Archive for May, 2009

New Age & breathing

I’m off to the New Age Health Spa with my mom for a nice long weekend in the Catskill Mountains. I can’t think of a time I needed this more. Oh yes, last vacation. I needed that then, too.

My plan is to wake up at 6 every morning for silent meditation followed by yoga, which seems to be the perfect way to start the day. Or, knowing me, I might just say “screw it,” sleep in, and pig out at the salad bar. It’s happened before.

Before I go, I want to leave you with one of my favorite breathing techniques, taught to me by Andrew Weil (in person, a few weeks ago!)I’ve been using this CD for about a year now, however, and trust me, it works. It only takes 30 seconds out of your day, so no excuses, ok!

Please note that you can do this standing, sitting in a chair, or laying down. Your tongue should gently touch the roof of your mouth, the ridge right behind your front teeth.

1. With your mouth closed, breathe in for a count of 4.

2. Hold your breath for a count of 7

3. Slowly exhale through  an open mouth for a count of 8. Don’t rush this–the last bit of air should be exhaled when you hit 8.  When breathing out, try to make a loud “whooshing” noise with the the exhale.

SO…to recap. Breathe in (mouth closed) for 4. Hold for 7. And breathe out (open mouth) for 8.

Repeat this 4 times. Twice a day. That’s it.  Just 4 times.  After you’ve been doing this for a few months, let me know, and I’ll give you phase 2. But just start with this little bit now.

And one more thing to remember about breathing in general…it’s the exhale that relaxes you more than the inhale. Try to get into the habit of focusing on the exhale part of your breath, forcing out every little bit of air from your lungs.  That’s the part that really relaxes you. You’ll be in ommmm-ing in no time.

Buy this CD-it rocks!

Buy this CD-it rocks!

May 28, 2009 at 1:14 am Leave a comment

Freaking out? Check.

freak outAgain, thank you for the comments and feedback (and grammatical help!) you have given me. I’m still trying to figure out how to actually blog, so I appreciate the assistance. And I love the comments…keep ‘em coming!

I’ve been debating on how personal to get in this blog. Sure, telling you I take fish oils is personal, but come on, it’s not THAT personal. But I’m not sure if I’m ready to go Stephanie Klein personal and dish about my sex life. (I am a huge fan of her blog though, and do enjoy reading about her sex life)

How about if I began by telling you about my fears and anxieties about actually putting myself “out there” in the blogosphere.  About how I basically had a panic attack after creating the blog last night, and that I had 3 hours of sleep and woke up feeling like someone was standing on my chest. I had never felt this way before.  “A panic attack,” Matt told me. “No way, not me,” was my reply.

But the more I thought about it I realized that yes, I was panicking. Because for the first time, I am putting myself and my knowledge totally out there in full view. I’m finally taking a stand for myself. I’ve been hiding behind books, magazines, textbooks, workshops and classes for years.  With this blog, at last, I have taken the first step to find my own voice and share what I’ve learned over the past few years.

So, let me just say for the record, I freaked the f*&k out. But I’m OK now. And I’m ready to share. To be honest about my life, my “food issues” that I have been working through, and things I may not know about. I realize life is meant to be messy, but I’ve never been much of a fan of that. I crave order, balance, schedules, lists, and things tied up in pretty ribbons. But not now. I’m giving you all I’ve got…and it might get a little messy. I do hope you stick around and stay with me and share my adventures and incredible passion for a happy, healthy, nutritious and delicious life.

May 27, 2009 at 1:16 am 4 comments

Itchy eyes and allergies

First off, many thanks to the well wishes from friends on cake & carrots! Your support means so much! I want to encourage you to take an active role in this blog. PLEASE ask questions and tell me what YOU want to know about. If I don’t know a certain topic, and trust me, there is so much I don’t know, I certainly can find someone who does.

I don’t know about you, but my allergies are killing me. This past Friday I developed a sore throat out of the blue for a day. Along with everyone else, I’ve been sneezing and feeling a bit itchy all over. From the sneezes I hear on the subway and on the street, many of you are feeling the same way.

However, there may be something else going on when your eyes are itchy according to Stephan Rechtschaffen, founder of the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, NY.  Do you get itchy around your whole eye? Do you feel like you want to rub them out of your head? Or–Do just the inside corners of your eyes itch?

If you said the latter, it could very well be the sign of a food allergy. Cool, right? I had never heard that before, but when he mentioned that at a lecture in school, of course the corners of my eyes started itching.  Many of us have food allergies and intolerances we are unaware of, and this is just one sign of them. Keep a food journal to track your body’s response to certain foods or do an allergy eliminiation diet (more on that later)  to find the cause of your itchy eyes. You might be surprised at what you find!

May 26, 2009 at 10:38 am 2 comments

What vitamins/supplements do I take?


I thought I would start this blog by sharing what supplements I take, since people always ask me.  I’ll let you know which ones you should be probably be taking as well (but always consult a doctor!)

Omega-3 Fish Oils: If you’re not taking fish oils, please, start! I know you have all heard about Omega-3s, especially now that packaged foods are beginning to jump on this bandwagon.  Much research has shown fish oils to have the following positive effects: Less pain & inflammation (this is HUGE!), cardiovascular health, better brain function, and protection against stroke and heart attack.  At recent classes taught by Dr Andrew Weil and Dr Barry Sears , the #1 supplement they recommended was fish oils.  One IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure the capsules you buy are purified or molecularly distilled! Fish are filled with mercury, and if the oil is not purified, you’re basically taking a capsule of mercury laden “pond scum.”

