Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Archive for February, 2012

Mushrooms – Not a Superfood, But Super Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 28, 2012

My family has always eaten mushrooms.  I have not.  I remember a time when I didn’t like them.  I remember that I started liking them. Not too long after I started liking them, my grandfather, who was the one that cooked them how I liked them, starting his bizarre food behaviors.  The way he cooked the mushrooms by which I started liking them was sauteing them with browned butter and a ton of garlic.  Then he started adding all types of things, things that might not actually belong mixed together.  But my grandfather’s decline is not the subject of this post.  Neither is the fact that he was the one that introduced me to mushrooms.  The subject of this post is mushrooms.  There was a time and I mentioned it before in my Some Foods Can Boost Your Immune System post, when mushrooms were not thought to have much nutritional value.  In fact, I remember my mother and I talking about that.  We had thought that mushrooms were pretty much nationally void.  But now-a-days that is not the case.  Mushrooms are not a superfood, but they do have nutritional value.

Mushrooms are a fungus.  There are many kind, I know, but I am talking about the plain white variety.  The ones that really go with almost anything savory.  I mean the other kind are good, but some of them have a very strong flavor so they might drown out a delicate sauce or flavor.  But the white ones are pretty plain, so you can make them any flavor you’d like — pretty much.  At the same time receive their nutritional benefits.

Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked.  When I eat them raw it is usually in a salad or in as part of a veggie tray with dip.  Oh, we also do use them as a dipper when eating cheese fondue.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,Per the USDA Nutrient Database the nutritional value for about 3.5 oz of mushrooms is:

about 27 Calories

Carbohydrates 4.1 g

Fat 0.1 g

Protein 2.5 g

Thiamine (vit. B1)  0.1 mg (9%)

Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.5 mg (42%)

Niacin (vit. B3) 3.8 mg (25%)

Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.5 mg (30%)

Vitamin C 0 mg (0%)

Calcium 18 mg (2%)

Phosphorus 120 mg (17%)

Potassium 448 mg (10%)

Sodium 6 mg (0%)

Zinc 1.1 mg (12%)

So with that information we can see there is a good amount vitamin B in mushrooms.  It seems that mushrooms can be forced to make vitamin D.  The process can be compared to how we convert sunshine on our skin to vitamin D.  Mushrooms have a chemical called ergosterol, which, when exposed to UV light is converted to vitamin D.

Wiki states:  “Testing conducted by the Pennsylvania State University showed an hour of UV light exposure made a serving of mushrooms contain twice the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s daily recommendation of vitamin D. Testing by the Monterey Mushrooms Company demonstrated 5 minutes of UV light exposure made a serving of mushrooms contain four times the FDA’s daily recommendation of vitamin D.”

Which is funny to me because I thought mushrooms preferred dark.

On Fresh Mushrooms their antioxidant contents is cited.  Antioxidants are good for the immune system.  They help protect the cells from damage from free radical, which are thought to be the cause of many diseases.  Mushrooms contain the antioxidant Ergothioneine and the mineral Selenium which works as an antioxidant.

I love mushrooms.  I am happy that they are more than just good tasting, they are good for me.  We eat a lot of mushrooms.  Do you?  How many times a week would you say you have mushrooms?  How do you prepare them?  Do you eat them raw or do you cook them?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blood Pressure Monitors – It’s All In the Wrist

Posted by terrepruitt on February 25, 2012

Are wrist blood pressure monitors accurate?  I was wondering because my blood pressure seems low when I use my wrist blood pressure monitor.  I know meditative body mind practices like Nia can help keep blood pressure down, but it seems really low.  The first thing I looked at on the internet made me laugh.  The question was, “How accurate are wrist blood pressure monitors? Mine consistently shows a lower blood pressure reading than that taken by my doctor.” And a portion of the answer said, “blood pressure measurements taken at the wrist are usually higher and less accurate than those taken at your upper arm.” 

