Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Archive for May, 2012

Might the RoundUp Ready Crops Be Destroying Gut Flora

Posted by terrepruitt on May 31, 2012

When I was looking up information for my post about the RoundUp Ready seeds I came across an article that states that the RoundUp Ready crops are also destroying the flora in our guts.  I don’t know if that is really scientifically sound, but it makes sense at first glance right?  Or it makes sense that all of the crops that we consume that have been sprayed with RoundUp might start killing off the flora in our bodies.  I mean let’s talk about how much RoundUp Ready crops that have been sprayed with RoundUp actually end up in our body.  I am not talking exact numbers because I can’t do that, but let’s just look at some things here.

First let me remind you about the crops that are genetically engineered: soy, alfalfa, corn, rapeseed (AKA the “canola”), and the sugar beets have all been engineered to withstand an herbicide.  With that in mind let’s go through the diet for a day in a hypothetical person;

Eggs, toast with butter, and milk for breakfast.  Eggs that were hatched from a corn fed chicken, bread that probably has some sort of soy product in it, butter (for the toast) and milk from a cow that was fed corn.  So even though breakfast did not contain any of the actual things on the list of RoundUp ready crops, they were consumed via the food eaten.

Popcorn for a snack.  Corn is a genetically engineered crop.

Sandwich and tortilla chips for lunch.  Bread again, with some sort of soy product in it, mayonnaise with corn fed eggs and probably soy oil, cheese from corn fed or alfalfa fed cows.  Tortilla chips made with corn probably fried in soybean oil or the highly touted “healthy” Canola oil.

Dinner might consist of chicken or beef — both corn fed.  A salad probably topped with a dressing containing Canola oil.

It seems as if we might be consuming a lot of 1) genetically engineered food and 2) a lot of residual herbicide.  I just thought that the article was interesting because as I read the title it occurred to me how many different probiotic products I have seen within the past few years.  I have always been taught to eat the yogurt with the live cultures because it was good for you.  It was especially emphasized when taking an antibiotic, but now-a-days you can’t open a magazine or watch TV without seeing at least one advertisement for a probiotic.  There are a lot out there.  I have some probiotic supplements myself.  (I forget to take them, but I have them.)  I am just wondering if the sudden need for probiotics has to do with the genetically engineered food supply.

I had always thought it had more to do with the idea that a huge portion of the population does not get enough dietary fiber.  I think that has a link to highly processed foods.  Which when you think about it most of the highly processed foods are made from the corn, the soy, and the canola (FKA genetically engineered rapeseed).  So there could be a link.  I think our food and the nation’s health is connected.  Not sure if genetically engineered crops are killing off our gut flora, but it is something to think about.

What do you think?  Do you think that we could be destroying our gut flora?  Do you think there is a link between that and all the probiotic products?

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

Do You Know What RoundUp Ready Means?

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2012

Have you heard the term “RoundUp Ready”?  Round up is an herbicide, a plant killer.  Farmers use it to kill weeds.  They kill the weeds with an herbicide in order to not have to till the soil.  Not having to till the soil to destroy the weeds saves time and money.  The way that farmers can use a poisonous plant killer on the food crops without killing the crop is that the seeds of the crops are “RoundUp Ready”.  Certain seeds have been genetically engineered to withstand the effects of Roundup.  I’ll repeat that so you don’t have to go back:  RoundUp Ready is where certain seeds have been genetically engineered to withstand the effects of the plant killer, glyphosate (Roundup).  So the plants that surround the crop will die when the area is sprayed with the herbicide, but the crop itself will survive.  Scientists have created seeds for food to be consumed that can outlast the effects of poison.

Monsanto’s website states:  “Roundup Ready® Soybeans were commercialized in 1996, followed by alfalfa, corn, cotton, spring canola, sugarbeets and winter canola, which contain in-plant tolerance to Roundup® agricultural herbicides. This means you can spray Roundup agricultural herbicides in-crop from emergence through flowering for unsurpassed weed control, proven crop safety and maximum yield potential.”  Monsanto is the company that created Roundup and the RoundUp Ready seed.  As you can see their bragging rights include the fact that you can spray poison on the plant from the moment it starts to grow all the way through flowering.  Non-stop poisoning!  Yay!  But that is ok because the plant, the soy, the alfalfa, the corn, the cotton, the genetically engineered rapeseed (AKA the “canola”), and the sugarbeets have all been engineered to withstand the poison.  It won’t die from it, it will just have been treated with it . . . from the beginning to the end.

