Friday, November 30, 2012

"Soul" Food on a Friday? || Reflection on Your Journey and Self

I couldn't resist holding onto these jewels until "Soul" Food Mondays.  Here are two quotes worth absorbing over the weekend to come ...

“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.” ~ MAYA ANGELOU

"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self." ~NAPOLEON HILL

Oldies, But Goodies

1. DIY Hair Care: What Ingredients and When?
2. Underrated || Safflower Oil for Hair and Skin
3. Twist Series: Loose Twists Tutorial
4. Simple, Healthy Recipes for a Busy Schedule
5. Twist Series: Mini Twists & Micro Twists 101

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Faux French Braid on Minitwists

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

Model: MsTanish

Style description: Marley/kinky hair braided into mini twists for a long, luxurious french braid.

Difficulty level: 3/5


$100 Nordstrom Gift Card Giveaway!

To celebrate YOU and thank YOU for reading, commenting, and following along on my new blog, I'm doing a GIVEAWAY!  This blog is a labor of love and I sincerely hope it is a place of encouragement for you.  As women, we can be especially critical of our appearance and bodies and I hope that we can try to change what we don't like, accept what we can't change, and just all love ourselves more, regardless of what we look like.

For the giveaway, I chose one of my favorite places to shop- Nordstrom!  One winner picked at random will win a $100 gift card to the store.

You must be a follower or subscriber to enter.  You can also be an Instagram follower (@Honeywerehome) or Pinterest follower 

Just leave a comment letting me know. (Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win).  You can blog, facebook, tweet, pinterest . . . for additional entries. 

I'm so thankful for my readers!

The winner will be announced on Friday, December 14, 2012.  

U.S. and Canadian friends welcome to enter.   

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Monday, November 26, 2012

"Soul" Food Mondays || Listen to That Whisper

"I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like 'hmm, that's odd.' Or, 'hmm, that doesn't make any sense.' Or, 'hmm, is that right?' It's that subtle. And if you don't pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder. I say it's like getting thumped upside the head. If you don't pay attention to that, it's like getting a brick upside your head. You don't pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people's lives. And so, I ask people, 'What are the whispers? What's whispering to you now?'" ~ Oprah 

Are you sensitive to hearing the whispers in your life?  If not, mark it as one of your resolutions for 2013.   Better yet, start now.  Learn to let the whispers speak to you.  Take heed when you hear them.  Don't wait until they become so loud that it becomes too late.  What's whispering to you now?

Related quote:
Learn to let your intuition—gut instinct—tell you when the food, the relationship, the job isn’t good for you (and conversely, when what you’re doing is just right).  ~Oprah

Mixology || Slippery Elm Leave-In

Recipe for a moisture-infused, lubricating homemade leave-in ...

2 oz slippery elm bark
5 tsps aloe vera juice
2 tsps organic, unrefined coconut oil
2 tsps organic castor oil
3 tbs your favorite conditioner

For the full recipe (including instructions), check out Slippery Elm Leave-In By Lola Zabeth.

No fat gain while eating well during the Holiday Season: Palatability isolines, the 14-percent advantage, and nature’s special spice

Like most animals, our Paleolithic ancestors had to regularly undergo short periods of low calorie intake. If they were successful at procuring food, those ancestors alternated between periods of mild famine and feast. As a result, nature allowed them to survive and leave offspring. The periods of feast likely involved higher-than-average consumption of animal foods, with the opposite probably being true in periods of mild famine.

Almost anyone who adopted a low carbohydrate diet for a while will tell you that they find foods previously perceived as bland, such as carrots or walnuts, to taste very sweet – meaning, to taste very good. This is a special case of a more general phenomenon. If a nutrient is important for your body, and your body is deficient in it, those foods that contain the nutrient will taste very good.

This rule of thumb applies primarily to foods that contributed to selection pressures in our evolutionary past. Mostly these were foods available in our Paleolithic evolutionary past, although some populations may have developed divergent partial adaptations to more modern foods due to recent yet acute selection pressure. Because of the complexity of the dietary nutrient absorption process, involving many genes, I suspect that the vast majority of adaptations to modern foods are partial adaptations.

