m squirreled away in the library.

The last time I was out here to “work” I got a wee bit distracted and spent my days catching up with friends, visiting my old haunts, eating at my favorite places, etc. This time I’m being good.

“I picture you in a dark, dusty room all alone as you sort through archives,” my husband said to me on the phone the other day. Well, sort-of. I take the documents out of the dark, dusty room to a bigger, lighter conference room. And that’s pretty much where I’ve been the whole time – the exact same spot I was ten years ago as a grad student, typing notes on my laptop (do you ever have the feeling that you’re making no progress in life whatsoever? Anyhoo…)

Last Friday the weather channel called for rain Saturday and Sunday, so I planned to push through the weekend and continue working. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I felt sunlight on my face. I jumped up and ran to the window . . . sure enough it was a bright, shiny morning. The Pacific Ocean sparkled. I had to enjoy the sun while it lasted.

I was starving, so I gobbled down a veggie sandwich (tomato, California avocado, cucumber and sprouts on toasted whole wheat). Then I dashed to the bike path, buckled my rollerblades and – Zoom! – I was off. I bladed all the way to the end of the path, turned around and bladed back, and then turned around once again. I was like the Energizer Bunny . . . I kept going and going and going (‘cept for the part where I rounded a curve way too fast and hit an unexpected pile of sand).

It was the best. The veggie sandwich was certainly a tasty beginning to the day. But I tell ya, its sunshine that feeds my soul.

Dancing Your Way to a Healthy Body

There are a lot of people who exercise to make themselves fit and healthy.  They go to gyms, do treadmills, jog, bike, swim, and many more.  The problem with these exercises is that they become very monotonous, especially when you do them several times a week.  The truth is there are other exercises where you can do cardio without actually being bored doing it – dancing.  Well, it may sound funny at first but dancing can actually be a strenuous activity which is perfect for those who are looking for a challenging and very exciting form of exercise.  The best part of it all is that you not only learn new moves, but that you do not keep on repeating the same steps over and over wherein the overall exercise is pure and simple repetition of itself.

Do not let dancing fool you because even if you think you are fit from all that jogging and running, try doing some fast and rigorous dance routine and you will be sweating bullets in under an hour.  Or you can try some simple graceful moves that can test the overall flexibility of your joints and ligaments.

If you try to look at people who do dancing for a living, you will notice just how lean their physiques are yet strong and capable enough to lift their dance partners.  In short, dancing can actually help you build a strong and healthy body.  Here are just some of the few benefits of dancing:

Cardio – dancing is all about constant movement and this can help you give your cardio some workout.  Once you become more skilled and develop better stamina for dancing, your endurance also increases which means you can practice doing certain dance moves for hours on end.  In essence, this not only gives you a cardio workout, but it also develops your stamina and endurance.

Strength – aside from cardio, dancing also has some elements which helps make you stronger.  For example, when you do dips and certain weight bearing towards your legs, hips and thighs, you inevitably build your base muscles that help strengthen your balance.  Additionally, the rhythmic movements with different sway patterns help in developing your center of gravity.

Weight Loss – dancing is not as easy as it looks and it can wear down your muscles easily and can make you sweat heavily, especially when you are not used to moving your whole body or nearly all your muscles together.  Through dance movements, you burn a lot of calories which can certainly make anyone lose weight.  This is the very reason why dancers are usually slim.

Flexibility – part of dancing is bending, twisting, and moving your body at angles you do not usually do.  Such movements actually help you in developing your flexibility.  Additionally, doing some stretching prior to dancing is also necessary in order to avoid any injuries caused by sprains or torn ligaments.  Dancing is very tough on muscles, tendons, and ligaments if you do it without practice and stretching.  Additionally, practicing dancing more and more can help you to become more flexible.

Natural Sugars

So, I’m off to see a naturopath. I’m still trying to figure out the fertility thing, and I’d like to learn more about this healing method of treatment. Diet is the first thing a naturopath evaluates (I think) – so it should be interesting to hear what she thinks of my eating habits. My no coffee, no alcohol, and increased intake of fruits and vegetables seems to be going okay (sure, there’s hiccups along the way, but not too many). But the no sugar plan? That’s tough. I’m off it, then back on it. Off. On. Off. On. OffOnOffOnOffOnOffOn. Lately, in order to satisfy my cravings, I’ve been snacking on a little sweet treat in the late afternoons (mostly chocolate). Sugar depresses the immune system drastically. And after reading up on the potential harm sugar can do to my body (feed cancer cells, contribute to autoimmune diseases, weaken eyesight, and so on) I actually felt fear rising inside me. But while fear can be a strong motivator, what really moves me into action is knowing how healthy and healed and clean I’ll be and feel when I eliminate sugar from my diet. I already know the next step. Instead of satisfying my craving with candy, I should switch to treats that have been sweetened with natural sugars, like maple syrup and raw honey. Okay . . . back to the kitchen to experiment with more recipes.

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