Monday, December 26, 2011

My heartfelt message for you going into the new year

Dearest Friends,

I've come to learn that no matter what kind of relationship you're in, a relationship is a place you go to give. It's not a place where you go to "deserve", or "owe". The latter two are not a thing of love but a thing of fear. If two people are in a relationship to give to one another, they would then have balanced their needs and wants, and given just a little more weight to the other's happiness.

In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much, or even a little more than they get. "Deserves" is not the point. "Fair" is not the point. And "owes" is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is—in the right hands, everything that you give, you get. If both partners are in it to give to the other, then somehow life's inevitable challenges can become a much smoother, healthier, happier ride.

So for this holiday season, let's be reminded to not only give during the holidays, but to give all year... everyday. It doesn't have to be materialistic. A priceless gift of acknowledgment, understanding, compassion, even a smile, a hug... doesn't matter what it is or how you do it just as long as your intentions are truly to make the other person's day a little brighter without expecting anything in return. This unconditional way of being is the thing that makes you rich! Makes you feel alive! It can truly nurture your spirit and empower you like nothing else in this world can...

...I want to thank you for letting me into your homes and into your hearts through the videos, articles and news I share on Wellness With I'm grateful for your friendship and the inspiration it gives me to be able to do what I do. I hope that in some small way I've been able to nurture your mind, body and spirit through my work. Thank you for giving me the chance to do so.

Happy holidays to you and yours! I look forward to learning more and sharing more with you in the new year.

xoxo Penny

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10-Minute Home Workout Series 7: Seriously Sexy Legs

Try this "Seriously Sexy Legs" workout I've put together to tear your legs up so they can build back stronger, leaner and meaner! J

Gentlemen, don't be fooled by the title of this workout — it's not designed just for the ladies. It's tougher than it looks! The best part? You can do it right where you are!

The many variations of squats combined with cardio intervals consisting of explosive plyometric-type moves is just the thing you need to challenge all your leg muscle fibers and target them from different angles; activate all your stability muscles and recruit other muscles you didn't even know you had!

Depending on the intensity you put into it, the cardio itself will get your heart racing for all the right reasons! So with all these methods combined, you'll burn a ton of calories while strengthening and sculpting some seriously sexy legs. :)

The list of leg exercises for this workout (in order from start to finish):

20 Squats 
10 Jump Squats
10 Burpees
20 Frog Squat (with Heel Raise)
10 Burpees (with 2 Forward Jump Squats and 2 Backwards Jump Squats)
20 Sumo Squats
10 Plie Jumps
20 Prisoner Squats
10 Burpee (with Wide Leg Jump Squats)
20 Reverse Lunge (with lean over and reach – 10 reps each leg)
10 Lunge Jumps
20 Snowboarders
20 Lateral Lunge Reach
20 Skater Glide Lunges

Make sure to perform an overall body warm up before going into this leg workout. Try running on the spot and jump jacks for a minute each. (To learn more, click here.) Then, introduce the exercises to the body by performing several reps of each move from the workout, moving through each one slowly, focusing on form, and allowing the body to warm up further and adapt to the moves. This can prevent injuries and help you move through the workout more effectively. 

For the next few weeks, you could try a 3-day-a-week plan. Example: do this workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is to allow enough rest time between the workout days so the legs can recuperate. However, in the first week, you may only be able to do this workout twice a week because you might feel really sore and will need extra rest days. So in that case, you could perform the workout on Monday and allow for full recovery and perform again on Friday. 

Please don't overdo the workout because the recovery days are very important as your legs will need those days to repair and come back even stronger and tighter. If you overdo it without giving it sufficient rest days, you might hinder the process. Saying this, however, if you're not hitting this workout hard, at high intensity, then by all means do it as often as you like. You could try doing it every other day, or try a two-days-on-and-one-day-off routine.

