Category Archives: inspiration

NHBPM WEGO Prompt: My Health Library

I fully credit the movie Food Inc. with changing my entire food, and health, philosophy. There were small changes being made up to the minute before I watched it in full, but it was undoubtedly my tipping point. Coincidentally, that film led to an interest in picking up more books on subjects of interest (see: nutrition, food, health, mindset, etc.).

Today’s NHBPM prompt asked for a book report – what’s your favorite book and how does it tie into your health/life? Given the way I’ve added to our “library” over the past two years, that’s a loaded question! I can’t pick one, as these have all added a flavor to life that I didn’t know was missing.

If you took a glance at our bookshelf buffet, your eyes would have a hard time resisting these…



All the Money in the World   Books


Food rules    In Defense of Food


Animal vegetable Miracle   Skinny Dish Cooking with trader Joe's


Click on any of the above if you’re intrigued. They’re all worth your time, dollars and brain-chewing energy! Most of them are still stacked near my nightstand (except for the cookbook, which clearly belongs right near the food!), dog-eared pages n’ all ready to be picked up and indulged when I’m craving their words.

I’m actually glad I’m only about half-way through In Defense of Food; it’s like fully tasting, and savoring, those last few bites of a decadent dessert.


What’s in your health library?

Any one favorite book that I should be adding to this group?



Filed under about me, fabulous, in the kitchen, inspiration, things that make me Happy

2012 SCAN Symposium: A Note from the World’s Blue Zones

Over the past weekend I spent my “off” hours with the best of the best in our world of Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN). The Dietetic Practice Group’s 2012 Symposium took place in the Baltimore Inner Harbor this year, a convenient one hour drive north of my doorstep.

SCAN Symposium 2012

I’m already looking forward to the 2013 event in Chicago, so there’s an indication that this was a well-planned symposium! Due to a recently added role in my job description, I now fully understand and respect the work that goes into putting something like this together. Kudos to the Dietitians & team behind this!

That said, Saturday morning’s Keynote speaker was, without question, the most enlightening session of the weekend. Dan Buettner, New York Times Best-selling author and National Geographic Fellow, brought us into The Blue Zones.

The Blue Zones Live Longer, Betterpower-9
Image source,

Dan took us to three different cities that are full of independent centenarians – people 100 years and older, still going about daily life on their own and without a hitch. These communities are not only thriving among the elderly, but the young, growing and gracefully aging alike. We traveled to Italy, Japan and the lesser known town of Loma Linda, California in the Moreno Valley. Dan shared what he learned from each of these areas, gaining years of quality life in their own unique ways.

Did you know that our average life expectancy in the USA is around 80 years for men, and 75 years for women? This number varies by state and county.

We haven’t quite climbed our way to the top on this one, yet. Dan is working on that.

I won’t go into all the details here, they’re Dan’s to divulge. But, I’m sure you could scratch your head and come up with a few things that these centenarians are doing right – staying active, eating relatively healthy, avoiding Big Macs and large sodas altogether, and playing the good-genes card. And I’m sure there are some of you who have no interest in living to be 100 years old; live in the moment, now, and if you get another year, then there’s another 365 days you get to use for adventure!

You Only Live Once

Either way, it’s intriguing to think we could be alive for more than 36,500 days and still have the physical and mental capacity to live. One thing that stood out among all of these communities was what Dan referred to as the key to change – the environment.

Could you walk (or run) to/from places, if you wanted to? Is it safe? Is it physically possible – are there joining sidewalks, side streets, public transportation, etc? Could you ride a bike?

We drive to get our groceries every weekend; it’s not entirely necessary. That trip could be split in two, and we could easy utilize our feet & public transportation to get to and from.

Do you have healthy eating options available – quality grocery store produce options, or farmer’s markets, and/or local farms to support through a CSA? Do restaurants in your city or town make an effort to serve normal portions, and/or healthier entrees?

DC has this trend on lockdown; we’re no Portland(ia), but Farmer’s markets are aplenty and our CSA membership kicks in May 15!

Does your social network have an interest in health? Habits are contagious, whether they’re yours or someone else’s.

Do you feel a sense of purpose, with whatever it is you’re passionate about? Do friends of yours feed their interests, whether through work or play? My friend Ivan keeps up a photography habit, and we all benefit from seeing his work. My sister-in-law likes to quilt, and we all get amazing homemade gifts from her hands. I like to run & be social, so I convince others to join me in the act.


Dan spoke to a room full of Nutrition experts, health professionals and wellness enthusiasts. His audience knows all of the right things to do, and yet we were completely captivated by his presence, knowledge, attitude and drive. On a large scale, we work towards the health of this nation; on a small scale we make sure we prioritize the same things for ourselves.

How do you think your zone measures up?
Blue, green, or an alarming red?

If you could change something your, or your community’s, environment, what’s your first step?


Filed under about me, Dietitians, inspiration, learning, Nutrition, things that make me Happy

“Action Expresses Priority”: Casey Neistat’s Make it Count

What we choose to do with our time reflects the things that we prioritize – we are what we repeatedly do. If you looked back at your agenda over the weekend, or even yesterday – what did you do? What was prioritized? Was it worth it?