So, for some of us there is two things here, the food itself has been altered and then it is sprayed with poison.  For some the fact that the food itself has been engineered might not seem like a big deal.  Genetically modified food has been around for ages.  I myself love the mutated peach.  In fact I don’t even like peaches, but I love their mutation, their genetic modification.  Grafting and breeding is different, it is not engineering.  Engineering is — for example — when they take something and make it be able to withstand poison, something that kills all the other plants around it.  Creating something beyond the natural.  For some that makes it something we don’t care to eat.

Then on top of the fact that our food is grown from some type of super seed, it is sprayed with RoundUp.  One of the active ingredients in Roundup is glyphosate.  Glyphosate is not selective in it’s killing of plant life, that is why the seeds of the crops needed to be fortified against it.  In looking for information on glyphsate you will find many sources stating that it causes birth defects in laboratory animals.  Many of the same sources claim that no government will admit that those findings prove it does the same in humans.  I wonder what the guidelines are for that?  To me it sounds like, “We will believe that “this” will cause harm in humans because we see in happening in the lab animals, but, no, we will just ignore that “that” might cause harm in humans even though we see all the damage done in the studies and tests on the lab animals.”  Maybe they toss a coin?  It is probably even more difficult to do studies and conduct tests since the U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped updating its pesticide use database in 2008.

I had been hearing the term “RoundUp Ready” a lot and I decided to find out what it meant.  Now I know.  I thought I would share so now you know too, in case you were wondering.  Also sheds a little light as to the crops that have been genetically engineered and what that means.  Alfalfa, corn, cotton, canola (FKA genetically engineered rapeseed), sugarbeets have been modified at the genetic level to survive being sprayed with poison that kills all other plants around, that’s what RoundUp Ready means.

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

Three Day Weekends and Memorial Day’s National Moment Of Remembrance

Posted by terrepruitt on May 26, 2012

Don’t you love three day weekends?  I remember when I worked a corporate job, three day weekends were looked upon as revered things.  I had been in the mortgage business all my working life and for some reason there was a practice of companies closing a bit early the Friday before a three day weekend.  Rarely was it announced too far in advance, but just sprung upon us a little before lunch.  The management would let us know we would be getting out at 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm.  We would get to start our holiday early!  Eventually it became such a common practice that we kind of began to expect it.  And some companies would even be so kind as to announce the early departure time the day before so that people could actually make plans.  Ahhh, yes, the three day weekend is something corporate America loves.  Sometimes the actually Holiday is forgotten in the joy of having an extra day off.  Forgotten in the excitement of the prospect of gathering with friends.  Forgotten in the moment.  Usually there is a mention of it somewhere and we say, “Oh yeah, THAT’s why we have an extra day off.”  In the case of Memorial Day it really is more than an extra day off, isn’t it?  Because of the people who have served and died in the United States Military, we, in America, have so much more than a day off.

Memorial Day is actually May 30th.  In 1968 an Act was signed into law that changed the federal observance of some holidays to be on Mondays so that federal employees could have a three day weekend.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect on January 1, 1971.   According to the all-knowing Wiki:

“The Act moved Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day from fixed dates to designated Mondays.

The Monday holiday dates this act established are:

Washington’s Birthday: third Monday in February (formerly February 22)
Memorial Day: last Monday in May (formerly May 30)
Columbus Day: second Monday in October (formerly observed on October 12)
Veterans Day: fourth Monday in October (formerly November 11 and subsequently moved back to November 11 effective 1978)

Though the holiday was not in existence at the time, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (established 1983) is celebrated on the third Monday in January, instead of King’s actual birth date, January 15, for the same reasons.”

So it is no wonder we might sometimes forget what the holiday actually was created for, because at one point it DID become about having a three day weekend.

I do hope that you take advantage of the time off and I hope you do enjoy yourself.  I really believe that having time off from work is necessary to help recharge the body, mind, and spirit.  While you are sharing good time with family and friends maybe you can take a minute to remember those that died serving in the military.  In fact, in 2000 there was a White House Memorandum issued that would be a wonderful thing to participate in.  It encourages “Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”  Will you join me?

