Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food * Family * Love


It may be Halloween, but I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving and all that I am thankful for in my life.  Here's looking forward to the holidays!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Live Fit (WEEK 7) Recap

Ah, these workouts are getting harder!  But I think it's because I'm working full-time now, so just getting the workouts in is a challenge.  I'm determined to stick with it though.  Week 7 was the worst week as far as food goes.  On Wednesday (the day before I went to Dallas to visit Cassie and Courtney), I went out to eat and got a big cheeseburger and skipped the gym.  In Dallas, I didn't work out, so on Sunday, I had to fit in two workouts (back and the second leg day).  Also in Dallas, I really splurged on drinks and food.  Saturday night, I shared nachos with Cassie and was dipping mine in queso and sour cream.  I still think my body is responding though. 

Day 43: Arms + 20 minutes cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75)

Day 44:  Legs + Abs + 10 minutes cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75).  This leg workout was a KILLER.  The walking barbell "double" lunges were so hard.  I had to stop and take a breath after 10 reps.  My favorite leg exercise is the barbell leg squats, where you put one leg on a bench behind you while holding a barbell behind your neck and you squat down.  This are great for your quads.  

Day 46: Shoulders + Abs + 20 min cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75)

Day 47/Day 48: Legs & Back (No Cardio or Abs) 

I have a hernia (I think) that's been bothering me recently, so I'm not doing abs since Thursday.  I'm going to go to the doctor to get it checked asap. 

I didn't get photos from Week 1, 3, or 4.  I'm so ready to see what's in store for the rest of the program.  I just had to start calculating calories for Week 7, so I'll share that with you next week.  I keep thinking I will be SO READY come bikini time next summer. :) 

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Monday, October 29, 2012

"Soul" Food Mondays || Don't Let Negativity Dictate Your Decisions

Do you allow dislikes (e.g., negative opinions from others) to dictate your decisions in life?  Then this video is more than worthwhile for you.  Wise (and funny), indeed!

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Food Substitutions
2. Moisturizing Spritz Recipes
3. Mixology || Jasmine Body Powder
4. Twist Series: Growth & Length Retention IV
5. Retaining the Hair You Grow: Moisture!

The man who ate 25 eggs per day: What does this case really tell us?

Many readers of this blog have probably heard about the case of the man who ate approximately 25 eggs (20 to 30) per day for over 15 years (probably well over), was almost 90 years old (88) when the case was published in the prestigious The New England Journal of Medicine, and was in surprisingly good health ().

The case was authored by the late Dr. Fred Kern, Jr., a widely published lipid researcher after whom the Kern Lipid Conference is named (). One of Kern’s research interests was bile, a bitter-tasting fluid produced by the liver (and stored in the gallbladder) that helps with the digestion of lipids in the small intestine. He frames the man’s case in terms of a compensatory adaptation tied to bile secretion, arguing that this man was rather unique in his ability to deal with a lethal daily dose of dietary cholesterol.

Kern seemed to believe that dietary cholesterol was harmful, but that this man was somehow “immune” to it. This is ironic, because often this case is presented as evidence against the hypothesis that dietary cholesterol can be harmful. The table below shows the general nutrient content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. The numbers in this and other tables are based on data from (), in some cases triangulated with other data. The 5.3 g of cholesterol in the table (i.e., 5,300 mg) is 1,775 percent the daily value recommended by the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences ().

As you can see, the man was on a very low carbohydrate diet with a high daily intake of fat and protein. The man is described as an: “… 88-year-old man who lived in a retirement community [and] complained only of loneliness since his wife's death. He was an articulate, well-educated elderly man, healthy except for an extremely poor memory without other specific neurologic deficits … His general health had been excellent, without notable symptoms. He had mild constipation.”

The description does not suggest inherited high longevity: “His weight had been constant at 82 to 86 kg (height, 1.87 m). He had no history (according to the patient and his personal physician of 15 years) of heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease … The patient had never smoked and never drank excessively. His father died of unknown causes at the age of 40, and his mother died at 76 … He kept a careful record, egg by egg, of the number ingested each day …”

The table below shows the fat content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. With over 14 g of omega-6 fat intake every day, this man was probably close to or in “industrial seed oils territory” (), as far as daily omega-6 fat intake is concerned. And the intake of omega-3 fats, at less than 1 g, was not nearly enough to balance it. However, here is a relevant fact – this man was not consuming any industrial seed oils. He liked his eggs soft-boiled, which is why the numbers in this post refer to boiled eggs.

