Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Archive for November, 2010

Epsom Salt

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2010

After my Nia class this week, my students told me soak my toe in an epsom salt bath.  I had actually been told about them before.  They have been around forever.  Ya know one of those things that used to be used in simpler times when there wasn’t something fancy to take its place.  It is a natural mineral, magnesium sulfate.

I had originally been told about them for sore muscles.  In fact a lot of bath salt products on the market contain magnesium sulfate.  The instructions on the container state to use two cups of the salts in a tub of water and soak.  The mineral is absorbed into the skin and it helps reduce inflammation and soreness.  This can help with sprains and strains and muscles that have been exercised.  A soak in water with epsom salts can also help relive itching of some illnesses or issues.

Epsom salt is thought to help relax the body as well as the mind and draw toxins out of the body.  Soaking one’s feet can help both neutralize foot order and make the skin soft.  Soaking in water with salts in it can help soften the skin, but the salts themselves can also be used as an exfoliator.  Rubbing the skin while wet then rinsing throughly.  Also the salts can be used to help with acne and breakouts.

Now that I actually have a container of them I might start using them more often to soak my feet and exfoliate them.  How about you?  Have you used them before?

Just as a note:  Table salt is sodium chloride it is different substance than magnesium sulfate.

Posted in Helpful Hints | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Turkey Leftovers

Posted by terrepruitt on November 27, 2010

This Thanksgiving, I was blessed with two different Thanksgiving dinners.  On Thanksgiving we went to my in-laws in the San Jose area.  Then after I taught my Nia class in Los Gatos on Friday, we went to another family members and had ANOTHER Thanksgiving dinner.  What do you do with your leftover turkey meat?

If I am lucky enough to get any (my mother-in-law gave us a huge bag full—yay!), I usually make turkey sandwiches, but they are usually pretty plain.  Bread, cheese, mayo, and lettuce.  Well, that is for my hubby, I usually have cheese OR mayo.  What about you?  Do you make sandwiches out of your leftover turkey?  How?  Toasted whole wheat?  A dinner roll?  Do you use all the fixins?  The cranberries and everything?  What about avacado?

Do you make turkey chili?  A turkey salad?  Or turkey salad . . . . .like chicken or tuna salad but with turkey instead.  If you have enough left over you can make a multitude of things and never really eat the same thing over again.

I am seeing information that turkey is a super food.  Ya know, that “super food” stuff, but it is in a lot of the websites so it must be considered one of those foods.

Here is an idea of what you are getting when you eat your turkey.  Either right after it is cooked or when it is remade into a new meal.

A portion of turkey about the size of a deck of cards is as follows:

–Breast with skin has 194 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 29 grams of protein

–Breast without skin has 161 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 30 grams of protein

–Leg with skin has 213 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 28 grams of protein

–Dark meat with skin has 232 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein

–Dark meat with skin has 232 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein

–Dark meat without skin has 192 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 28 grams of protein

From  http://urbanext.illinois.edu/turkey/nutrition.cfm

I am just about to make myself a plate of leftovers, but I would still love to hear what you do with yours leftovers.  Do tell!

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Thanksgiving

Posted by terrepruitt on November 25, 2010

My post last year said I didn’t like Thanksgiving, which is not true and in the sentence following I explain it is all of the traditional foods that I don’t go ga-ga over.  I do love the thought of giving thanks and spending time with family.  I was thinking about family traditions and some of the food traditions familes have.  I have a friend whose family has a tradition of creamed onions.  I have never even heard of creamed onions.  I asked her about it and she said that over the years the recipe has been altered but it is something that they have had for years.

I love stuff like that.  Hearing what families have at family dinners.  I know of families that have jello salads.  I knew a family that had pistashio salad.  Some familes have a tradition of homemade bread.  Some families always have to have green salad, no matter what other vegetable is being served there has to also be a green salad.  Or what about the infamous green bean casserole?  I think a lot of familes do that one.  What about the spinach dip?  Do you know a family that has to have spinach dip before dinner?  Deviled eggs is also a big tradition with some familes.  Oh, and sushi, my husband’s family loves the sushi.

What about the turkey itself?  There are roaster families and barbeque familes.  And then of course, the fryer families.  I worked with a guy who said that his family fries the turkey and they also tell all the neighbors to come over so they can do theirs too because—he was explaining—that once the oil is hot it is easy just to keep cooking them.  That way all that oil doesn’t go to waste.  I have never had a fried turkey but from what people tell me is that it is cooked so fast the turkey doesn’t even absord that much oil.

