Monday, June 28, 2010

Music to Move to

I have what some of my friends refer to as a mainstream taste in music. I generally like the music that’s not considered very cool. This has been a difficult endeavor in my family because we like cool music. My parents went and saw David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails one year for New Years Eve while I was probably at home listening to Belinda Carlisle. If I have ever known of any obscure retro bands it’s because my sister put them on a mix for me or my father mentioned them in conversation and I wanted to impress him. Normally I spend my afternoons listening to Frank Sinatra and pretending he’s singing to me or rocking out to The Commodores and dancing like Britney Spears. I still love her by the way. I don’t really love concerts because I figure it’s easier to dance if I am at home listening to a CD and I love a good cheesy catchy beat so sometimes, alternative music isn’t poppy enough for me. I have a special play list on my I-pod called Marcel (it’s all music my BF would like) and it’s used for situations when we may have guests and I don’t want to embarrass myself by accidentally playing Paris Hiltons latest tune. I once made my BFF listen to Ashlee Simpson for an entire night and surprisingly we are still friends.

That being said, I secretly think my music taste is awesome and I dream about the totally cool mixes I would make for people I love. I especially love the mixes I make for myself to work out to.

Some days it's stretching or jogging and then I love a mellow, folky mix. Other days I am running or weight training and I need a fast paced mix to rock out to. I also really love walking and running to This American Life podcast. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend. I have found that when I use music to inspire me, my workouts are better. This week I encourage everyone to get out your CD's, walk-mans or i-pods and find the music that helps motivate you.

“All I have to say about these songs is that I love them, and want to sing along to them, and force other people to listen to them, and get cross when these other people don’t like them as much as I do.”

And with those wise words from Nick Hornby, I present to you my current favorite exercise playlist. Feel free to listen, ignore, laugh, or like me, Love. But whatever you do, let this update be motivation for you to find what your own music to move to is, and then… move to it!

  • Somebody to Love, Justin Bieber and Usher
  • Rude Boy, Rhianna
  • Lady (you bring me up), The Commodores
  • California Gurls, Katy Perry
  • Juan Loco, Rodrigo and Gabriela
  • Knock you Down, Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo
  • Fighter, Christina Aguilera
  • I'm Gonna Be, The Proclaimers
  • Single Ladies, Put a ring on it
  • The Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani
  • Donde Quiero Estar, Julieta Venegas
  • PYT, Michael Jackson
  • You belong with me, Taylor Swift
  • All of me, Michael Buble'
  • Somebody Loved, The Weepies
  • Have a little faith in me, John Hiatt
  • Long time nothing new, Pete Yorn
  • Imagine, Jack Johnson

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Seasoning

Today, for one moment, the earth’s axis was tilted as much towards the sun as it will be all year. Summer solstice marks the longest day and the shortest night of the year, the day when summer begins.

I had the pleasure of sitting outside in the sun today for about 30 minutes while Coco ran around the dog park and there was something special about the sun today. There was wind, yes (it’s San Francisco) and I was bundled up, but I tilted my head and closed my eyes and felt that the sun was there just for me, just for that moment.

In Latin, the solstice is called Sol Sistere, which means, sun that stands still.

Usually you will hear of parties and BBQ’s and giant celebrations for the solstice. It used to be an even more exciting event because it signified all those yummy summer fruits and vegetables were finally here. Now because we have imported peaches all year round, we forget that they are seasonal.

Today while I was enjoying that glorious moment of stillness I started musing about seasonal foods. When we eat foods that are seasonal we are nourishing our bodies with the food that was made from the same sun that nourishes us. Ok, I know that food grown in Spain is being grown with the same sun. There is only one. But when I think about the dirt and the land and the water and the air and all the other factors that go into the farming of a sweet pepper or a tomato, it just kind of makes me smile to think I could be eating a tomato that was hydrated with the same water I drink. Or I could be savoring a plum grown in the same air that I breathe. I wonder which vegetables were being given life by the still sun as it nourished me today? I bet those are some damn fine vegetables.

This week and for the rest of the summer I invite you to try eating seasonally. Eating seasonally doesn’t mean you have to spend your paycheck on organic watermelons from the ferry building farmers market. There are local farmers markets where you can pick up some really good deals. This website local harvest, lets you search for markets in your zip code and then gives you a little description about it. I quite like the one here at UCSF on Wednesdays.

Something to think about is if you are buying from a farmers market you probably don’t need to buy 10 of something. The taste of a freshly picked peach is so exquisite you will probably find that you only need one or maybe two. J

Even if you can’t get to a farmers market, try to eat seasonally and pay attention to how it makes your body feel. There is something light and perfect about a tomato and basil salad, or grilled summer squash or prosciutto and melon or a big slice of watermelon. These are the foods to help remind us that it’s summer and that this is all just a big cycle. We are part of the life on earth and instead of always fueling our bodies with artificial ingredients, why not try giving it what Mother Nature intended.

Be Good to your Body, it’s where you Live

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't give up

I just got home from the orthopedic doctor and I am typing this wellness update with one hand. I was given the unfortunate diagnosis of wrist tendonitis. Tendonitis is doctor speak for, “There is nothing I can do. Get ready to ingest your weights worth of ibuprofen because this ain’t getting better any time soon.”

If that’s not clinical enough for you, tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendon/s in a joint and it is usually caused by overuse. It is also extremely painful and super slow to heal. I am sure many of you will be able to commiserate with me. It’s pretty common to get it in the wrist, elbow (tennis elbow), ankle or knee.

Because it is also so very painful I am unable to perform the most basic of wrist movements. This has obviously given me a new perspective on my health. Having an injury is terrible and it can become an excuse to get down, apathetic and even depressed. My entire exercise routine is out. I can’t do push-ups or sun salutations or even basic bicep curls. I can’t lift weights for my clients and I can barely tie my own shoelaces.

So basically, these are my options:

  • Give up
  • Don’t give up

Here is my case for Give up:

“My wrist really hurts and I hate this. I hate change. It took me so long to get that exercise routine that I love into my daily ritual and now I have to give it up. I don’t like any of the other kinds of exercise. I don’t have time to hire a trainer or watch a new DVD or learn something new. I am scared, really scared of trying a new exercise. What if I get hurt again? What if it’s my other wrist? What if I try a new exercise and I am really bad at it or it’s too hard? I would rather just stay at home and feel sorry for myself and eat ice cream and be miserable because having an injury is sucky times 100 and I am over it.”

Here is my case for Don’t give up:

“Wait a minute I almost forgot that I exercise for many reasons and wanting to have sculpted arms is only a very small one. I would miss the energy I get from brisk walks or the burn I feel from squats. This is a perfect opportunity to try something new. Maybe I should take that dance class, no need to put weight on my hands there. Perhaps I need to slow down and listen to my body more and work on adapting my movements to help my wrist heal, instead of yelling at it for being sore. I move so fast and I am constantly on the go, it’s no wonder I hurt myself. If my body has to induce pain in order for me to slow down, ask for help and take care of my body than I had better listen to it. Maybe it’s time to add exercises into my life that are healing, not hurting”

I am not saying that it isn't awful to have an injury. It is. That’s why you should say my trusty give up speech (or one of your own) out loud should you ever be unfortunate to have something keeping you from moving. And then when that’s good and out of your system I would like you to say your reasons to not give up. Feel free to use mine or write one of your own. Make sure to say it out loud. Then, I recommend you take a nice long look at your super speed life style, move a step back, smell some roses, take a deep breath and find something you can do that doesn’t involve you elbow, ankle, shoulder or whatever. Then, you should do it.

Oh, and don’t forget to ice it too.

Be Good to your Body, it’s where you Live

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everything is Amazing

About a month ago a friend of mine forwarded me a video clip of a comedian on The Conan O’Brien show. The video clip was titled, “Everything is Amazing.” I am going to provide a link to said video clip at the end of this article so skip ahead if you like, or feel free to wait until the end. This comedian, Lewis CK is kvetching about how everything is amazing and no one is happy. He goes on to talk about how amazing the miracle of flight is and how happy the lives of those with cell phones are, and how miserable it was to dial a rotary telephone. And he is right, it’s more than amazing, it’s freaking unbelievable that we can fly through the air. Who do we think we are? Superman? It’s blows my mind when I think about how my cell phone is able to call London or how instant message chatting works. How does it work? No, don’t tell me, it still won’t make sense considering I never learned how to make my VCR record. Even the VCR I had to give to goodwill last year because Netflix doesn’t send VHS, is amazing.

