Natural & Sweet!

Who doesn’t love a good jam? I like sweet foods, so I was excited to interview Rachel Saunders from the Blue Chair Fruit Company for my day job. Rachel uses local sustainably harvested fruits and organic fair-trade cane sugar. She and her small team make all of her jams by hand. They use authentic French copper jam kettles to retain the  best possible flavor and believe me when I tell you it’s worth it! Her blackberry jam was the best I’ve ever had. She has many unique flavors like Early Girl Tomato Marmalade and Rhubarb Jam with Plum Brandy & Ginger, but the flavor I’m going to try next is Strawberry & Rose. The small batches are made in-season and available on Rachel’s website and in Williams Sonoma stores. Check out the video I produced with some unique ideas for using jam in every meal: 

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Another reason to do Pilates and Yoga: Bone Health

Sharon from Rainbow Light preparing to administer my scan

While at the Yoga Marketplace at the Yoga Journal Conference I stopped by the Rainbow Light booth and had an achilles ultrasound test on my foot to gauge bone density. It’s the first time I’ve ever had access to a bone density screening, so I jumped at the opportunity. I am allergic to dairy, meaning I can eat some but too much gives me terrible headaches. Because of that, I drink soy milk and avoid many dairy products, so I was a little concerned that it was affecting my bones. Sharon was my technician and explained that this is the 2nd best screening for bone density. The first is called a DXA scan and it uses x-rays making it much less portable and impossible to administer in a busy area like the Yoga Marketplace. The entire screening lasted only a couple of minutes. I had to put my foot in a small machine that surrounded my ankle with tiny balloons while administering the ultrasound.

The test yielded two numbers – your density compared with an average 30 year old, and also compared with people in your age range. Since I’m 30, my numbers were the same and I am in the low risk category. Sharon told me that now is the time I should really start thinking about bone health. She said leafy greens and legumes are a great way to get calcium. She also said how important it was to do weight bearing exercises and that Yoga and Pilates are two of the best for promoting healthy bones as I age.

Michael Pollan at the Yoga Journal Conference

Michael Pollan Photo Credit: Alia Malley

I had the opportunity to attend a talk with Michael Pollan at the Yoga Journal Conference in NYC. I’m a big fan of Pollan. I gave my sisters each a copy of his book Food Rules for Christmas this year. He believes in eating real, whole foods. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He says this more or less sums up the increasingly difficult queston of how to shop for food and what to eat. Food Rules has lots of guidelines, or policies according to Pollen, to make navigating the grocery store easier. Some of my favorites are: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” And, “You can eat as much junk food as you like as long as you make it from scratch yourself.” If you haven’t read this book, I urge you to pick it up. It’s a quick read and well worth your time.

More about Pollan’s recent talk after the jump… More

Yoga & Chocolate: A Relaxing Combination

For my birthday this year I got tickets to the Yoga Journal Conference for a Yoga & Chocolate class and a talk with Michael Pollan. Both were last night. I’ve had a very stressful two weeks and can’t remember the last time I made it to a yoga class, so I was really looking forward to this, yet a little nervous about being the worst person in the class. I mean, this was part of the Yoga Journal Conference, not exactly a donation-based class where anyone can drop in.

David Romanelli led the class through a series of asanas that weren’t too advanced and stressed the concept of living in the moment and finding something every day to enjoy or be happy about. He encouraged us to calm our minds as we moved through the postures. He intertwined instruction with stories from his book “Livin’ the Moment” and anecdotes he’s picked up along the way about enjoying every day. He encouraged us to find a “BFD” everyday – something beautiful, fun (or funny) and delicious. After a wonderful savasana where he and the assistant instructor put the most intense lavender essential oil on our heads, they passed out three chocolates from Vosges. David read a recommendation of how to eat the chocolate and everyone gingerly tasted their plate. The event was quite relaxing and just what I needed.

Running: The First Step

I’m not sure what came over me, but I recently signed up to run the JP Morgan/ Chase Corporate Challenge with my co-workers. It’s a 3.5 mi run/walk through Central Park and is conveniently right before my summer vacation. For the record – I don’t run. Pretty much anywhere. I’m not fast. Powerwalking is about as far as I go. My exercises of choice don’t require shoes. So needless to say, I’m a little nervous about making a fool of myself in front of my co-workers. So I went shopping.

Treadmills at JackRabbit Sports

My only pair of sneakers are pretty old and probably should be replaced anyway. Last summer I had some plantar fasciitis so I wanted to make sure my feel were properly supported. I did a little research and that combined with a few recommendations led me to JackRabbit Sports in NYC. They are known for using cameras mounted behind treadmills to watch the way you run and recommend shoes more customized for your feet.

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