This man weighed between 82 to 86 kg, which is about 180 to 190 lbs. His height was 1.87 m, or about 6 ft 1 in. Therefore his body mass index varied between approximately 23 and 25, which is in the normal range. In other words, this person was not even close to obese during the many years he consumed 25 eggs or so per day. In the comments section of a previous post, on the sharp increase in obesity since the 1980s (), several readers argued that the sharp increase in obesity was very likely caused by an increase in omega-6 fat consumption.

I am open to the idea that industrialized omega-6 fats played a role in the sharp increase in obesity observed since the 1980s. When it comes to omega-6 fat consumption in general, including that in “more natural” foods (e.g., poultry and eggs), I am more skeptical. Still, it is quite possible that a diet high in omega-6 fats in general is unhealthy primarily if it is devoid of other nutrients. This man’s overall diet might have been protective not because of what he was not eating, but because of what he was eating.

The current debates pitting one diet against another often revolve around the ability of one diet or another to eliminate or reduce the intake of a “bad thing” (e.g., cholesterol, saturated fat, carbohydrates). Perhaps the discussion should be more focused on, or at least not completely ignore, what one diet or another include as protective factors. This would help better explain “odd findings”, such as the lowest-mortality body mass index of 26 in urban populations (). It would also help better explain “surprising cases”; such as this 25-eggs-a-day man’s, vegetarian-vegan “ageless woman” Annette Larkins’s (), and the decidedly carnivore De Vany couple’s ().

The table below shows the vitamin content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. The vitamin K2 content provided by was incorrect; I had to get what seems to be the right number by triangulating values taken from various publications. And here we see something interesting. This man was consuming approximately the equivalent in vitamin K2 that one would get by eating 4 ounces of foie gras () every day. Foie gras, the fatty liver of overfed geese, is the richest known animal source of vitamin K2. This man’s diet was also high in vitamin A, which is believed to act synergistically with vitamin K2 – see Chris Masterjohn’s article on Weston Price’s “activator X” ().

Kern argued that the very high intake of dietary cholesterol led to a sharp increase in bile secretion, as the body tried to “get rid” of cholesterol (which is used in the synthesis of bile). However, the increased bile secretion might have been also been due to the high fat content of this man’s diet, since one of the main functions of bile is digestion of fats. Whatever the case may be, increased bile secretion leads to increased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and vitamins K2 and A are fat-soluble vitamins that seem to be protective against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Finally, the table below shows the mineral content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. As you can see, this man consumed 550 percent the officially recommended daily intake of selenium. This intake was slightly lower than the 400 micrograms per day purported to cause selenosis in adults (). Similarly to vitamins K2 and A, selenium seems to be protective against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases. This man’s diet was also rich in phosphorus, needed for healthy teeth and bones.

Not too many people live to be 88 years of age; many fewer reach that age in fairly good health. The country with the highest average life expectancy in the world at the time of this writing is Japan, with a life expectancy of about 82 years (79 for men, and 86 for women). Those who think that they need a high HDL cholesterol and a low LDL cholesterol to be in good health, and thus live long lives, may be surprised at this man’s lipid profile: “The patient's plasma lipid levels were normal: total cholesterol, 5.18 mmol per liter (200 mg per deciliter); LDL, 3.68 mmol per liter (142 mg per deciliter); and HDL, 1.17 mmol per liter (45 mg per deciliter). The ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol was 3.15.”

If we assume that this man is at least somewhat representative of the human species, and not a major exception as Kern argued, this case tells us that a diet of 25 eggs per day followed by over 15 years may actually be healthy for humans. Such diet has the following features:

- It is very high in dietary cholesterol.

- It involves a high intake of omega-6 fats from animal sources, with none coming from industrial seed oils.

- It involves a high overall intake of fats, including saturated fats.

- It is fairly high in protein, all of which from animal sources.

- It is a very low carbohydrate diet, with no sugar in it.

- It is a nutritious diet, rich in vitamins K2 and A, as well as in selenium and phosphorus.

This man ate 25 eggs per day apparently due to an obsession tied to mental problems. Repeated attempts at changing his behavior were unsuccessful. He said: “Eating these eggs ruins my life, but I can't help it.”