Modern engineered foods are designed to bypass reward mechanisms that match nutrient content with deficiency levels. That is not the case with more natural foods, which tend to taste good only to the extent that the nutrients that they carry are needed by our bodies.

Consequently palatability is not fixed for a particular natural food; it does not depend only on the nutrient content of the food. It also depends on the body’s deficiency with respect to the nutrient that the food contains. Below is what you would get if you were to plot a surface that best fit a set of data points relating palatability of a specific food item, nutrient content of that food, and the level of nutrient deficiency, for a group of people. I generated the data through a simple simulation, with added error to make the simulation more realistic.

Based on this best-fitting surface you could then generate a contour graph, shown below. The curves are “contour lines”, a.k.a. isolines. Each isoline refers to palatability values that are constant for a set of nutrient content and nutrient deficiency combinations. Next to the isolines are the corresponding palatability values, which vary from about 10 to 100. As you can see, palatability generally goes up as one moves toward to right-top corner of the graph, which is the area where nutrient content and nutrient deficiency are both high.

What happens when the body is in short-term nutrient deficiency with respect to a nutrient? One thing that happens is an increase in enzymatic activity, often referred to by the more technical term “phosphorylation”. Enzymes are typically proteins that cause an acute and targeted increase in specific metabolic processes. Many diseases are associated with dysfunctional enzyme activity. Short-term nutrient deficiency causes enzymatic activity associated with absorption and retention of the nutrient to go up significantly. In other words, your body holds on to its reserves of the nutrient, and becomes much more responsive to dietary intake of the nutrient.

The result is predictable, but many people seem to be unaware of it; most are actually surprised by it. If the nutrient in question is a macro-nutrient, it will be allocated in such a way that less of it will go into our calorie stores – namely adipocytes (body fat). This applies even to dietary fat itself, as fat is needed throughout the body for functions other than energy storage. I have heard from many people who, by alternating between short-term fasting and feasting, lost body fat while maintaining the same calorie intake as in a previous period when they were steadily gaining body fat without any fasting. Invariably they were very surprised by what happened.

In a diet of mostly natural foods, with minimal intake of industrialized foods, short-term calorie deficiency is usually associated with short-term deficiency of various nutrients. Short-term calorie deficiency, when followed by significant calorie surplus (i.e., eating little and then a lot), is associated with a phenomenon I blogged about before here – the “14-percent advantage” of eating little and then a lot (, ). Underfeeding and then overfeeding leads to a reduction in the caloric value of the meals during overfeeding; a reduction of about 14 percent of the overfed amount.

So, how can you go through the Holiday Season giving others the impression that you eat as much as you want, and do not gain any body fat (maybe even lose some)? Eat very little, or fast, in those days where there will be a feast (Thanksgiving dinner); and then eat to satisfaction during the feast, staying away from industrialized foods as much as possible. Everything will taste extremely delicious, as nature’s “special spice” is hunger. And you may even lose body fat in the process!

But there is a problem. Our bodies are not designed to associate eating very little, or not at all, with pleasure. Yet another thing that we can blame squarely on evolution! Success takes practice and determination, aided by the expectation of delayed gratification.

5 Reasons to Work Out During the Holidays

Hello and happy Monday!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and long relaxing weekend.  I had a nice Thanksgiving, but ended up eating way too much.  I went for a great walk/jog in our neighborhood park on Friday morning and it felt so good to get outside and get moving.  That jog made me realize how important it is to keep working out for the rest of the year.  With the Christmas holiday approaching and a schedule that is extra full, workouts can be the first thing to go.   But, I encourage you (and myself) to stick with (or start) exercising for these reasons:

1.  Reduce Your Stress.  For some of us, the holidays can be a stressful time of year and working out definitely helps to alleviate those tensions.   Even if I don't feel like going to the park or gym, by the time I'm finished, I feel so much better!  I have never regretted a workout, but I have regretted not working out.  Working out helps clear my mind and improve my mood a ton.

