Deconstructing Cravings

The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.

No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.

The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:

  • Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.
  • Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.
  • What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
  • When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.

GATES OF POWER

Over the last couple of months our group has been exploring the Gate of Emotion and Gate of Dialog. Emotions raw and spoken can be very powerful, fearful, liberating, fascinating , scary, exciting, shameful, encouraging,  and destructive if not checked on.  We are learning how the 4 Magic “E”s, Experience, Explore, Express and Empower can lead us to understand our feelings and where they are coming from. Truly experiencing what we are feeling by saying, yelling, screaming them out loud in a private place we are able to experience them in order to find a way to explore where they are coming from. That ways we can better express them to empower us.  We are learning through the Gate of Dialog how to do this by committing to opening up a true dialog with ourselves and others.

Join us on Saturday, August 17th or Saturday September 7th at 10 am to find out how the Gates of Power can empower you to be an emotionally balanced and expressive person.

Recipes of the Month: Teas

Sun Tea

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 24 hours

Yield: 2 liters

Ingredients:

3-4 tea bags of your choice

water

Directions:

1.   Fill an extra-large mason jar with water, add 3 or 4 of your favorite tea bags and cover with lid.

2.   Place in sun for one full day and let the shining rays pour in heat and energy, bringing out the wonderful tea flavors.

3.   Sweeten if so desired with natural sweetener and serve at room temperature or cold over ice.

Note: Garnish with mint leaves or lemon wedge.

 

Ginger Drink

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Cook Time: 24 hours

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh ginger root

2 quarts water

juice of 2 limes

maple syrup or agave nectar to taste

Directions:

1.   Thinly peel the fresh ginger, grate and mix with water in a large saucepan.

2.   Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Cover the pan and turn off the heat; leave

for 24 hours.

3.   Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve.

4.         Add the lime juice and maple syrup or agave. Stir until dissolved. Serve chilled.

Food Focus: Water

Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water. Getting our daily dose of water helps our organs perform their functions, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all the water our bodies deserve daily. In the summer, when we tend to play hard, sweat and spend prolonged time in the sun, drinking plenty of water is critical. Those who are not drinking enough may experience poor digestion, sluggish thinking, skin breakouts, headaches, bad breath and general fatigue.

To start your day right, set a large glass of water by your bed each night and drink it when you wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead. Keep a bottle of water accessible throughout the day, whether you are on the go or at a desk. Having a bottle of water close by will remind you to take a sip when thirsty. The first sip will usually let you know how much more water you need. A sip or two may be enough, or you may need a big glass. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed. This is good, because drinking before bed and then waking to use the bathroom disturbs your peaceful night’s sleep.

What about quality? Some people like bottled water, while others prefer filtered water. The key is to like the taste of the water you are drinking, and the water should agree with your body. If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment to see how you can make it tasty and drinkable. Try adding a few mint leaves, a wedge of lemon, a sprig of parsley, slices of cucumber, a twist of lime or a squeeze of orange to make water more tempting, or to jazz up your routine. Also, drinking tea or juice and eating raw fruits and vegetables contribute to the hydration process. So, splash in the waves, swim in the sun, drink plenty of water and enjoy the summer fun!

Relaxation and Exercise

Summer is often a time for serious play, time off and deep relaxation. Many of us use the summertime to rebuild our reserves for the rest of the busy year. In our work-crazed society we can lose sight of the benefits of slowing down and taking time to rest. Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to enjoy the restorative powers of reconnecting to your body through movement and relaxation.

The body loves to move. Even though our body is healthiest when it is getting appropriate physical activity, we often feel dread and boredom when we hear the word “exercise”. Think for a moment of what type of movement you would consider fun as opposed to torturous. Perhaps you loathe the idea of a gym, but miss taking dance classes. Maybe you secretly want to try yoga or rollerblading. You could play touch football with your kids, walk with a neighbor in the mornings or go for a swim. The summer offers so many choices – it’s simply up to you to choose which style of movement excites you. Your heart will thank you, your soul will be gratified, your limbs will be more fluid and you’ll sleep better at night.

Summer is a unique time of year when we can do both our relaxation and our movement out in nature. Take a nap in a hammock and enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass. Go to the park and meditate or read under a favorite tree. One of the greatest places to rest in the summertime is by the water. There is something magical and restorative in water, and we naturally crave to be near it, by it or in it. Heading to the water, whether it is the beach, a lake or a kiddy pool, can be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Whether you are relaxing, exercising or both, notice that being outside in nature has a profound way of quieting the mind and reconnecting us to ourselves. Often this relaxation and peace of mind are what our bodies crave the most. So while summer is with us, strap on your sandals and enjoy the rich elements of sun, wind and water and the nourishment that they bring.

