Showing posts from March, 2013

DIY Health

Ah, it's been a while since I did a formally organized challenge.  What better time than now, to get recharged and refreshed for spring?

The folks at are challenging YOU for month of April!  In the DIY Health Challengethere are two goals, that you can fit into your life this month as you see fit:  (1) "cook one healthy meal per day", and (2) "complete 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises daily."  These target specific areas, but are broad enough that it's up to you how you fulfill them.

As a Greatist Ambasssador, I knew I had to accept this challenge.  For me, the cooking one healthy meal per day is pretty much down.  I already prepare most of my meals at home, so that won't take much change.  Twenty minutes of bodyweight exercises, though... At first, I'd thought that it'd be too much. I don't like to do strength-based workouts more than two or three times per week, but by switching up which muscles are working, I should be alr…

Stop microwaving plastic!

The dare says it all.

I, personally, have a lot of plastic containers.  Someday, when I become a "real person", I will get a beautiful set of glass food storage containers and life will be grand.  They will be matching and organized. They'll stack neatly, and I will be able to cook or microwave in them!

But for now... I've got plastic.

But is that ideal? Probably not, especially microwaving in them.   So if you're like me and use plastic storage containers, please be aware of the chemicals they leak into food, and how microwaving can make it worse.

First, let's just look at plastic.  This material's use in cooking and food preparation has been linked to: hormonal imbalance, various cancers, heart disease, and impaired brain development.

Even before microwaving, these containers can leech estrogenic chemicals in plastic products.  Research has found that more than 70% of common plastics released estrogenic compounds, and that number increased to 95% after …

Friday Features

Man, oh man, do I have some great reads for you!  I've just been collecting them and the list grows longer and longer...

Reminder: If you like Friday Features, you can always stay up to date with articles that I find worth sharing by following me on Twitter,because I'm always retweeting similar content!

There is a LOT of nutrition in the news these days, so today is going to be nutrition-heavy.  Maybe next week I'll shift gears to focus on fitness.

[But, before we begin, one fun fitness feature:] Remember last year's introduction to SlimKicker?  It's this awesome website that helps you tackle challenges you give yourself, to become a better you.  Sound familiar?  Anyway, they're hosting a huge giveaway, where you can win a Bowflex Home Gym, worth over $1000!  They tell us: "This home gym features more than 50 strength building exercises, with resistance ranging from 50 to 210 pounds. It's very convenient, and simple to use, with no cable exchanges neede…

Review: Designer Whey Protein

One of my 2013 goals was to continue increasing my protein consumption to >90 grams per day.  Last year, I found that focusing on protein intake made my meals infinitely more satisfying, so I vowed to keep it up and take it to the next level.  Plus, there's the added benefits of consuming protein post-workout to help repair and build your muscles.  Because I've also been focusing on strength training and conditioning, protein has become that much more important.  I've been amping up my protein in the form of nutritious, real foods: wild fish, high-quality meat, and nature's perfect gift--eggs.

Many people use protein powders to bulk up meals or shakes after exercise. I have never been one of them. First, there was the period of time I wasn't really eating meat, so integrating whey or casein just didn't appeal.  This year, whey wasn't so scary anymore, but I simply wasn't in the habit and didn't really know why or where to start.

When Designer Whe…

Wash Your Makeup Brushes

(For my male audience, I apologize. This one's for the ladies!) 

This is a dare that, for too long, I avoided, denied its importance, neglected.  But finally, about a year ago, I came around and gave in and decided it was time to start cleaning my makeup brushes.

This is SO necessary!  It's really disgusting to think about how much old makeup is dried up in there.  Being lazy, I'd sooner have bought a new brush than deal with washing my own.  However, after some research and experimentation, I learned that it's really not that hard at all, just one of those inconveniences that seems like a bigger deal than it is.

The internet is a wonderful resource for "How To" anything.  Finding sites and videos was incredibly easy.  With so many options to choose from, I browsed a bit before choosing to follow this one, which shows several techniques:

But there are tons more, so you  can search for one that appeals to you!

I still remember after that first cleaning, seeing…

Live With Fire!

So... Reebok sent me their smokin' hot new running sneakers.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Need I even write a review?

Alright, alright.  Runners and trainers alike know not to judge a shoe by its... cover.  I've tried pretty shoes before (even pretty Reebok ones) that simply didn't work for my feet.  Good looks aren't enough; you've got to test it out!  Take it out of the box, stop drooling, and lace up.

After testing in my home, on the road, and at the gym, I can confirm that these shoes are as awesome as they look. I'm picky about fitness shoes, and have learned that the right shoe makes all the difference to your workout and comfort.  You need a shoe that is designed not only for the task in which you will use it (running? jumping? spinning? sprinting? pivoting? squating? dancing?), but also for your foot.  I don't know how Reebok did it, but in the last two weeks, I've found that the DMX Sky was designed for a) all of the above, and…

Seek Out Knowledge: Nutrition Workshop

In the journey to become your best self, you've got to actively seek out information that will help you make better choices.  This weekend, I had such an opportunity, and took it.

And that means another event recap...

Appropriately coinciding with my one-year paleoversary, I traveled this weekend to Washington D.C. to learn even more about the science behind and practical implementation of a paleo lifestyle.  At Crossfit Metro Center,  the Balanced Bites Nutrition Workshop would be presented for the last audience for a while.  I'm so fortunate to have taken part!

The Balanced Bites Workshop is led by Diane Sanfilippo (of and Liz Wolfe (of, two very smart and funny women whose podcast has made my commutes far more enjoyable and educational. 
The workshop was basically an all-inclusive schooling on what different foods--and the nutrients and micronutrients that come with them--do in and to our bodies, and how we can make better choices for optim…

Reflect and adjust: Lessons on my Paleoversary

Last week marked one year since I first began eating according to a paleo template.  One wonderful year of paleo-esque eating.  Happy Paleoversary, me!

What have I learned in my (more-or-less/progressively improving) "paleo" year?  1. It works.  2. It's about consistency. 3. It's about you.  Let's look back...

It all began with an innocent week without wheat, and the positive results were so immediate and astonishing, that I dove head-first into a 30-day paleo challenge.  I enjoyed feeling like my body was functioning as it should--better than I knew it could--and it was still new, so I kept it up for the next few months, with a few non-paleo treats on rare occasions.  Then I became a bit lax, a bit lazy, a bit "why can't I have that," although I never reverted back to the Standard American Diet. Grains are no longer something I eat daily or even miss.  I've remained mostly gluten-free and paleo; nowadays, I'm pretty consistent, but do still …

Write Three Good Things

This dare is just as the title suggests: I dare you to write down three good things in your life, every day.

The end!

Just kidding, I'll explain:

When I studied positive psychology(the scientific study of happiness) in college, many lessons stuck with me.  For example, money increases happiness only up until a certain threshold, at which point basic needs are satisfied.  Having children decreases momentary happiness, but dramatically improves long-term life satisfaction.  A lengthy commute significantly diminishes happiness--far more than people may predict.  ... SO many interested findings!

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, tested various interventions to measure effects on human happiness.  One of the simplest was called Three Good Things in Life: "Participants were asked to write down three things that went well each day and their causes every night for one week. In addition they were asked to provide a causal explanation for each good thing" (Seligma…