What NOT to Eat & the Healthy Alternative

Sometimes it's easier to avoid the foods that are easily identified as "bad" for us and replace them with something nutritious.  Foods I rarely eat or avoid altogether are:
I never drink soda.  I guess, lucky for me, I never liked it that much.

Example:  I remember hearing Dr. Oz say on Oprah that if a person who regularly drinks soft drinks stopped, in a year they would lose 15 pounds!

Healthy Alternative: I keep my water bottle with me at all times and don't buy any soda at the store.  If I want a cold caffeinated drink, I drink iced tea and sweeten it with half a Splenda (I know there is a lot of controversy regarding sugar and sweeteners, but I still use Splenda in my tea).

As you know, frying is a cooking method where the food is submerged in fat (oil) at a high temperature and cooked quickly.  Just the thought of that turns me off, but I admit I like french fries, so I will eat those sometimes.  I notice I don't feel that good after I eat fried food though, so I usually avoid it altogether.

Example:  One fillet of battered or breaded and fried fish contains 210 to 270 calories and about 11 grams of fat. Of those calories, 124 consist of added fat, according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Healthy Alternative:  Whatever is on the menu as fried, I will just order it grilled or sautéed (without butter).  If you want to taste something fried, ask someone you're eating with if you can have one bite of theirs (assuming they ordered something fried and assuming they are happy to share).  

A single fillet of baked fish contains about 140 calories and about 4 grams of fat. 

In college, I loved fast food like Taco Bell, McDonald's and Burger King.  Now it kinda grosses me out, even though I know many fast food chains now offer salads and such.

Example:  You can go HERE to see a chart that compares the nutrition information for many items of most fast food companies.  The calories, fat, and sodium are so high!

Healthy Alternative:  I prefer to keep a protein bar or bag of nuts in my purse for those emergency hungry times that might entice you into the drive-thru.

A handful of nuts (about 10) has 170 calories; 15 fat grams (2 grams saturated); 50 grams of sodium; and 5 grams of protein.

Go HERE to see the nutritional content of your favorite bar or candy.

Healthy Alternative:  I love chocolate, but opt for a couple of squares of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa is preferred) instead.  Hershey's Special Dark Nuggets with Almonds (4 pieces):  180 calories; 13 grams fat. 

Dr. Oz has been boasting the benefits of dark chocolate for years.  He says chocolate is good for your heart and your blood vessels. People who eat chocolate experience less heart disease, less heart attacks, and less strokes.  He also cautions not to "overdo it."

Do you have foods you avoid too?  What's your alternative?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

藝術為健康 - Extra, Extra, read all about it...

The week kicked off with a campaign to raise awareness of this growing movement we call arts and health, and with my colleagues on the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing we’ve been celebrating what’s happening nationally, regionally and locally. What - you didn’t read the press coverage, or see us on the TV? You must be blind! Of course, the media have been wrapped up in all things BBC and Savile, and with their natural preoccupation with the sordid and scandalous, its been something of a bun-fight for the most appalling headlines, only with the main player long dead. Hideous, the whole thing. Anyway, I thought that in the absence of any hard-hitting arts health stories to hit the nationals, I would do two things: one, link you to some of the case studies from around England, (but believe me, there are rich stories beyond the confines of England; of the UK, and that s t r e t c h much further afield, beyond this little island, and that I will share very soon) that you can find by clicking on the Chicken & Ham Pie; the other is to have had a look through two of our good old Rags for signs of life and with an eye for a relevant cultural story or two.

So here are some of the cultural highlights from The SUN 
and The Guardian on Thursday 25th October 2012. 

What are these papers styles?
Guardian = Left leaning ex-broadsheet, with smug feature writers in G2 section, who enjoy nothing better than seeing large photographs of themselves wasting valuable column inches.

The SUN = Right leaning tabloid gibberish. In-print shock-jock sensationalism. Impossible to buy in Liverpool. 

Cover Headlines
Guardian = Cameron ready to claim worst of the recession is over for UK. Trailer for feature on music in Mali.

The SUN = Why I dumped ‘crazy’ Katie. Trailer for Free Holland’s Pie   

Random Stories 1
Guardian page 3 feature - Very interesting full page story on the place of music in Malian culture, and the threat of extremism to musicians. “Culture is our is our mineral wealth,” Click on the photo above to read this powerful and important report.