I often think that blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office is higher just due to the stress of being at the doctor’s office.  Even if you don’t have what they call “white coat syndrome” sometimes the stress of getting to the doctor’s office (maybe there is traffic, or you have had to interrupt your busy life to take time to go to the doctor), the stress of WHY you are at the doctor’s (most of us don’t go to the doctor when we are healthy and feeling fine, so the fact that we are there could be stressful), or the stress of having to wait (often times we don’t get called in by our appointment time, or we do and we are stuck sitting on the table) can be causes for higher blood pressure readings than normal.  I think that a blood pressure reading at home is more accurate because you are IN your life.  You are IN your normal stresses.  That is why I was wondering about the wrist cuffs because I think the situation (home monitor) is more ideal then doctor office monitoring.  But with mine showing lower than I would expect I was wondering.  It isn’t actually LOW, it is just lower than I expect.  Because what I usually do is think, “Oh, I should check my blood pressure.” as I am downstairs so I run upstairs and try to sit and wait before taking it, but I end up pressing the button and just seems lower than I would guess because I was just moving around.

The American Heart Association states:

Blood Pressure
Category

 
Systolic mm Hg (upper #)  
  Diastolic mm Hg
(lower #)
Normal     less than 120 

and

less than 80
Prehypertension      120 – 139

or

80 – 89
High Blood Pressure 
(Hypertension) Stage 1 
 
140 – 159

 
or

 
90 – 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2 
 
160 or higher 

 
or

 
100 or higher

Just like with all information I found conflicting information.  I found information stating that wrist monitors were good and I found information stating they were not accurate.  The main concern regarding accuracy was arm position.  The common statement was that the readings accuracy is affected by the arm position so if the arm was not properly placed the reading could be wrong.  Makes sense, but I was not truly understand why resting one’s left elbow on a table so that the right and monitor were at heart height would be such a challenge to people using a wrist monitor.  I also found information stating that wrist monitors were more expensive than arm cuffs, but then the monitors that I saw being advertised on the internet were less than the cuff ones.  So, again, a lot of conflicting information.  I did see information stating that wrist monitor quality (meaning reading accuracy) had improved a lot  I personally think that cuff blood pressure monitor, the kind where you put your arm in the cuff and secure it around your upper arm, is more accurate.  However, I also believe they are more expensive, so I bought a wrist monitor.

If you are interesting in having a blood pressure monitor at home, I suggest you buy one from a place that allows you to return it.  Then when you go to the doctor take your monitor and take your blood pressure with it to compare to the doctor’s blood pressure monitor.  If it is not accurate then you can return it to where you bought it. 

There is a technique for ensure your arm is in the correct position when using a wrist monitor that could be easier than the elbow-table method.  Cross you arm over your heart, as if you are holding your right shoulder in your left hand.  This ensures no movement and that the monitor is above the heart/level with the heart.  Don’t hold your shoulder just let your fingers rest on the front of your shoulder.  I thought this was an excellent method.

Are you thinking about owning a blood pressure monitor?  Wrist or arm cuff?  Do you already have a blood pressure monitor at home? Wrist or arm cuff?  Do you get a little “white coat syndrome” at the doctor’s office?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Lent – Give It Up, Change Your Life

Posted by terrepruitt on February 23, 2012

Before Nia class on Wednesday, I was talking with one of my students and she was sharing something with me I found to be an interesting idea. She said that her religion does not practice lent so she doesn’t normally participate, but last year she did and it was an amazing experience so this year she decided to do it again. The time frame for lent is generally from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. This is the period of time where practitioners prepare themselves for Easter “through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial”*. In our society it translates to giving something up. Since Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert a common practice of lent was fasting. Now-a-days it seems as if the focus is on giving up some type of food for lent. My Facebook newsfeed during lent is usually full of post from people suffering through their lack of coffee, fast food, donuts, alcohol, soda, sugar, pizza, bread, cupcakes, gum, meat, candy, etc. Whatever is difficult for them to give up, they give up. For many I think that they really do challenge themselves and often I am amazed, but what my student decided to give up really had me thinking. I could easily live without my favorite food item or beverage for 40+ days, but her lent “items” would require a huge amount of self-control and thought. Last year for lent she gave up self-pity and self-criticism. This year she is giving up the idea of scarcity.

Now on the surface none of these things might sound as if they should be considered true items to give up for lent, but think again. Many people love to live in the pity-pool. In fact people have created pictures, signs, posters, and post-ups about how others are tired of those who are constantly having a pity party. It is easy to look at something that has happened in one’s day and think that the entire day is bad and “Whoa-is me. Now my whole life is bad.” I can see how for some this would be a challenge. I think that for me this would be the easier of the challenge because when I did start to wallow, I could easily recognize it. For me it is easier to spot than self-criticism.

