Thursday, April 30, 2009

Philadelphia Broad Street Run

This Sunday at 8:30 a.m. is Philadelphia's annual Broad Street run. They will be celebrating 30 years of athletic community involvement. The course is the largest 10 miler in the United States! The race will start at the athletic fields of Central High School and will end at the Marine Parade Grounds at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Along the way, runners will pass by Temple University, which means I get to cheer my fellow running partners on while they race to the finish! Yes, sadly I won't be participating, because due to taking time off for mono, I do not feel quite ready to run a ten miler (I ran 7 miles last week and to say the least, it was quite tough. I'm on my way though, I've been running consistently these past few weeks and am working myself back up! Next years runners better be ready for me :-) )

The course is entirely flat, and actually contains a slight downhill slope at parts. This makes the course one of the fastest courses and very agreeable for runners who want to achieve record times. The fastest finisher completed the course in 45:14, which also happens to be the fastest 10 mile ever recorded in the United States. Throughout the course, there will be 11 water stations, clocks at each mile, and various entertainment. Also, since the race is ran along a main road, Broad Street will be blocked, making the course traffic-free.

The race was between $30-45 depending on the date you signed up. However, the last day to register was yesterday (Yeah, I'm a little late, but now you have the info. if you're not signed up and want to run next year). Benefits from the Broad Street Run go to the American Cancer Society. There is an estimated 25,000 people signed up to run...Sounds like it's going to be a traffic jam! At least it won't be an agitating stand still, considering everyone should be speeding to the end.

First place male and female participants will win $1,500. Second place will receive $750. Third place- $500, fourth place- $400, and fifth place- $300. An additional $1,000 will be given if the course record time is beaten.

There will also be a one-miler for kids ages 6-12, in case you want to get some energy out of your rambunctious kids (or start them on the healthy path at a young age with a little friendly competition and fun).

For those in the race, or even those watching, remember to fuel up on one of the Earth's greatest beverages: WATER

Good luck to all participants!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu, Could This Be True, Will It Effect You, & What To Do?

So in case you haven't heard, there's a virus going around, as in around the WORLD, that holds threat of becoming a cataclysmic pandemic. The virus, known as the swine flu, is predominantly affecting Mexico, but has been detected in other countries including the U.S., Spain, and Scotland, and is suspected in countries that include New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Israel. W.H.O. (World Health Organization) has set a global pandemic flu alert level of four --only two levels away from a full-fledged pandemic level-- which confirms human-to-human transmission of the virus.

Seeing as this is an imminent crisis, the swine flu will take precedence over my blog post for today. So for those who aren't thoroughly familiar with the topic, let's break it down:

What it is: According to the CDC, the swine flue is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. The swine flu virus was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

What this means:
The swine flu does not normally infect humans, however it has erratically occurred in the past. We are currently going through one of these erratic outbreaks. The flu shot you may have last received will not protect you against the swine flu strain. However, you will not get the flu by eating pork or pork products. Proper cooking kills any possibility of contamination. The swine flu is being transported via humans, not pigs.

Symptoms: The symptoms of the swine flu are very similar to the typical human influenza. These include any of the following: fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, coughing, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, and sore throat.

It's Impacts on the U.S.: The virus has been detected in 10 different states. The number of cases in the U.S. is reported to be 100, involving one death of a nearly two year-old-boy in Houston, Texas. The mass of the occurences are in New York, which currently has reported 61 cases. There are 16 cases in Texas and 14 in California. Two cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Kansas, and one case each in Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona. Several schools in New York, California, and Texas, where cases have been spotted, have been shut down for the time being.

It's Impacts Around the World: The flu, which is speculated to have orginated in Mexico, has killed nearly 150 people in the country. As mentioned before, other countries around the world have also detected cases of the swine flu. As a precaution, Egypt has issued for the slaughtering of all pigs located in the country, even though the virus is not food-borne.

How Serious is This: Well, I'm not an expert, but judging from the amount of deaths the virus has caused, it seems to be pretty a pretty serious threat. The flu has proliferated in a short amount of time across a wide amount of places. According to President Obama, "This is obviously a serious situation," and "we are closely and continuously monitoring it."

What's Being Done: Obama has summoned $1.5 billion to be put towards ensuring an adequate supply of vaccines. The two antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza have proven to be effective in treating the virus.