Vitamin D: So trendy in the news right now. Did you know that Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin? It’s actually a hormone, which explains why it is so vital to development. Yes, it promotes calcium & phosphorous absorption for healthy teeth and bones. But it also regulates many cell functions, regulates inflammation and helps with brain formation. Pretty important. Vitamin D can be obtained primarily through sunlight, however most people do not get enough. If you live north of Atlanta, GA, even if you run around naked during the day, the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough to manufacture the D your body needs.  Many foods, such as breads and cereals, are fortified with D, but we’re still not getting enough.  So, go out and buy a Vitamin D supplement (Make sure it’s D3, not D2) and take upwards of 2000 IU, which is more than is recommended by the DRI. (The jury is out, but we may need more than 2000I IU!)  Take vitamin D with fat, as this is a fat soluble vitamin…it needs fat for absorption! Ladies: We tend to be deficient in vitamin D, so next time you’re at the doctor have them check your blood for vitamin D deficiency. I just got mine tested…waiting for the results!

Folic Acid: Men, scroll down, this is for the ladies. We think of this as being especially important during pregnancy, as it promotes healthy cell production and lowers the risks of Neural Tube Defects. Many foods, such as breads and cereals, are now supplemented with folic acid. And eating foods such as spinach, beans, peas, and leafy green veggies will contribute to your folic acid intake. If you’ve had abnormal paps before, this could be a good one to take.

Probiotics: Most of us have heard about probiotics, especially since frozen yogurt chains are touting the probiotics added to their yogurt.   To make sure I am getting enough of the live healthy gut bacteria (which is what probiotics are) I take a daily supplement. If you have stomach “issues,” like I do, I found that taking probiotics REALLY helps. Women, if you have a history of candida and/or just finished a round of antibiotics, taking probiotics will help restore the healthy gut flora.

Multivitamin: There is a debate whether or not to take a multivitamin. Personally, I believe it’s a good back up and acts like insurance to make sure you are getting your recommended intakes. However, vitamins and nutrients through real food in your diet are a much better source! You can’t eat a diet of cakes and cookies and take a multi and think you’re OK. Doesn’t work like that.  My husband and I both take Andrew Weil’s big ol horsepill of a vitaminMen: Make sure you’re multivitamin does not have iron…you get enough!

Iron: Again, ladies, a good idea is to get your iron storage levels checked. We need iron to help transport oxygen to our blood cells. Kinda important, right? If you feel spacy, light headed, tired, it could be low levels of iron. Especially when menstruating. Get this checked out, especially if you’re a vegetarian.

Vitamin B12: This vitamin is involved in almost every cell function in the body, with a key role in brain and nervous system functioning. A natural source of vitamin B12 is meat and some fish, so for the vegetarians and people who don’t eat much meat (like me), you’ll probably need a supplement. Some multi’s have this in their formula, so look out for that. I don’t know whether it’s a placebo thing, but when I wear my B12 patch I feel a jolt of energy and seem to be able to concentrate more.

And lastly…

Vitamin L:  Vitamin Love, baby. Needed in massive quantities each day for a healthy mind, body, and soul.

May 25, 2009 at 9:26 pm 4 comments

As Oprah says, “Here we go….”

Picture 1Welcome to Cake and Carrots, where you will join me on my adventures in nutrition, health and wellness.  I am well aware of the plethora of blogs and websites dedicated to these topics (I think I receive at least 20 newsletters/day). But this one is different, I promise.

As a student of both traditional and holistic nutrition, I will be offering tips and advice and findings in BOTH fields, which I have found to be independent of one another. I am a lover of science, yet believe in the energy and chakras of the body. I love weight lifting and aerobic activity, but also meditation.

So, why start a blog? Because I am starting to get a bit stir crazy and I need a creative outlet—stat!  Currently, I am in graduate school at NYU in the Nutrition and Dietitics program. When I emerge 6 years down the road (I am going to school part time), I will be a Registered Dietitican (RD) and have my Masters of Science (MS). Yes, very fancy, I know.  In addition, I attend the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, and will graduate in July as a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and a member of the AADP (American Association of Drugless Practioners).  I have also tried almost every diet out there, read ridiculous amounts of nutrition books, and know some pretty cool people in the industry (Look out for guest bloggers and interviews!) My goal, with all these credentials, is to help and educate people to become healthier, more confident and just lead better lives. We all want that. I know I do.

Because I am so busy with schools, homework, and a demanding day job, I am not taking on clients right now.  As a consequence, I am amassing incredible amounts of knowledge that I dish out to friends and family on a daily basis. Free of charge. So, I thought, why not share my education and passion (ok, and sometimes obsession) for healthy living with the entire world? The purpose of this blog is for you have a place to visit daily, learn something new every day, and share my adventures (I am warning you, it might get messy at times, especially as I find my “blogging voice.”)  I hope I can inspire you to ask questions, be curious about food and wellness, and motivate you to live your best life possible.

And why the name cake and carrots? For those who know me, I will never turn down something sweet. I love to indulge (And at times, overindulge). But I also love being healthy, feeling incredible through the food I eat and an active lifestyle. It’s all about balance. So we’ll find that together, and of course, have some fun.

Here we go….

May 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm 2 comments

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May 2009