I think the self-criticism is an awesome thing to give up for lent. Some people just do this out of habit or to be polite. We are taught to be modest so when a compliment is given we shoot back with a, “Oh normally, I can’t . . . . ” “Oh usually, my hair is a mess.” . . . or whatever and we criticize ourselves. I believe it is true that many of us are our harshest critics, so imagine if you couldn’t do it for 40+ days. While this certainly does not fit into the fasting category, I don’t see why it would not be an acceptable thing to give up for lent. I would think that God of all beings would want us to stop with the criticizing of ourselves and to get on with the loving.

Then this year’s, the scarcity. I might not have her idea completely right. We talked about it a bit, but not that long, because this all happened in the few minutes before class. I am going to recap as best I can but also add a little and probably go off away from her original idea a bit, but I think it is best to form it in a way that would best fit into your lent. The original thing she said to me was to give up the idea of scarcity, meaning to stop thinking that there isn’t enough. Usually there is enough we just tend to think there isn’t, so if we give up thinking there is not we can actually relax and see that there is. For her on that very morning, she woke up and thought there wasn’t enough time to attend the Nia class. But then she stopped and allowed her self to “be” and her heart told her that it wanted to dance and that there IS, there would be enough time to go to class and then get things done. So she came to class.

She had also mentioned how some people truly do not have enough. Enough whatever; enough food, enough water, enough heat, enough shelter, enough love, enough etc. So, being blessed with all of that she wanted to practice recognizing that it all is enough. As I type this it occurred to me that with that in mind, with practicing recognition, one could also possibly allow things to flourish on their own. Amazing. I like the idea of giving up something besides food. But even so, with either giving up a favorite food or giving up one of these other things mentioned it could lead to a lifestyle change. Maybe once someone lives without soda for 40+ days they won’t go back. Maybe once the pity party is unattended they’ll see it really isn’t that great of a party after all. Maybe there will be more self compliments. And I believe that there will be enough if we acknowledge there is enough.

What do you think? Are you a lent practitioner? What do you give up?

*quote from Wiki

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Sometimes It Takes More Than a Smile Not to be SAD

Posted by terrepruitt on February 21, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Campbell Nia, Nia CampbellSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) per the U.S. National Library of Medicine is “episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.”  Interestingly, “Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.”  According to Wiki “Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder”.   I remember when it was declared a “real” disorder.  It really sounds as if this type of disorder can become very serious.  There are general symptoms that are common when someone is depressed; difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking, sleeping too much, not sleeping, over eating, not eating, gaining weight, losing weight, not socializing, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and so on.  It seems as if any depression, if left untreated and it continues, could become serious.  This type of depression is no different. 

I was surprised to see that it is treated somewhat the same way as other depression with both drugs and therapy.  Since it is caused by lack of sunlight I hadn’t thought of using medication or talking about it to help it.  But I guess that if you are depressed and antidepressants make you not depressed they would work no matter what the cause.  And talk therapy helps with all types of depression too.  The Mayo Clinic states the causes for SAD to be possibly your body’s rhythm being “off” due to the lack of light, so your body doesn’t know when to sleep and when to be awake, the serotonin levels being low, this is the chemical in the brain that affects your mood, so low levels could be a cause of depression, then there is melatonin levels which regulates sleep so this hormone can be off balance and affect one’s mood.

With that said, I would think that doing things to help make certain your clock stays regular would help.  Make certain you keep to a strict bedtime and rising time in the morning.  Also eating foods that can increase levels of serotonin might help.  Good foods to eat include bananas, papayas, walnuts, and dates.  (Mmmm, sounds like a recipe for a smoothie!)

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, I found the following list on: Muscle-Health-Fitness.com

 1) Free Range Turkey
 2) Flaxseed/ Flaxseed oil
 3) Buckwheat
 4) Wild Fish and Sea food
 5) Whey protein
 6) Bananas
 7) High quality Eggs
 8) Sour Cherries
 9) Free Range Beef
 10) Dark Chocolate

According to Livestrong foods that boost your melatonin are rice, barley, bananas and tomatoes.  Melatonin is also found in tart cherries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and red radishes.  Which again, if low levels of this hormone are thought to play a role in SAD, then increasing the levels would seem to be a logical step.

The thing I see most is light therapy.  But it doesn’t work for everyone.  It needs to be a bright light, one that is like the sun.  I found a variety of lights on Amazon ranging from $60.00 to $600.00.   With this type of therapy you sit in front of the light for a prescribed amount of time per day. 