The Good News: The majority of the cases reported in the U.S. so far are seemingly mild.
The Bad News: The virus is killing off a large amount of people in Mexico and is suspected to increasingly spread nationwide and worldwide.

What You Can Do: Similar to many other sicknesses, there are a few main precautions you can take in order to avoid getting the flu. Try to avoid those who are sick. If you become sick from something other than the swine flu, your immune system will already be weakened, making you more susceptible to other illnesses. Wash your hands consistently using soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do experience flulike symptoms, stay home and rest.

The Bottom Line: Most likely, if you're a U.S. cititzen, there isn't an immediate need to go out and buy a face mask, or undergo any other extreme contigencies. However, avoid people who are sick, and try to stay as healthy as possible. If avoidable, don't make travel arrangements to Mexico. Lastly, don't panic. There's no need to get extremely stressed out about this because all you can do is just be where you are, keep doing what you're doing, and live.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

"I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man."- Henry David Thoreau

I think water is one of the most underrated options when it comes to beverages. I mean, everyone knows water is essential and is a healthy option, but it's versatility, taste, pureness, and freshness also make it one of the most outstanding drinks all around. I'd rather have a cold glass of water over a soda any day...and maybe that's just me, but if you start to really appreciate water for what it's worth, you might find yourself desiring water over another empty-calorie beverage more often.

Water is extremely versatile. If you ever find yourself getting bored with it in its plain form, it's super easy to jazz it up. Because of its pure, simple, pristine taste, it will take on the flavor of pretty much whatever is blended into it. Try adding a spritz of lemon or lime, or a hint of hot pepper for an extra kick. If you're yearning for a more intense flavor, heat it up and make some tea. Try combining boiling water with a large amount of mint leaves, and then chilling it in the refrigerator. The minty fresh taste beats any artificially flavored tea in a bottle.

An ice cold glass of water is all I want to refresh me after an intense work-out or a heated tennis match. And in fact, many nutritionists concur that sugary sports drinks aren't that beneficial or necessary unless your work out is similar to that of a marathon-runner's. They actually may be more harmful than helpful if you're goal in working out is to lose weight. Water, containing ZERO calories, is more efficient in hydrating the body, and it doesn't include a crap load of unnecessary added sugar. If you think you're really lacking some electrolytes, grab a banana instead of reaching for a Gatorade.

Water makes up around 60% of your body weight, and is essential for proper function of every single system in the body. Drinking water is one of the best ways to flush toxins out of your system.

Other added bonuses that come from drinking water (yes, water's benefits seem almost endless): Drinking water can help you lose weight. The previous statement is something that more than 59% of Americans are trying to achieve, so I think this aspect of water speaks for itself...But if you're interested in the logic behind this, here it goes- The liver is responsible for the metabolism of fat by converting stored fat to energy. However, the liver also helps with the kidney's duties. The kidneys rely on a lot of water in order to properly function, and if they are lacking water, the liver has the added responsibility of picking up their slack. This makes it so the liver can't metabolize fat as swiftly or efficiently, therefore causing your body to store up excess fat. If you are adequately replenishing yourself with water, the liver and the kidneys are able to do their job more effectively. Additionally, water can help to curb hunger, making it so you don't snack when you're not truly hungry. Try downing a glass of water the next time you feel like reaching for a mid-afternoon snack.

Water is also often a great cure for headaches and fatigue. Many times these symptoms are a result of dehydration. Muscle spasms can also result from a lack of water. A simple glass of water can often quickly relieve these symptoms.

Lastly, water helps to keep your skin looking its best. By hydrating yourself you are also hydrating your skin, keeping it radiant and beautiful.

I don't know many other drinks that are this versatile and have this many health benefits. Not to mention, who doesn't like water?? It will please almost any picky palate. This is why water is at the top of my list of favorite beverages, and hopefully I've convinced you to move its ranking up there too and see its complete, true value.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Take a look at how inherently beautiful Mother Earth is. Let's not destroy this beauty. Instead, let's strive to keep our Earth clean and pristine by limiting our own negative impacts upon our environment. Here are a few tips on how to be environmentally friendly throughout your everyday life:

1. Recycle (Don't be lazy. Sort and separate trash, and take advantage of local recycling opportunities)
2. Turn off water while brushing teeth (You can save up to 8 gallons of water a day by doing this)
3. Reuse (This goes for bags, bottles, clothes, books, and whatever else you can think of)
4. Walk/Ride a bike/ Carpool (Carbon dioxide, a leading cause of global warming, emission from automobiles in the U.S. is more than 333 million tons. Do your part in decreasing this # in order to help save the planet.)
5. Eat locally (If each American were to eat one locally attained meal per week, the nation would save 1.1 million barrels of oil per week.)
6. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs (try Energy Star bulbs which use 75% less energy and last ten times longer than a regular incandescent bulb)
7. Compost (Yard trimmings and food scraps combined account for 24 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. That's an excessive amount of nutrient rich waste being sent to landfills. Instead, enrich your soil by using composting's natural benefits.)
8. Check the pressure in your tires (Keeping air pressure in automobile tires allows for better gas mileage = less auto emissions be emitted into the air.)
9. Get outside and enjoy the fresh-air. (By having an appreciation for the great outdoors, you will be more likely to be aware of how you're impacting the environment. Keep your air fresh so that you'll be able to keep enjoying it!)
10. Calculate your carbon footprint- the measure of carbon dioxide you are personally contributing to the Earth (which is contributing to global warming). Try to decrease this number by doing your part in keeping a sustainable environment.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Dose Of Sun

This weekend's weather was great!

And due to the exceptionally nice weather, I've already managed to get sunburnt. I don't even burn that easily! (I'm relatively tan to begin with)...I was outside all weekend, and I guess my skin isn't used to the over-exposure. I was at an Earth Day Festival on Saturday which happened to be unreal ( After enjoying all of the dancing, food, hoola hooping, flea sale festivities at the festival, me and my friend decided to grab a seat in the grass and enjoy the nice day. I think me and the sun just extra attract each other because of the strong mutual love we have for each other (and we're both so hott, right? hah). It was worth it though, I got to do about an hour of yoga, outside, in the park,....Umm AMAZING!

Maybe next time I'll do a post about sunscreen or something...I need to actually convince myself to become a more avid user of the stuff...I just can't quite seem to get there yet. I mean the stuff is sticky and icky, and doesn't have a very pleasant smell to it, and by not using it, maybe I get to continue feeling like a carefree little kid (with the addition of my mom still over my shoulder lecturing me about how I'm going to look ten times my age when I get older...who knows, that might not be a bad thing because at the moment I look young for my age. Ehh, don't quote me on that later, I will most likely regret saying that when I'm 50).

As for the picture...I went to the zoo Friday, so pretend you were there too and enjoy the image.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wipe-out Pesky Spring Allergy Symptoms

Are you tired of feeling congested? Is the Spring kicking in your allergies and leaving you frustrated? I may be able to lead you to a way out, or at least to something that can help. I've recently been introduced to the Neti pot. After a battle with mono and a continuous struggle against a mold allergy, I am always on the lookout for anything that will increase my vitality. So, when I heard about the Neti pot and about some success stories that came through using it, I purchased one and immediately began to put it to the test. Although I was skeptical at first by this rather obscure purification technique, it didn't take much experimentation before I quickly became hooked, and now I am using it daily.

How it works: After acquiring a Neti pot, simply dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of Neti salt, or fine salt, or a 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt into a filled Neti pot of around 8 ounces of lukewarm water. With your head facing down towards the bowl of the sink, start to tilt your head up towards one side, placing the neti pot spout in the top nostril and tipping the pot so that the water flows out the opposite, bottom nostril. Proceed by blowing your nose, and then repeat this process on the other nostril.

The Neti pot uses a saline solution to clear out sinuses of any pollutant, dust, pollen, bacteria or mold particles. The nasal membrane, which contains tiny hairs and mucus membranes, functions by capturing and restraining foreing particles, such as disease and virus proned particles, from entering the body. The Neti pot is intended to help in this process by relieving the often over-burdened nasal membranes.

I am crazy about this because it really does work (it's not like all those other scams advertised on TV). Not only is it effective, but it's natural in that it doesn't include any pumping of artificial ingredients into the body to alleviate congestion symptoms. Now, I am able to breathe much more clearly throughout the day and not have to worry about being unable to fall asleep because of the inabiltiy to breathe out of my nose.