After some time doing the reps I suggested, you could try a different approach. Get creative so you don't hit a plateau. Try 50-second intervals with 10 seconds rest between each move. Change the time, sets and reps, and even add weights to add challenge. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Learn to challenge yourself and keep things exciting! You can repeat the entire workout for an extra set so to really challenge yourself and see results sooner. Yes, this workout will be more than 10 minutes depending on your fitness level. But I promise it will be worth every minute of sweet torture! :)

Best thing to have after the workout is a protein shake. It can be plain old 100% iso whey protein powder mixed with water, or you can get fancier and make it a delicious smoothie. To find out more on why and how, just click here.

Join the Wellness Movement! Start here, right now, with this 10-Minute Home Workout Series 7: Seriously Sexy Legs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beauty surrounds us each moment. Have you noticed?

Take time out to notice the beauty that surrounds you. We live in a world that is truly abundant. Don't miss out simply because you don't believe that this is so.. Please read this heart-felt story...

"In Washington DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After one hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

If you knew the benefits of krill oil, you would take it, too!

Two of the best ways to improve your overall health is to increase your intake of antioxidants and omega-3 oils. Antioxidants are your body's way to neutralize free radicals, those harmful metabolic byproducts that damage cells and tissues throughout your body.

Scientific evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that antioxidants are key in the promotion of heart health, memory support and immune system support. Antioxidants also appear to play a role in helping to slow your signs of aging.

Although many foods contain antioxidants, today's poor-quality diets are nearly always insufficient in the full range of these beneficial free radical scavengers. That's why it's important to increase your antioxidant intake — through natural foods or quality supplement — as a valuable way to optimize your health.

This brings us to the main reason why krill oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) is becoming popular as a nutritional supplement. It contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin. The algae that krill eat produces the bright red pigment (astaxanthin) that gives krill and other crustaceans such as lobster and shrimp their reddish-pink color. 

Unlike many other antioxidants, astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it could theoretically protect the eye, brain and central nervous system from free radical damage.

People use krill oil for the same reasons they use fish oil, flax oil or other omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike fish oil, krill oil doesn't cause fishy burps or an aftertaste, a common side effect of fish oil. Also, krill oil contains higher amounts of astaxanthin than fish oil.
So… just what are krill anyway?

Krill are small shrimp or prawn-like creatures that feed the world's most mammoth animals — the great whales. Toothless great whales gulp down huge quantities of krill to provide the energy they need to fuel their massive bulk.

A blue whale eats up to 8,000 pounds of krill each day during feeding season. These highly intelligent great whales aren't the only animals that depend on krill for their nutritional needs. So do seals, penguins, sea birds, squid and fish.

The hardy krill harvested from harsh Antarctic waters are so important they are considered a "keystone species", an organism upon which many Antarctic predators depend. These semi-translucent crustaceans congregate in dense masses or swarms that can turn the ocean's surface pink or red.

Together with plankton, krill make up the largest biomass on earth... one of the most easily renewable food resources available, an excellent nutritional source from an environmental perspective.

Unlike fish oils, pure krill oil carries omega-3s in the form of phospholipids -- liposomes or little packages that deliver the fatty acids directly to your body's cells.

Scientific evidence to date has shown that the safest and most effective carriers of EPA and DHA (the good fats found in omega-3 oils) are these phospholipids. They are the building blocks for your cell membranes, regulating cellular transport by functioning as "gate-keepers." In this role, they protect cell membranes from free radical attack.

Unfortunately, standard fish oils (and inferior krill oil brands) lack this phospholipid complex. Instead they contain omega-3 fatty acids in the less-beneficial form of free triglycerides.

So be sure to do your research when purchasing krill oil supplements. Find out what works best for you. As for me, I've chosen the TwinLab brand of Krill Essentials Omega-3 Cardio Krill Oil in softgel form. You can find out more and purchase this at Popeye's supplements store and

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How you perceive “reality” and “illusion” will change the quality of your life

Reality is all about perception
When you were born into this life you probably learned that what you see in front of you is “reality.” But this is only a partial truth because reality is also determined by your attention and perception.