Another way to fight depression is to exercise.  Exercise is always going to help because it increases your endorphins.  The endorphins create a positive feeling in the body.  Feeling positive helps with depression.  For me dancing is both a great exercise and a great way to get happy.  That is one reason why I love Nia because it really does make me happy.  But, of course there is all types of exercise to help get those endorphins up.  So anything that you will actually do . . . is GREAT!

I think SAD is much more widely accepted as an actual disorder than it once was.  There are so many things and ways that we are educated and allowed to see how people live and feel.  We probably all know at least one person living in an area where they might be susceptible to SAD.  Even if you don’t feel you have felt depression because of the weather, maybe you have things you do that make you happy and get you out of a funk.  What are they?  What do you do that help make you happy?  Share with us here and maybe they can help someone who is SAD.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

HelpYouWell.com Got a New Look!

Posted by terrepruitt on February 18, 2012

After three years of teaching Nia and promoting it via my website, I have moved my website to a different host.  Sometimes it is nice to have a new look to things.  I don’t necessarily always feel the need for a new look.  Since I have limited time I don’t always enjoy going to a site that I visit often and have it be completely revamped so I have to spend extra time on it to find what I need.  But, I understand that it is nice to change things and have a fresh look.  Sometimes there are other reasons to change things, there might be other benefits that are sought so it is all just part of the change.  My site is still the best source for my Nia Class Schedule because even though I have been teaching at the same place for three years* sometimes there are changes.  Sometimes it is out of my control, like when one of the studios I teach at moves my class time, but sometimes I am holding a special class or announcing an additional Nia class (new Nia Class in Campbell).  Either way, it is best to always check my site for any adjustments that might occur in my Nia Class Schedule.  Otherwise you can find the same information on my new site as you could my old site.  The way is it arranged is slightly different as I put more of the information under headings instead of having the long list of pages on the side.  The new look to HelpYouWell.com is a nice way to start off 2012!

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout,My site still contains the following information:  How Nia started, What is Nia, Seven Cycles of Nia, Main Benefits of Nia, Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience, Nia’s Principles of the Body’s Way, Tips for Moving with Nia, a list of Nia’s 52 Moves, Nia’s Belt List, Indexes for the Nia Technique Book, and a few other things.  New is a list and map of locations where I hold Nia Classes

Because I switched to a new host I have to go through all of my blog posts and update my links, both the hotlinks in the text AND the pictures.  Not sure everyone even realizes that the different color words in a post are links to other things.  Usually they link to my site, so since the page addresses have changed, I am working on going through all 491 posts.  If you click on a link and it does not work, then I have not gotten to that one yet.  I always welcome the information though, so if you want to let me know, I would appreciate it.  So far I have made it through September 2011, and May 2009.

*I have been teaching at the same place for three years.  I am still at the studio in the Willow Glen area of San Jose.  For three years I have had a Monday and Wednesday morning class at 9 am.  I would love for you to join us one of these days.  I make it a point to teach on Holidays because since it is a morning class that is the time when many people can make it.  When they have the time off of work.  So if you ever have the opportunity please join us.  We are there every Monday and Wednesdays (do check the schedule, though). 

Well, I hope you will take two minutes to click through my new site.  Let me know what you think.  You can comment or contact me through the contact page on my website.  Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

So?  What do you think?

Posted in Misc, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Leeks Are Awesome

Posted by terrepruitt on February 16, 2012

If you’ve read a few of my “recipes” you have probably figured out one of my go-to meals is ground turkey.  It is so easy to cook with and to make into almost anything, using any flavor.  I cook it with whatever vegetable I have around or new one I want to experiment with.  I usually start by sauteing an onion then I add food accordingly.  I find that most of the time I need to cook at least one of the veggies first.  I feel some vegetables need to be cooked more than turkey, like mushrooms.  But broccoli is one that gets added when the turkey is almost cooked.  My latest veggie to add to my turkey is a leek.  I was in Campbell this weekend signing the studio contract where I am going to have my new evening Nia Class and the city of Campbell has a great farmer’s market.  While I was walking down the aisle I saw leeks and I thought, “I should add that to the turkey.”  So I bought one.  I have never cooked with a leek before.  I was thinking I would saute a little bit of onion then put the leek in then saute it then add the turkey.  But when I chopped up the leek it smelled so onion-y I decided I didn’t need to use an onion.  I mean leeks do belong to the same family as onion and garlic.  After cooking the turkey until it was almost done, I added some broccoli.  When the broccoli was almost done I added a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream cheese with chives.  The leeks have such a great flavor I loved them.  I am going to cook with them more often.