Neti pots have been used in India and by yoga practitioners for thousands of years. I can see why, because now at the end of my yoga sessions when I engage in deep-breathing, I am able to much more comfortably and fluidly inhale and exhale.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've talked to friends who aren't as exposed to Eastern, homeopathic forms of treatment, and they have told me that after using the Neti pot, they too have become regular users and obsessors of the Neti.

So if you want to deal with congestion without continuous suffering or through jacking yourself up on meds, speaking from experience, the Neti pot really will help. Don't be embarassed or warded off because of the unusual procedure it involves. I do it everyday in my college dorm, and where at first I quietly shut myself up in the bathroom to avoid my roommates skeptical stares, I now have introduced them to what I am doing and use the Neti pot every morning, with the door wide open as if I were just brushing my teeth.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sweet Taste of Sugary Goodness

So Sunday is Easter...which means you will find candy lying around in random places in my house, and I must tell you, finding candy like this in my house is not the's more like that time you finally found your misplaced black belt after all the months of carrying out your own personal search party. So I must say, this special occasion always kind of excites me...yes, I'm still a kid at heart (and hopefully always will be!).

Although I must say, over-indulgence of this candy will definitely come at a price... My favorite Easter candy? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs....which also happen to be rated the Worst Calorie Offender of Easter candy by Women's Health Mag. Luckily my parents always refuse(d) to succumb to the tradition of buying the classic milk chocolate bunny/egg (they consider this chocolate to usually be second-class, which after many years of dissapointingly comparing my lack of an edible bunny in my Easter basket to the baskets of my "privileged" friends, I have to agree the chocolate bunnies are almost always substandard). Hershey's hollow milk chocolate egg was rated the Worst Easter Candy overall by Women's Health Mag, as it contains 41 grams of fat and 660 calories, if entirely consumed. Also fortunately I'm not a big fan of jelly beans, as Jelly Belly's were rated the Worst Sugar Offender.

And... lucky for me, dark chocolate is OKed (in moderation of course), which in general happens to be my favorite chocolate. However, don't expect me to skip-out on the Reeese's this Easter...I'll definitely be doing some indulging in those peanut-buttery, chocolately, sweet goodness.

My Alfresco

So because Easter (or for me, more like spring) is on the rise, I decided to spend the weekend at home....get outdoors, get some fresh air, and visit with the fam.

I never really fully appreciated my own home until I moved away from it. I am especially fortunate to have spent the majority of my growing up years in a beautiful countryside location, amidst numerous flower gardens and a several acre organic vegetable garden. Although don't get me wrong, I love the city (as I was just scoffing to my mom about how conservative, not to mention large, the people in my area are, and how I feel so much more comfortable and free to be myself, dress myself, and express myself in Philly), it's so nice to be able to have an equal appreciation for the country. If I had grown up in the city all my life, I don't feel that I would have the same attitude of the country's offerings, or the same perspective on life for that matter.

Much of my grade school years, I have to admit I was in agony from being in such desolate surroundings, and from having our local "city" be more like a McDonaldized suburbia. But now when I come home, I no longer see the country as a stale piece of bread, rather I see it as a fresh and exciting place of color, of beauty, of inspiration and life. I see my home in a whole new light, and thrive on all of the benefits of my surroundings. As much as the free, liberated, diverse city is a part of me, the country will always tenaciously hold a grip on my soul.

Back at college, rarely would I ever find myself waking up before 9, only to come downstairs and indulge on a fruit salad containing five differingly sweet, sour, and various colored fruits (of which only 2 half-assed versions are offered in my cafeteria). Never would I get to have the experience of engaging in a calmly instructed yoga class along the side of my mom, followed by a trip to develop some of my everly patient photography. Only to be proceeded by a trip to obtain some *Zico's coconut water, some Kambucha, and other nutrious snacks for college, that can only be easily obtained while at home. Finally ending with a healthy, delicious lunch (a rather unusual combination for a cheap college student in North Philly), followed by a swift run in idyllic temperature and setting, among blooming flowers and green, yes green, grass (another commodity of mine).

Yes, all of this luxury in one day! For these kind of experiences, I am able to excitedly look forward to coming home. Grass, food, and good company are some of my favorite things, and almost always do I get to have these experience when I am home. But college in the city has only just now brought all of this luxuriousness to my attention. It has opened my awareness to how fortunate I am to be able to experience the best of both worlds.