You and I could be looking at the same thing, person or situation, but it doesn’t mean that we will perceive or interpret it the same way. How we perceive something or someone becomes our “reality” — the factor that either motivates or discourages us. And the interpretation of reality that we choose to believe will inevitably affect the quality of the life we live.

We’ve been taught through generations, by society and authority figures, that what we see is real. Perhaps this is partly true, however, there’s more to this notion than meets the eye; and it is this missing part that isn’t really taught to us. We have to figure it out ourselves through trial and error.

And through heart-breaking trials and errors of my own, and of others, I have certainly made my share of valuable discoveries, and can today confidently share my experiences in hope to contribute to the quality of your life.

With that said, let me ask you this:

What if life could be even more rewarding if only you made a slight shift in the way that you think? Would you make this shift? Would you be open enough to adjust your perception of life?

It is the heart and mind
that controls the
external reality
What if what you see is not “reality,” but is only a vision that presents a challenge so that you are reminded to make the best decision you can, given the circumstances? What if what you see is an illusion, and what you choose is the ultimate reality? How would you live life then?

Would you spend time complaining and dwelling on the very displeasing thing that is happening before your eyes? Or would you see it as an opportunity to choose something that feels better to you?

You see, it is not what you see that creates your reality; it is the choices you make from what you see that creates your reality.

This means whatever displeasing thing you see, no matter how real it may appear to you, can only remain real if you choose to spend your energy (thoughts and emotions) there. In other words, you're most likely gossiping or complaining about it, and/or feeling strong emotions toward it. Simply put, you’re spending your energy in "that place.”

Whatever you spend your energy on can no longer remain an illusion. Instead, it becomes your reality.

And while you’re there (in this displeasing illusion you’ve given so much of your attention to) you begin to attract more events and people that don’t seem to make things any better. And so, of course, this “illusion” then becomes even more of a “reality” to you.

So you see, the thing that matters most is not so much what you see, but what you choose. The minute you choose to direct most of your attention to a subject, you are then in that moment energizing it and it will sooner and later become your reality. Without your strong attention to it, it remains powerless, still somewhat of an illusion.

And even in making new decisions, keep in mind that it may not always be a choice that makes you happy right away. And that’s okay. It need only be a choice that makes you feel a bit better than the moment before.

In every moment, you can change
the course of an event by making
a different choice
Then from there, in that next moment, you choose the next thing that makes you feel a bit better than the moment before that. The key is to deliberately repeat this method of decision-making from one moment to the next, and not give up part way.

This kind of deliberate consistency can become very powerful as it creates a positive momentum. And slowly, but surely, these so called “little” steps will start to take shape in your favor.

These “little” steps are the moves that will set your sails in life. When you make a conscious effort to use what you see in front of you as an opportunity to set your sails in a direction of your choice, then, when the wind blows (as it always will), you can be certain to sail where you wish to go, more effortlessly.

As you go about your day, just remember: In every moment, you can change the course of an event by making a different choice. After all, it is the heart and mind that controls the external reality.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10-Minute Home Workout Series 6: Bad to the CORE

Finally! It's okay to be bad! Try this "Bad to the CORE" workout. Who knew being bad could be so good for you? ;) You only need 10 minutes to increase your strength and endurance, while tightening your core. A strong core can give you more power and stability in every move you make, whether it be in or out of the gym. So go ahead and be bad to the CORE!

List of exercises for Bad to the CORE workout:
- 8 Plank jump-jack
- 8 Palm plank with knee cross-drive
- 10 Knee-high (running on the spot)
- 5 jackknife
- 8 torso twist

Repeat as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes. Try to beat your own record each time you execute this workout. ;0)

Penny shares this workout from her series of 10-Minute Home Workout videos as part of her "Join the Wellness Movement" campaign. This campaign was created to motivate you to "move" — to encourage you to consciously choose the things in life that fulfills your overall well-being — to inspire you to stay fit, stay strong and stay well in mind, body and spirit.