The SUN page 3 feature - Lacey, 19 and Wayne (Rooney) glued to U.S. TV election debates 

Random Stories 2
Guardian page 7 feature on Suffragettes responding to the Secretary of State for Health’s recent comments on abortion.

The SUN page 7 feature, double page spread entitled, “Savile Paedo Lair Is Raided”. Enough said.

Random Stories 3
Guardian page 19 article, That same Secretary of State for Health to announce an extra £50million to create calming environments for people with dementia. The article even quotes the Kings Fund! (who were the organisation behind this weeks awareness raising campaign) 

The SUN page 19 article headlines, Throbbie Williams and, Spy Who Loved Me With His Pants On.

OK, I give up. Enough’s enough. I’ll just end this news review, with “The World’s Most Repulsive Cake Shop” in the Guardian - great stuff, just click on the body part above. They have one more article on Barbara Hepworth’s delicate and beautiful studies of orthopaedic surgeons at work in NHS hospitals. A neat article to coincide with an exhibition at the Hepworth in Wakefield, and one in which the journalist Jonathan Jones conjoins her socialist ideals with the birth of the NHS. he comments; 

“In 2012, the NHS is threatened, its future uncertain. In Wakefield, like everywhere else, there are signs that austerity has returned. Where are the values that protected British people back then, creating the NHS just as Hepworth was glorifying such common labour? Near the station, a once-grand trade union hall stands empty. Hepworth was a Labour voter – of course she was. In these drawings, she reveals her egalitarian values. Work is goodness: she sees her own work as a sculptor reflected in the steady eye and hand of the surgeon. In one drawing, he even seems to wield a hammer and chisel. But this is not mere artistic self-consciousness. The work being done in these pictures saves lives; Hepworth believes her art, too, can heal souls.” 

Some of you eager eyed readers, might remember that great publicity stunt of the SUN, way back when, when they ‘exposed’ the scandal of arts spending, in their notorious, Taking The Picasso headline! Even then, they had some great offers for their readers in mind. Now it’s PIES - then it was chips: chips eh? You’ve got to love their commitment to Good Old British Wellbeing. I don’t know about you, but it makes me warm to the core. Bang it in the microwave. 

limbic from Institut Fuer Musik Und Medien on Vimeo.

STOP PRESS: even though the Guardian's replant vodafone advertising this week was appalling, (considering their own reporting of its zero payment of corporation tax in the UK) Deborah Orr wrote a superb short article on the potency of culture. Just click on this banner to read it. Great stuff...almost as good as a cold meat pie.

Thank you as ever for your emails and for reading the blog...please share, far and wide...C.P.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy HEALTHY Halloween!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Happy HEALTHY Halloween!

As you all well know, one of the BEST candy/junk food holidays is RIGHT around the corner! Free candy everywhere you look!

I know my job even has people bring in baked goods to snack on during the week of Halloween!

The key to getting past any holiday is to find healthier alternatives that you can create that taste just as good. In order to start getting healthier you HAVE to start cooking healthier and finding alternatives to create healthier dishes for you and your family.

Well today I will share with you some HEALTHIER dessert options you can make for yourself, your friends, and your family so you can still indulge a bit during this Halloween!

Chocolate Oatmeal Balls


* 1 ripe banana, mashed well
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup nonfat milk
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* pinch of salt
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* 3 cups instant oats


Being inspired by a recipe I saw for no bake cookies that used a banana in place of butter, I decided to try my hand at creating a healthier version of my family recipe. One mashed banana replaces the one stick of butter, the sugar is cut in half, and a low fat milk (skim or almond) is used instead of whole or two-percent. Of course, there is quite a bit of sugar (one cup) in the recipe but it’s still much healthier than traditional no bake cookies. I think regular old fashioned oats might work in place of the quick oats, but I had quick oats on hand so that’s what I used. This recipe was orginally posted on my healthy living blog.

  1. Place all ingredients except the vanilla and oats in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat – stirring often.
  2. Let the mixture boil for one minute, remove from heat and let the mixture cool for one minute.
  3. Add the vanilla and oats and stir well to combine.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and cool to room temperature.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

1 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons applesauce
1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon instant decaffeinated coffee
2 (2 1/2-ounce) jars prune baby food
1 ounce semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 egg whites

For icing:
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup 0 percent Greek yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray one round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with flour.
  2. Sift together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix applesauce, milk, vanilla, coffee, prunes, chocolate, almond extract, and egg whites. Fold into the dry ingredients.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. While the cake is baking, you can create the icing. After melting 2 ounces of chocolate chips, fold them into the 1/2 cup of 0 percent Greek yogurt. Refrigerate until you're ready to ice your cake for the best consistency.
  6. Allow cake to cool before icing and slicing. It's best to slice and serve when it's still warm!

Serves 8.

Nutritional information (per serving): calories 260, saturated fat 1.8 g.

Whole Wheat Mini Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. water
1 c. canned or homemade pumpkin puree
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Combine eggs, oil, water and pumpkin puree (use straight pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix). Sift dry ingredients together and gradually beat into first mixture.
  3. Pour into greased mini muffin pans (I actually use a cookie scoop to get it in the pan…it’s the
  4. perfect size for mini muffins). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 36 mini muffins.

Rich Double Dark Chocolate Brownies

• ¾ cup organic canned black beans, rinsed
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
• 1 banana (I used a frozen one)
• 1/3 cup organic sucanat or brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon stevia
• 2- 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
• 1 teaspoon instant coffee
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup 60% cocoa baking chips (I used Ghirardelli)


Place a pan over medium heat and add the ¼ cup oil. Add the banana and cook until golden in color. Add the unsweetened chocolate and melt. Remove from heat. Place the black beans into a food processor fitted with a blade. Process the beans until smooth. Add the applesauce, banana and chocolate mixture, sucanat, stevia, instant coffee, vanilla extract, and egg. Process a few more seconds to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the wet mixture from the food processor to combine. Stir in chips. Bake in a 8 X 8 baking pan at 350 F for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog and check out MORE health and fitness tips!

Protective Style Lookbook || Twisted Elegance

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

(See video tutorial below.)

Model: Laila

Style description: Back and swooped front flat twists with regular twists styled into a side roll.

Difficulty level: 5/5

Egg Scramble

Lately, I've been working out after work, then come home and drink my protein shake.  About 45 minutes later, after I've showered, I like to eat this Egg Scramble.  It's also great in the morning since it cooks fast and is filling.  

I spray Pam in a skillet, add a small chopped slice of turkey ham, bit of diced onion, a few cherry tomatoes, and a bunch of spinach.  After the spinach cooks down a little, I add one egg and about 1/2 - 1 cup of All Whites (depending on how hungry I am).  I just keep stirring until it's all cooked, then, off the heat, add some low fat cheese.  Mushrooms would be good in this too.  

I really like All Whites for their convenience.  They are 100% liquid egg whites.  But, I think that Egg Beaters are weirdly yellow and have a funny texture.

I use Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Ham, but be careful, it's got quite a bit of sodium.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Live Fit (WEEK 6) Recap

Week 6 of the Live Fit Challenge was hard because I'm lifting heavier weight, and because I started a new job, so keeping up with 5 workouts a week was a challenge.  Most days I went after work, but one day, when I had after work commitments, I got my arse up at 5:30 a.m. to get that workout in.  I'm sore!  But not so sore that I can't move.  

Now that Week 6 is over, I'm halfway there. :) I'm scheduled to complete Week 12 on December 1!  I think this will keep me motivated to enjoy the holiday food and desserts, but not completely go crazy.  

I feel like my face is thinning some, which is a result I didn't anticipate.  I like seeing my cheekbones!  I'm really digging starting to be able to see more shoulder definition too.  Because I am seeing results, it's helping me stick with the clean eating.  It's really like clockwork now.  I prepare meals on Sunday night and Wednesday night for the week- some people have asked what my husband eats, and he's doing the same thing so it works for us for now.  Saturday night is eating out at a restaurant and getting to indulge.  

Week 6 is days 36-42.  I'm doing 20 minutes of cardio at the end of my workouts and incorporating abs between the last sets before cardio.  For cardio, I do the stair mill at intervals between 60-75.  

You have to go to the Live Fit website to print out the workout logs for each day. 

Below is my progress in the last month.  I can tell my arms are more toned, but it's hard to tell the progress in my legs since I'm wearing capris in the last two photos.  

Please know that I am reading EVERY comment and email, but I haven't had a chance to respond.  I plan to get back to it this weekend.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing in this journey with me. 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

"Soul" Food Mondays || Why We Fail at Lifestyle Changes

Have you been failing at making a lifestyle change?  Then, perhaps these tips (in the video below) will help:

Underrated || Cupuacu Butter for Hair and Skin

Cupuacu butter is starting to attract some popularity but has been underrated for a while.  If you don't know much about it, you might want to continue reading ...


1.  It is VERY moisturizing.  Cupuacu butter has an amazing ability to absorb and retain water, thus restoring moisture to dry hair.  Think moisturizer and sealant in one.

2.  It has emulsifying properties.  This butter is said to aid in the stabilization of an emulsion.  (An "emulsion" is a system (as fat in milk) consisting of a liquid dispersed with or without an emulsifier in an immiscible liquid usually in droplets of larger than colloidal size).


1. Use it straight or mix with other ingredients to make a whipped butter.  Cupuacu butter can be used alone (since it is already soft and moisturizing on its own) or mixed with oils, others butters, or aloe vera to create a whipped body or hair butter.  

2. Add to a conditioner.  Add some cupuacu butter to your conditioner to make it more moisturizing.

3. Use as a styling agent.  Cupuacu butter can be used alone or mixed with a gel for twisting, twistouts, braids, braidouts, or for use as a general styling agents.

Daily Time Management Routines

Once you proactively DECIDE that you're going to start working out on a consistent basis, the next logical question is WHEN?  There is so much we have to get done in a day that it can make our heads spin and utterly exhaust us.  Did you see this on Pinterest?  

That totally feels like me some days.  I am back to work now, so time management is especially important these days.  I'm going to share some time savers that I've been employing lately in my quest to make time for the gym.

Television is the first thing to go and I find it's the easiest to cut out.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still watching every episode of The Voice, but I used to keep the t.v. on all the time, even as background noise when I was blogging.  Now, I find I really prefer the sound of silence and then I can concentrate and give my full attention to what I'm doing.  

Pre-bed preparations are the checklist of things I do before going to bed that help ensure the mornings run smoother and more efficiently.  Some of these things are "little" but, when you're rushing around trying to get out the door in the morning, it all helps.  The list includes:
  • Doing the dishes and quickly wiping the countertops in the kitchen.  It's so much nicer to wake up to a clean kitchen and empty sink.  I feel that when I get up in the morning to be greeted with a sink full of dirty dishes, I'm not starting my day off with the best energy.  

  • Laying out the dishes and utensils we will be using in the morning (plates, forks, cups and the syrup for our pancakes).  Our kitchen is large, and if I don't do this, I feel like I'm opening 15 cabinets and walking back and forth to get everything we need for breakfast. 
  • Setting the coffee to brew (essential).

  • Packing my son's lunch.
  • Laying out my son's clothes (I actually set out 5 outfits for the week).

  • Laying out my clothes (and accessories, if necessary) but I usually wear the same watch, ring and earrings everyday.  
  • Paperwork/necessities ready and in the car.  I go ahead and load up my car the night before so I'm not busy packing up in the morning.  For instance, sometimes I'm bringing my laptop somewhere, James' freshly washed blanket and pillow to school, or 5 rolls of paper towels that need to be brought to the classroom. 
  • Packing the gym bag.  In mine, I always have my iPod, workout worksheet and pen, gloves, and water bottle.  But if you are going straight from work, obviously pack your gym clothes or leave a few sets in there - and don't forget the shoes and socks!  

If I know the morning is going to be especially tight (or I just know I need a little extra sleep), I wash and dry my hair the night before and put it in a pony tail or wear it half up/half down the next day.  Styling my wet hair (drying + curling) takes a good 30 minutes.  You can also just shower at night and skip it in the morning, but I find I need to get at least a quick shower in the morning to help wake me up.

I've mentioned this before, but allowing some time twice a week to prepare several meals in advance is a life saver.  Since I'm eating several small meals a day, I couldn't do without it.  I pack my lunch and snacks for work the night before and bring them with me.  But, there are other food preparations I like to do to save time as well.  This includes washing my fruit and vegetables and portioning them out when I get home from the grocery store.  It's so much easier to eat some carrots and hummus when the carrots are already washed, peeled and sliced.  

We often feel that there just aren't enough hours in the day, and truthfully, some days there aren't.  I hope these tips help you find some "extra" time in your day.  Do you have tips you can share? 

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