Look at your calendar for this week and next. Look one month out, then one year out. What do you have planned? What challenge are you tackling? What’s unique about the life you’re choosing, for yourself?

Action Expresses Priorities Make mistakes

Think about it.


If this is the last online video you ever watch, then Casey Neistat will have made his point (in turn, possibly stalling his career…). It would mean you’re out living an adventure, not watching someone show you how it’s done. It would mean that you get it – there is a better way to spend our time than constantly being on a computer, at a desk, sweating the small stuff, ignoring what’s out there yet to be seen, touched or experienced.

Life is a Sport, #makeitcount

That said,  the next 4 minutes may be the best you spend all day. For this, it’s worth it to stay at your desk, on your computer. Watch:

Make it Count video 

“Life is either daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

What would you do with 10 days?


Filed under distractions, Goals, inspiration, random, things that make me Happy

Endorphins at Work

You get it; you know I love waking up early and running {with a buddy}, because afterward hey! I’m awake! I feel refreshed! Let’s start this day – give me coffee! But not too much.

Why do I feel so awake? Well one answer right now would be the chilly air hitting me in the face (legs, arms – depending on my attire choices for the day) first thing in the morning. Yup, wide awake after that. Then we start running, and talking, and moving. Before I know it we’ve been putting one foot in front of the other for about an hour; my heart is beating a little bit faster, and the endorphins are flowing.


Any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions*.

“Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy!”
Elle Woods, you know this

*What might these functions be?

Well, WebMD tells us, “The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines.” Ergo, they block pain. Ahem, the reason you may not feel pain during running (hello, miles 20-26.2), but feel it immediately after stopping (more reason to keep. running.).

Apparently, these hormones also “trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.” I’ll take endorphin over morphine any day – it’s produced by my own actions and doesn’t land me in jail. Win, win!

This article is really about exercise (and its partner-in-crime, endorphins) battling depression. It’s about how regular exercise helps to reduce stress, anxiety & feeling of depression; it boosts self-esteem, improves sleep, strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure and, to top it all off, “makes you look fit & healthy”. All good things!

Those little endorphins work hard.

What else can endorphins do? According to one of our Back on My Feet Resident members, they can help you excel and focus. Check this out (if you’re crunched for time, start at 4:30):


My absolute favorite line here – “I get so excited – so, I went online and I googled Endorphins….and it came up, “Running high”! It really works.”

But the other point being, “I said to myself, if I can get up at 5:45 in the morning and run? There are some other things I’m able to do, too.”

Right there. That’s it. The reason we do it – the reason we’re “addicted” to that high? It blocks the pain, it elates us; it shows us what we can do, without doubt.


What have you done under the influence of this ‘high’ { from endorphins. Focus.} ?


Filed under early morning, good days, inspiration, learning, motivation, running, things that make me Happy

Back on My Feet

It’s rare that I choose a race based on the charity it supports; I’ve never raised money for a race, or trained with a group that does so. Most of the time I sign up for the swag, the location, or the route our feet will stomp through. I train with one main focus – get across the finish line!

And be coherent enough to snap a Garmin shot afterward, too.

5.3 013020DenverRnRwkend 065

I’ve only ever run for myself. I’ve only used it as an activity I enjoy with friends, with my own mind, with my music, or with the city I want to explore.

All of this to say, my running and I are a little bit selfish. Now, we’ve met a new group of people who might be changing all of that. They might just flip this running thing upside down, giving these feet a different kind of goal to land on.


Today I’ll be spending hours with the crew behind the DC chapter of Back on My Feet (BoMF – not to be confused with BAMF, even though they are). I’ll be learning the ins and outs of what they do on a daily basis, in addition to what they’re doing as an organization. If you haven’t heard of them yet, I’m already doing my ‘job’ – they can be found in seven major cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, DC, Dallas, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Philadelphia (where it all started).

Founded by Anne Mahlum in 2007, Back on My Feet is a nonprofit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of those experiencing homelessness by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. Back on My Feet (BoMF) does not provide food nor does it provide shelter, but instead provides a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership. All members – regardless of race, education or socioeconomic status – join together to move their own lives forward as well as the lives of their teammates.

The DC & Baltimore chapters recently participated in the local Ragnar series – these runners know how to take on a challenge!

Tomorrow night, I’ll be at the orientation for Team Leaders. In the next 48 hours, I’ll realize that this running thing could do a lot more than just get me up before 6 a.m., fill my laundry basket with sweaty clothes or fuel a lifestyle that I’m totally in love with. There’s a lot more out there to be seen, heard and experienced – I want in!


Are you a volunteer for any type of organization around you?
If you could choose a non-profit to join, which one would it be?

I’ve always had an eye on Girls on the Run, and that’s  still on ‘the list’!


Filed under about me, DC, inspiration, new things!

Just a Few Things: Summer Friday Edition

The end of this week has left my brain without a cohesive thought. Or maybe it’s the sleeping an hour past my alarm and smaller-than-usual cup o’ joe?

Apparently my brain only functions on a set morning formula.