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Since Nia is a workout/dance/practice that recharges the body, mind, and spirit I am not taking Memorial Day off.  I will hold both my morning Nia class and my evening Nia class which will allow those that are normally working to participate. The focus will be sacrifice and freedom, the intent will be to express gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  If you have a three day weekend, I hope you take advantaqge of that extra day off.  I also hope you will join me for a minute at 3:00 pm this Memorial Day and every Memorial Day and take a moment to remember.

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

Yoga – Pigeon Pose or Nia – Side Yawn

Posted by terrepruitt on May 24, 2012

Just a few posts ago I talked about simple stretches that could possibly bring relief to tight hip flexors and lower back pain.  I referred to a yoga pose called the pigeon pose.  This pose is where one leg is stretched out to the back and the front of the leg (the front of the thigh, the knee, the shin, and the top of the foot and toes) are on the ground, touching the ground, and the other leg is bent at the knee with foot towards the body, but the shin at a right angle to the body.  The hand can hold the foot.  The back is long and straight and upright.  There are variations.  Some are where the leg is bent more and the foot is more pointed toward the opposite hip.  In some the back is still long and straight, but the body is lying over the bent leg.

In Nia the variation is called a Side Yawn.  The leg is bent so the foot is near the opposite hip, as I mentioned above.  The arm on the side of the bent leg is bent while the arm on the side of the outstretched leg is straight with palm on the floor.  As the body lowers to the earth over the bent leg the outstretched arm moves on the ground reaching out further.  Allow the entire body to sink into a comfortable fold.  The lengthened side of the body yawns open.

For the more athletic version there is more weight on the bent leg and instead of just stretching out over the bent leg there are push-ups involved.  Pushing away from the earth and sinking slowly back into it.  After a few push-ups then allow your body to release to gravity and lay over the bent leg.

This is one of the moves that I mentioned were in the back of The Nia Technique Book.  Both the classic version and the athletic version of this move open and release the hips.  With the classic as you sink to the floor the side of the body is receiving a long stretch.  The athletic version enables strengthen of the arms and core.  This move is one where you would do as many repetitions as you would like and then switch to the other side.  Or you could do one side then switch and do the other side.  The point it to be sure that you do both sides.  I would bet, as with most of us, one side is more flexible than the other.

In the Nia routines I do we are often in the pigeon pose or the side yawn pose, but we do not always sink into the yawn.  Often we are dancing with our hands on the floor, not necessarily doing straight up and down push-ups, but using our arms to lower us to the earth and push-off again.  As with all moves each individual is invited to do what is best for their body at that moment in the Nia class.  So some might sink into the yawn.  So usually in addition to stretching our hips we are using our core and our arms in our cool down or floorplay.

Do you ever sense your hips are tight and need stretching?  Might you think to use this stretch to loosen up?

Posted in Nia, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Nutritional Yeast – Follow Up

Posted by terrepruitt on May 22, 2012

Even though I don’t have a Nia class on two of the days I post sometimes it is still a challenge to get my post up.  Other things need to be done.  Anyway . . . .way back in February I posted about Nutritional Yeast.  I can’t remember if I had ordered some at the time of writing that or if I was about too.  I do know that it was in the month of February that I ordered it because I never received it.  One day I heard the delivery person ring the door bell and by the time I got downstairs he was gone.  Dance 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 also hadn’t heard the “thump” of a package being dropped over the fence, but I looked for a package or a note.  I looked in the bushes in front of the fence.  I looked in the area behind the fence.  I found nothing.  The reason I know that I ordered it in February is because just this past weekend (May) my husband found a package in the bushes.  The delivery person HAD to have HURLED the box over the fence for it to have ended up where it did.  I have never had a package end up that far behind the fence so I never even thought to look behind those bushes.  AND the only reason my husband found it is because he cut the bushes down severely.  So I went looking for the e-mails in regards to the non-delivered package and it was from February.  It is funny too because – just within the past two weeks – I decided to buy some Nutritional Yeast from another source.  I have been using it.  I wanted to give you guys and update on MY experience with Nutritional Yeast.