According to WHFoods vegetables in the same family as leeks, such as onions and garlic supply their nutrients better if they sit for about 5 minutes after cutting before cooking.  Furthermore since they all belong to the same family leeks have many of the same health benefits.

Leeks have a lot (over 50% of the daily value) vitamin K.  They also have a large quantity of vitamin A. They contain vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B9 (folic acid). They also have a flavanoid shown in research to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage.  Leeks also contain compouds that convert to allicin and this has been shown to help relax blood vessels by producing of nitric oxide (NO).  With all this good stuff they do for our blood vessels it seems logical they will add to cardiovascular health.

Since leeks are so onion-y for me it will be easy to include them in our diet either cooked right into our food to add an additional layer of flavor and nutrition or even chopped and raw.  We can add them to our kale salads or throw them in with our quinoa.  I am definitely going to add them in my soups.  I think the more vegetables I add to our soups the better.

I really was impressed with the flavor that the leeks add to this dish.  I thought they were amazing!

(I took this picture to post to Streamzoo just to show our dinner fixings.  I didn’t know I was going to post about leeks until I tasted them and loved them.  the leeks are the green things chopped up on the right.)

Do you include leeks in your diet?  How?  Do you cook them?  Do you eat them raw?

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Some Foods Can Boost Your Immune System

Posted by terrepruitt on February 14, 2012

Our local warehouse store puts out a magazine, it is called The Costco Connection. In the February 2012 issue there was an article about “Foods to protect your immune system”, by Carl Germano. The magazine said that Whey Protein, cultured yogurt, mushrooms, elderberry, garlic, and oats helps protect the immune system.

Whey protein is a by-product of cheese from cow’s milk. So it could cause allergic reactions to people with milk allergies. But the article said it is the only protein that contains powerful substances called immunoglobulins. Funny that they use that word instead of the more familiar “antibody”. Antibodies are the much needed part of our immune system that guard against infections by fighting off bacteria and viruses. Antibodies are also made by our immune system in response to foreign objects in the body.

I had always been told to eat only yogurt with “live cultures” (eww, that grosses me out just like yeast!). But back in the day they were not publicly called probiotics and it was not the latest marketing trend. Although, I am thinking that other people also have an aversion to the term “live cultures” and that is why marketing has used “probiotics”. Probiotics help keep the balance in your gut (intestines). And a healthy gut is an important part of the immune system.

Mushrooms are a healthy fungus. This article made me feel much better because all my life I had thought mushrooms didn’t have any nutritional value. This article said “once thought to be nutrient void”. I knew it! I knew they were thought to be “nothing”. They deserve their own separate post! According to Wiki the actions are not understood, some clinical trials are showing results that mushrooms might help fight diseases. I think that anything that fights diseases qualifies as something that helps the immune system, right?

The University of Maryland has information regarding the Elderberry, saying that it has been used to treat wounds for centuries and it is used to treat colds and respiratory issues. Those things alone can point to immune boosts, right? I mean, if it treats a wound it probably helps fight against infection – which is an immune function. If it helps fight colds and respiratory issues – that sounds like something helping the immune system.

ALL MY LIFE, I have been told about the benefits of garlic. My family is huge on eating garlic. My grandfather used to fry it. It is pretty good that way. Strong, but good. (Not deep fried, just fried in a pan.) Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Eating it can help fight bacteria. And Dr. Oz has stated that putting a clove in your ear can help fight off ear infections.

Oats are the cholesterol-lowering food. Oats also have a lot of fiber which we know helps the body maintain balance. According to the article “studies have shown that beta-glucans, powerful immune-regulating compounds . . . . have positive effects in animals and humans.”

