Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today's Soundtrack

A song for today...Wellness!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why you should ride a bike in the winter?

Why do we become less active when it gets colder? Why do we spend less time outdoors and more time inside? We drive more, eat more and exercise less. The slightest hint of a cold day brakes our spirits and we curl up. The body tricks the mind and the mind thinks the body is crazy. When we see someone running or riding a bike we say, "they are crazy" or "its too cold to be outdoors". But the person working out or commuting to work daily has one advantage over us. They are in motion.

I am not an avid runner or in the gym a lot but riding a bike has been my means of exercising all my life. Cycling anytime of the year has many benefits. It improves physical fitness and reduces the risk of heart disease. I have known bike messengers that have said, "they never get colds or other winter "dis-eases" during this time. Biking outdoors during the winter is a sure cure for cabin fever, but it offers mental benefits as well. Accomplishing anything outdoors during the brutal winter months can present a challenge. But biking during the chilly time of the year may be the challenge you need to boost your workout. If you decide you want to start biking during the winter months there are a few things to keep in mind when dressing for cold-weather riding. The key element to winter cycling is proper attire. My five most important areas to consider are the feet, hands, head, neck and chest. Winter cycling can be surprisingly comfortable. Assuming that you are dressed correctly, the physical act of cycling will warm you up faster than you would be if you're waiting for your car's heater to warm up. Winter cycling can be surprisingly convenient. Suppose you need to travel a couple of miles to the store. On your bicycle, you might have already made it to the store and back in less time than it would take to scrape your windshields and dig your car out of the snow.

Cold weather can paradoxically improve traffic conditions. Since many people bunker down in the winter, traffic tends to be a bit lighter and calmer. When conditions are slick on local roads, many motorists reduce their speed significantly. This is good news for cyclists -- when motorists are going at sensible speeds, the chances of getting into a fatal collision with a car goes down tremendously. In addition, roads aren't torn up by road construction like they are in the summer time.

Winter cycling is FUN। You can get the same endorphin rush that winter skiers get। However, whereas most skiers only ski a handful of days throughout the winter, you can ride throughout the entire winter. Exercise weans off winter poundage. If this is the season when your main physical activity is walking to and from the omnipresent platter of holiday cookies and when the lack of sunshine sends your spirits plummeting, even a short daily bike commute can keep you in fair physical and mental health. Be well and ride safer than safe!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


According to The Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, and National Research Council, most folks don't get enough fresh fruits and vegetables that will assist in preventing disease. There are so many fruits of the earth that act as healing tonics in the body and they grow in abundance, just about everywhere. Not that we need medical professionals to inform us that folks are not healthy. Just look around, we are a society of consumerism. We rely on goods and services to provide nourishment. Its truly about seeking out certain information and making wiser decisions as far as our nutrition is concerned. I mean its what it is. Its up to us to want a better quality of life for ourselves and our families. Considering life and times, it is more convenient for folks to eat out, and that's understandable, to a certain degree. Try adding greener foods to your plate and checking a juice bar every once in a while. This also gives you an opportunity to incorporate more raw foods into your diet. Raw enzymes act as life force in the body, giving us the much needed energy, protection from illness, and vibrance that we try to purchase in serum or lotion forms. (ladies, i'm just saying) Figure with one green juice or smoothie, you will get some of that necessary daily green. If you check the menus now, there is always something there for the skeptics and they always become believers. It can't hurt, its from the earth, right? Start off slow, check out a juice bar menu and try whatever appeals to you, that will usually be what your body needs. I just think about what I would want in a salad and ask for those same ingredients in a juice. For example, spinach, lemon, cucumber, garlic and fennel are lovely as a salad and just as, if not more, in a juice. Or if you want fruit, papaya, mango and coconut, would make a nice breakfast bowl or smoothie. Its all about variety, its the spice of life. LOL!!! Juicing For Life by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane is a good read about the health benefits of juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. It also offers juice tonic recipes for ailments A-Z. You can never go wrong with ordering a carrot, apple, ginger, juice. Just add some spinach and celery to it next time, you will still love it, we promise.
Winter Cold Tonic
1 handful of parsley
4 carrots
1 garlic clove
3 stalks of celery

Be Well and Green...Bless

Jean Grae Tests her "Jeanius" @ The Black Cat w/ MDCL, Reemstar & Underdog the DJ

Jean Grae Tests her "Jeanius" @ The Black Cat w/ MDCL, Reemstar & Underdog the DJ

Produced by 9th Wonder, "Jeanius" showcases Jean Grae's ability to reverse trends amidst a diminishing pool of lyricists and female emcees. For her performance, Jean Grae will be joined by her longtime collaborator Mr. Len of Company Flow. London's Mark de Clive-Lowe will kill the mid-set with his improvised keyboard and beat making skills, while DC's Reemstar will spark things off with his hot rhyme-flow. And to fill things out before and between sets, Underdog the DJ will spin an array of tasteful jams for head-nods and mingling.
It all goes down...