Although by the end of the weekend, I will be ready to go back to the exuberance of the city, I won't be leaving with an urgent or deprived state of being. I love that I am able to both love my home, and my home away from home (as of now, I'm not quite sure which one gets which label). And while I don't want to sprint through the last few weeks of college, I won't be leaving on the final day of my freshman year with the complete desire to sprint right back to north Philly. I don't need to dread coming home to a dirty city street, or a montonous Walmarted neigborhood, rather I have the advantage of looking forward to spending an easy, breezy, beautiful summer home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Few of my faves....Au Naturel

Although I am a HUGE fan of water, sometimes I can't help but find myself in the mood for something different. However, I often get frustrated when I go down beverage aisles and see drink after drink of which consist of a list of artificial ingredients. Not to mention all of the added sugar and calories that are in these drinks....I'd rather eat a candy bar and drink the water I was avoiding than consume a sickeningly high-calorie, oversweetened drink. And what's worse is when I think I've finally stumbled upon a good, light, low-cal beverage, I am usually quickly let down after seeing how many artificial sweeteners the drink contains. Who knows what those things are made of, but I'm certainly not about to pump my body with genetically engineered substances...those can be left for experiments, not my body's contamination. However, after endless searching, I've finally found 3 drinks that I'm absolutely crazy about (and I'd like to share them with you!).

Coconut Water: I'm in love with this drink. After recently discovering Zico Coconut Water in one of the aisle's of a nearby grocery store back home, I instantly became hooked. Coconut water comes in other brands as well, and from my experience with another brand, seems to be equally as good. However, I particularly like Zico because the coconut water comes in cool flavors, such as mango (my favorite fruit!), just in case you ever get bored of the original, which I must say would be hard to get bored of. The coconut water is a great post work-out boost, as it contains multiple electrolytes and more potassium than a banana. With a mere 60 calories per 11 fl. ounces (one carton of Zico) and zero grams of fat (surprising considering coconut milk is crazy fatty), the drink is relatively light and is a good way to replenish and rehydrate yourself. And what is this heavenly drink made of?: 100% coconut simple ingredient, which is why its one of my favorite afternoon delights.
Kombucha: Kombucha is made through a fermentation process, combining either green or black tea with Kombucha culture, a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast. It has a unique taste, one of which I'm particularly fond of. The drink contains moderate carbonation, and in my opinion, it resembles the taste of champagne, or slightly hard sparkling apple cider. And although you won't get drunk off of this beverage, it does provide several health advantages, and it's much healthier than that of a similarly fizzy soda or beer. Kombucha naturally contains an assortment of vitamins. It is particularly high in B vitamins, which boost energy, as well as immune-boosting vitamin C. It also provides natural benefits from the bacteria, such as those cultured in yogurt. The brand pictured above offers several varieties, and I particularly enjoy the citrus flavor. Containing around 50 calories per 8 fl. ounces, this won't substantially add calories to your diet, and would definitely be a good substitution for soda.

Honest Tea: Although I don't often like to spend money on drinks, Honest Tea is a perfect go-to drink if you're out and in need of a thirst-quencher. Unlike the tons of other drinks that litter the aisles of grocery stores, Honest Tea does not contain a lengthy list of sweetners, additives, or other ingredients that don't sound like they should be ingested. I opt for their variety of teas that contain solely tea and a little bit of added honey. Honest Tea makes me feel refreshed and allows me to purchase a drink that doesn't feel like I'm swallowing a bottle full of syrup. They offer several calorieless beverages, and typically don't ever contain more than 40 calories per 8 ounce serving. Also, once you pop the cap, underneath you will find a small saying, or a few good words, to think about throughout your day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I love Spring <3

So yesterday I attended the Cherry Blossom Festival at Fairmount Park in Philly. A lot of the trees were at or near their peak of blossoming. After the many long days of dull winter surroundings, the alas arriving vibrant hues of pink and white were ever so refreshing.

The festival celebrated Japanese culture, featuring shows which consisted of Japanese dance, drumming, fan artistry, and even a Japanese/Anime fashion show. The Japanese culture represented contained a lot of aspects that differ from American custom, such as their dancing which seemed much more slow and gracefull, yet also more controlled and less free-flowing. It almost seemed as though they were moving to the spaces in between the beats, rather than the beats themselves.

Much of the inherent characteristics of the Japanese culture involves their ability to slow themselves down and get away from all of the fast-paced parts of life. This I admire.