2.  Working Out Helps You Eat Healthier.  This is true for me, but I wonder if it's true for you too?? When I'm working out consistently, I tend to eat better.  I recognize that I worked hard at the gym and I don't want to "blow it" by eating poorly.  On the other hand, if I'm not working out, I tend to eat badly- indulging in way too many desserts.  It's a double whammy either way.

3.  Finish Strong.  For me, I've worked really hard to get into good shape and I want to maintain what I've accomplished.  If you've done the same, don't spoil it by quitting now!

4.  Be Ahead of the Game for the New Year.  When the New Year comes and everyone resolves to "get in shape" you'll be ahead of the curve!  How great will that feel?!

5.  No Guilt for Small Indulgences.  I try to eat healthy most of the time, but I admit to having a sweet tooth and indulging in desserts (and wine!).  I don't think total deprivation is a good thing and knowing I work out helps remind me that it's okay to indulge during the holidays without feeling guilty.

I don't tell you anything that I don't tell myself.  Writing this blog helps motivate me to continue my efforts at living healthy too.  My leg is feeling better, so I plan to pick back up my Live Fit Trainer.  I made my meals for the week on Sunday and I plan to Finish Strong and start the New Year off right!

via FitSugar

Also, I realized that I now have over 300 followers on Honey We're Healthy!  To celebrate and say Thank You, I will be announcing a GIVEAWAY this week.  If you want to follow this blog, click HERE or subscribe HERE.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why we cannot get there from here!!!

Our best wishes during this season of Thanksgiving to all of our students, faculty, colleagues, and followers. I myself am in a right handed cast following wrist arthroscopy for SLAC---scaphoid lunate advanced collapse. More on SLAC at a later date. Today the urgent topic is why we cannot get there from here!!

I am speaking about the collective challenge that all health care providers face as we cope with the data requirements of health reform. By now, most providers are well versed in speaking the language of Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, and the like. Can you speak the language of reform??---this is the key question on my mind.

The language of reform says, in my view, that you will need a registry to evaluate the population of patients for whom you are responsible. A provider must be able to come into the office, switch on the computer, and nearly effortlessly assess his own performance relative to a peer group as it relates to a population of patients. For example--in my own primary care practice---I should be able to instantly get good data on the patients I care for who share a certain diagnosis. I should be able to quickly assess my performance and learn new ways how I might improve. I should be able to do this with a minium of fuss!! There is just no way in my mind's eye that I can envision the Cerners, Epics, and Allscripts of the world to be able to carry out this function.

We need a new generation of soft ware to sit on top of these classic software boxes. The current EMR is really an electronic chart, not a tool for improvement at any level. I am intrigued then by the work of Anvita, Anceta, Phytel, Sandlot, NetOrange, Quantumleap, Humedica, Vree and others.....can they get us where we really need to go??

I am interested in learning from our colleagues----will the current tools get us where we have to go?? If the answer is no, as I contend it is, then what does the road ahead really look like as we build the analytic engine necessary for reform?? DAVID NASH

Friday, November 23, 2012

Minimal-Damage Heat Regimen for Healthy Hair

So you are interested in using heat -- be it blow-drying or flat-ironing -- but you are terrified of destroying your healthy hair.  Too many horror stories about split ends and permanently straight strands resulting from heat usage.  Fear of losing the progress you worked so long to achieve.

The truth of the matter is that heat usage does not have to be so scary as long as you know your hair and know its limits.  Additionally, a high-moisture, high-strength, moderate-heat routine is necessary to minimize damage.  The regimen below is a good starting point for those who are ready to incorporate heat styling into their hair care.  However, if you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then I encourage you leave heat usage alone for now: Is your hair currently damaged?  Is your hair brittle or weak?  Is your hair newly colored or bleached?


Wash with a moisturizing shampoo.
With a heat-styling regimen, it is really important to maintain moisturized strands, even during the washing process.  Use of a drying shampoo will translate into more effort spent afterwards restoring moisture to your hair.  On the other hand, use of a moisturizing shampoo will help to lightly condition and moisturize your hair during the washing process.  Shampoos like these usually contain mild (rather than harsh) cleansing agents AND light conditioning ingredients.
Recommendations:  Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo, Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo

Deep condition with a moisturizing protein conditioner.
Following up with a deep protein conditioner is essential to reinforce the hair shaft for manipulation and heat usage.  However, for those who are protein sensitive or have issues with protein-moisture balance, finding the right deep protein conditioner can be a challenge.  A great option is to try a deep conditioner with the dual role of strengthening (protein) and moisturizing.  Such conditioners will generally contain a hydrolyzed protein (e.g., keratin, collagen) for reinforcement and humectants (e.g, glycerin) for moisture retention.
Recommendations: Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak

Quick condition with a silicone-based conditioner (optional).
This step is ideal for those who desire strands that are more manageable (e.g., easier combing, less tangly) and smoother for heat styling.  Also, if your hair is too hard after the above deep conditioning step, this quick condition will help to soften it.
Recommendations: Most Tresemme and Pantene conditioners

Moisturize with a light water-based product and then seal. (No humectants.)
This is your final moisturizing step prior to applying heat to your hair.  You can simply apply a good oil/butter-based sealant to your damp, conditioned hair or after applying a light water-based moisturizer.  Avoid products with humectants in order to delay reversion and frizz.  Also, avoid overly heavy products which can contribute to buildup.
Moisture recommendations: water, Oyin Hair Dew, KBB's Super Silky Leave-In Conditioner
Sealant recommendations: homemade whipped butter, Oyin Whipped Butter


Airdry in big braids.
Air dry your hair as opposed to blow drying to minimize your heat usage.  Doing so in big braids will stretch the hair better than twists though it will also take longer.

Apply a silicone-based heat protectant.
A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are the most effective at inhibiting damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.
Recommendations: Carol's Daughter Macademia, Proclaim Glossing Polish Color and Heat Protection, CHI Silk Infusion

Flat iron using a moderate temperature and no more than two passes.
Read this post on "The Natural Haven" for information on the temperature profile for human hair.  If you do use a setting above 300 degrees F, try not to go above 350 F.  Also, invest in a quality flat iron so that little effort (including minimal passes) is required to achieve the look for which you are aiming.  Also, find one with a temperature dial so that you can control the heat level.


Apply a silicone-based heat protectant.
A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are the most effective at inhibiting damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.
Recommendations: Carol's Daughter Macademia, Proclaim Glossing Polish Color and Heat Protection, CHI Silk Infusion

Blow dry using the tension method (no combs or brushes).
Read more (and view tutorials) about it in this earlier post.  Also, it is less damaging to blow dry on damp hair rather than sopping wet hair.  Investing in one with a diffuser is ideal to evenly distribute the heat across your hair.


Alternate between your heat-styling routine and no-heat styles.
Wear your straight hair for 2-3 weeks and then air dried no-heat styles (e.g., twists, buns, braids, roller set) the rest of the time.  Whether you choose to wear heat-styled looks twice a year or twelve times a year is up to you and your preference.  However, the lower your frequency of heat usage, the better your hair will fair in the long run.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

REVIEW #17: Paul Mitchell Curls Leave-In and Cream-Gel

If you are interested in purchasing either of these products, check out Paul Mitchell Curls.

Though I was given these products to review, I am providing my honest experience with the brand.

Paul Mitchell Curls Full Circle Leave-In Treatment

Purpose: This lightweight, do it all formula hydrates, detangles, tames frizz and helps protect against damage.

Number of trials: multiple

How I used it:
1. For detangling: Applied to damp hair, Finger-combed the product through strands.
2. For taming frizz: Applied to damp hair, Tied scarf for up to one hour, Removed scarf.
3. For hydrating: Applied to damp hair.

Ingredients: Water (Eau, Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, Lauryl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum), Citral, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Myristyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylisothiazolinone, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Butylene Glycol

Review: This product is good at detangling; I personally tried it on stretched hair that had not been combed (but had been braided) for about six weeks.  Application of the leave-in followed by a run-thru with my fingers did the trick on a section of hair.  This product also leaves the hair feeling smooth and tames frizzies for a few days (two days on my hair).  The Paul Mitchell Curls Full Circle Leave-In Treatment is your basic leave-in conditioner; it is a good product but did not impress me moisture-wise.  I rate this product 3/5.

