Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (in Advance) & 1in3 Ends!

Twistout from the summer.
Hi, ladies.  Tomorrow is not only the beginning of the New Year but the end of our 1in3 Challenge!  (For challenge guidelines, read this post.)

So, how was the 3-month challenge?  I've taken down my box braids and detangled but haven't washed or done anything else with my hair yet.  (I plan to straighten it this coming weekend and wear it in jumbo twists for the month of January.)  Overall, the challenge went well!  I retained all my growth with the box braid extensions.  

Will there be a 3in6 Challenge in 2013?  If you read my Hair Goals post, you probably gathered that there might not be one.  I can say for certain that there won't be one in the first half of the year.  However, I might start another one in July, depending on what I'm doing with my hair at that point.  This coming year will be a completely different journey for my hair than previous years as a natural.  I will be straightening more frequently (for ease and to enjoy my hair at its length).  I may or may not protective style as much either (more so a mix of jumbo twists and braid-outs).  My regimen is going to change drastically as well; I plan to follow something along the lines of this one I posted, with the addition of an overnight coconut oil pre-poo followed by comb detangling on dry hair prior to washing.  

So, ladies ... How did the challenge go for you?  Any progress or lessons learned?  What are you doing with your hair in 2013?

Think positive.  Plan well.  Start small.  Keep on going.  Don't stay down.  Dust yourself off.  Move forward.  Don't look back. :o)


"Soul" Food Mondays || The Quality of Life

"Your health is your wealth.  Don't let life's stresses be so hard on you that it wrecks your temple: your body.  Guard and protect your health.  It's the quality of life that counts in the end, not the longevity of life." ~ Sophia A. Nelson

Learn to "live" before it's too late.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Live Fit Phase 3

Last year I started the Live Fit 12 Week Trainer and saw really great results after completing Phase 1 and Phase 2 (the first 8 weeks), then I had a leg injury that prevented me from completing the last phase.  Also, I had gotten pretty lean in the first 8 weeks, so I felt okay waiting to finish.

To recap, here are some pics of the first 8 weeks, unfortunately I didn't get pictures of each week so these are the only ones I have to share.  (Isn't it amazing how much better we can look with a tan?) 

Now that I'm all healed, I'm starting Phase 3, the last 4 weeks of the Live Fit Trainer.  The last phase focuses on high intensity interval training (HIIT) for maximum fat burning while maintaining the muscle you've gained.  Also, there is "carb cycling" to help reduce fat.  Because I'm already pretty lean and don't want to get too much leaner, I will probably continue eating the way I did during weeks 1-8, that is, every 3-4 hours, with "cheat meals" on the weekends and maybe a couple pieces of dark chocolate after dinner.  I will reduce my sugar and caffeine intake, so I'll report back on how that goes.

I copied the information below straight from the Live Fit website so you can see an overview of the final phase of the program.  
* * * * * 

*My calorie range was 1230-1530.  Go HERE to calculate your calories.

I use to track my food (calories, carbs, protein and fat).  


Are you doing the Live Fit Trainer?  I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!  If you're doing another program, please let us know about that too.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

“...the trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”

Shivering in my seasonal malaise, I can already feel the pessimistic tendencies rearing their heads (yes: heads - plural - think, Hydra for mental state, and what feels like Hendra for the viral state). All that forced new year jollity and promises fit for breaking. I know I’m supposed to be suffused with the spirit of the age and isn’t arts/health all happy-clappy? NO. I am constantly reminded that whilst of course, creativity, culture and the arts have the power to give us something of the numinous and take us out of ourselves: they also have the potential to help us express/make sense of our frustrations, anger and fear. When I am caught offguard  by grief and loss, nothing helps me more than the pain that song-writers and poets expose me too. Terrible for the heart at the time, but through all that murk and sorrow there’s a sense of being part of the world. Neither happy or in the remotest bit clappy, but cathartic and ultimately providing more than a dose of prescribed sedation ever could. 