Join the Wellness Movement! Start here, right now, with this 10-Minute Home Workout Series 6: Bad to the CORE.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thought For Today: Don't be so hard on yourself...

Just when you think you got a grip on how life works and you're ready to be calm and confident… you trip! Or something doesn't go your way and you find yourself “losing it” all over again. And then, you get mad at yourself for it. Please stop. Don't be so hard on yourself…

Realizing your higher Self, attaining inner peace or achieving divine confidence... in other words, "being more spiritual," does not make you or me better or right. It simply makes us more aware. That is all. Nothing more. It is what you do with that awareness that determines the amount of joy you experience in life. With deep awareness, you can make better decisions.

I've come to learn that no matter how much we find our way again, we continue to lose our way at some point, only to have to find our way again. Sometimes this "down time" lasts only a few seconds, sometimes days, months or even years. And so I've come to realize through my own life's trials and tribulations that…

Life is indeed a continued journey of inquiring, discovering and re-discovering; fighting so you can get tired of fighting and so surrender to life's higher intelligence and divine order; losing so you can experience winning all over again; getting off track so you can again experience the joy of getting back on track.

Life is indeed a journey of losing yourself so you can experience and re-experience the deep peace and inner fulfillment that comes with finding your Self again. You will see for yourself no matter how "good" you get in life, you will still lose it at times. Just know that's okay. That's how life works; a journey of repeating joy, of discovering and re-discovering your state of balance again, and again.

This is the only way your spirit can build more courage, strength and wisdom. There is no other way. So embrace the paradox of life. Embrace the light and the dark… Light can only appear when it is dark, and darkness can only exist in the absence of light. In other words, both “good” (light) and “bad” (darkness) are necessary to create a whole picture. And so it is that you, too, have to be the “good” and the “bad” in order to be whole. See the irony here?

So don't be so hard on your Self. It isn't you, it is just the way life works. Don't fight it or over analyze it. Just embrace it and it will embrace you back tenfold. This much, I know for sure.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Try this tasty tomato snack with amazing health benefit

This video is dedicated to the fans in Italy, and Steve and friends from the prestigious Harbour Wellness and Fitness Club in Milan, Italy. Thank you for your following and continued support! Apprezzo tutti voi! The article for this video is provided below in English for those who don't speak Italian. :) Grazie!

Here's a delicious snack you can also have as a light meal when you're grazing through the day. Aside from its obvious yumminess, it is also less than 200 calories, nutritious, easy to make and will keep you satiated. Fresh, juicy tomato on toasted multigrain light rye bread.

• Lightly spray the toast with low-fat butter
• Place sliced, fresh tomatoes on the toast, and lightly spray again
• Sprinkle onion powder, sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy)

What exactly makes this snack so good?

The tomato carries a set of health benefits of its own including prostate cancer prevention and cholesterol reduction; it can serve as anti inflammatory and anti thrombotic (helps prevent blood clot); and has an alkalizing effect in the body (helps neutralize acidity in the body). 

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (helps your skin, eyes and immune system stay healthy), vitamin C (helps your body fight infection, increase your iron absorption, maintain the health of your connective tissues, improve your skin, and reduce stress), and vitamin K (helps maintain the strength of your bones). 

They are a very good source of dietary fiber (keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check), and important minerals such as chromium, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B1. 

In addition, the high fiber bread helps stabilize blood sugar levels, helps in weight control, minimizes the risk of heart diseases and improves gut function. Not to mention, all the sprinkled flavors also offer a list of health benefits of their own.