So if you eat these things as part of your diet you are helping your immune system. If you don’t, you might want to include them in your diet. If you include them in your diet already, how do you do it? I am really curious about Elderberries in the diet.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Eating Kale – Cooked and Raw

Posted by terrepruitt on February 11, 2012

I have heard about kale chips for I don’t know how long.  I know I have heard about them for a long time.  I had just never gotten around to making them until recently.  After I completey burned beyond salvage, the first batch, I carefully baked the second batch.  I was not impressed.  They were ok, but not something I would actually want to eat enough to make them.  But one of my blog readers, Mike over at Perception is Reality Corner, asked about eating kale raw.  I told him that I had seen information about some nutritional differences between cooked kale and raw kale so that probably means it can be eaten raw.  It is so close to a lettuce (it is considered part of the cabbage family) but it is all the same, right?  I asked him to report back after he had tried it.  He said it was a little bitter, but he liked it.  So on my next trip to the store I bought another bunch of kale.  We have been eating it a lot lately.

With the second batch I bought, I mixed it with a bit of lettuce we had and we ate it in a salad.  It might be bitter raw, but some of the lettuce in the batch was bitter anyway so I couldn’t tell the difference.  I am used to eating lettuce that is bitter so to me it didn’t matter if I was eating bitter lettuce or bitter kale.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia dance, Nia workoutAt the store where I have been purchasing the kale it comes in a rather large bunch so I can use a lot and still have a lot left.  My next dish was a bunch of veggies; mushrooms, onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and kale mixed with quinoa.  Because I think quinoa lacks any type of flavor and I didn’t add enough flavoring to the water when I cooked it, I threw some feta on top of this dish to add an additional layer of flavor.  The vegetables were packed with flavor, but not enough to withstand the nothingness of the quinoa.

Next kale dish was left over rice that I cooked with some zucchini and chicken.  I put the kale in last because I don’t like it really soggy.  I like for my leafy greens to still have a little form to them when I eat them.  They might not have any crunch left, but they are not just a soggy green mess on my plate.  This dish was really yummy.  I put a little bit of feta on it and some chopped water chestnuts.  It was so good that my husband was happy I didn’t go out to get bread because I sent the leftovers to work with him for his lunch.  I always talk about when I was “on my home from Nia” because I tend to run all my errands when I am on my way home from my Nia class.  So if I don’t have a class I don’t always get out to the store when we need something.  So breadless, my hubby got our leftovers.  He didn’t mind because it was really good.

Since then I taught a Nia class and I went to the store and bought bread and what?  Yes, MORE kale.  So today when I couldn’t think of what to have for lunch I decided to use up some leftover steak in a sandwich.  I made a sandwich that I cooked in my panni press.  I thought to take a picture, but I didn’t because I wasn’t going to post about it but then . . . here I am.  Anyway,  I put cheese, steak, and a pile of kale in the sandwich.  This was not so great.  While the flavor was good–of course, what wouldn’t be good meat and cheese—I didn’t rip up the kale enough so as I bit the sandwich the kale came out in big pieces.  I was not able to bite through it.  So to fix that, next time I will tear up the kale into little pieces.  But using kale on a sandwich just like lettuce worked.

Then tonight – and this is why I decided to blog about cooking with kale – I added kale to our meal again.  This time I used mushrooms and pasta instead of zucchini and rice.  And it was just as good.  I cook the base vegetable first, the one I want to cook the longest, in this case the mushrooms, then I add the chicken (it was already cooked so I was just warming it), then I rip the washed kale into pieces and toss it in the pan.  I even turn the heat off at this point.

So that is how I am adding another green to my diet.  How about you?  Have you made the kale chips?  Have you eaten it in a salad?  Kale in your pasta?  What are you doing to add kale to your diet?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Creative Source – The Real You – FreeDance Stage 4

Posted by terrepruitt on February 9, 2012

In Nia we have FreeDance.  FreeDance allows for so many things.  One way we FreeDance is we dance to the music with no choreography.  We let our bodies sense the music and allow it to move us.  When we let our body move freely without thinking and without judging it is a great workout.  Many of the Nia Routines have songs where there is no choreography and we just FreeDance, and many of the routines have choreography in addition to FreeDance.  Our feet might have set patterns, but our arms and hands are free.  Or our arms and hands might have the pattern and our feet are free.  Many combinations of dance, choreography, and body parts.  Nia FreeDance also has stages.  A Nia teacher can call upon these stages for many things.  The stages in FreeDance are used for learning a new routine, they might be used as a focus in a class, they might be used for a playshop, we have many options.  In Nia FreeDance the fourth stage is The Creative Source – The Real You.

