Archive for January, 2011

Power Oatmeal

I’ve been eating this oatmeal off and on for about three weeks now. I love oatmeal in the morning, because it’s so darn filling, but my previous recipe called for brown sugar. And because eating unsweetened oatmeal would leave me feeling like Oliver Twist, I decided to add a banana and some raisins.

I call this Power Oatmeal because it makes me feel powerful and because it features Zenergy Powerballs. Powerballs people, powerballs!

Okay…here’s how I make my oatmeal:

1/2 C old fashioned oats and 1 C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Add to a saucepan. And hey, as I was snapping up photos this morning I realized that my breakfast features not one, but three christmas gifts! Here you will find a stainless steel, copper rimmed pot from my sister. Thanks sister!

Using this rad bird bowl from my mom!

Once the oatmeal starts boiling add one chopped up banana and 1/8 C raisins. Stir. Let cook for another two minutes. My trick to perfect oatmeal is to take it off the heat before you think it looks done. Oatmeal will continue to cook in your bowl, so if you take it off the heat when it’s still runny it will firm up to the perfect (not dry) consistency. I learned this the hard way. I always thought I couldn’t make oatmeal until I did this.

I put a powerball in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften (this probably isn’t recommended, but I’m a rule breaker). I really like the almond and coconut flavors the best. They are filled with natural stuff like dates, almonds, and cacao nibs, which I enjoy a lot.

Here’s the powerball! These were sent to me by the owner of the company Peggy Sue Honeyman Scott (try saying that ten times fast). What I like about her is that she is hands-on with the promotion of her company. She contacted me personally back in November and even included a nice little note with her Zenergy Powerballs. I like that, I like personal. And I like these powerballs in my oatmeal.

Top with a little shredded, unsweetened coconut if that’s your thing.

And enjoy with a nice glass of grapefruit juice in your special Floyd stem wear. Another Christmas gift from my sister in law. Which is proof that if you give me a gift I will actually use it…a lot.

So because Peggy Sue is so awesome she agreed to send one of my readers a sampling of her Zenergy Powerballs, which honestly make a great breakfast by themselves or snack. I’ve been known to eat one while making dinner.

Just leave a comment and I’ll draw a name at random and have them send out to you!

What are you favorite oatmeal toppings?

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Meditation in 8 Weeks Can Create Huge Change

8 week meditation study

Cool new 8 week meditation study came out today. I have mentioned before that I have meditated a fair amount in the past. Nothing like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, but enough to know the affect that it can have. Meditation is great. Anyway one of the big things that meditation does is still the mind so that you are much better able to keep your concentration as well as creativity.

Studies tend to be inconclusive on the physical effect to your brain from meditation but a new report seems to show that in just 8 weeks it can make a big difference.

8 Week Meditation Study

An eight-week pro­gram of medita­t­ion led to brain struc­ture changes in peo­ple par­ti­ci­pat­ing in a stu­dy, re­search­ers say. It’s the first time that medita­t­ion, a prac­tice ad­vo­cat­ed by a range of re­li­gious tra­di­tions, has been shown to lead to such changes, ac­cord­ing to the sci­en­tists.

Pre­vi­ous re­search, they said, had re­vealed struc­tur­al dif­fer­ences in the brains of med­i­ta­tors, but could­n’t doc­u­ment that medita­t­ion had ac­tu­ally caused those changes. The re­search­ers re­ported that par­ti­ci­pat­ing in an eight-week medita­t­ion pro­gram ap­peared to make meas­ur­a­ble changes in brain re­gions as­so­ci­at­ed with mem­o­ry, sense of self, em­pa­thy and stress.

“Al­though the prac­tice of medita­t­ion is as­so­ci­at­ed with a sense of peace­ful­ness and phys­i­cal re­laxa­t­ion, prac­ti­tion­ers have long claimed that medita­t­ion al­so pro­vides cog­ni­tive and psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits that per­sist through­out the day,” said Sara Laz­ar of the Mas­sa­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal’s Psy­chi­at­ric Neu­roimag­ing Re­search Pro­gram, the stu­dy’s sen­ior au­thor. “This study demon­strates that changes in brain struc­ture may un­der­lie some of these re­ported im­prove­ments and that peo­ple are not just feel­ing bet­ter be­cause they are spend­ing time re­laxing.”