I have been putting it on a lot of things.  The package says, “Sprinkle some on hot popcorn, garlic bread, add a spoonful to cereals, juices, smoothies, or use as a seasoning for salad, soup, gravy, casseroles, and so much more.”  Well, I kinda see how people think of it as cheesy.  It does taste cheesy to me, so my first thought was, “I don’t want cheese in my juice.”  I still think that is weird, BUT . . . I also have a feeling the flavor might be influenced a little bit by what it is added to, so it might add a rich woody flavor to juice.

Dance 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,One thing I find interesting is the information on the nutrition labels.  Both have almost the same calories 80 vs. 70.  Both have the same amount of fat.  Both have the same amount of cholesterol.  One has almost half the sodium as the other.  Both have the same amount of potassium.  The difference in carbohydrates is minimal.  Protein is the same.  What is interesting is the serving size.  In one you get 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons, in the other it is 1 and a half tablespoons.  HALF the size as the other serving size.  Hmmm.  I guess in this case it is better to judge based off GRAMS and not teaspoons.  Dance 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 don’t want to open the one I just received yet.  I think it will last longer if I don’t open it. I would like to know if they taste the same so I am going to wait until I am almost done with the first one before I open the second one.

I have been using it a lot.  At first I barely used any because I didn’t know what it would taste like.  But I rather like the taste to what I have used it in so far.  It adds a cheesy flavor to me.  So I have been using it in things that I have already used cheese in or in things I would like to use cheese in.  I think it makes cheesy things cheesier and helps have the flavor of cheese without the cheese.  For instance I put some one our pita bread pizza the other night with some low fat ricotta.  Ricotta does not really have a flavor, but the Nutritional Yeast added the cheddar type flavor.  I have been putting it on my salads.

I like it.  I would recommend it to people who what to try something new.  I like it because it adds more protein to my diet and I think I need more protein because I am not the biggest meat-eater.

I have a friend who commented on the last post that she does use it.  I have another friend that said she wanted to try it.  What about you?  Have you tried it?  What do you use it in?

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

A Special Dance at a Wedding

Posted by terrepruitt on May 19, 2012

I didn’t teach my Nia class today, I had a wedding to go to.  I love weddings.  About five years ago I was sad because I thought we were done going to weddings because most of my friends were married.  Then about a year ago it dawned on me that the young friends that we have would be getting married eventually, plus there are kids of friends and relatives that would be getting married.  That made me happy.  I love weddings.  Weddings are so wonderful because they are about love, they are about expression of love and expression of oneself and the couple.  People can do whatever they want for weddings and that is one of the things I love.  You love to scuba dive, get married under water!  You love to sky dive, do a jump ceremony!  You love horses, get married on horseback!  You love dogs, let your dog be the ring bearer!  You love to dance, have a reception filled with dancing!  Whatever your hobby, it can be the theme of the reception.  Whatever you want,  you can do.  It is basically a reflection of the couple.  A lot of the time current trends have an impact and people might do the latest thing, but some people do the traditional wedding and reception.  Whatever the case as long as it is what the couple wants then that is what makes it so special.

Dance 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,

Often weddings are in the evening, but this one was at the same time as my Nia class so I couldn’t teach and then rush off to the wedding.  The wedding was in the morning, at 10:15 am.  (Wow!  Now that I think about it, I think this is the first wedding I have ever been to that started on time!  Wow.  I just realized that.)  It is my opinion that they could not have asked for a better day weather-wise.  It was so gorgeous.  There was not a cloud in the sky.  The sky was clear and blue.  The ceremony was performed out in the open so the sun was shining, but there was enough of a cool breeze that kept if from getting too hot in the sun.  It was just perfect.  The setting was amazing.  It is somewhat of a local place that I had never even heard of.  It is a gorgeous spot.  The Pulgas Water Temple.

Dance 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,

After the ceremony the reception was held at the same place that my husband and I got married and had our reception fourteen years ago.  It was so nice to see how the place and “grown” and thrived.  The bride’s room is full of glass cases where they have a favor from the weddings and receptions they hold there.  I spotted ours, but the picture didn’t come out.