Just for fun: Go ahead and add a 4-5 oz piece of salmon, and that would make this a tomato salmon opened-face sandwich! Salmon’s health benefits include loads of protein, B vitamins and good Omega-3 fats. With this, this delicious, healthy “snack” becomes a great meal for well under 500 calories! A great addition indeed! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10-Minute Home Workout Series 5: Minute Madness

Don't have time? Travel too much? Can't find a gym? Can't afford fancy equipment? No problem! You only need 10 minutes to increase your strength and endurance, speed up your metabolism, burn a ton of calories. And you can do it all, right where you are! No fancy equipment needed. All you need is you! 

Penny shares a workout from her series of 10-Minute Home Workout videos as part of her "Join the Wellness Movement" campaign. This campaign was created to motivate you to "move." To encourage you to consciously choose the things in life that fulfills your overall wellbeing. To inspire you to stay fit, stay strong and stay well in mind, body and spirit.

Join the Wellness Movement! Start here, right now, with this 10-Minute Home Workout Series 5: Minute Madness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thought For Today: You and I are not so different...

We are all the same. Deep down, at the core of each and every one of us, we all have the same needs. We may be different in our approach, but that does not make us different. We all have the capacity to love and to hate, to be kind and to be destructive, to be hurtful and to be caring. 

Some people have so much battling in their mind, they may temporarily lose their way (or lose their Selves). It could very well be you, or me. So before we judge others who have done us wrong or do things we do not agree with, perhaps we should have some compassion and be thankful that life hasn't yet provoked us to show all our dark colors.

Though you may not have been pushed to completely unleash your distasteful side, it doesn’t mean that given the "right" circumstances, you wouldn't become "that" person you dislike. You are a better person to have compassion, understanding and deep acceptance that life is challenging for each of us... that you and I are equal, no matter what our exterior may show. Deep down we are no different. Whatever it is that we are doing, we are doing it because we all want to be happy, we all want to be safe, and we all want to be loved.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10-Minute Home Workout Series 4: Ten-acity

Penny shares a workout from her series of 10-Minute Home Workout videos as part of her "Join the Wellness Movement" campaign. This campaign was created to motivate you to "move." To encourage you to consciously choose the things in life that fulfills your overall wellbeing. To inspire you to stay fit, stay strong and stay well in mind, body and spirit.

Join the Wellness Movement! Start here, right now, with this 10-Minute Home Workout Series 4: Ten-acity.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Taste so yummy…and oh so good for you, too!

Healthy Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

These are so tasty you won’t believe you’re eating healthy! You may think nothing this good for you should taste so good...or be this easy to cook. But think again!

Not only are sweet potatoes sweet to your taste buds, but they’re also good for your cardiovascular health. They’re low on the Glycemic Index and are slowly released in your blood. This starchy root vegetable is a rich source of flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are essential for optimal health. Low in calories, zero fat, zero cholesterol!

This recipe below makes 6 servings.

                  5-6 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (I like leaving the skin on for extra flavor and nutrients)

                  2-3 tbsp olive oil, or coconut oil
                  1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix (optional)
                  1 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy)
                  1 tsp sea salt
                  1 tsp fresh ground pepper

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Mussels with thyme
and sweet potato fries.
• Place strips in a plastic bag (preferably a zip-lock bag), add olive oil, Italian seasoning mix, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.
• Close and shake the bag until every piece is evenly coated.
• Spread the strips out in single layers on two large baking sheets.
• Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on the outside and tender inside. Thinner strips may not take as long. Make sure to turn the fries over every 10 minutes while baking.

These healthy sweet potato fries are delicious no matter how you eat them. Try them plain, or dip in honey mustard sauce, ketchup, or even a little organic Greek yogurt with curry powder and a splash of hot sauce. I like mine with a little spicy salsa, or sometimes just with ketchup mixed with Sriracha chili sauce. Hmmm…yumm!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is the difference between “Fitness” and “Wellness”?

Fitness speaks about the cardiovascular
capacity, strength and shape of
a person's body.
There's so much confusion with the definition of "fitness" and "wellness." So many individuals and companies use those words interchangeably to mean different things depending on the context, or the message they're trying to convey, or even the product or service they're trying to sell. And so it is that those words are often misused or get lost in translation or interpretation. So let's back track and clarify things... 

