Monday, July 30, 2012

Why cucumbers are so good for you

I've been growing my own cucumbers this year, trying to saving from buying outrageously priced ones from Whole Foods or Central Market. I successfully had 4 plants, all producing cucumbers. I almost always was able to find used for all the wonderful, large cucumbers! I mostly juiced them with other things and made green juice. However, at the height of the crop I started juicing them alone and making cucumber water and drinking it all day. I lost 5 pounds in just a few weeks!

Cucumbers are good for general hydration since they are mostly water. They also help in digestion and elimination. You just "feel" cleaner. During the entire time I had my cucumber water, I never used a supplemental electrolyte replacement drink or powder and I always felt well hydrated and energized.

The season in Texas for cucumbers has past I poor plants look like someone stepped on them after having a bad day. I can't wait until next year when I plant even more!

Here are some other great uses and benefits for cucumbers....
Uses and Benefits of Cucumbers

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trying Bikram Yoga the Right Way

Photo by Sandy Foster at Yoga Bliss Photo
I often come up with things I want share while laying in Savasana. I know, you aren't suppose to think. I'm suppose to be in the moment, enjoying the practice. Yea, yea...I get it. I just have a hard time DOING it. My mind is constantly thinking. I come up with some of my best craft designs and blog posts while in class. So I'm not going to fight it, I'm just going to keep trying and while good stuff is being generated, well, I am going to take advantage of it.

One day last week I was laying on my back, staring at the ceiling, dying. It is so hot in Dallas right now, you could do Bikram yoga outside. Every where you go it is hot. The only difference between being outside and sweating your ass off and being in the room and sweating your ass off is the amazing feeling AFTER you get out of the hot room and life somehow seems better.

So anyway, I was dying, struggling to stay calm and still. The teacher was talking about precision and doing the postures the right way and why that was important. And I thought, it is like words. Words are just individual letters put together in a very specific way. When the letters are put together in a particular order, they mean something. Sometimes two words might have the same letters but because they are in a different order, they make a different word....mean something different. Here is an example. If you take h-t-i-s, you might come up with hits or shit. They certainly mean different things and if you are using these letters to create the written or spoken word,  you certainly want to get the letters in the right order so your message is communicated correctly.

The same goes for yoga, in particular Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is very precise, movements or lack of movements are very specific, methodical even,  to provide a very specific result. Change the order or add something and you might end up with "shit" instead of the desired result.

You've probably seen it in class. Someone is trying so hard to do what the teacher is saying they skip important steps, trying to look like everyone else. But they can't do it, they keep falling out because they don't have the steps before that so they have no foundation.

It is often difficult when learning something new to remember how to do something the right way, what order the steps go in and even maybe what are the steps. Repetition is the best way to get those details into the brain. There is an old saying about doing something 21 times and it becomes  a habit. 

Practicing yoga is no different. When you come to class, keep an open mind, listen to the teachers and don't let the ego get in the way of you improving your body. So what if you can't do the full expression of a posture? Is that really the goal? No. The goal is to heal the body, be healthy and improve the mind body connection. Those things can all be accomplished at any level of a posture. The postures are simply the mechanism we use to generate change.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

American Airlines provides a digital screen for passengers, is this revolutionary?

American Airlines announced they have in-seat entertainment, wi-fi and powerports available for all seats. Awesome. How about giving me free checked bags?! Why do I need a tv screen in the seat? I have a phone, Kindle and laptop...I would much rather have a free bag checked.

Businesses should give their customers things THEY want, not what the business THINKS they should want.

Crofton Dehydrator is on Sale at Aldi!

I was poking around my blog and noticed a post I did last year on the Crofton Food Dehydrator got 308 hits this week. This week?! Why the heck would anyone care about this particular post? Because Aldi must have it on sale this week!

I checked Aldi and sure enough, it is on sale this week for $19.99. Here is my original blog post.
Crofton Food Dehydrator Makes Great Snacks for Cheap!

This dehydrator is a "good" cheap dehydrator. I will say it never occurred to me so many people would be interested a year later...I should have updated my post. This dehydrator is good for short time spans. I did melt the trays by leaving it on too long(overnight); it got too hot and the plastic is not as strong or heat resistant like other dehydrators.

I still think it is a good dehydrator, just be aware it is 20 bucks so you are getting what you pay for.

What I liked the MOST about it was the clear trays so you could see the food dehydrate. Also, because the trays and top are clear, you can dehydrate outside without electricity. In Texas we are entering into the 100 plus days on a consistent basis...perfect for dehydrating!

After I melted the trays I almost gave up, not wanting to waste more money on a project I wasn't sure I was going to keep up. I looked up several different dehydrators and finally settled on an inexpensive model I found at Bed Bath and Beyond. I got the Nesco basic model and ordered extra trays and screens through Amazon. You can get the Nesco at Bed Bath and Beyond or at Amazon. (Probably other places too, I didn't do a very lengthy search.)

Nesco Dehydrator

This dehydrator is a little more expensive but it also is more durable, has varying heat settings and the way the air flows through the trays, rotating the trays isn't necessary. This means you can turn it on and leave it! 