Then there is dressing vs. stuffing.  As much as I love bread, I am not really a fan of either.   Oh, and cranberries.  What about mashed potatoes?

What is the traditional cooking style of turkey for your family?  What Thanksgiving food traditions does your family have?

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Stuffed – State Of The Turkey

Posted by terrepruitt on November 23, 2010

For many of us, Thanksgiving is almost here, at least in the United States.  For many, Thanksgiving is about food.  Turkey dinner.  I am not saying that giving thanks is not done, I am just saying that sometimes dinner is a very high priority.  With the holidays is seems as if there people give themselves permission to over eat.  Sometimes it is not even conscious.  Eating is such a social thing sometimes we could be doing it and not even really be aware.  So in order to help ensure that it is really only the turkey that is stuffed this season remember all of the party eating ideas that you have heard.

Drink a lot of water.
This will help keep you full and hydrated.  Plus if you always have a full glass people will not ask you if you want a cocktail which typically is a high calorie drink.

–Position yourself away from the appetizers. 
This can minimize the talking, grazing, listening, grazing, laughing situation that sometimes results in standing right next to a table full of finger foods.

–If you are hungry BEFORE the event, eat.
Eat something really filling and healthy.  The idea is that you will be full when you get to your destination and be less likely to graze at the appetizer table or fill up on unhealthy choices.

–Give yourself extra incentive to stay away from the holiday cocktails, by being the designated driver.
Then you can easily say, “No, thanks, I’m driving.”  And not have to fight off that well-meaning bartender that loves to make certain everyone is having a great time (with a drink)!

–Fill your plate with salad and greens.
Then barely use the salad dressing.  This will help keep you plate too full for a lot of the higher calorie items and help keep you full.

–Don’t fill you plate with vegetables that are in a casserole, cream, or covered in sauce.
The other ingredients in the casserole, the cream, and/or the sauce will make that veggie more calories.

–Take a bit of everything you want from the beginning. 

Don’t fall into the “oh my plate is too full, I’ll go back for it”.  Just take enough of everything to allow you a taste without planning on going back.  Often times we are full but since we said we were going to go back and get something because we didn’t try everything, we do.  We go back for that one thing and often times end up getting additional things because they were good.  So we end up with even MORE than we had planned.

–Scope out the food before you start filling your plate.
You know what I am talking about.  You’ve done it, you’ve heard other people say it, “Oh, I wouldn’t have gotten so much of the xxx, if I’d had known there was yyyy.”  So if you have a buffet style meal, walk the line.  See what there is make a plan.  If it is a sit down where things are passed, you can still see what is being served before you take a huge helping of one thing.

–Be mindful. 
Be aware of what you are eating AND drinking.  If you really want that pie a la mode, then maybe a small spoonful of mashed potatoes will do ya, instead of the heaping spoonful.  Also, being mindful has to do with your individual health goals.

Maybe you aren’t a calorie counter, but you do work to avoid the Transfat . . . so that means you might opt for the ice cream or plain pie instead of the low-calorie non-dairy whipped topping.  Just because it is the holidays and we are celebrating doesn’t mean we have to throw away our good eating habits.  Enjoy, but do it consciously.  Don’t end up stuffed like the turkey.

FYI:  I will be having my regularly scheduled Nia classes.  Wednesday at 9:30 am in Willow Glen (day before Thanksgiving) and Friday at 9:30 am in Los Gatos (day after Thanksgiving).  —Thanksgiving 2010

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Think then Move

Posted by terrepruitt on November 20, 2010

Aside from teaching my Nia classes on Wednesday and Friday I have done NOTHING this week.  Let me explain.  Tuesday I was sitting on the couch and my cat meowed my instructions and before I got up I thought, “The table is close.” And I jumped up and moved toward the sliding glass door to open it, and slammed my foot into the coffee table.  I immediately went to the ground and felt my big toe, my toe next to the big toe, the middle toe, and the little toe.  Somewhere in the depths of my brain I must have known, the second to the last toe was . . . broken? . . . because I didn’t touch it.  Well, I am not sure but it WAS bent at an odd angle and already—within a matter of seconds—turning blue.  Yeah, I did SOMETHING.

So I, actually by today, I can’t remember what I did right after that, but I know it was not too long after that I had put Zheng Gu Shui on it and lacking medical tape, I used two band aids to tape the bent toe to the middle toe.  I stretched out on the couch with my foot up.  I suffered with a throbbing foot.  I kept looking at it willing it to be fine.  I stared at it thinking, “Be ok! Be ok! Be ok!”  Knowing I had done some damage.  I suffered with it taped for a little while then I thought, “Really?  Did it hurt this bad when it was NOT taped?”  No, it didn’t, so I took the band aids off and was so relieved.