...The word “fitness” means the ability to perform physical activities. This includes discussions on the strength of your muscles, joints and ligaments; the state of your endurance; and the power in which your body is capable of moving. This does NOT mean “health.”

A person who is fit may not necessarily be healthy, and a person who is healthy may not necessarily be fit. "Health" covers a wide array of components which are usually under the umbrella word, "wellness."

"Wellness," in essence, covers all areas of health: mental health, emotional health, physical health, spiritual health, social health, relationship health, and so on. Basically, these are all the different components in a person's life that can affect their overall "well-being."

So when it comes to "fitness"... a person may be fit — be active, participate in sports, be able to lift weights, change the shape of their body, run, jump, and increase their cardiovascular capacity — but this does NOT mean that the state of their body, or their overall "well-being," is in good health.

The movement and oxygen produced from "fitness-type" activities can hugely benefit the well-being of the body, BUT it is NOT the only factor that determines the overall health — the "wellness" — of the person. 

Wellness speaks about the overall
"well-being" of a person from
mind, body to spirit.
So for example: If a person is always in a state of negatives thoughts or feeling negative emotions (due to an unhealthy relationship with the Self or with others); or if a person regularly eats highly acidic foods, or doesn't eat balanced meals with proper nutrients; or even if he/she doesn’t learn how to breathe deeply, stretch properly or meditate to quiet the mind, this will all affect the overall "wellness" of that person. 

This is why "wellness," not just fitness, is so important. Wellness is the state of health, state of balance, if you will, in not just your physical body, but also your energy body (in other words, your spirit), your mind (the way you think and how it affects your life), and your emotions (the way you understand them, feel them and use them as guides).

So essentially, "wellness" covers the overall "well-being" or "health of a being" from mind, body to spirit. And this makes "fitness" only a component of wellness: it is only a part of the whole. 

So don't be only concern with fitness. If you want an overall healthy, happy, balanced life, you have to put your attention and appreciation towards all the other components of health in your life. Gift yourself all aspects of what "wellness" has to offer.

Feel free to visit Wellness With to get some ideas. Check out the different pages from Life and Relationships, Food and Fitness, Thought for Today, to Laugh out Loud! Use this site as a guide to further help you explore the wonderful world of wellness. Let it lead you where it may... To your wellness!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10-Minute Home Workout Series 3: Four-tified

Penny shares a workout from her series of 10-Minute Home Workout videos as part of her "Join the Wellness Movement" campaign. This campaign was created to motivate you to "move." To encourage you to consciously choose the things in life that fulfills your overall wellbeing. To inspire you to stay fit, stay strong and stay well in mind, body and spirit.

Join the Wellness Movement! Start here, right now, with this 10-Minute Home Workout Series 3: Four-tified.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What would you like to see unfold in your life?


From Penny and the Chopra Center, in remembrance of September 11 

Dear Readers,

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. The Chopra Center would like to honor the many heroes who on that day gave their lives to save others.

To all the rescue workers, volunteers, the New York City Fire Department, the passengers on Flight 93 who bravely fought their captors, and the countless unnamed people who offered love and comfort in the face of unspeakable violence - our gratitude is overwhelming.

To all of those who lived and kept going after losing husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, co-workers, our hearts are filled with compassion. And to our military servicemen and women who continue to dedicate their lives to protecting and expanding freedom throughout the world, we offer our deepest thanks.

As we take time this weekend to consider what 9/11 has meant to us both individually and collectively, we invite you to also consider what you wish to see unfold in the next ten years. Chopra center co-founder, Dr. David Simon has created a beautiful intention-setting meditation that will help you connect with your heart and put your attention on what you'd like to see blossom in your life and on the planet.