Forever Fit

Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga

These three ancient practices offer a gentle and mindful way to fitness.  They are low impact, making them ideal for people who are just beginning a fitness program as well as seasoned fitness buffs. Through breath awareness, these disciplines incorporate a meditative component which helps reduce anxiety and stress and increases strength, balance and core conditioning.

All three practices work on opening up the meridians in the body to allow Chi, Qi or Prana to move freely. The movements are slow and deliberate drawing attention to posture and spinal alignment. By directing the mind to focus on the movements and breath, outside distractions begin to fall away allowing the individual to become calm and balanced.

Some of the reported benefits include:

  • Improved strength, conditioning, coordination, and flexibility
  • Reduced pain and stiffness
  • Better balance and lower risk of falls
  • Enhanced sleep
  • Greater stamina and vitality
  • Reduced stress
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Improved cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive function
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Greater awareness, calmness, and overall sense of well being

We are beginning our new Senior Morning Series, Forever Fit, the week of September 15th  at 10 am including Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Dance and Strength & Flexibility Training. Call for more information.

Food Focus: Raw and Cooling Salads

Why is it that in the summer we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods? These foods have a cooling effect on the body. The lightness and high water, fiber and vitamin content work together to act as our internal air conditioning during these warm months. At this time of year we also need less dense, high-energy food because we get so much energy from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

There is no better season than summer to have fun creating your own fresh, tasty, creative salad combinations. By simply tossing together several of your favorite raw veggies, naked or with a light dressing, you have a perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.

Try your favorite leafy lettuce with various sliced, diced or grated veggies. The possible combinations are endless. Fresh herbs are a wonderful option to mix in, as they are packed full of flavor. Experiment with adding diverse forms of protein to your salads, such as nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish or poultry. Pick up a light and healthy dressing at your local health food store, or mix up something easy, like lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil.

This is a great opportunity to try a new vegetable from your market. What are some creative flavors you’ve never tried before? Fennel and mint? Daikon radish and arugula? Summer squash with watercress? Whatever you choose, have fun with your food and stay cool. Happy summer!

 

Try Something New

Summer is finally in fully force, and the living is easy! Kids are out of school (no more nagging to do homework anyway), schedules are lighter, days are longer.
Throughout the year we live at an intense pace (physical, emotional and mental), and we often get stuck in routine, either for the sake of efficiency or out of fear of unfamiliar territory. The lack of variety in doing the same things over and over stagnates not only our minds, but also our bodies and hearts.

Are you hesitant to break your routine? Fear and excitement have the same physiological expression in our bodies; it is our mind that classifies the feeling as either positive or negative. So the next time you consider a change in routine and your mind says “scary!” see if you can re-frame it as “exciting!”

What is something you have never done before or that you have wanted to do for a long time? Choose your own adventure: organize a kayak trip, take a yoga class , do some exotic traveling or set a goal for a new personal challenge. Or try something simple, like playing flashlight tag with your kids and neighbors or reading in the sunshine. Maybe it’s time to discover a new vegetable dish or to visit a new town, restaurant or beach.

Whatever adventure calls to you, use this summer to make it happen and enjoy yourlife. Increasing new experiences and excitement in your life can decrease your dependence on artificial stimulants like caffeine and sugar, leading to more vibrant health. Watch out for massive improvements in physical well-being, mental acuity and motivation, plus a full portfolio of fun.

The wheels don’t move you…

Not your average spin class.

X-Bike at EMC is a unique, low impact, total body exercise that engages the core while strengthening the low back– offsetting any long days sitting at a desk, on a train or behind a wheel, or standing with locked out joints. Your heart and lungs will  reap the benefits from this cardiovascular workout that actually burns 55% more calories on average than the standard fixed wheel indoor bike. The free-wheel works exactly like a real bike and unlike fixed wheel systems doesn’t depend on momentum to move your legs for you. Did we mention the safety benefit? If your feet slip off the pedals, the free wheel stops the cranks from causing injury to your legs.

Even though elite athletes use this bike in training for their sport, i.e. World Cup Mountain Bikers, Motorsport, Trainers/Athletes, our classes are geared for the average person young and old can participate because you are encouraged to challenge yourself at your own pace. Click here to find out more about the X-Bike

Balance

Endurance

Interval

Summer Yoga OUTSIDE on Saturdays!

Outdoor Yoga with Christine

Saturdays 6/22-9/14

9am-10am

$10 drop in

 

Take your yoga mat outside for a summer Saturday flow with Christine.  This yoga class, open to all levels, will meet under the shade of the trees by the boat launch at Riverfront Green, Peekskill.

In case of rain, the yoga class will take place inside at Energy Movement Center.