I laid around.  I looked up info on the internet.  One website said to seek medical attention because they could possible reset it.  I worried.  I debated.  I decided to call the advice nurse.  I talked to advice nurse who said NOT to tape them together and that they don’t really do anything for little toes.

So what I have been doing all week is thinking.  I think every time before I move.  The very first day I wore out my knees by crawling and my toe does not like facing the ground.  So I have been thinking of other ways to get where I need to go.  I have been calculating if I can roll to my destination.  I consider the distance before I begin the hop.  I dread the moment I have to carry something because I have to traverse the distance in a crawl.  I scoot up and down the stairs. It is so odd to have to STOP before I move and THINK.  Normally I just go without thinking, but now, I have to stop.  Before I move from where I am I think, “What is here in my reach that I might need once I move?  How can I carry it to where I am going?  How am I going to get where I am going?”  Granted, I am very blessed that I only have to think about moving around our house, but still, it is such an odd situation.  Yet it is giving me the opportunity to be aware and to think of different ways to move.  It is amazing to me the different ways the body can move.  I understand now why some babies prefer to roll from place to place instead of crawl.

The comical thing is that I had thought before more about how to move before I moved when I hit my toe, I wouldn’t be in this situation.  I knew that the table was too close, but I proceeded anyway.  Presently, I evaluate my entire path before I even start towards my destination.  It is so amazing what an injury can make you think about.

What about you?  Ever been in a situation where you have to think before you move?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Carbohydrate Reminder

Posted by terrepruitt on November 18, 2010

Sometimes we need to be reminded about things . . . at least I do.  This is a brief stripped down reminder.

Carbs equal sugar in the body

Excess sugar equals excess insulin

Excess carbs equal excess insulin

Excess insulin equals increased appetite and a spike in dopamine

Dopamine is the pleasure hormone.

When you get a rush of pleasure with what you eat it tends to encourage you to eat more for more pleasure.  To get that rush.

This type of situation can cause cravings for simple carbs.  This could be an addiction to simple carbs.

So carbohydrates are not unhealthy it is the simple ones that are the culprits.  When there is too many they rush into the body’s system and cause all the excess.  Then it becomes a vicious cycle.

Excess insulin also signals the body to store the excess carbs as fat.

Exercise helps burn off calories.  Nia is a great exercise to burn off the calories.  🙂

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Non-Impact Aerobics

Posted by terrepruitt on November 16, 2010

Nia is a non-impact aerobic exercise.  I often get a quizzical look when I explain that to people.  It is done to music so maybe that might make it a challenge for people to understand.  It’s almost as if it is difficult to imagine a dance exercise class that is non-impact.  Or maybe it is the idea that we have been programmed with–you have to jump to get a good cardio workout.  But that’s when I need to remind them about:

—bicycling
—walking up hill
—elipical
—roller skating
—ice skating
—cross country skiing
—swimming
—rowing machine
—punching bag

All of these things can get your heart rate going without impact on the body.  It is a matter of intensity.  That’s what non-impact cardio is; getting your heart rate up with the level of intensity.   With the aforementioned exercises eight of them involve your legs, four of them involve your arms AND legs.  One of them doesn’t involve legs at all.  intensity–enough to bring the heart rate up–can be done by moving your arms only.  So, this is just a reminder, using exercises that most of us are familiar with, that you CAN have a cardio workout without the impact.  So if you have knees that prefer not to jump, tender feet, or delicate ankles you can still find something to do that is a cardiovascular workout.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Exercise Ensurance

Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2010

The Fall weather, sometimes winter conditions upon us now–at least in my area — the San Francisco Bay Area —it is the perfect time to try out some indoor exercise. With the weather being unpredictable it is nice to have a class that you can count on. If you can find an indoor class that you can participate in three times a week that is great. It is often recommended to do a type of aerobic or cardio exercise three times a week — depending upon your goals. If you are doing cardio for weight loss or for cardiovascular health it requires consistent and frequent sessions. Sometimes it can be a matter of just having that class available three times a week so when the weather doesn’t cooperate with any other plans you might have you have the option of going to a class.