As he has written, "The greatest contribution we can make to the wellbeing of those in our lives is to have peace in our own hearts. Our state of being broadcasts expansion or contraction to every sentient creature within our midst. When our hearts are filled with gratitude and our minds are brimming with enthusiasm, everyone we encounter leaves our space feeling a little bit lighter than when they entered it."


With Love From,
Penny & The Chopra Center Staff

Friday, September 9, 2011

A little oatmeal goes a long, long way…

This iconic breakfast staple remains one of the best options for a morning repast. (Not only that, but you can really eat it any time of day!)

Numerous studies have shown that eating oatmeal can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The abundance of soluble fiber in oats helps remove LDL or "bad" cholesterol, while maintaining the good cholesterol that your body needs.

The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water, which significantly slows down your digestive process making you feel full longer. Therefore, oatmeal can help you control your weight (if that is a concern).

New research also suggests that eating oatmeal can reduce the risk for type-2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods helps to control blood glucose levels, reducing the spike in blood sugar, which helps squash love-handle cravings.

Oatmeal with strawberries, almond
milk, sprinkle cereal
Moreover, those who go to the gym after breakfast should take heed of several studies reporting that consuming low-glycemic foods such as oats before exercise increases your body’s fat-burning capabilities while sweating it out.

Try to stick with the plain, old-fashioned oats to avoid the onslaught of sugars and sodium that may be found in flavored instant varieties. If you look at the ingredients on a box or bag of rolled oats, you'll usually see only one ingredient...rolled oats. So avoid any other added ingredients such as artificial colors, flavors, sodium or preservatives.

Oatmeal contains a good source of fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and iron. The fiber and other nutrients found in oatmeal may also reduce the risk for certain cancers.

Oatmeal can be absolutely delicious! Add some fruits or a little raw honey, sprinkle some cinnamon or dry cereal, add hempseed or flaxseed or whatever else that’s good for you. The combination of flavors you can fit into a serving of oatmeal is limited only by the imagination.

My yummy breakfast: oatmeal with
 fruit, cereal and Matcha green tea :)
**Look at the picture here to the left and you'll see that I like to add some almond milk, decorate with some cantaloupe, and sprinkle some Kashi brand cereal (the Honey Almond Flax whole grain flavor) for more nutrients with some sweetness. Yummy! It's like a healthy dessert I look forward to every morning. Whatever the case, I like to have my Matcha green tea as well. If you don't already know the powerful benefits of drinking Matcha green tea, please click here to learn.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Tips On How To Indulge With Food And Still Stay In Shape

People often comment, "You're so fit, you must eat very little." The truth? I eat A LOT more than you can even Life is for enjoying, so indulging in food is part of living, but being smart about how you indulge is the key to enjoying lots of food while staying in shape. So this video was created to show you that I’m only human and I do indulge, indeed.

If you come with me anywhere, you’ll always find me where the food is. Anyone who’s ever gone out with me can attest to this. I simply LOVE food (who doesn’t?), and so I had to quickly learn how I could indulge and still stay in shape. Is it possible to travel, dine out, attend events, indulge and still stay in shape? Absolutely!

Here’s my top 7 general rule of thumb when it comes to enjoying lots of food and staying healthy and fit:

First and foremost, life works better when you can find and maintain a kind of balance that works for you. So for me, when it comes to food and fitness, I like to say: It’s what you do most of the time that matters, not so much what you do some of the time. With that said, this is what I practice…

1.) Eat clean most of the time
I try to eat clean at least 4-5 days in the week so I can cheat 2-3 days of the week and eat whatever I want without guilt. Saying this, however…

2.) Workout every other day
…I also workout “hard” 3-4 times a week, no more than 30 minutes per workout. By “hard” I mean I don’t like wasting time. I like to keep it short and intense to maximize my time and burn some major calories. I like to exercise in a way that greatly speeds up my metabolism and keeps my fat-burning mode on a high all day.

Because I allow myself many “cheat” days, I really make sure to clean up my act on the “clean” days.