I have dehydrated all kinds of things; kale, apples, okra, chard, spinach, squash, zucchini, carrots, basil, cilantro, parsley, jalepenos and bananas. I even made flax chips and fruit leathers (roll ups). I love it! I dehydrate all the time now! 

I still think the Crofton dehydrator is a great starter model to see if you are even interested in the process, just keep an eye on it so you don't melt the trays. Happy dehydrating! 

Stephen Covey will be missed, his ideas and inspiration will live on.

Stephen Covey

I was in Chicago at an all day event listening to Tony Robbins when my mom sent me a text that Stephen Covey had passed away. The irony of being being inspired by one great life coach while one was leaving this world did not escape me. I was essentially there to do what Stephen Covey suggested was the 7th habit of highly effective people, "Sharpening the Saw."

Tony Robbins in Chicago
Stephen Covey died July 16, 2012 due to complications with a bicycling accident he had a few months earlier, he was just 79. Read the Washington Post article here.

Tony posted a great tribute to Stephen on his website. There is a 60 minute interview, the two of them discuss Stephen's ideas and principals of living. Check it out here.

"We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals." ~ Stephen Covey

More Stephen Covey Quotes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How I grew cantaloupe without trying

I started with dirt and ended up with cantaloupe; how I grew cantaloupe without even trying. 

I started a gardening project early April of this year. I bought two inexpensive garden bed kits, put them together and added compost and dirt. I let them sit there for a few days and then got inspired to plant cilantro, parsley, basil and cucumbers.

Two beds await
I bought a few plants and put them in the ground. I noticed a few tiny sprigs coming up from the compost, I wasn't sure what they were but they looked like tiny bean sprouts to me. I was pretty excited, hoping they were sugar peas (I had thrown out some old seeds at some point.)

I gently pulled some out of the ground and moved them more into a row. Soon they started to grow and clearly were not beans or peas.

Various unknowns in the garden, these photos were taken early May.

Here are even more unknowns popping up.

This is how the bed started, mostly herbs, a few unknown plants.

Then the unknown plants started to take over.

And over....(in the background are the cucumber vines, they also took over the bed.)

 Until I basically had a bed of unknown plants that were pushing out the parsley, cilantro and basil.

They did start growing fruit but since I didn't plant it I had no idea what it was; looking at photos on the internet only confused me more!

Fruit that some people thought was watermelon or squash or pumpkin

Below are some photos of the progression of one unknown fruit which after weeks of growing I finally determined was cantaloupe! This is actually the third fruit, fondly called #3, I saw growing but it is the one that grew the fastest, I think because of a terracotta pot I put in the middle of the bed (it waters the bed). I should point out it grew faster but it took longer to ripen enough to pick.

If you want to see the entire album of garden photos, click here. Be warned, there are A LOT of photos. :)

June 5 it's so cute, it still is a little fuzzy.

June 5

June 6 - 3 1/2" tall

June 6 - interesting how they grow in different shapes, the oval one  stayed oval.

June 6

June 7 

June 9

June 9 

June 10 - about 4 1/2" tall

June 11 - 13 3/4"

June 13 - 14 5/8"

Decided to put a jar under it to support the fruit.

June 14 - 15 5/8

June 18 - 15 7/8"

June 21- not really growing that much 16 1/8"

Not liking the jar too much

July 10 - Full size at 16 3/8"
Between June 21 and July, I didn't take many photos and what I took is boring, it doesn't look much different. You can view all the photos in the album by clicking the link above. It took about 3 months for this cantaloupe to grow to its fullest size and fall off the vine. It might have stayed on there a few more days if the vine hadn't gotten wet from rain and the weight of the fruit made it fall off. It was interesting to see how long it took to turn brown. I had others that turned brown much earlier and had started later.

Here are some pictures of the actual fruit.
#3 cut open

Look at how much fruit there is! Almost no rind and very small seed area.

Yummy cantaloupe!

Here are few more that started to grow...looking forward to eating them in September!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sweat it out, literally, during 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga

You aren't necessarily what you eat but you do sweat it out!
This image was floating around facebook a few weeks ago, not sure who created it but I thought of it today as I sweated through class today. A little background.

I belong to a co-op food share and have been trying to eat more vegetables, less meat and less carbs. Last week they gave me three ears of corn, among other things. As the week went on, there they sat, getting older and dry around the corn shuck.

I decided to boil some water and cook all three, then cut the corn off the cob and save it, thinking of the corn at Velvet Taco...was hoping I could mimic their yummy taste.

After cutting the corn off all three cobs, I had quite a bit of corn. I put some in a bowl seasoned with butter, a bit of cheese and chili powder. It wasn't Velvet Taco corn but it was pretty good. So good that I had two helpings.

Then the next day I finished off the corn and the stewed okra I had made...also with the items from the food share.

Then I took class today. As I stood there after Eagle pose I noticed a scent that seemed so familiar, corn! My first thought, goodness, can Leanne smell me?! Second thought...this must be how the corn felt in that picture on facebook!

I thought it was just in my head but as we ended the standing series and went into Savasana, I distinctly smelled corn! Smelling my sweat in the towel when on the belly it was even more obvious it was corn. I was sweating out corn! You really DO sweat out what you eat! At least I sweat it out and it didn't cook in my stomach or worse colon and start popping!

Note to self, eat more cucumber...less volatile vegetable. 
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