Overall, my experience at the Cherry Blossom Festival was an exceptional one. They couldn't have asked for better weather either. As I was basking short-sleeved in the sun, I got to simultaneously soak in the beauty of spring and of the Japanese culture.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 7

The Final Day

Morning Indulgence: Start your day off with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice. That's right, pull out your juicer, the one that may be hidden in the dark corner of your basement shelves...It will be worth the effort of finding the juicer and squeezing orange after orange once you taste the deliciously sweet, pure taste of the juice. Nothing beats fresh squeezed, especially when it's the first thing you wake up to.

Mid-day Indulgence: Grab your camera, get outside, and start snapping some pictures. Try photographing the newly budding trees, or the laughing kids playing on the sidewalk, or the whispering blades of emerging green grass, or any ordinary yet inspirational moment of life that you see in your surrounding environment. Notice how rhythmic and entrancing photography can be when you let yourself go and get creative.

Evening Indulgence: Splurge and go out for dinner at your favorite restaurant, even if it's a little pricey. Steeply-priced food is often money well spent, especially if you know the place. Don't be afraid to call up someone you've been a little anxious to pursue. If no one special is on your mind, grab one of your closest friends and go out and celebrate your friendship! Get dressed up and pull out that fancy little dress that you've been dying to wear. Order some champagne or wine (if applicable) and enjoy the relaxing dining experience. Follow your meal by sharing a dessert with your accompaniment.

Final Indulgence: Take a nighttime stroll with your earlier dining partner (weather permitting). Ingest the beauty of the surrounding outdoors whether it be from the sunset, moonlight, or just the warm company beside you as you walk along in the fresh-air, digesting your earliear, satisfying meal.

That completes the seven day Healthful Indulgence series. However, notice that most of the components of the previous indulgences all consisted of experiences that can be smoothly included in day to day life. Healthful indulgence is a way of living, a way of breathing, relaxing, and sustaining your daily satisfaction, so that rarely will you desire a "negative" indulgence, and find yourself in a cloud of guilt the next day. With just a little time and awareness each day, you can energize your body and satisfy your cravings, while boosting your mood and keeping your mind at peace. Remember to take some time each day to breathe and relax, to savor each bite of your food, and to incorporate a little stress relieving, fun-filled exercised. If you cherish each moment of pleasure, and take the time to really feel its existence, you will find yourself feeling everlastingly full of content. All of these lifestyle tactics, which are truly daily indulgences of the simple moments of pleasure, will transform your state of mind, body and soul.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 6

So I just got back from a camping trip where we hiked an 8 mile loop which passed by what's supposed to be the "best view on the AT" in PA. The site is named the Pinnacle, and it was absolutely beautiful. We started around 8 a.m., and it felt so invigorating to get up early and embark upon a hike. Fresh, crisp air passing by my face, alongside some of the chillest people at my was great. It was very refreshing to get away from my urban campus for a little while and enjoy all that nature and Spring has to offer. As for that, if you have the time, indulge in a camping trip, even if it's just for the night, make a fire, enjoy some s'mores, and go on a hike. If not, try taking a day hike, and enjoy the beautiful, great outdoors! Enjoy life's natural "Fun, Fitness, and Fresh-air"!

Day 6
Morning Indulgence: Swing by your local coffee shop for an awakening, dark-roasted brew. Try to choose one of the lighter options on the menu, such as a coffee, espresso, or cappuccino made with skim milk. Not only will the drink warm you up and wake you up, according to WebMD, coffee can boost your mood and lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, cavities, and colon cancer. However, remember everything in moderation, but know that the occasional coffee is actually a healthy indulgence!

Mid-day Indulgence: Have an afternoon snack when hunger embarks. Go to your local store and grab some Vitamin A-rich carrot juice, and assemble some celery sticks with protein. Notice how the protein and heart-healthy fat of the peanut butter calm your hunger, making you feel satisfied and content. Wash it down with the sweet, yet vegetable-comprised juice.

Evening Indulgence: Take an evening stroll, opting for the time right before the sun sets (weather permitting, if not absorb the outdoor surrounding from the comfort of you couch). Notice how calm and peaceful the evening light makes your surroundings appear. Take in the picturesque sky, and capture the image in your mind for later use. Take a moment to stop and just absorb the sunset's beauty and the tranquility of the moment.
Final Indulgence: Put on some music, and jam out to some of your favorite tunes. Release your tension and let your body be free as you get wild and do some crazy dancing. Try not to be self conscious, and notice how great if feels to dance carefree, solely within your own presence.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 5

Morning Indulgence: Assemble a fresh fruit salad, using any fruit you have available. Try to include fruits containing a variety of colors, such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, oranges, and kiwis. Top with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and some chopped walnuts. Drizzle with honey if desired. Notice how aesthetically appealing your morning meal is and how tasty a nutritious breakfast can be.

Mid-day Indulgence: Grab a soccer ball and pass it around with a friend, or grab a basketball and shoot some hoops at a nearby park. Let yourself go and be free. Feel what it feels like to be a kid again. Laugh, play, have fun during your afternoon break from your hectic adult-life.

Evening Indulgence: Try a new class offered at the gym or in your local city. Do something you haven't ever experienced before, such as pilates, hip-hop dance, or karate. Notice how refreshing it feels to mix up your normal exercise routine. Feel positive and accomplished afterwards knowing that you most likely worked muscles that you don't normally reach. You may even find that you have found a new favorite hobby.

Final Indulgence: Grab a kid-sized Rita's Italian Ice on your way home from the exercise class you just completed. Choose your favorite flavor and refrain from feeling guilty, knowing that treated yourself to a moderately portioned sweet, low-fat dessert. Slowly savor each bite and relax in the comfort of a well deserved delight.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 4

Morning Indulgence: Get up an hour early to do a morning yoga session. Do an hour of hatha yoga, awakening and stretching each part of the body. Focus on stretching out your legs which may have become tight from yesterday's run. Feel how awakening and refreshing it feels to let the tension out of your high-stressed, high-worked body. Follow by eating one of your favorite, nutritious breakfasts.

Mid-Afternoon Indulgence: Go out for lunch with some friends or co-workers. Engage in light-hearted conversation and make sure your voice gets heard. Allow yourself to share your own thoughts and stories, while being an ample listener as well. Notice how a social break pulls you away from your own stress-related thoughts for at least a brief period of your day.

Evening Indulgence: Stop by the grocery store and pick up some omega-3 fatty acid, protein filled salmon steaks (wild if available) or niacin, potassium filled portobella mushrooms if you're a vegetarian (or a protein-packed veggie burger with as few additives as possible if you prefer). Fire up your grill and get cooking while you enjoy the great outdoors. While your meal cooks on the grill, rather than impatientlly waiting, take a few deep breaths as you sit cross-legged in the nearby grass/ground.

Final Indulgence: Call up or grab your nearest friend and engage in a game of cards or any one of your favorite board games. Get a friendly, lighthearted game of competition going on as you arouse your social and mental senses. Notice how much fun you have once you get going, especially if you weren't particularly looking forward to playing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 3

Morning Indulgence: Do ten to fifteen minutes of light, awakening stretches. Let your body fall naturally in place as you stay in tune with how your you're feeling. Breathe through each posture of which you engage. Following your stretching, take the time to get out your old blender and make yourself a fresh-fruit smoothie. Notice the vibrant color and sweet taste of your morning meal, as you focus on taking slow sips of enjoyment.

Mid-Afternoon Indulgence: Go for an afternoon jog. As you run, focus on your surroundings, your energy levels, and a positive mantra of which you repeat, rather than letting your pace or the distance of the run absorb your thoughts. Afterwards, lay down for at least 5-10 minutes in the grass (weather permitting), relaxing and feeling good about yourself as you soak in the afternoon warmth. Enjoy a few walnuts or other nut of your choice as a great pick-me-up, getting you ready for the rest of your day's endeavors.

Evening Indulgence: After returning from work, school, etc. do a fifteen minute relaxation. Lie on the ground, focusing solely on taking deep breathes and relaxing each individual part of your body. If you'd like, place your legs straight up against a wall as you lie on you back. As thoughts flow in and out of your head, just simply let them pass by, being careful not to get to tangled up on one single thought. Notice how fully recharged you feel after a short period of relaxation.

Final Indulgence: Prepare a cup of calming chamomile tea, adding a little naturally sweet, B-vitamin-packed honey if desired. Pick up a good book that you've been meaning to start/finish, or a favorite magazine of your choice. Engage in subconsciously strengthening your mind through an hour or so of joyful reading.