PROS: good at detangling, leaves hair feeling smooth, tames frizzies (up to 2 days for me), lightweight
CONS: moisture is not long-lasting

Paul Mitchell Curls Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Cream-Gel

Purpose: This humidity-resistant cream-gel formula, separates and adds loads of texture to create perfectly imperfect frizz-free styles.

Number of trials: multiple

How I used it (generously):
1. On damp hair.  Finger-combed.
2. On wet hair.  Finger-combed.
3. On wet hair with the Leave-In Treatment.  Finger-combed.

Ingredients: Water (Eau, Aqua), Polyurethane-14, AMP-Acrylates Copolymer, PVP, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Trametes Versicolor Extract, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Polyquaternium-59, Butylene Glycol, Wheat Amino Acids, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin,Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance (Parfum), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Geraniol, Alpha- Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde

Review:  This Cream-Gel gave good coil/curl separation to the 4ab section of my hair. (The 4b/bc section did not respond well, but that is to be expected considering the wayward kinks).  It seemed to work better after a re-application days later (see below photos).  The coil/curl separation was more enhanced and I probably could have achieved the same result during the first application but with more gel and finger combing.  There were no visible buildup issues (such as crustiness) which was good and is probably why the product is termed a "cream-gel" and not simply a gel. I got a maximum of second day hair with this Cream-Gel; day two hair was a bit stiff but application of the Leave-In Treatment re-softened it.  I can see myself wearing a summer wash-n-go (which I haven't done for years) with the Paul Mitchell Curls Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Cream-Gel. I rate this product 4/5. 

PROS: good coil/curl separation, no "gel" crustiness especially after re-application, revived with application of Leave-In Treatment
CONS: slight stiffness on second day hair

If you are interested in purchasing either of these products, check out Paul Mitchell Curls.

These products are ideal for those who:
- have curls or coils (both products for Type 3a/b/c; the Leave-In for Type 4a)
- have fine strands (the Leave-In is lightweight)
- desire to use one line of products (the Cream-Gel and Leave-In work very well together)

1st application of Cream-Gel.   Note slight definition on 4a/b strands.  
This is probably because I didn't use enough gel and do enough finger combing.
2nd application (days later) of Cream-Gel.   Note enhanced definition on 4a/b strands.  
Close-up of 2nd application.

How to Have a Healthy Turkey Day

{Image Source}

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Tis the season to fill your belly!

The key is to fill your belly with the right food! The national “fill your belly” holiday is upon us. I hear so many people wish (and some who do not) that they had NOT eaten as much as they did during the holiday. For those who are on a new health and fitness journey, being consistent with your healthy eating and fitness routine is KEY to reaching your goals.

Key tips for this year’s feast:
  • Ask what people are bringing. If they are making a high calorie/fat dish either pass it on when you see it OR ask them to make a few substitutes to make it a healthier dish. 
  • Do not be afraid to measure out your portion sizes. If you are afraid to do it in front of your family do it in the kitchen and bring your plate out to the table. They goal is to make sure you are eating enough NOT too much. It is hard to look at your plate and say “yes that is a cup full of veggies”. Do not be afraid to grab a measuring cup and scoop out the right serving size! 
  • When worse comes to worse, double up on the veggies! If you are worried about your plate looking “too bare” compared to those around you try doubling up on the green veggies! You can never go wrong with having more veggies as opposed to more creamy cheese potatoes, or 4 dinner rolls. 
  • Try to make a healthy dish and bring it along with you. I do this EVERY year with my family. And I usually will not tell them it was healthy, low fat and low calorie until they have eaten it all! Nothing makes your feel better than seeing your friends and family rave about a healthy dish. Just because it is healthy does not mean it is not tasty! 
  • Water, Water, Water! Do not forget to drink your water! It is ok to have egg nog, wine, or other fruit drinks…but those drinks pack a TON of calories. Would you rather drink your calories or enjoy a piece of pie? 