I believe that you need to find something that you like, no matter what it is be it Zumba, Jazzercise, Cycling, or Kickboxing or a cardio workout that engages your body, mind, and spirit like Nia. Whatever you find that you like you need to do it and not let the weather — the cold-I-want-to-sit-on-my-couch-in-sweats weather — sit you down. What is so great is that you have all of these things available to you. If you live in San Jose or around San Jose anywhere in the Bay Area you have all of the aforementioned classes and more available to you. I myself lead Nia classes three times a week. That alone gives you at least three opportunities for you to move, groove, and get your cardio on.

I look forward to you joining me for at least one cardio session a week! So yes, I am using this post to promote my classes, but I am so excited to have added a third class, I just can’t help it. I had one student say to me, “This is perfect because I was just thinking about adding a third day of cardio to my routine. I am so glad to have three days of Nia.” Perfect timing. I hope you will think of it as perfect timing too and take the opportunity to come to Nia, one day, two days, or even all three days.

What do you do when the weather turns cold? Do you have an exercise you turn to for the cold winter months?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Loose Feeling Joints

Posted by terrepruitt on November 11, 2010

Recently in my San Jose Nia Class we used elbows as our focus for the class.  The intent was to sense the connection that our elbows have to our entire body.  As we moved we connected them to our hips, our ribs, our thighs, our knees, even our toes.  An easy and almost automatic connection is elbows to shoulders.  Well, for me, this focus allowed me to move my joints to a state of complete and utter looseness.  I felt very loose and relaxed all day long.

That same evening I went to an Ecstatic Dance class and I almost felt as if I could bend like a contortionists.  Notice I said ALMOST.  In reality I could not bend like that, but I was sensing a greater flexing in my joints than normal.  Since I was actually aware of this and sensing it I decided to move with caution.  When I get the opportunity to just Free Dance with others that are doing their own thing I really end up moving.  I work up a sweat and get a really great workout.  But this time since I felt my joints might be able to bend more than normal I kept reining myself in.  I didn’t want to end up injuring myself.

I thought of my former dance teacher who used to do very deep stretches with her legs.  Since she COULD stretch so deep she would do it all the time thinking she was doing her body good.  But it turned out that all of that stretching ended up putting too much strain on her ligaments.  She ended up having to have several surgeries on her knee.  She was double jointed or had knee joints that hyperextended.  If you are double jointed it is good to use caution when moving because just because you CAN move like that doesn’t mean it is good for you to do so repeatedly.   The focus of this post is more about loose joints and not double-jointedness.

It is very important to stretch and be flexible, but there sometimes is a point when we are too loose or more accurately too loose to just let loose.  We need to know when to rein it in and take it easy.  Listening to our body and using body knowledge and awareness we can help from allowing ourselves to get injured.  If you normally cannot do a particular move but today you sense that you can, stop and think can you really?  Is your body ready?  If you are sure then by all means do it because doing what we couldn’t do before but can do now, is how we grow and progress.  But if you are not sure then maybe you want to wait until you are certain because you don’t want to end up having to start all over if you injure yourself.  If your joints are not used to a deep stretches then work slowly into it.  If you have done a juicy yoga class or Nia has all your joints open and saying “Ahhh!” but your joints are not always that loose – proceed with care doing any additional exercise.  Be sure to enjoy the sensation of happy joints.

Have you ever sensed the sensation of loose joints?

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Progressive Overload

Posted by terrepruitt on November 9, 2010

I teach Nia which is a cardio-dance type workout and I say cardio-dance “type” because it is a cardio workout that we do to music.  Yet, it also allows the opportunity for strengthening of the muscles, increasing flexibility, improving stability and agility, and boosting mobility.  All of this could happen without you even realizing it because it is all done to music in a type of dance.  Or you could actually try to improve your abilities in progression.  In other fitness modalities they call it progressive overload.  You can actually decide to increase your abilities and work towards that.

Progressive overload is increasing the challenge in increments so that the body keeps adjusting accordingly to the new stress.  As long as the body perceives it as new the system will continue to adjust.  The challenge in Nia could be a variety of things; you could put your arms up higher to give you greater mobility in your shoulders, you could move them faster to increase your agility, or you could do all of this continually to increase your cardio vascular health. There is always an occasion in a routine where you can bend deeper which could strengthen the lower body and again this is a way to raise your heart rate especially if you do it at a great speed.

If you are doing something other than Nia the changes could be another wide variety of things; actually changing the exercise you are doing, doing exercises longer, doing more during a workout session, or increasing the amount of workout sessions.  If using resistance increasing the resistance would be considered an overload.  Whatever you want to improve you would increase the challenge in increments giving the body something new to learn and overcome.

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