3.) Choose wisely
Eating clean for me means no fried stuff, cooked oils, creamy or buttery stuff, ooey gooey cheesy stuff, processed foods, and foods overly high in sugar or sodium. No artificial flavors or sweeteners, “specialty” coffee or alcohol. Food preparation method should be steamed, boiled, baked, broiled or roasted.

4.) Eat balanced meals
Eating clean also means eating balanced, well-portioned meals throughout the day so you don’t experience hunger or overeating, and you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Our body needs the 3 essential macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

For my meals, I try to keep my complex starchy carbs around half cup, my protein from lean meats around 4oz, and if I’m eating protein from fish (salmon, tuna, tilapia, etc.), I like to eat a little more for the good fats. And I also make sure every meal includes lots of vegetables (the more colorful, the better, especially greens).

Every body is different, so it’s good to listen to your own body, try things out or talk to a professional to learn what will work best for you.

5.) Mimic nature
Another really important factor to eating well is to have your meals mimic nature. Roughly 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Roughly 75% of our body is made up of water. So your meals should consist of 75% water content: colorful vegetables (especially greens like spinach, broccoli, asparagus), some fruits, soups, alkalizing water such as warm Matcha green tea or water with fresh squeezed lemon.

Whether it’s your cheat day or clean day, you should drink a minimum of 2-3 litres of water, especially alkalized water, as mentioned above. Drink before, during, and after each meal, and drink often throughout the day. Drinking lots of water can really help food move through your system more efficiently and aid with proper digestion, cleansing and detoxifying.

6.) Eat slow and enjoy
Whether it be a cheat day or clean day, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. It takes 20 minutes for your mind to realize you're full. So if you eat fast and overeat all in a matter of 10 minutes, you’ll feel like crap once it all hits you pass that 20-minute mark. Not to mention, your body will have a tough time trying to break down all that food. It really screws up your metabolism and your energy level.

So eat mindfully, really slow down and taste the food, feel the texture and observe the flavor in your mouth. Enjoy and savor every bite. Mindful eating leads to awareness of your body. Learn to listen to your body; it is always telling you what it needs. 

7.) Breathe deeply
Breathe deeply as often as possible, especially after you eat. Your body needs energy to function at its peak. This means it needs plenty of oxygen. The kind of breathing you do on auto-pilot is only just enough for your body to live, but not enough to thrive. 

So if you want all the systems of your body to function optimally (in this case, your digestive system), you need to consciously practice deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Do it often throughout the day, or spend 5 minutes, 3 times a day, to practice. An example of this would be to breathe in slowly for 5 counts, hold for a few counts, and slowly exhale for 10 counts. Learn to slow your breathing down, keep it long and strong in a relax manner, fill up your lungs completely, expanding your tummy, and then breathe out from your gut.

What I’ve shared here are not things I do just some of the time; they are things I do ALL the time. So with this practice in motion, I truly enjoy my cheat days (or cheat moments)!

Also, please keep in mind that this is a very general guideline and it doesn't really apply if you're a bodybuilder, fitness competitor, or any type of athlete who needs to eat and exercise a certain way to better perform your sport or activity.

It also doesn't apply if you have other serious medical conditions and are somewhat unhealthy or overweight. If any of the latter were the case, you need to deal with those issues first with a program specifically designed for you. Once you've reached your goals, then you can play around with indulging.

Now, as for the rest of you who aren't faced with the above challenges, please don't feel guilty for indulging. Don't constantly fear your weight and deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. Use my tips here as a guide to explore. 

Take the time to test things out for yourself. See what works for you and what doesn't. Enjoy the process of discovering how truly fascinating your body is!

On a side note:
I launched Wellness With on my birthday last year (August 24) to share the gift of wellness with you. And so this year, to celebrate my birthday and the site’s one-year anniversary, I created this video for you, just for fun. Hope you enjoyed it!  xo