The real reason I am posting about this wedding is they did something so lovely at the reception I wanted to share.  I have never seen this done and I loved it so much I wanted to put it out there.  After the bouquet toss, they called all the married couples to the dance floor.  Then they invited all of us to dance including the bride and groom.  Then the DJ started calling off years.  Asking who had been married less than . . . . as they called the number of years couples left the dance floor.  So at the end the couple married the longest was left dancing with the bride and groom.  This might be a tradition of the reception hall because the couple that remained received a bottle of champagne from the bride and groom “and Freedom Hall and Gardens”  I thought it was so cute.  So special.  It is a reminder that marriages can last.

Dance 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,

The couple that remained was the grooms grandparents.  They have been married 61 years.  That is definitely something to celebrate and deserves a bottle of champagne.  Of course, it didn’t even cross my mind that I would be posting about it so I didn’t take a picture of them.  But it really was special.  I love this idea!

The day was gorgeous, the wedding locations was gorgeous, the reception hall was gorgeous, the bride was gorgeous, it was all just gorgeous.  And I really loved the “married couple dance”.  I look forward to the day when my husband and I are the last ones remaining on the dance floor for this very special dance.

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

The Nia Technique Book and Tonight’s Dinner Recipe

Posted by terrepruitt on May 17, 2012

I often have mentioned the 52 Nia Moves.  I am taking my time posting about them, but they are in the Nia Technique Book.  You could always order a copy from Amazon if you are interested.  That is how I started my Nia practice.  In the book after the section on the 52 Nia Moves there are pages and pages of other moves too.  There is the 13 Joint Exercise, explanations of combinations of some of the 52 Nia Moves, Spinal Melts, and T’ai Chi Sways, and many more.  They are organized in the Nia Cycles.  The moves that are part of the warm up are in the Warm up section the more active moves are in the Get Moving section.  Each move has a “Classic” explanation and an “Athletic” explanation.  Nia is done in bare feet so there is no to very little impact, but that does not mean there is no intensity.  Intensity comes from BIGGER moves.  Bigger moves can be more arm movement either faster or further away from the body or both.  Bigger moves can be moving deeper into a move.  So the explanation of “Athletic” contains bigger or faster (or both) movements.  There are over 75 pages of moves.  Each with a set of pictures.  Both the classic and the athletic has pictures.  If you have the slightest interest in Nia or movement in general I would strongly recommend this book.

I felt I had to share that because there really is so much in the book.

That popped into my head as I was sitting here thinking about going to go make dinner.  Here is what we are having:

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaTerre’s version of the Rantings of an Amateur Chef’s recipe:

Cauliflower Stuffed Portobello Caps

4 large Portobello mushroom caps
most of an entire head of cauliflower
3 green onions
1/2 C cooked and chopped bacon
1/3 C milk
3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C shredded Gouda cheese
salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Cook the bacon.

Scrape out the inside of the cap to remove the stem and gills.

Chop the green onions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into large pieces. Steam for 6-8 minutes. Place hot cauliflower into the blender and some of the milk.  Blend. Add milk as needed to achieve a mashed potato-like consistency. Mix with bacon and onions.

Fill caps with cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Sprinkle with shredded chesses.  Put a few onions on top. Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 15 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven.

The first time I made this I didn’t use the bacon and I will be doing that version a lot more often.  It is really good!  But I also wanted to try it with the bacon.

So I am going to go cook, then take pictures and post it all at one time!**

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaDo look at the Ranting Chef’s blog as he cooks some amazing things.  The difference between his recipe and mine is he did not determine from the get go how many mushrooms.  His recipe calls for only one half of the cauliflower head, he used bacon bits out of a package (which is uber smart because it helps keep the recipe easy!), his seasoning is pepper and pepper only, and his instructions are to cook it only for 5 minutes.

I don’t like pepper so what I do is just sprinkle each mushroom individually so that my husband, who likes pepper, can have more of that flavor, while I just barely do a turn of the pepper grinder.  I also like my mushrooms more cooked when they are stuffed.  I have made stuffed small mushrooms and find that I like to cook them a bit before hand.

It’s your turn.  Make this recipe and let me know how you like it.  Let me know how you adjusted it.

**Ok, so I didn’t like it with the bacon, but my husband did.  I like crisp bacon and putting it in with the cauliflower made it just like bits of meat in the mix.  I also forgot to mix the onions IN so ended up with them just on top.  The bacon bits from a package might make it worth it, but dealing with bacon was not worth it to me.

Don’t The Cauliflower Stuffed Portobello Caps sound yummy? 

Posted in "Recipes", 52 Moves (of Nia), Food, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Homemade Hummus – Needs Some Work

Posted by terrepruitt on May 15, 2012

You know I started this blog to share things with you.  I wanted to share about Nia, exercises, things I think are healthy, and stuff I learn.  I don’t think I had thought about posting recipes, but I probably didn’t think I would limit myself from doing so.  It is funny that food posts get the most views and even more fun spark the most conversations.  (I love the bloggey conversations.)  We love our food, huh?  It is universal.  Everyone eats.  Not everyone works out, not everyone dances, not everyone goes to exercise classes, and not everyone does Nia, but everyone eats.  Even though we all eat different things it is still something that we all have in common.

Dance 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,As you might have noticed, when I try a new recipe, or just try making something I sometimes like to share.   Even if the recipe still needs some adjustments I have to start somewhere.  I like to post my recipes because I find myself using my blog when I am going to make something.  I can even be at the store and get the idea that I want to make a certain recipe then I think, “Shoot I don’t know what it is in . . . . ahhhh, but I posted it on my blog!”  So I use my blog at the store to grocery shop sometimes.   Here is a recipe of something that I made that I need to work on.

I haven’t always liked hummus, but once I started eating it.  I really liked it.  There is a brand that my husband found that is really good.  It is smooth and creamy.  We used to eat it often.  But it has Canola Oil in it.  I prefer not to eat Canola oil.  I have always wanted to make my own hummus so I thought not eating our favorite brand would inspire me.  It did not.  My issue was tahini.  I don’t think of tahini.  So when I go to the store I am not thinking, “Oh yeah, I need tahini.”  I know you can make hummus without it.  I believe my friend makes hummus all the time and she never used tahini.  I haven’t tasted her hummus that I can remember so I don’t know if it is good without tahini or not.

The other day I was online and I actually bought tahini.  I decided on wanted to finally make some hummus.  There are a lot of recipes out there for hummus so I took some ideas from several of them.  I need to work on it.

Dance 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 used:

2 cups canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
3 teaspoons liquid from the beans
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon garlic flavored olive oil

I put everything in the blender and blended until smooth.

I prefer my hummus a little more smooth and actually creamy, but the blender was making odd noises so I didn’t want to push it too far.

First of all I think it is too salty.  Next time I am going to use less salt and less tahini.  I am also going to use less lemon juice.  I am also going to use fresh garlic.  I used some we have from a jar.

Not too bad for my first try, but not so great.  But sometimes I just need to get in there and do it — make the recipe — so I can see it is easy to do so then I can play with it and make adjustments.

Do you like hummus?  Do you make your own?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Simple Stretches Could Bring Relief

Posted by terrepruitt on May 12, 2012

We move our hips A LOT in Nia.  With all the hip movements we do I say we have juicy hips.  Not only do we shake and shimmy our hips we take time to stretch and open our hips.  Hip flexors are a group of muscles that move the thigh towards the chest.  These muscles can get short and tight, especially from sitting.  Office jobs usually mean sitting in a chair all day while at work.  Add the commute time to the sitting on the job and many people end up sitting over eight hours a day.  Sometimes the hip flexors can become so short and tight they can keep an individual from standing up straight.  In addition, the origin of one of the muscles in the hip flexor group is in the lower back, if this set of muscles is short and tight it can sometimes result in lower back pain.  For many individuals stretching and lengthening these muscles can bring relief from back pain and help individuals stand up straighter.

There are a lot of stretches that can help lengthen this group of muscles.  The yoga Pigeon Pose comes to mind.  This is a great pose because the leg that is straight out towards the back get the lengthening benefit and sensation, while the bent leg assist in opening the groin area and stretching those muscles.  The butterfly stretch really stretches the groin area, too.  The closer you can get your feet to your pelvis the bigger the stretch, and the close the knees to the ground the bigger the stretch.  This is a great stretch you will definitely feel in the inner thighs.  The spinal twist both supine and seated can bring great relief.  So whether you are laying down and allowing your legs to be on one side of you or whether you are sitting up with one leg out and hugging one bent knee, you still get a nice stretch for the pair of muscles whose origins starts in the lower back.

One stretch I love to do is somewhat like a spinal twist in that you let the legs twist to one side, but instead of bringing them over to one side as a pair you let one leg start its journey to the other side of your body and the other one follows in its own time.  Think of your legs as pages in a book.**  One leg goes then the other leg flips (as a page) slowly.  No rush.  Also if you allow one leg to fall to one side while the other is on the first side (think open book) it is similar to the butterfly stretch but with hips completely open.  Then “close the book” having your legs end up on one side while gently twisting to the other, you get the nice gentle stretch in your back.  In Nia our floorplay cycle often includes many of these.

Swinging your leg from front to back either in a standing position or lying down on your side can stretch the muscles.  Let the leg swing as far to the front as comfortable and then as far back as is comfortable.  In both the standing and lying position you want to keep you back straight.  Don’t let it get into the swing of things, just let your leg swing.

Some exercises can assist in stretching the muscles too.  The lunge, especially a long lunge, helps stretch and lengthen the muscles and open the hips a bit.  The leg that is stretch back with get the stretch in the front.  You can either do the lunge stepping forward or back, but the longer the step the bigger the stretch.

These are just some simple stretches that might help loosen up your hips if you have tight hip flexors.  If you tend to sit at a desk that could be something that is happening.  Make your hips juicy and happy by stretching them a bit.  It might even help you walk taller and with more ease.

**This image I learned from Debbie Rosas at my Nia White Belt Intensive. I use it all the time in class.

Do you ever sit so long when you stand up you kind of are bent over at the hips?

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

Too Bitter To Swallow

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2012

I have a friend on FB who works really hard to feed her family healthy things.  I think there are food allergies and intolerances involved so she has to be very particular with what she feeds her family.  Often times she posts some pretty creative cooking ideas.  One thing she is always asking about is greens.  How do you cook your greens?  She usually states which green she is working with but she always comes back with, “It is so bitter.”  Now some of the greens she says are bitter taste a little bitter to me, but with olive oil, salt, garlic, and onion the flavor is masked.  Some of them she claims are bitter aren’t bitter to me.  I really think that the bitter taste has less to do with which vegetable than with our genes.

Back in 1931 a chemist (Arthur Fox) was pouring a powdered chemical (PTC) and some of its dust got in the air.  His assistant said the dust tasted bitter, while he couldn’t taste anything.  The chemist proceeded to experiment with PTC and the taste on his friends and family.  Some could taste a strong bitter taste, while some could taste a mild bitter taste, while some could taste nothing at all.  Seventy-two years later in 2003 the gene that is responsible for this was discovered.  They call it the PTC gene or TAS2R38.  This gene has seven forms, five of which are rare, and two of which are common.  The two common forms are the ones that allow for tasting bitter and one that does not.  Since all genes come in pairs we can end up with both being the tasting gene, or both being the non-tasting gene, or one of each.

If an individual ends up with both of the genes that allow for them to taste PTC then they will be able to taste bitter things more strongly than others.  If an individual has the genes that are the “non-tasting” genes then they don’t taste bitter.  Then there are the individuals that have one of each. It has been found that there is a familial link, if some family members can taste the PTC than other can too.

I would imagine that if an individual has a set of bitter-taste genes then it would be almost impossible to cover up the bitter taste of many vegetables.  I am thinking that my friend and her family must have a set of those genes because she says she has cooked some veggies a multitude of ways and her comment is still, “It is so bitter.”  Probably the only way to deal with the bitter is to cover it up entirely in a sauce but then that would somewhat defeat the purpose of trying to eat a nice green healthy vegetable.  Plus I would bet that most of the sauces contain ingredients she is trying to avoid.  She is determined though.  She knows that the bitter vegetables have really good stuff in them so she keeps trying.  In the meantime her family is still getting the nutrients even though it is bitter and doesn’t taste good.

There are test strips that can be purchased to see which gene you have.  I found some on Amazon.  Interesting, huh?

Do you have a good sense of taste?  Do you taste bitter really strongly?

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