Either way, these days call for the meme I created on that one blog I used to write. Remember those days – anyone? (Clueback, Sass, Marlene, Amber, Morgan..? My brain is drawing some blanks!)

Without further random tangents, I bring you a few thoughts:

Confession: We have been counting the days until the Denver IKEA opens up!

It’s open. And I’m a little scared to go in there…I’ve been so nice to my wallet lately, and I know the persuasive powers of those perfectly set-up room displays (especially those kitchens, ah!), and the inexpensively priced warehouse floor with everything you think you need.

I also know how easy it is to get legitimately lost in that store, and quite frankly I’d rather spend my Friday afternoon by the pool than trying to follow those confusing signs, arrows, and house set ups.

Realization: Oatmeal is no friend of summer, and I just may have finally kicked this breakfast habit. This is huge if you know me and my routine….HUGE.

Over the past week I’ve tagged in pb + banana sandwiches (baby steps here, I still want my nut butter fix), and today I went with a smoothie mix that is not only cooling me down (vs causing a morning sweat – gross), but also using a frozen fruit that I’m not typically a fan of.

Seriously, breakfast-comfort-zone, you’re donezo. Adios.

Obsession: Two things: the book “RUN!” by Dean Karnazes, and Abe Lincoln quotes (see yesterday’s post). Read this quote and try to tell me you wouldn’t just have to finish that chapter before going to bed:

When the impossible suddenly becomes possible, the mind expands and the world grows.

-Chapter 15, by Topher Gaylord

True story, Topher.

Want: A pace-buddy and 12-mile route around Boulder for tomorrow morning. I refuse to set foot on the Cherry Creek Trail; that’s me being rebellious against a route that my legs have put up with one too many times.

Need: The UPS man to stop leaving notes that he tried to deliver that package from the Sis, and just DELIVER IT. Kthanks.

Up: My weekly mileage! Finally!

MCM, I’m feeling strong. I hope you’ll be ready for me (in 13 weeks).

Down: I have no answer for this one, I won’t take that as a bad thing.

In: My newest Run buddy, the iPod Shuffle(!!!). It was a birthday gift from D’s family (Thank You!), and I am beyond excited to have this teeny tiny little friend join me tomorrow.

Seriously, have you seen the newest model? TEENY tiny. Like, whoa.

Out: My interest in Pinterest.

I think it’s a cool idea. but I just don’t think “PIN IT!” every time I see an image I like. And while I like the boards I have set up, I also have a lot of things on there that will never make it off the wish-list, so it’s kind of just a tease, right?

I think we may just need a little more time to get to know each other. At the very least, it does remind me of a few things I really love:

Strong bookshelf happy


Feel free to fill in a few blanks or two. And feel free to throw out your favorite summer breakfast ideas – I’ve got seven days of the week to fill up now!


Filed under about me, inspiration, pictures, random, running

Three Things Thursday: Take it Easy

1) On Tuesday night I went to yoga for the first time since the beginning of this month. My muscles adapted pretty quickly, which may or may not have had to do with the 90* temperature in the room. The routine followed traditional Bikram (with Alex’s twists), hitting around 22 of the 26 poses.

I  rolled up my crops to avoid them pull on scabs; I drank my entire water bottle to battle the sweat; I had my intention pop into my head without a second thought:

Be Gentle.

If you missed it, I took a little spill on the bike last Friday. I haven’t really settled down since, and it’s healing just fine. But runs, walks & hikes are one thing – stretching, bending and holding poses is completely different. On that night, I needed to remember to take it easy on these joints. LISTEN to what they’re saying.

6.24.11 0256.24.11 026mandukamat 005

There were only a few times where my knee really questioned how I thought certain things were going to work out, but we made it through! I didn’t need a block, and I wasn’t counting down the seconds until we laid in savasana.


2) At our lululemon run club last night, I stuck with a “newbie” runner (her words, not mine) for all three miles. We ran around 9:45 –10-minute miles, and I kept the conversation flowing to distract her (I also tried to hush the Garmin – no one needs beeping mile reminders when they’re tired).

Once we reached mile two, and a slight incline in the route (how rude, 7th avenue), I told her it was totally okay if we needed to take a quick walk break. She said “No, I don’t want to quit.”

There is the attitude we all need, right? Keep going; it hurts, you’re tired, but it’s not the end of your ability. Run on…

We finished the 3 miles and I have her a big ol’ High-Five, smile and “you’re awesome” chat. She finished, without stopping, and there was that runner’s high.


3) This morning, I found myself wishing I had that drive (see above), struggling to roll out of bed and actually just GO.

Then I got outside, started running, and that’s I needed.

As I got closer to home, and could feel the energy running through those legs, I didn’t want to stop. Instead, I added an extra loop and focused my mind on running for one hour. Something simple, but something I haven’t done in weeks.

I hit it on the dot (Garmin skills!), and couldn’t have been happier:

6.30.11 019

Easy pace, negative splits, and the longest run since June 4th – DONE.


When was the last time you took a step back to let your body go easy, stretch, or enjoy the workout? It’ll work wonders, trust me.

P.S. the Giveaway lasts until tonight!


Filed under inspiration, running, things that make me Happy, Yoga