With this stage during the White Belt Nia Intensive I participated in, we were instructed to remember a situation and tell ourself the story of the situation and allow ourself to feel the emotion of that situation.  We all walked around the room telling ourselves a story.  Some of us talked out loud, some of us were silent.  All of us used the emotion the story evoked to move.  Our movements might not have been considered a dance by some, because in this stage we are not necessarily dancing.  We are not moving our bodies with the intent of dance, we are allowing the emotion from the story to move our bodies.  Depending upon the story it could appear as if our movements were a dance.  Yet, since we do “dance through life” in Nia, all of our movements are a dance . . . just not the typical dance.  In this stage we are not intent upon dancing.

The purpose of FreeDance is to the purpose of stimulate movement creativity.  So we use the stages to assist in that.  So using a story and the emotions along with the story can really allow for movement we might not have thought to bring to the dance floor.  Some stories we use to practice stage 4 might be happy, some might be sad, some might be filled with anger, whatever the story and the emotion it is what moves us.

In the intensive there was all types of movements when we practiced this stage.  There was stomping, jumping, running, rolling, skipping, punching, kicking, screaming, laughing, smiling, frowning . . . . all types as you can imagine would occure with a group of people with many different stories.  As stated this is a tool to awaken different movement.

When we dance I think that we have a tendency to move in the same pattern.  We might move in different patterns to different types of music or different beats, but there might just be a handful of different patterns.  When we are challenged by using the different tools of Nia, when we practice and play with the eight stages of FreeDance we move in different ways.  Sometimes muscles that don’t normally get to join us in our dance come alive.  They are happy to be allowed to join in on the dance.

Using different muscles than we normally do in our dance fuels the creativity even further.  When you let go and FreeDance you will be surprised.  Here I invite you to try this fourth stage of FreeDance.  I suggest choosing music without lyrics.  Sometimes lyrics and interfere with FreeDance when trying to practice specific stages because lyrics can sometimes compel certain movements or emotions.  So music without lyrics allows for you tell the story and listen to your body’s response to the emotion.

Well, what story are you going to tell?

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

Nutritional Yeast – Not For Rising

Posted by terrepruitt on February 7, 2012

I always want to share with you, what is going on in relation to Nia, but I know that there are other things to share about besides my upcoming new evening Nia class in Campbell (Oh, please forgive me, I am soooooo excited, I just HAD to put it out there.  And, be warned, I will do it again!).  I was walking by my newly purchased container of yeast when I remembered hearing about Nutritional Yeast.  I know I have actually heard about it before, but I dismissed it as regular old yeast but with a fancy name.  Let me remind you I have been afraid of yeast.  Silly, I know, but . . . Anyway . . . when I was growing up my father was really into all the health food stuff.  Stuff that you could not find in any store, but a health food store.  All the stuff people are now eating, most people thought was weird back then.  Not only was it weird, but it was hard to find.  There was not a health food store on every corner and in every mall.  But because of my dad,  I would bet I heard about it way back then.  I just saw it in a recipe recently so I looked it up.  It is not regular yeast.  In fact, it has been deactivated.  See activating and deactivating fungus, come on, can you kinda see why it was a bit scary to me?  So Nutritional Yeast has been deactivated.

According to all the sources I see Nutritional Yeast is used often by vegans and vegetarians because it has a great nutritional value.  Two heaping tablespoons gives you:

ONLY: 1 gram of fat and 5 mgs of sodium (WOW!)

320 mg of potassium
5 g of carbohydrates
4 g of dietary fiber
9 g of protein  (It is a complete protein)

It is FULL of B vitamins.  B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, and B-12.

Although one does not normally just EAT two tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast.  It is added to things.  And again, from what I am seeing you can add it to pretty much anything!  Sprinkle it on all your foods from salad to popcorn.  Put it in a smoothie or added it to a meat marinade.

Informational reports say that it does have a flavor.  What I am seeing is that it has a strong nutty type of flavor.  Some say a cheesy flavor.  So often it will be used to add the flavor of cheese to things.  Whenever I see that I want to go get some.  Then I get to the store and forget.  I even was at the store and bought the aforementioned regular yeast but forgot all about this stuff.

Nutritional yeast is sugar-free and gluten-free.  So it is a great way to get a little bit of flavor and extra nutrition.

Do you use it?  I know a lot of you are much more kitchen/cooky/foodie savvy than me, so you have probably heard about it and even know what it is.  Have you used it?  Have you tasted it?  How would YOU describe its taste?

Tell me, I wanna know!

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »