How do you like to start your Sundays? My favorite way to spend a Sunday morning is watching a TED Talk with a nice big cup of coffee. . . after a few rounds of Scramble with Friends, of course.
This TED Talk is not only one of my favorites, but also tops many published lists of the best TED Talks of all time. In it, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor talks about how it felt (intellectually) to have a stroke (in a way only a brain scientist can describe) and how she experienced a state of nirvana and oneness with the universe when the right side of her brain took over. She argues that we all can choose to step into the right hemispheres of our brains and experience this state of peace and expansiveness (this, incidentally, is one of the primary purposes of yoga and mediation, but rarely do you hear scientists talk about this stuff).
I really suck at meditating. There I said it. I try, try, and try again, but I'm not very "good" at it. It's not relaxing or insightful or calming. It's just downright frustrating. I sit in silence in the very early mornings. I breath in. I breath out. I try to bring my attention to my breath. All is quiet. And then it's like my mind starts blasting house music on concerts speakers and begins a rave inside my head.
This past weekend, Doug and I took a quick trip to Lake George (in upstate New York) to visit his parents at their lake house.
I sure love a Lake George visit. One, because the lake is gorgeous and we always venture out to the various islands in the middle of the lake for picnic lunches. Two, because my mother-in-law cooks up a storm while we're out there and (God bless her) caters to our various dietary restrictions (self-imposed health-nutty restrictions, that is).
On Saturday morning, I woke up to a plate full of the delicious chocolate pancakes pictured above. These might very well be the yummiest - and healthiest!! - pancakes I've ever had. They're 100% whole wheat and sugar free and 100% delicious. Drop some fresh berries on top and you've got yourself a wholesome and tasty morning treat.
Here's the recipe (and some pictures from the weekend if you care to see):
A very good friend of mine suffered a very bad injury this week, and I wanted to write a short little post in honor of her. "Very good friend" is actually a flagrant understatement - she's one of my nearest and dearest friends and I love her to the moon and back (idiom stolen from her). She was hit by a car while crossing the street, fractured her femur and had to undergo surgery yesterday (for a 3D medical animation of the mind-blowing procedure, go here). The surgery was successful and she will recover completely, and I am so grateful for this. The road to recovery will be a difficult one. But she's a strong-willed, determined and courageous person who I have no doubt will persevere.
Over the past two days, as a large influx of friends and family flooded her bedside at the ICU, one thing became very clear to me. While the circumstances in your life can change within the blink of an eye, what always remains is the love and friendships you have. My friend is blessed to have so many people near and far who love her dearly. And we are blessed to have her love us in return.
I wish you a healthy and speedy recovery dear friend.
I have found ultimate perfection in the form of a certain brown rice noodle. I'm in love (and I fell hard and fast). I couldn't ask for anything more from a noodle. Seriously. I've been looking for a noodle like this all of my life and I finally found it after a chance run-in at Whole Foods the other night. I was in the right place at the right time, looking for a thai curry sauce and instead I found this. The rest, as they say, is history...
During the summer Olympics, it pained me to watch the power walking (technical name: racewalking) competitions. And I mean this literally. I actually get immensely uncomfortable when I watch it. I become overcome with a burning desire to see the athletes break into a sprint. I can see it in their eyes. They want to start running. I want them to start running. They are on the brink, and I wish I could just give them a tiny push right over that edge. But, alas, they just continue to flirt with that boundary line that separates walking really really fast from running. And it drives me bananas because all I'm thinking is: "Go ahead. Do it. Make a run for it!"
At different points in my life I was both a gym rat and a runner. Today, I never step foot in the gym. And I officially retired my running shoes about 2 years ago when yoga basically took over my life. I wholeheartedly believe that yoga is the best total body physical (not to mention mental) workout you can get in a hour's time.
However, I've been finding it pretty hard lately to fit in even a 60-minute yoga class (my preference is the 90-minute to 2-hour classes) as much as I'd like to.
And while 20-30 minutes of home yoga practice on my own is all well and good (and a fantastic way to get the body moving), sometimes I just want to really work up a serious sweat and burn off that (grass-fed) hamburger I ate the night before.
So even though I feel like I am cheating on yoga by offering this to you, I just can't resist posting it because it's almost too good to be true. But it is true. Trust me, I've tried it.
I met fitness extraordinaire Amanda Russell through my dear friend Courtney and, boy, am I glad I did. Amanda has come up with an incredible 20-minute total body cardio workout that you can do at home, at the gym, while traveling, wherever you are. It's a super intense, but super effective, interval-style workout and all you need is your own body for it. But I warn you - it's TOUGH and it will definitely leaving you dripping with sweat. But it's so worth it. And all you need is 20 hot minutes. (Also, she incorporates a few yoga moves in it, so that makes it even better).
I often wonder why I (along with what seems like everyone else in this country) have become so obsessed with yoga. After all, this is an ancient practice that was developed in India way back when as a way to train and exercise 12-year-old Indian boys in order to get them to expend all that wild 12-year-old boy energy and calm them down prior to meditation practice. So why are men and women alike, of every age, most of whom do not practice meditation after yoga class, so obsessed with yoga today? Why has this ancient practice suddenly become all the rage?
And what ever happened to step aerobics or sweating to the oldies???!?!