The study is to ap­pear in the Jan. 30 is­sue of the jour­nal Psy­chi­a­try Re­search: Neu­ro­imag­ing.

Meditation Study Shows Changes to the Brain

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors scanned the brain struc­tures of 16 study par­ti­ci­pants two weeks be­fore and af­ter they took part in the eight-week Mind­ful­ness-Based Stress Re­duc­tion Pro­gram at the Uni­vers­ity of Mas­sa­chu­setts Cen­ter for Mind­ful­ness. In ad­di­tion to weekly meet­ings that in­clud­ed prac­tice of mind­ful­ness medita­t­ion – which fo­cus­es on non­judg­men­tal aware­ness of sensa­t­ions, feel­ings and state of mind – par­ti­ci­pants re­ceived au­di­o record­ings for guid­ed medita­t­ion prac­tice and were asked to keep track of how much time they prac­ticed each day. A group of non-med­i­ta­tors al­so had their brains scanned dur­ing the same time pe­ri­od.

The med­i­ta­tors in the 8 week meditation study re­ported spend­ing an av­er­age of 27 min­utes each day prac­tic­ing mind­ful­ness ex­er­cises, and their re­sponses to a “mind­ful­ness ques­tion­naire” in­di­cat­ed sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments com­pared with pre-par­ticipa­t­ion re­sponses, the sci­en­tists re­ported.

Anal­y­sis of the brain scans, which fo­cused on ar­eas where medita­t­ion-as­so­ci­at­ed dif­fer­ences were seen in ear­li­er stud­ies, found in­creased grey-mat­ter dens­ity in the hip­po­cam­pus, known to be im­por­tant for learn­ing and mem­o­ry, and in struc­tures as­so­ci­at­ed with self-a­ware­ness, com­pas­sion and in­tro­spec­tion. Grey mat­ter is the brain tis­sue that con­tains nerve cells.

If you are interested in learning more about meditation then check out this article on meditation for fitness that I wrote a while ago that is of course still relevant. Also There was a past study on meditation for stress relief and the science of meditation.

After seeing this 8 week meditation study I say find a quiet corner in the house and just sit quietly and see what meditation can do for you.

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Perspective Projection

Do you ever wonder if who you are is directly related to your size? What if I went through high school as the skinny cheerleader or the girl who actually had a prom date? I was told awhile ago that the reason why I’m so “interesting” is because of my weight. I say interesting lightly because I can think of so many people who are way more interesting and informed than me. I would call myself…interested more than anything else.

I’m curious, I love to learn, I’m passionate, and I’m excited. Mostly. But, I surely wasn’t like this in highschool. I was like most girls- obsessed with boys (a borderline stalker), and crying about drama with friends. I watched every episode of Dawson’s Creek and loved driving in the car (music up, windows down) with my friends. I have all the notes to prove it. I wasn’t academic, I wasn’t into sports, I wasn’t artistic, I was pretty much average across the board. I’ve always had a creative streak, and the desire to learn everything, but as I grew up those desires were slightly burned out with the desire to fit in.

But then I went to college and realized it was better to be unique and interesting than to be like everyone else. Wanting to fit in, slowly became a thing I left in high school. My dreams became bigger, and my desire to learn and try something new grew. I did a lot in college, I found my way in nyc (by way of my now-husband) and I have interesting friends. I’m comfortable with who I am now more than any other time in my life, but I realized that I’m not comfortable accepting that I am who I am because of my weight. I’m not okay with discrediting who I’ve become with my weight.

I am who I am because I listen to my heart. I listen to my instincts. Because I trust my path. It’s not because I have to shop in the plus size section.

My point of this post, at least one of them, is that for a long time I believed this lie about myself. I believed I needed to be overweight to care about anything else besides my appearance. I truly believed only shallow people cared about how they looked. And then it hit me: this is not true at all. I have lots of friends, many of whom are healthy AND well rounded. They are more at home learning or creating than watching the latest reality drama.  They are curious, thoughtful, and intelligent.  It’s not just about caring about your appearance, it’s about caring about your health and there is absolutely nothing shallow about that.

When I brought this conversation up with Josh, we came to the conclusion that there are many uninteresting people who are fat and thin and everything in between. It has to do with where you’re willing to go in life, where you’re willing to take your dreams, if you listen to yourself, if you enjoy learning. Not the size of your dress, or pants, or whether or not you wear glasses.

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