On December 6th, Jean Grae performs at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW, Washington, DC. Doors Open at 9PM for this All Ages Show. Tickets are On Sale at All Ticketmaster Outlets for $15.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What to Eat if You Don't Eat Meat

Whether you eat meat or not, the most important thing is to understand and appreciate where your foods come from। If you cannot buy organic fruits and vegetables all of the time, at the very least make sure that your meats, fish, eggs, and dairy are organic or free range. The non-organic of these, are usually genetically modified. I encourage everyone to do a bit of research on GMO's just to understand what is going on with our food supply. As a result, many folks have opted to eliminate meat and its by-products from their diets. Whether you consider yourself a vegetarian or a vegan, its crucial to know what to eat to ensure that your body is getting all that it needs. Its not just about cutting out the meat, you have to think about healthier alternatives that will still provide you with the protein and the nutrients that will make this a smooth transition. What does Vegetarian or Vegan mean? Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs and dairy products. In some cases, vegans will abstain from using honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. Its really based on your own comfort. The key to a nutritionally sound diet is variety. A healthy and varied vegetarian diet consist of fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Receiving adequate amounts of protein is always a concern. Almost all foods except for alcohol, sugar, and fats are good sources of protein. Vegan sources include: Potatoes, whole wheat bread, rice, broccoli, spinach, almonds, peas, chickpeas, nut butters, tofu and tempeh, soy milk, lentils, kale, etc. Vegetarian diets are free of cholesterol and are generally low in fat, reducing the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart complications and cancer. Some good fat foods which should be used sparingly, include cold-pressed oils (olive, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, etc.), vegetable based margarine (earth balance or willow run), nut butters (peanut, almond, macadamia, cashew, pumpkin, etc.), avocado, and coconut. Vitamin D is generally scarce in a meatless diet. It can be made naturally in the body by exposure to sunlight. At least 10-15 minutes of summer sun on the hands and face two to three times a week is recommended for vitamin D production to occur. Calcium, needed for strong bones and teeth, is found in dark leafy green vegetables (collards, kale, and spinach especially), tofu, organic whole milk, blackstrap molasses, tahini (sesame seed butter), okra, figs, orange juice, etc. Zinc is usually adequate in a vegetarian diet, it is found in grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Dried beans and dark leafy greens are especially good sources of iron. Iron absorption is increased by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron. Other excellent sources include: soybeans, tempeh, lentils, blackstrap molasses, kidney beans, chick peas, black-eyed peas, black beans, seitan(wheat gluten), swiss chard, prunes, figs, beet greens, bulghur wheat, bok choy, millet, raisins, watermelon, etc. B12 is one of those vitamins that a lot of people forget about. The requirement for it is very low but, especially important for pregnant and lactating women. Vegetarians who are not vegan can obtain B12 from dairy products and eggs. If you are vegan nutritional yeast, seaweeds, and miso are excellent sources. We suggest incorporating a B12 supplement to your diet just to make sure. Here are a couple of egg and dairy replacement suggestions, which are good to know for cooking and baking.

Egg and Dairy Replacers: ( binder substitutes for each egg)
-1/4 cup (2oz) soft tofu blended w/ the liquid ingredients of the recipe
-1 small banana mashed
-1/4 cup of applesauce
-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot
-Ener-G brand Egg replacer or any other mix found in your local health food store.

Dairy Substitutes:
-Soy, Rice, Oat, Almond, Hazelnut, Brazil Nut milks,
-Soy yogurts (whole soy is a good brand)
-Soy and rice cheeses (the Soyakaas brand melts pretty well but, contains casein which is derived from milk. Just keep that in mind when reading labels.)
-crumbled tofu seasoned w/ nutritional yeast and spices is a good alternative to ricotta cheese in vegan lasagna recipes.

Enjoy the fruits of the Harvest...Eat Good and Green.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

From Us 2 U...A Mantra of Sorts

Please take time to check in with yourself and make sure that you are fulfilling all of the things that you truly need. It may be just about changing your scenery, exercising more, taking long walks, baths, etc. Whatever it may be for you, be honest with it, and nature will do the rest. Nature truly works in that way, you just put a seed in the ground and you come out and a day or two later, its already sprouting. You give a little, and she will do the rest. We are in a time of transition, not just in our lives but in the world, the universe. Its important to check in and open the way for all of the new that is here and still on the way... Continue to honor yourselves, it makes it possible for us to continue to spread colors throughout the world. Create, Love, Laugh, Live and Be Well......

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Carrot Juice and Eyesight.

Reading about this now may help you be able to read other things later.
If there ever was a clear example of an ounce of prevention beating a pound of cure, it would be macular degeneration. "Macula" means "spot," which in this case is on the retina. This is where visual images are focused on the inside of the back of the eye. A lack of antioxidants in the diet puts the retina at risk, causing premature aging and deterioration. Therefore, consuming generous amounts of the body's principle protective antioxidants, namely vitamins C and E, the carotenes, and small amounts of the mineral, selenium, will help protect your sight. Start now, for macular degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss in the elderly.
If you have already been diagnosed with the condition, your doctor has probably told you that there is no medical treatment to rely on. If so, then there is no reason not to try nutrition. If antioxidants can prevent macular degeneration, larger amounts of them may help reverse it.
The theory is easy enough to test, and safe enough to trust. There are no toxic levels whatsoever for Vitamins E and C and carotene. Too much Vitamin C is indicated by very loose bowels. Excessive carotene, which is the orange color in carrots, is indicated by orange colored skin. So if you look like a pumpkin stuck in the outhouse, take less. Ah, but if you don't, then you can take more.
Vitamin E is so safe that premature babies are specifically given it to prevent oxygen damage to their retinas. These infants require about 200 International Units a day to be effective. That is the adult dose equivalent of about 7,000 I.U. of Vitamin E daily! Little clinical need has ever existed in adults for even half of that amount. However, the US RDA of vitamin E is only 10 - 15 I.U., and that is not enough to stop macular degeneration in a hamster. Between 600 and 1,200 I.U. daily is a common therapeutic level for a person. It is only possible to obtain such amounts by taking a supplement.
Selenium increases the effectiveness of Vitamin E in the body. Only a little selenium is needed, probably between 50 and 200 micrograms daily. Too much selenium can indeed be toxic, and amounts over 600 mcg daily must be avoided.
Zinc is another important mineral for the retina. Up to 660 milligrams of zinc a day has been used in some studies, but there is an eventual risk of copper deficiency and anemia if such a high level were maintained. Just one-fifth of that amount, about 100 mg per day, may be enough to slow or stop the process of macular degeneration. The amino acid chelate form of zinc is very well absorbed and probably good to look for. That, or eat a lot of mollusks (oysters in particular).
Zinc deficiency in America is the rule, not the exception. Most of us don't even consume the small US RDA of 15 mg per day. Zinc deficiency is especially prevalent in older persons. The signs of too little zinc in the diet are, curiously enough, a weak immune system, poor wound healing, loss of taste and smell, psoriasis-like skin lesions, prostate problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and senility. Have you visited a nursing home recently? The idea of zinc supplementation certainly hasn't.
Instead of beta carotene supplements, I would prefer carrot juice. Yes, it contains a great deal of beta carotene: probably 40,000 I.U. or more per average glass. But it also contains dozens of other carotenes, not just the beta form. Freshly made from your own juicer, raw carrot juice tastes good and provides many other valuable nutrients. All health nuts drink carrot juice, so you are in good company.
Even a single carrot a day reduces a person's risk of macular degeneration by 40 percent. Evidence suggests that more is indeed better.
We've all known since we were toddlers that "carrots are good for our eyes." What's weird is that nearly one in four of us doesn't even eat a single serving a day of any vegetable. That alone would account for most of the 10,000,000 cases of macular degeneration in this country.
In addition to carrots, really intense consumption of fresh, raw foods may help much more. I know of a person whose degeneration of the retina was very severe and sadly she had lost much of her sight. In desperation, she began a nearly 100% raw food diet. She ate mostly salads and a jar or two of home-grown sprouts a day. I won't say that
she loved doing it, but she loved the results. Over a period of a year or so, her ophthalmologist confirmed improvement. Not only was she no longer losing her sight, she was actually gaining it back. Her recovery was remarkable and, medically speaking, impossible. A blind man was once belittled for claiming he got his sight back. The man said, "One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25, RSV)
That is what matters.