So, with baited breath, I read that the Barbican and Wellcome Trust are working together on a series of events around science and the arts called; Wonder: Art & Science on the Brain. Will this be more illustrative art subserviently telling the genius stories of science, or else artists just using the palette that science offers them: a splash of DNA here, or a flickering neuron there? No, I’m being a little glib - this looks damn fine stuff: a series of events that explore this relationship in detail, through art and science.

But might the bright lights and big funding of neuroscience be both appealing and possibly reductive - stripping the essence of being human into a neat set of pulsing signals, or else a heady cocktail of chemical slush? I see science maintaining its place in the emerging coalition curriculum, as the arts get kicked into the long grass. It is very sweet of the Guardian to offer us a neat little box that asks What is Neuroscience, and provide us with answers in five handy bight-sized haikus? I wonder if they can answer, What is Art 
in such neat little packages? 

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and the understanding of thought, behaviour and emotion.
The discipline predates ancient Greece but came of age with the discovery of electrical nerve impulses in the 18th century.
Tools including supercomputers, brain dyes and magnetic resonance imaging scanners are regularly used by modern neuroscientists.
Neuroscientists aim to explain how the brain works and find ways to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Their work could help tackle conditions including strokes, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, brain injury and cerebral palsy.        

I notice that music artist and DJ James Holden has been commissioned to create a soundtrack “to engender a high state of consciousness in the audience” at the Barbican. Oh, it’s that powerful stuff music again and I have no doubt whatsoever, that this will be superb - perhaps almost profound as Jeremy Deller’s sublime Acid Brass from 2004 that conjoined the beauty of traditional brass band music (imagine, young men and women from working class communities creating, learning and loving music like this) with Acid House* anthems. 

There seems to be lots of arts/health research underway with our genteel older citizens, enjoying the benefits of communal singing - wouldn’t it be interesting to see some research around the long-term benefits of euphoria induced by the music of 808 State and the KLF?

Sooner than the Barbican events which take place in March, the National Theatre have a new play by writer of ENRON, Lucy Prebble, which explores the effects of chemicals on the brain taking into account the nature of love and authenticity of feeling, via the value of sadness and depression as important, everyday life-experiences. Perfect - is the thing we describe as love real, or just a chemical reaction?

I’ve quoted endlessly (for good reason) from both Jonah Lehrer in Proust was a Neuroscientist calling for a fourth culture, where science and the arts, (the twin pillars of society), learn from each other as oppose to just co-opting each others appearance: and Gary Greenberg in the illuminating Manufacturing Depression, telling the story of the pharmaceutical industries grip on our psychic terrain, far more eloquently than I ever could. (...and do remember, in all of this, I am not talking about crippling clinical depression) 

Oxford Professor of Mathematics, Marcus du Sautoy eloquently describes this constant pitching of artists and scientists as opposites, as a false dichotomy suggesting they are both ‘homing in on the same structure.’ I’d take it further than that and strip away what it is to be an artist or scientist, and just ask what is it to be human? To be curious, to love and be aware of mortality? All humans are concerned with these profound notions at certain points in their lives. All people. Artists and scientists can of course, offer us something to meditate on - sometimes these will be conjoined and profound and at other times, quite rightly, they’ll operate from their own unique spheres, but infected by what it means to be alive here and now. 

The Effect
Love is double blind.
A clinical romance that explores questions of sanity, neurology and the limits of medicine. Director Rupert Goold reunites with designer Miriam Buether following their production of Earthquakes in London to deliver a vibrant theatrical exploration into the human brain via the heart. To learn more about the science and the inspiration behind The Effect go to

Keep Breathing 

For those of you lucky enough to be able to see this show, I'm sure you'll enjoy all its elements. If you can't make it, I hope you'll enjoy this song from the performance. 

Infected by both melancholia and some seasonal bug, I discovered a peaty-highland drink, that offered me a level of sedation and a degree of physical warmth! With a modest prescription, I took myself off to see the 1962 ‘epic’ Lawrence of Arabia at the cinema. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it. Was it jingoistic? Offensive? Not exactly a teenager, I was probably the youngest there - and there were some very dubious stereotypes on screen. But the story was compelling and the landscapes' were utterly, utterly beautiful. It was full of some wonderful T.E. Lawrence quotes too, not least, in not minding that something hurts. Psychic as well as physical I wonder? Isn't a degree of emotional pain a healthy part of our evolution?

As the guilty host reservoir of some vile germ and a seasonal miserabilist, I sat far away from the other humans present and periodically decanted a slug of this peaty-stuff and was taken away into a less self-pitying place and memories of my first exposure to extreme wilderness in the form of the Australian interior and memories of heat and dust.

Now, as my bleary eyes cast a glance over the feudal honours list that bestows fake grandeur on the great and good of our dear little Albion, I notice Tracey Emin (wasn’t she threatening to leave these shores on account of tax rises for the filthy rich?) has been awarded some ghastly gong for her services to culture, alongside Olympians Coe, Wiggins et al. For Queen and Empire eh? Fellow cynics: shall we keep our eyes peeled on the legacy of the Olympic Games over 2013? I will be curious to see the ruddy cheeked young athletes of the future, throwing away their ham burgers and french fries and vaulting into a golden dawn of athleticism. So too, the Cultural Olympiad legacy - will we witness more jubilant dancing in our streets: a slump in high-street (tax avoiding) coffee consumption and a resurgence of bakers, florists and potters? Will all hate-crime against people with disabilities fade into a pre-olympian history? 

When organiser of the Olympic opening ceremony, Danny Boyle was asked on Front Row, if he’d like a knighthood for his work, he replied: "I'm very proud to be an equal citizen and I think that's what the opening ceremony was actually about."

Now that’s what I’d call honour.

*Ghastly eh? Acid House - isn’t that all about DRUGS! But are the self prescribed e’s of club culture any more sinister than the wholesale prescription of sedatives to the disenfranchised and discontented masses? As an e-virgin I have no idea, but I am aware of the ongoing educational campaigns of people like Professor David Nutt to clarify the issues and of course the blindingly obvious fact that you can’t tax the street vendor - but oh boy, you can the big pharma

My only hope is that you are well, happy and enjoying life. I wish you nothing but lovely things for 2013 and all it brings. Thank you for visiting this wintery place...C.P

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Getting Fit in the New Year

Hi all!  I hope you had a beautiful Christmas and are ready to ring in the new year!  Many of us have set fitness goals for ourselves and there's no time like the new year to start turning your goals into reality and your plans into action.

If you want to get yourself and your family healthier in the new year, this blog is for you. :)  Last year, I wrote about Getting Started Getting Fit, Making Time to Workout, Time Management Routines, and Waking Up Early to Workout, all of which will help get you started and on your way to a more fit lifestyle.  (Click the photo below to read the entire post).

I've also posted my most current workout routine, the Live Fit 12 Week Trainer.  As the name suggests, it's a 3 month program that provides specific details about what to eat and when, the workouts to do, and proper supplementation.  I completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 last year and am starting Phase 3 now.  I'll share that last part of the program with you later this week.



If you're looking for healthy recipes, click on "FOOD" under my blog header.  You can start your morning with Protein Pancakes (my son requests them quite frequently) or a Breakfast Egg Sandwich

To see how I prepare 10 meals in advance so they're ready to go for a quick lunch or dinner, you can read Food Preparation Day and then try out my favorite Tex Mex dish (it's made with extra lean ground turkey and is delicious!).  Making meals in advance is the only way I can guarantee that I eat real home-cooked (not processed or pre-packaged) food every four hours.  My Protein Brownies are a yummy snack with only about 100 calories.  And I'm sure we can all start drinking more clean water.  To make your water more fun, why not keep some Spa Water on hand? 



Finally, I'm so thankful to have contributing food writer Jennifer of The Chronicles of Home bringing you healthy recipes every other Thursday.  I especially love her food photography- so pretty!  Check out her Butternut Squash & Lobster Risotto, Black Beans & Rice with Apple Slaw, and Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes.


To FOLLOW Honey We're Healthy, go HERE.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Funky Twist Styles in One Video

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

Style #1. (See below video for Styles #1 and #2.)

Model: Laila

Style description: Two different updos from a combination of twists, flat twists, and loose hair.

Difficulty level: 3/5

Monday, December 24, 2012

The 2012 Atherosclerosis egg study: More smoking is associated with more plaque, unless you eat more eggs

I blogged before about the study by David Spence and colleagues, published online in July 2012 in the journal Atherosclerosis (). This study attracted a lot of media attention (e.g., ). The article is titled: “Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque”. The study argues that “regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease”. It hints at egg yolks being unhealthy in general, possibly even more so than cigarettes.

I used the numbers in Table 2 of the article (only 5 rows of data, one per quintile; i.e., N=5) to conduct a type of analysis that is rarely if ever conducted in health studies – a moderating effects analysis. A previous blog post summarizes the results of one such analysis using WarpPLS (). It looked into the effect of the number of eggs consumed per week on the association between blood LDL cholesterol and plaque (carotid plaque). The conclusion, which is admittedly tentative due to the small sample (N=5), was that plaque decreased as LDL cholesterol increased with consumption of 2.3 eggs per week or more ().

Recently I ran an analysis on the moderating effect of number of eggs consumed per week on the association between cumulative smoking (measured in “pack years”) and plaque. As it turns out, if you fit a 3D surface to the five data points that you get for these three variables from Table 2 of the article, you end up with a relatively smooth surface. Below is a 3D plot of the 5 data points, followed by a best-fitting 3D surface (developed using an experimental algorithm).

Based on this best-fitting surface you could then generate a contour graph, shown below. The “lines” are called “isolines”. Each isoline refers to plaque values that are constant for a set of eggs per week and cumulative smoking combinations. Next to the isolines are the corresponding plaque values. The first impression is indeed that both egg consumption and smoking are causing plaque buildup, as plaque clearly increases as one moves toward the top-right corner of the graph.

But focus your attention on each individual isoline, one at a time. It is clear that plaque remains constant for increases in cumulative smoking, as long as egg consumption increases. Take for example the isoline that refers to 120 mm2 of plaque area. An increase in cumulative smoking from about 14.5 to 16 pack years leads to no increase in plaque if egg consumption goes up from about 2 to 2.3 eggs per week.

These within-isoline trends, which are fairly stable across isolines (they are all slanted to the right), clearly contradict the idea that eggs cause plaque buildup. So, why does plaque buildup seem to clearly increase with egg consumption? Here is a good reason: egg consumption is very strongly correlated with age, and plaque increases with age. The correlation is a whopping 0.916. And I am not talking about cumulative egg consumption, which the authors also measure, through a variable called “egg-yolk years”. No, I am talking about eggs per week. In this dataset, older folks were eating more eggs, period.

The correlation between plaque and age is even higher: 0.977. Given this, it makes sense to look at individual isolines. This would be analogous to what biostatisticians often call “adjusting for age”, or analyzing the effect of egg consumption on plaque buildup “keeping age constant”. A different technique is to “control for age”; this technique would be preferable had the correlations been lower (say, lower than 0.7), as collinearity levels might have been below acceptable thresholds.

The underlying logic of the “keeping age constant” technique is fairly sound in the face of such a high correlation, which would make “controlling for age” very difficult due to collinearity. When we “keep age constant”, the results point at egg consumption being protective among smokers.

But diehard fans of the idea that eggs are unhealthy could explain the results differently. Maybe egg consumption causes plaque to go up, but smoking has a protective effect. Again taking the isoline that refers to 120 mm2 of plaque area, these diehard fans could say that an increase in egg consumption from 2 to 2.3 eggs per week leads to no increase in plaque if cumulative smoking goes up from about 14.5 to 16 pack years.

Not too long ago I also blogged about a medical case study of a 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 (). This man was not a smoker.

Perhaps if this man smoked 25 cigarettes per day, and ate no eggs, he would be in even better health eh!?

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 Plans for My Hair, Body, and Soul || Part II

Alright, so last time I talked about my "Hair Plans" for 2013.  Now it's time to talk about my "Body Plans" for the New Year ...


Turn my smoothie kick into a daily routine.  So, if you've been following my "healthy eating" posts, then you probably know that I've been on a smoothie kick for a few months now.  Well, for the New Year, I want to make it my daily routine - like brushing, showering, sleeping - a daily routine.  Right now, I drink one several times a week in the mornings, and it's usually a green one (kale, banana, almond milk, ice, peanut butter, and sometimes, blueberries).

Take better care of my skin. I'm still young, but I'm not getting any younger.  I want to maintain my youthful skin, so this is the time to do it.  My current skin routine is okay but could be a lot better.  I want to find a more quality anti-aging creme and also wear sunscreen more regularly.  "Black don't crack" early but it will eventually.  Now is the time to slow down the process.  I also plan to incorporate more antioxidants into my diet (via tea drinking and possibly ginkgo biloba supplements as well).

That's it?  Yep, that's it!  I'm already a health nut, so there's not much more to add.

Mixology || Organic Lip Balm and Lip Scrub Set

Makes a great Holiday gift set!

Recipe originator: Fran (HeyFranHey on Youtube)

Ingredients (all organic):
cocoa butter
shea butter
castor oil
extra virgin coconut oil

Ingredients (all organic):
dark brown sugar
jojoba oil

Instructions: See the video below ...


The last few days have seen a flurry of email into the arts and health inbox. Lots of correspondents have been rounding up their successes of 2012; some have been more despondent, the political climate having swept away their jobs and I’ve had a few responses to last weeks posting on the arts/health conference planned in Israel in 2013: some encouraging and insightful, others more critical - but all welcome and received with thanks.

So this ‘last post’ won’t round up any of Arts for Health successes' of 2012 - it will instead offer just a few more opportunities and a few season tidbits. 

The Guardian this week are offering free seasonal screen-savers designed by some prominent artists, and as a gentle echo to last weeks posting and a meditation on healthcare inequalities in Haifa and Gaza, here is one of those images by Cornelia Parker called a bright light over Jerusalem. She comments: 'This naked light shines in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. I thought celebrating this Christmas with the symbol of a bright idea, the light bulb, was appropriate – a bit of cold cheer in the darkness'

Artists and cultural commentators have also been rallying against the governments proposals to marginalise the arts in the national curriculum, and I was moved by some of the personal testimonies to teachers and arts educators that these figureheads cite. You can read them all by clicking on the Bob and Roberta Smith image below. Here’s a snippet from the wonderful playwright April de Angelis:
“Drama at school was the key that unlocked me with its premium on curiosity and inventiveness; the joy of working in groups yet feeling your individual input was integral. Being inside the complex world of a play with its debates, strategies, motivations and allegiances was brilliant for confidence and developing a love of language. I wasn't a kid who was taken to the theatre, so school was the place. In the school mag at the time I said the cast felt like family. Drama creates engaged, articulate beings who are attuned to their connection with others – which is why it's been suppressed – it's a political act.”

Just a reminder too, that the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) and the Department of Health have published their detailed agreement showing how the NHS CB will drive improvements in the health of England’s population through its commissioning of certain public health services. Please read this as it represents significant new opportunities fro the cultural sector. click on the dedicated nurse below for more details...

Getting On
This year saw another series of the excellent hard-hitting NHS drama, Getting On. You may have seen it - may love or loath it, but it beats Casualty hands down. Gritty realism and blissful social commentary. I particularly enjoyed the final episode (6) on 8th December in which artist Dylan Schwarz and his assistant Elke arrive on the ward to set up a kids art project. This has to be the ultimate arts and health TV moment of 2012? If you’ve not seen it - search it out, or talk to me about it in January - I have a copy!

Early Career Researcher at Arts for Health
Arts for Health at MIRIAD, the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Lime Arts of Central Manchester Foundation NHS Trust, wish to appoint a highly motivated early career researcher (ECR) on a short-term contract from February to April 2013 to make an important contribution to the consolidation and development of archives relating to the arts and well-being. 
For more information regarding the requirements of the role please email  

New Community Services Fund for British Pubs The rural pub services and community champions, Pub is The Hub, has announced the launch of The New Community Services Fund to help UK pubs to diversify into new services provision for their own communities. Pub is The Hub wants to raise £1 million over the next two years.  The Government has kick-started the fund with a £150,000 donation to the Community Services project. In addition the drinks company Diageo plc, has donated £50,000 and is urging other companies to follow suit.  Pub is the Hub has advised and supported small scale diversification schemes and community acquisitions all over England, Wales and Scotland; from the installation of libraries and production of school meals in pubs through to larger capital projects such as farm shops and post offices. Read more at: 

Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust (UK)
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust which awards grants to charitable organisations in the United Kingdom  has announced that  the next closing date for applications is the 1st June 2013. During 2013, the Trust is seeking to fund projects that help children and young people.  Grants are usually between £1,000 and £3,000 and are awarded for one year.
Previous grants awarded include:
A grant towards a resource centre providing advice and training for workers dealing with mental health in rural areas and
Funding towards a project aimed at behavioural programme for persistent young offenders. 
Read more at: 

Swearing, Christmas and Happiness
...and finally, here is a lovely video (be warned, it has swearing, so don’t complain - you’ve been warned) for the new Martin Crimp play; In the Republic of Happiness which is playing at the Royal Court Theatre until 19th January. Seasonal and so much more. Enjoy - Oh and Happy Christmas...

Thanks as ever for stopping by. What a year...C.P.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


...a beautiful song on a chilly evening

Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes

Please join me in welcoming back Honey We're Healthy contributor Jennifer of The Chronicles of Home.  She never disappoints with her recipes and today is no different.  As you know, we love pancakes around here, and today Jennifer is sharing how she makes multigrain buttermilk pancakes.  Enjoy!

Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes are sort of the gold standard when it comes to pancakes.  When you're looking for a fluffy, pillowy, nostalgically good pancake, buttermilk is the way you want to go.  

Classic buttermilk pancakes, however, while delicious, don't have a whole lot of redeeming health qualities.  They're usually made with white flour and white sugar and will probably leave you hungry again in a few hours.

This multigrain version of a classic buttermilk pancake includes whole wheat flour, cornmeal, oats, and flax seed meal.  It swaps honey for most of the white sugar as well.  You can expect a fluffy, lightly sweet pancake with a bit more tooth and heartiness to it than a traditional buttermilk pancake.  For me, it's the perfect mix of classic and healthy.  

1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. whole cornmeal
1/4 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 c. flax seed meal
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 3/4 c. buttermilk at room temperature
4 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1/4 c. honey
3 eggs at room temperature

*To bring buttermilk to room temperature microwave it for 20-30 seconds in a glass measuring cup.  To bring eggs to room temperature, let them sit in their shells in a bowl of hot tap water while you prep the other ingredients.

Heat a griddle or nonstick frying pan over medium heat.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl to blend.  

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, honey, and eggs until combined.  

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.  The batter should be a bit lumpy.

Spoon several tablespoons of batter in four puddles onto the hot pan and let cook for a few minutes, until little bubbles form and the underside is golden.  

Flip and cook another few minutes, until pancakes are cooked through. 

Serve warm with pure maple syrup and fresh berries.

Makes about 20 pancakes.  Adapted from "Four-Grain Flapjacks" in The Joy of Cooking.

For more recipes from Jennifer, and to see glimpses into her home and fabulous DIY projects, click the banner below.

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