This phrase, “everything is amazing” has come to be a bit of catch phrase. This weekend while out of town for work we used it constantly. The hotel was amazing, the missed plane in Chicago was amazing, and the rental car one-way highway robbery price was also, amazing! I got back home on Saturday night and when asked by the BF how my trip was, I replied, “Everything was amazing!”

Since then I have been musing a lot on this idea and I have come to realize that it’s not just our new technological advances that make everything great, it’s who we are. We, as a species are amazing. Our bodies are amazing, even cooler than flight as far as I’m concerned. Think about it…

Starting from the simplest thing: I can breathe without thinking about it. I can decide (without my conscious knowledge) that I want to type on my computer and my hands will open my laptop, push the button and go. Let’s get a little more complex, I can get a paper cut and my body will heal itself. WTF?!! That really is amazing! I know that there are scientists and doctors and geniuses (many of whom are reading this) who will say, “Sarah, it’s not really that amazing, there are perfectly good explanations for why/how the bodies heals itself. There are a million definitions for why a 145 lb woman can lift a car if her baby is under it. And it is really quite simple to explain how a baby is born.”

Sure, you are right Mr. or Mrs. Scientist; there are a million reasons, answers and explanations. I have books and books and books of information telling me all about bio mechanics and why it is that are bodies are able to punch a bag, jump over a rock or metabolize a piece of toast, but even with all of those books, and journals and Internet sites, it is still no less amazing.

I don’t think that people actually appreciate just how freaking cool the human body is. We may appreciate it from afar. You may read this article and agree with me and nod your head, but will you bring it home? I don’t mean the actual article. I mean will you look down at your own hands and think, “wow!” Will you have a little freak out moment when you pay attention to your eyes that are reading this and your mind that can comprehend it? Will you do a little hop down the street just because you can? Will you stand up after reading this and give yourself a big good morning stretch because it feels so good? I hope that you do.

It is so easy to think about and remember the things that we find, not amazing. It sucks that my knees hurt, my metabolism is slowing down and my butt is sinking towards the floor. And whatever your things are, they suck too. There will be another article on another day telling you to embrace the stuff that sucks. Today I want you to think about all the stuff that’s amazing. Because I know that there are a ton of things about you that are capable, strong, flexible, and yes, you called it, amazing!

Everything Is Amazing Video

Be Good to your Body, it’s where you live.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What a waste.

I just returned from a most wonderful Memorial Day weekend in Santa Monica. I was visiting one of my bestest gal pals and her new baby. Well, sort of new (8 months). Anyway, there was a ton of inspiration and you will probably hear me referencing the trip for at least a few weeks.

One of the things I was inspired by was said pals hubby and his environmental ways. He is super green. He never forgets to shut off lights, he unplugs things and he recycles everything! I was uber impressed. He uses the old coffee from the morning for iced coffee in the afternoon (which is now my favorite thing by the way). And he also hates wasting food so he makes sure to eat everything before it goes bad. And this is when I had to pause. Sometimes he will even eat food he’s not particularly fond just so he doesn’t waste it. He has even been known to eat something when he isn’t hungry in order that it not go to waste.

Ok, I don’t like wasting food either. It really bugs me when I can’t finish produce before it goes bad or when I have to throw out the milk because I didn’t drink it fast enough but I would rather waste food by throwing it in the bin than waste it by throwing it down my mouth.

I think that there are many people who share Jorge’s views. Do you have any memories of your mother telling you to finish your food because somewhere a starving person would kill for it? Do you feel obligated to eat food someone has given you so it doesn’t go to waste? Do you clean your plate because it would be wasteful to throw it away? Do you worry about how much something cost and feel guilty if you were to throw it out?

When you eat something because you don’t want to waste it, you are still wasting it. You are wasting it in your body. Why is it better to put something you don’t like, aren’t hungry for or just don’t want, in your mouth than in the garbage?

I am not saying that you should be wasteful and throw food away like it’s sand on the beach, I am just saying pay attention to why you are eating something and think about what I am saying. Whether you put it in the bin or in your mouth, if you don’t want it or need it, you’re wasting it. That is what the green bin is for.

Be Good to your Body, it’s where you Live