Everyone’s FAVORITE part of turkey day? Well…it should be spending time with your friends and family…bbbuuuut we all know it is the dessert tray!

Do not be afraid to eat dessert! BUT do not forget to get a double or triple serving of your grandma’s famous pie. Yes it is good…and yes it will make you happy…but you have to remember that you have a goal to reach in a certain amount of time so do not let one HUGE piece of pie render that success! 

Ok…so you did have that extra piece of pie…or you already know that you will have that pie. Try working out BEFORE you meet the family for dinner and try to plan a late night walk or jog. Doing activities before and after such meals is a great plan and it will help you feel less guilty about indulging on the holiday treats.

Need some suggestions for some healthy desserts…try looking at these sites:

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Doughnuts
Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

I hope these holiday tips were helpful! Have a WONDERFUL, SAFE, and HEALTHY Thanksgiving!

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog anytime for more health and fitness tips!!

Bring on the Dessert!

When it comes to Thanksgiving, most of us look forward to eating some lovingly prepared home cooked food and indulging in a few (or more) drinks.  I'm no exception and especially love getting my kitchen all dirty and smelling delicious aromas from the oven.  This year, I'm not hosting Thanksgiving, so I'm just preparing a few desserts to take.  I like to indulge, but not to the point where I'm uncomfortably stuffed, so I usually nibble on the appetizers, eat a smaller main meal, and sample all of the desserts!

This year, I'm in charge of the chocolate.  I'm making

(I'm trying one of these sauces this time.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs (from Ina Garten's new cookbook, Foolproof)

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?  I hope you have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tex Mex To Go

Y'all know that I couldn't make it through the week without preparing and portioning out meals for the week.  This is especially true for my lunch since I typically eat at the office.  One of my "go-to" meals is a Tex Mex dish that I shared recently on Instagram.

A few people asked for the full recipe so here you go.  I feel kinda bad because this isn't really a "recipe" - it's more of an assembly.  This recipe makes 10 small meals for me. 

  • 2 packages Jennie O Extra Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 large can of fat free refried beans
  • 2 packages Taco Bell low sodium seasoning
  • Low fat shredded cheese
  • Low fat or fat free sour cream
  • Pickled jalape├▒os 

Brown the meat, then add the seasoning packages and water according to package directions.

I portion out the meat into 10 small containers, add a scoop of beans, sour cream, cheese and a few jalapenos.  I microwave it for about a minute and a half.  I also like this as a salad on top of shredded lettuce.  

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Monday, November 19, 2012

"Soul" Food Mondays || It's OK to Change Your Mind

It is okay to change your mind ... especially if it makes you happy.  Life is too short for you to stay where you don't want to be.

An old, but timeless video:


Oldies, But Goodies

1. Are You Feeling Stressed?
2. Hair Issues || High Porosity (and Low Porosity)
3. Foods to Fill You Up
4. Tips for Stretching Relaxers or Transitioning
5. Chemically Highlight Natural Hair?


“...the unavoidability of death is a matter frequently evaded by euphemism and clouded by sentimentality.”

I am away for much of the next few weeks, so this blog may fluctuate a little. I did however, want to just write a few words about mortality before I vanish. I’m currently working with my colleagues Steven Gartside, Zoe Watson and Valeria Ruiz Vargas to curate an extraordinary exhibition here at in Manchester’s Holden Gallery, next July. The exhibition will bring together the work of some iconic contemporary artists whose work touches upon Mortality: Death and the Imagination.

With our work unfolding, and the commitment of some great artists and thinkers of our time, who I'll announce very soon, its not surprising I noticed that the film critic Philip French had written a stunning review of a film I haven't yet seen, but which leaves me with such anticipation, I must flag it up. I’m taking a punt on something that my instincts (and now the critics) tells me, sounds quite unique. Amour is a film by Michael Haneke, and French believes it will -

“...take its place alongside the greatest films about the confrontation of ageing and death, among them Ozu's Tokyo Story, Kurosawa's Living, Bergman's Wild Strawberries, Rosi's Three Brothers and, dare I say it, Don Siegel's The Shootist. It's worthy of being discussed in the same breath as the novels and plays of Samuel Beckett, of which Christopher Ricks wrote in his bitingly perceptive Beckett's Dying Words: "We know about our wish to go on being, we human beings, our wish not to die. Samuel Beckett, who rigged nothing, fashioned for himself and for us a voice, Malone's, at once wistful and wiry: 'Yes, there is no good pretending, it is hard to leave everything.' These are the accents of a consciousness, imagining and imagined, which braves the immortal commonplace of mortality."

I'll leave you to read his full article by clicking here, and watch the trailer for the film above.

If life permits, I will attempt to blog something from the fourth Arts of Good Health and Wellbeing conference in Fremantle.

Thank you as ever for following the blog...C.P.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spiced Sweet Potato Salad with Apples, Grapes, and Almonds

I'm so looking forward to the weekend!  I can't believe it's the weekend before Thanksgiving!  I feel like this holiday has totally snuck up on me.  When did we get so close to the end of the year??

This week, I prepared one of my favorite salads (fruit, nut and cheese), and today, my friend Jennifer is sharing one of her favorite salads- made with sweet potatos, apples, grapes and almonds- yum!!

Salads aren't always the first thing I think of for dinner when the temperatures start to dip but I've been making an effort to incorporate more fall and winter salads into our routine and, surprise, surprise, we're all loving them!

There are so many interesting ingredients in this hearty salad, you almost don't feel like you're eating a salad.  If you have a heavier eater in the family (ahem..husbands, boyfriends, and teenage boys) try adding a simple grilled cheese sandwich on hearty whole grain bread and I don't think you'll hear any complaints about portion size!

One of the things I love about this salad is its versatility.  You can make a number of substitutions without altering the health value, flavor, or texture of it drastically.  Sweet potatoes or butternut squash would both be great as the roasted vegetable.  Baby spinach, arugula, or mixed greens all works as the lettuce component.  Use any variety of apple or grape that you like.  Dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries would all be delicious.  And for the nuts, walnuts, pecans, or marcona almonds would all be wonderful.  Tailor it to your tastes and what you have available and you'll have a quick and healthy dinner on the table in no time.

p.s.  This salad would also make a great salad course for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!

(Serves 4)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Fuji or Gala apples, cored and cut into 1" cubes
2 cups green grapes, halved if large
1/2 c. dried blueberries (I like Trader Joe's dried wild blueberries)
1/4 c. sliced almonds
4 c. arugula
3/4 c. apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375┬║.
Toss sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp. olive oil, sesame oil, cumin, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.  Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until tender and starting to brown, about an hour.  Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 6-8 minutes.  Take off the heat and whisk in 1/2 c. olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
Place arugula in a large bowl and toss with some of the dressing.  Divide the arugula among four plates and top with apples, grapes, dried blueberries, almonds, and sweet potatoes.  Drizzle more dressing over the top and serve.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Skin Care || Combatting Dry Skin This Winter

There is no need to go shopping for new moisturizers and cleansers.  Here are four quick tips for combatting dry skin this winter.

1. Honey and brown sugar cleanser.
Maybe the facial cleanser that worked so well for you in the summer feels drying this fall and upcoming winter?  Well, try using a mixture of honey and brown sugar to cleanse your face instead.  Pure honey is a natural humectant with antibacterial properties [1].  Brown sugar aids with exfoliation due to its texture.  This combination will not feel as stripping as your cleanser

2. Add jojoba oil (or grapeseed or safflower) to a moisturizer.
Maybe your current facial moisturizer isn't cutting it for the cold weather?  Try adding jojoba oil or using it a substitute.  This oil is light enough to not leave a greasy layer and feel on your skin but it can get the job done in terms of moisture retention.  Another option is to add grapeseed oil[2] or safflower oil, which are also fairly light and moisture retentive.  NOTE: Safflower oil will not clog the pores while jojoba oil and grapeseed oil are moderately low when it comes to clogging[3].

3. Whipped shea-aloe body butter in place of your lotion.
Is your skin still dry or even ashy after using lotion?  Then try mixing your own body butter for the cold weather.  A simple mixture can consist of 50% aloe vera gel and 50% shea butter.  Aloe vera is great for replenishing moisture to the skin while shea butter softens and seals in the moisture.  If you want something a little heavier, add one or more of your favorites oils (about 10-20% of the final mixture).

4. Glycerin may be useful - 30:70 glycerin-water spritz.
There is a big misconception that glycerin is counter-effective (by sucking moisture away from your skin/hair) in cold weather.  (For more on the science behind glycerin, check out this post on "The Natural Haven").  Glycerin is just simply more useful in the presence of water, which could be why it is more effective in humid weather for many individuals.  (If it does not work well for you during cold weather, it is not because it is "sucking moisture away" from your skin/hair.  It could be that it is just not as effective due to the drier weather.)  
If you are not a fan of whipped butters on your body, then try making a mixture of 30% glycerin and 70% water and spritzing it your body.  (Feel free to adjust the ratio to your desired consistency.)  Follow up with your current body lotion, if necessary.  This spritz can also be applied to your face; follow up with your current moisturizer, if necessary.


Breakfast Egg Sandwich

Today I'm bringing you a breakfast sandwich that one of my very-favorite-people-in-the-whole-world, my Grandma, used to make for me when I was younger.  It's an egg muffin and whenever I make it, I always think of her.  It reminds me that sharing food is sharing love and my Grandma is exceptional at that.

I use a 100% whole wheat muffin, extra lean turkey ham, 2% American cheese and one real egg (but you can use egg whites if you prefer).  Simply fry the egg and a slice of turkey ham with Pam cooking spray, toast the muffin, and top with a slice of cheese.  

Below is the nutrition information.  

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I recently mentioned that an injury was plaguing me and, unfortunately, it hasn't gotten any better.  It's my right hamstring or maybe some kind of sciatic nerve pain from being tied to my desk??  Although I have been working out hard the last 8 weeks, I don't think I overtrained.  I'm careful to lift heavy, but not heavier than I can bear.

I'm disappointed because I only had 4 weeks to go on the Live Fit Trainer, but I can't complete it in my current condition.  The last phase calls for active rests between sets (burpees, jumps, sprints, jumprope) and I don't think those are a good idea for me right now.  

On the up side, I had actually already gotten more lean in the 8 weeks than I had anticipated and I'm not sure I really wanted to get any leaner.  

To maintain my sanity, I'll continue working out, but focus on upper body and maybe just walking.  If the pain persists, I will visit a doctor.  Hopefully, it's not that serious and will go away on its own soon.  

On my blog, I'll continue to bring you fitness advice, food ideas and recipes, and more help to keep you motivated.  Let's finish the year strong!  I'm super excited for the holidays and I want to post healthy food alternatives in addition to some of my favorite splurges!  Thanks for all of you support and encouragement.  

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Don't let that be you! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

JSPH named PBJ's Medical Education Innovator fo the Year

There was a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment coming from the Jefferson School of Population Health the morning of November 8, when the Philadelphia Business Journalnamed the school its Medical Education Innovator of the Year as part of its annual Health Care Innovation Awards.

In a story about the awards on the PBJ Web site, JSPH was specifically lauded for our master’s programs in Healthcare Quality and Safety, and Healthcare Quality and Safety Management. According to the article, JSPH Dean David B. Nash “has helped craft a series of new patient safety educational offerings available to students from all sides of the health profession – ranging from clinical practice to administration, to policy – and at all career stages, including doctors and executives.”

JSPH was especially honored to be recognized alongside Thomas Jefferson University Hospital President David McQuaid, who was lauded as Emerging Executive of the Year. Said the PBJ: “During five years spent as chief operating officer, David McQuaid applied his decades of health-care industry experience toward advancing two of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s most vital goals: service excellence and collaboration. The result has been the hospital’s continued expansion in clinical programs and market share – and McQuaid’s promotion to president on July 1.”

In a city such as Philadelphia, where health care plays such a prominent role in the economy and the day-to-day lives of its citizens, the Jefferson School of Population Health is proud to be recognized as a leader and innovator in preparing the health care leaders of tomorrow for their roles in service to the community.