Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saipandemonium!!!

Hello hello, dear friends and family!!

I am making an announcement to the world!  ...or to the close group of readers here, at least ;-)

I am moving!  I have been offered a job as Clinical Dietitian/Food Service Manager at the local hospital on that beautiful Jurassic Park -esque island, Saipan!  (Though I hope to do more than white-coat mentality work, and continue to study the wonderful healing properties of foods and lifestyles.)

I don't know how much I will get to post here - not that I have been busy on the blog as of late anyway... But we will be in a flurry of activity for the next 7 weeks until my last day of work here in Ohio; then a mere two weeks after that, we'll be flying (and hopefully NOT frying!) around the globe, and setting up the next chapter in our life.

I know that I want to keep researching and sharing health information; but I don't think much of that will be happening on this site anymore.  It's time to expand!  A simple blog is not what I'm aiming for.

For now, I'll continue updating on ADailyDoseOfNatural.wordpress.com, but I am envisioning a greater site in the future - perhaps something that will have a running journal of our adventures in the new culture, pictures of the place, and maybe unique recipes that would be fun for you to try here in the Mainlands, but that I could also start to share with those living in Saipan.  Who knows!  Some sort of conglomeration will be fun, though.

I thank you all for your reading, support, and comments, and hope that you'll continue sharing the adventures on the other blog and whatever site may come next!  I will be sure to share that link here if and when it is created.

Until then, may you continue to explore health, explore life, and explore your own self.  You will find great things there :)

Love,
~Katie

For now!  But new beginnings are ahead!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kitteh Picture

A cute picture I enjoyed :)  My cats have nibbled on kale before, but that's about it!
  Though, I have had a cat before that loved brussle sprouts...

Have a happy Wednesday! 

~Katie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Travel Radiation Concerns

Happy Holidays!  We're on the last day of November before true holiday chaos ensues!!

May your holiday season be filled with peace, joy, and love - rather than materialism, stress, and greed!  (Did you know on Black Friday this year, people actually brought MACE to stores so they could fight their way to the deals they wanted?!)

And with the holiday season comes travelling for many.  Back in 2010, I shared a post called Flying and Frying, about some of the damaging radiation from flying, and ways to help stay healthy on plane flights.

More recently, you're probably heard about the privacy invasion arguments regarding TSA's full body scans.  (You may want to check out the Colbert Report snippet on it, if you need a little laugh about it, rather than too much stress!)

From http://www.allvoices.com/

And now there is some concern that these scans may be adding even MORE damaging radiation to a body! 

I am not trying to sound like an alarmist. I know that our bodies are constantly being bombarded with toxins.  I know that travel is fun and I am not saying to stop.  Just make sure you're taking care of your health! 

The full article can be found here, but here are some bits from the article, TSA Attempts to Cover Up Cancer Threat From Its Airport X-ray Machines:

  • "The European Union has even put a moratorium on the [backscatter] scanners in light of the cancer threats—member states have been told not to install scanners until scientific assessment of risks has been carried out, and they will be banned completely in April if experts find them dangerous"
  • "According to a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation, up to 100 US airplane passengers could get cancer from the machines each year."
  • "the majority of the [backscatter] machine’s energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue—not distributed throughout the volume of the entire body—so the dose to the skin may be dangerously high."
  • "After the release of the ProPublica report, TSA Administrator John Pistole agreed to conduct a new independent study of the health effects of backscatters. But now the TSA is refusing to honor its commitment to conduct that safety study."
Pretty Spinach Salad Wreath
So drink your green smoothies and water, fill up on the antioxidant fruit, crave cancer-fighting cruciferous veggies, and enjoy your holidays!  Yes, you CAN still enjoy a healthy holiday even with healthy food!  I hope to make a handful of healthy, natural desserts to go with the traditional unhealthy desserts my family loves :)  I'll share recipes and links soon!

Healthy cashew spread snowman!
Holiday Hugs!
~Katie

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blender Wishes!

Hey guys!! I have some potentially exciting news!

I revamped an old post from a while back (A Peek Into My Life... Er, Fridge) and it's been selected as a finalist to win a Blendtec blender!! But I need your votes to help win :)

If you have a minute, check out the Voting Page and leave a comment and vote for "Katie's Tips"! (you'll need to leave your name and an email address) Thanks guys :)

Crossing my fingers that some day I'll get to share with you some reviews and recipes from a brand new blender! ;-)

xoxox
~Katie


Good luck to all finalists! :)




Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Dalai Lama on Humanity

This was a picture a friend had posted on his Facebook wall.  I thought it was poignant and wanted to share with you!

~Katie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Food Education Info

I have a follow-up to the Food Matters post.  After the last post, I thought it'd be nice to share some of the other movies and books I have learned from over the years.  There are infinite resources out there, and I will never get through them, but these are some of my favorites!  Enjoy, and share any of your own!

Movies
  • FREE TO WATCH ONLINE!!  If you checked out Food Matters, you got a glimpse into the world of the Gerson Institute - a whole foods, more natural approach to health.  They have an entire documentary about their program, called The Gerson Miracle.  You can watch the whole thing on Hulu, here!
  • The Future of Food - a look inside the world of Genetically Modified Organisms.  What are GMOs, why are they in our food, and could it be dangerous?
  • Food, Inc. - a look inside American corporate farming and food industries
  • King Corn - two men want to see what it takes to grown an acre of corn, and what happens after it's harvested.  They learn a lot about the politics that go on behind the scenes.
Books

  • What to Eat by Marion Nestle, RD – helps you start thinking for yourself when it comes to food.  You have to ask questions, dig deep, and look past the big flashy dollar signs of the food industry! She “walks” you through the grocery store, aisle by aisle, breaking down the history of the different food groups’ recommendations, the confusing labels and certifications, and helps guide you on a path to making healthier choices when you eat.
  • Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman – A very practical, science-based approach to why we need more produce in our diets.  Even though I had known it was an important part of our diets, this book just said it in the right way at the right time, I guess!  It clicked, and I was off and running on finding ways to add more produce to my life!  And that lead to many other exciting paths…
  • Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson - a look at the syndrome that is likely plaguing 80% of Americans because of the high-stress, low-health lifestyles we live
  • Depression Free For Life by Dr. Gabriel Cousens - not all depressions are alike, and this book breaks it down and helps point you in the right direction for figuring out if there may be a nutritional deficiency behind it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Free Movie Viewing

"Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine, And Thy Medicine Be Thy Food."
- Hippocrates

Hi guys!

I wanted to let you know of a movie that you can watch online now through October 8th.  It's called Food Matters, and it's an interesting documentary about food's affect on your health.  It's quite a "you are what you eat" eye opener!

Go to http://foodmatters.tv/screeningevent2 and check it out!

Here's a description from Amazon:

"Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food - Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally. In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments."

Friday, September 30, 2011

Favorites for Beautiful Hair and Skin

Happy end-of-the-month post!

I hope you have found your way over to the new and growing ADDN site, subscribed, and are enjoying revisiting the old blog posts!  I had forgotten some of the information and recipes I've shared, and it's been fun getting re-motivated to take care of my health!

As the weather is turning colder, I am seeing and feeling the dryness settle in.  My hands don't want to stay moist and the cracks are looking like a dry desert!  Ugg!  And the hair is getting the flyaway wisps everywhere!  No fun!

So here is a list of some of my favorite foods to maintain health, happy skin and hair!

Five Beautifying Foods and Drinks:


WATER

It may seem simple, but proper hydration is critical!  Correct fluids are important for the health of your skin cells and scalp.  Clean, filtered water will support your skin and hair health.  Eating abundant produce will also allow you to get a good intake of water, since fruits and veggies are water-rich!


COCONUT WATER

Or, you can opt for coconut water, because it will also supply a nice dose of minerals, which your hair will drink up!  Minerals and hydration in one - what a nice treat!


HEMP

Hemp will have good omega-3 fatty acids in whatever form you find it: hemp milk, hemp oils, or hemp seeds.  But my form of choice is the seed, because then you are also getting a lustrous 11 grams of protein with each serving!  Omega-3s help with scalp health and generating hair follicles.  Protein is a large part of the make-up of a strand of hair, so adequate protein is important for strong, shiny locks.

 BERRIES

The deep hughes of dark berries and cherries come from the phytonutrient group called anthocyanidins.  These phytonutrients help the collagen fibers link together in a way that strengthens the connective tissue matrix, keeping your skin strong and healthy.  Plus they have good vitamin C which works in partner with Vitamin A for healthy collagen.


SWISS CHARD

This often praised vegetable has yet another wonderful benefit!  It is a rich source of biotin.  Deficiencies of biotin have been linked to numerous skin and hair problems, such as hair loss, seborrheic dermatitis, and even cradle cap in infants!

So there you have it!!  Five foods for fabulous skin and hair!

I hope September has treated you well, and October is even better!

Hugs!
~Katie

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Howdy, friends and family :)

I just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry for being MIA yet again.  I've been enjoying taking some time to do other things and other nutritional trainings.  In the mean time, I've been slowly trickling these posts over to the new blog on Wordpress.  It's just been a lot easier to work with.

I hope you'll pop over to the new A Daily Dose of Natural site to enjoy reviewing old posts (hey!  They may be oldies, but they're still goodies!)  You can subscribe there and get an email directly to your inbox each time I put in a new Oldies post. 

Come visit, come comment, come be healthy together!

And have a lovely weekend!

Hugs!!
~Katie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Meat Madness

I came across and interesting article today about the dangers of processed meat.  I am, of course, usually discouraging processed foods as much as possible - but I know the need for convenience!

And I know I've gone over concerns of certain meat issues in the past:





Again, while I personally choose to refrain from eating meat ("mawing the cow") I know there are plenty of people who enjoy their meat, and healthier versions are out there!  This is more a cautionary reminder to say GO FOR FREE RANGE, GRASS FED, ORGANIC, HUMANELY TREATED products if you do like the omnivorous diet, and skip the highly processed stuff!

And please stop treating hot dogs like the greatest snacking gift for toddlers.  They don't need them daily.


So, you can see the full article here These are some of the health pointers from it:

-The above sign has been posted as a billboard add by the non-profit organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

-Every year, about 143,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 die of the disease. About half of all cases are already incurable when found.

-But one of the causes they found turned out to be too hot for the government to handle.
It's the ordinary hot dog. At least 58 scientific studies have looked at the issue, and the jury has rendered its verdict, which is now beyond reasonable doubt. The more hot dogs people eat, the higher their risk of colorectal cancer.

-And it's not just hot dogs. Any sort of processed meat -- bacon, sausage, ham, deli slices -- is in this group. And here are the numbers: Every 50 grams of processed meat you eat on a daily basis (that's about one hot dog) increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.

-And just as there is no safe level of smoking, no amount of hot dogs, bacon, sausage, ham or other processed meats comes out clean in scientific studies.

-Other studies have linked these same products to leukemia and ovarian cancer.

And now, some of the political games at play.  Follow the green, my friends...

-But here's where politics come in: Even though much of this research was paid for by the U.S. government, the government also subsidizes meat. It supports feed grains to fatten cows and pigs, buys up meats for the school lunch program and helps the meat industry in countless other ways. So I think that the last thing the government wants to do is to publicize the cancer risk of one of its favorite products.

- Meat industry lobbyists have made sure that your government won't breathe a word.

Keep using your money to vote for the best!  If your tax dollars have to go to subsidize something, I'd rather it went to subsidize, say, responsible bio-dynamic farming and grass fed meats instead of factory-farmed animals and corn (wonder why junk food is so cheap?!  We have more corn being grown than we can eat!!  Supply and demand) THOSE would be lowered prices, making healthy options more affordable to all.

*ahem*  Sorry, I'll hop off my soap box now.  Have a great week everyone!

~Katie

Friday, August 5, 2011

PreDisposed, or PreDestined?


Courtesy: National Human
Genome Research Institute



Many people feel that they're just "going to be fat - it's in my genes."  Or, "My parents were that way, I'm destined to be that way."

Well, to try to be gentle but honest: you're WRONG!

Genes do play a role, but they are not the end-all be-all.  They may make things a little bit of an uphill battle for you at first, but you can over come that!

Genes may predispose you to be heavier or have a different metabolism, but that does NOT mean you are predestined with no choice but to be FAT!

Rise above it!  Rise above your genes!

Even the brain behind the Human Genome Project, Eric Lander, expressed his concerns that people would use genes as an excuse to not even try to be healthy.  He states:

"People will think that because genes play a role in something, they determine everything.  We see, again and again, people syaing, 'It's all genetic.  I can't do anything about it.'  That's nonesense.  To say that something has a genetic component does not make it unchangeable."

So say NO to Predisposition!  Start now to buck tradition, and be a rebel!  You CAN overcome your genes!  You can start right now claiming a new future and a new you.  See it, own it, be it!

~Katie

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How Toxic is your County?

Hey guys!  A colleague of mine passed on an interesting link to me the other day.  You can input your zip code and it shows you a review of how toxic your little county is!  Is ignorance bliss?  Or would you rather know, and try to change something?  The choice is yours :) 

I was sad, but not surprised, to learn I live in a city that "ranked among the dirtiest/worst 10% of all counties in the U.S. in terms of total environmental releases" in 2002, and my guess is it hasn't gotten a whole lot better.  And we're the #9 Worst County in the state.  But at least we're not so high when it comes to dumped toxic waste... we're in the worst 40% though... still worse than average. 

As for air?  Well, here's an email I received from the City health department last year:

Take a deep breath!  Notice anything different?  For the first time in well over a decade, Cincinnatians are breathing air that meets the Federal Government’s Air Quality Standards for ozone... New, even-stricter federal ozone regulations take effect in 2011.  So enjoy that breath of federally approved air.  It may not last long.

 Hm, well, I guess that's something!  I don't tend to think federal regulations are all that strong, but hopefully they're getting closer!!
 
From Chris Madden website
And water?  Heh, well, when my friend visited from Washington with it's beautiful crystalline blue waters... she was disgusted by the murky brown that runs though the state!  Yep, that lovely Ohio River that I drive past every day for work - brown, dirty, and smells awful when it floods up closer to the roads!  So, no suprise that we're averaging in the top 10% for worst water, too!  As the semi-joking saying here goes: stay out of the rivers, or you may come out on the other side with an extra eyeball!

You can look at total environmental releases, and then look at the individual toxins ofwhat your county is dumping into the air, water, land, animals, etc.

How does your home town look?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mountain Madness

Hi guys!  

I've been trying, unsucessfully, to upload pictures and a post about eating healthy while traveling.  It was to be the lovely counterpoint to the previous post about coffee overload!  But, as I have been complaining about Blogger before, I'm having frustrating issues with it.  Hence, I have been moving old posts over to www.ADailyDoseOfNatural.wordpress.com now instead!  It's been fun reviewing old posts!  I hope you'll pop over and check some of them out again :)


So, in the mean time - here's the third post I wanted to share about my Seattle trip!

Hiking up a mountain.  I was so proud of us for tackling this adventure, and coming out smiling!  I felt like I really achieved something by doing this!  I debated using this post to share pictures, and pair them with information about the benefits of clean air and of the dangers of pollution; or types of exercise; or the role of pumping blood in carrying oxygen and nutrients to your body... but instead of preaching, I decided I just wanted to tell about our trip :)

It all started because of the late snow Washington received.  While they are used to cold winters, having snow dump late in May is not so common!  So the roads for many harder trails were blocked off due to this weather.  Our precious hopes of hiking the Gothic Basin were buried with the trails, under the white blanket.

I told Jen to simply choose some other "tough" hike for us to do!  I wanted a good work out!  After perusing through her hiking books, she settled on Mount Si.  It was rated a 5 out of 5 for difficulty.  Sounds good!

But fate would throw us a random comment that changed the course of our adventure.

While enjoying our food at Red Robin, we began talking to our server about all the fun outdoor activities the area has to offer.  We had not mentioned our hiking plans to this young man, yet he happened to tell us,

"I won't hike Mount Si.  It's overrated and everyone does it.  It's cliche."

Cliche?! 

I turn an evil eye to Jen.  "You were going to have me hike a 'cliche' trip!?  Where's the excitement in that?!"

In mock surrender, her arms fly up, "I didn't know!  You wanted a tough hike, it's a level 5!"  Humph.  "Fine then, I'll give you some from my binder to read over, and YOU pick a hike!"

We both laugh, and I am satisfied.  And our dinner continues.

That night, we return to her home, and she passes me several descriptions.  They all sound fun, but I immediately discard those with a rating lower than 5.  After all, if "everyone" hikes the Level 5 Mount Si, why would I want anything easier?

Then I come across this tantalizing description:


"Wimpy hikers, turn the page. This trail offers nothing for you but pain and heartbreak. If you think you've got the goods to scramble up more than 1000 feet per mile, read on. Mailbox Peak brings a serious burn to the thighs of even the best-conditioned athletes, but the rewards make it all worthwhile...

The trail leaves the road and turns near vertical, climbing ever-more steeply over the next 2.5 miles--the first 0.5 mile of road walking gains only a few hundred feet of elevation, leaving about 3800 feet for the last 2.5 miles. That means you'll be climbing about 1500 feet per mile, and most hikers consider anything over 1000 feet per mile to be steep!

...The trail climbs with ruthless focus--to get to the top in as direct a line as possible. As you move above 4000 feet, the forest falls away, the views open, and all pretense of switchbacks disappears. You'll now be scrambling up steep, open hillsides.

...Finally, after one last scramble through the rocky crown around the summit, you're there, standing beside the battered mailbox on the top of Mailbox Peak. After you catch your breath, pat yourself on the back--because if you're on the summit, you've conquered perhaps the most difficult hike in this book!"

This mountain, called Mailbox Peak because someone has indeed lugged a mailbox to the top, offers a 4100-foot climb to end at an over 4900-foot elevation!

I am SOLD!  And I have NO idea what I'm getting us in to!  But I am excited!  So early the next morning, we head out! 

There's a gentle rain in the morning, so we make sure to pack rain gear.  It's an intense hike, so we make sure to pack water and cool layers.  It goes up through the clouds and into snow, so we make sure to pack warm layers and trekking poles.

Quite a bit to carry, but for a day hike, it's not too bad.  We're anticipating a 4 hour excursion.

We park, and begin to climb a gentle hill.  We can feel our muscles waking, and our conversation becomes somewhat labored from the breathing.  But all in all, this is good!  We're pumped and confident that this will be a good trip!  After about 10 minutes... we realized we've just now come to the trail head.  We weren't even ON the trail!  Just the little gravel road to get to the trail.

Well, ok, so it was a good warm up.  Onward!  Into the trees we go!  And it is amazing - much like the rain forest, it is lush and green, with plenty of unique plants and a trickling little creek.  Then, as described in the guide book, "The trail leaves the road and turns near vertical, climbing ever-more steeply over the next 2.5 miles."  Our pretty little trail and gentle switchbacks disappear, leaving us with no trail, but figuring out our own way to scramble from white marker to white marker.

This is the best we could do with the camera to try to capture the steepness of this "path."

And this went on ad nauseum. me following Jen.  Our chipper conversation gave way to Jen sarcastically muttering "Katie picked this hike... I hate Katie, I hate Katie... no! No!  I love Katie, right?  yes, I think so..." until she turned back to look at me with a twinkle in her eye.  "Hey, I think YOU should lead, so I can burn holes in your back with my glare!"

I used what breath I had to laugh a snorting, panting laugh.  "Yeah, and perhaps knowing you're behind, ready to kill me for picking this one, will keep me moving fast!  Can't let you try to poke me with that giant spork you bought!"

We end up stopping multiple times to let faster hikers past, and to catch our breath.  We decide that speed is not our goal - we prefer to enjoy the hike, enjoy the scenery, and keep our jovial banter going.  After a while, we have to strip off a few layers, grab a handful of food, sip some water, and pull out the trekking poles - these babies are going to get us up there! 

About and hour and a half in, as we climb higher, we realized a fog was setting in.  While it didn't impede our trail, we could no longer look out at the amazing views below - we were pretty limited to the trees.  Then, all of a sudden, we looked around and saw that it was clear again!

Confused, I turn to gaze out at the valleys below... and understand where the fog came from!  It wasn't fog, but a cloud!  We had hiked through a cloud, and were now above the cloud line!

This gives us both another surge of energy, seeing that we've broken that high, and it looks like snow is starting to appear up ahead.  That means we must be getting near the boulder valley!  And near that will be the red trail markers - indicating a mere 500 vertical feet left!

By this point, most conversation has lulled, leaving us in the companionable sound of little more than our gasping and wheezing.  Oh yeah, and some wildlife critters, if you can hear that above the sound of your own heart hammering away.


We push each other on - well, more aptly - Jen drags me along... and finally, finally I see that precious red trail marker!  Two and a half-hours of non-stop exercise, burning my muscles and testing my lungs... We are nearly there!!

And that guide book comes whispering again.  "one last scramble through the rocky crown around the summit." 

What they neglect to tell you is how bloody difficult that last scramble is.  We have to cross over some of the rocks to continue on the path.  Thankfully, they are dry rocks, and stable for the most part.  It is tiring, but the view is amazing.

Once over the small boulder path, two options lie ahead of us.  Mounds of snow or more piles of rocks?  We watch some people climbing the rocks, and they look to be having a difficult time of it.  So we opt for the snow.

With each step, we thrust the poles deep for stability, and kick with our boot to try to flatten a little stepping place.  Up and up, I can't help but wonder how on earth we're going to get back down.  The rocks seem difficult, but the steep slickness of snow seems sickeningly precarious.  Though not normally bothered much by heights, I couldn't help but feel humbled by what was now probably nearing 3700 feet above the local area.

We are both beginning to slump, when Jen shouts out, "I see it!  I see the mailbox!  And people!  We're almost there!"  Thank goodness for that little boost!  We climb and clambour through the last part of rocky terrain, and make it to the peak.

Or, as Jen puts it, We Bagged A Peak.

I guess that's what it's called when you reach the summit of a mountain?  I am a climbing novice, so I just took her word for it!

Hot and sweaty, we plop down on the snow in our cooler layers, not affected in the least by the fact that it's a snow-covered cap.  Jen is so excited, that she kisses the mailbox!



I am too tired to try to lean all the way over with my face, and just opt to pat my new friend.

We chat lightly with some of the other climbers, take pictures for each other, and then pull out our snacks.  I check my watch - it's been almost 3.5 hours.  Given that we thought we'd be done in about 4, we hadn't packed very filling lunches.  I enjoyed about half of my trail mix, a Lara bar, and more water.  Jen finished off her trail mix and shared some of mine.


The other hikers said goodbye as they began their descent, and we waved them off on their journey.

Soon, the thought that our mothers may worry and the cold both began to settle in, and we decided we couldn't enjoy the views too much longer. It was time to figure out how on earth to get back down!

We gingerly made our way back down the rocky crown.  About 250 feet down, and we saw a lone gal making her way up.  Refreshed from our break, we exuberantly greeted her.  "You're almost there!! You can see the mailbox just around the next bend!" 

Then a thought occurred to me... this young lady had probably just spent the better part of 2 to 3 hours trudging up this mountain alone, and was going to get to the now-vacant peak with no one to photo her with the mailbox!

"Jen!"  I shouted ahead.  "She needs someone to take her picture!"  As tired as I was, I thought for sure we could make that last little bit again in order to help out a new friend.

With her infinite energy, Jen swiftly turned around and began bounding back towards me.  "Sure!"  She dropped her bag by me, traded it for my camera, and joined the new traveler.  "We'll be right back!"

Hmmm, well, I had planned to go with them, but I was not about to argue with the idea of sitting on a nice, flat rock and getting to take in the sight!  It was my own little meditation time!  I just enjoyed feeling the wind rush by, seeing the foggy cloud moving in, and listening to a few of the small creatures moving about.

Fifteen minutes later, Jen and our new companion are back!  We begin to pick out way across the rocks as we continue down.  Jen, the little monkey she is, has sure footing from years of hiking and rock hopping.  She's bounding down ahead of us.  I hang back with Kristen, and we move more cautiously.  Another hiker and his dog are heading up, and we say hello - promising him he's almost to the top!

On and on.  It seems going down the boulders is even slower work than hiking up the snow had been!  But the slippery snow is still scary to me.

Until we see the man and his dog coming back down.  He deliberately sits on the snow, shifts around a little bit, and pushes himself off!  Down and down he slides, whipping past us, and easily slowing at the bottom, no where near any drop offs.

We all exchange glances.

Instantly, like giddy kids, we make our way off of the boulder towards the snow, now moving laterally.  Jen, of course, is there first, and drops to her backside, and down she goes!!!  Kristen and I eagerly follow, laughing and whooping!

...and then we run back up and do it again!  Ahhh, renewed vigor!

Here's a small clip!
video

The rest of the descent was pretty standard.  We made it back to the trees, and had to very slowly make our way down.  While it burned the muscles to make the big steps up, it tested the knee joints cushioning the impact on the way down.

But, thankfully, it wasn't the same type of work to come back down.  We were breathing relatively easily, and so we were able to have a good chat with Kristen about where she's from, her hiking excursions, and sharing our stories.  We laughed and joked, inspired by having defeated this mountain.

Six hours from the time we started, we finally reach the trail head again.  Cheering and exhausted, we take a last picture, exchange email addresses, and head back to the cars.

***

So that's our story!  I hope you'll go out and create your own challenge!  It's a thrill to complete it!

~Katie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Indulging While Traveling

Well hello, hello!!

I am back from another trip to Seattle! I wanted to share some tips on staying healthy on a trip – it can be done!!

...but I thought I'd start off with some of the less healthy escapades from the trip... :) Besides some delectable home-made cookies from my friend's mother, COFFEE was the indulgence of the trip! I normally try to limit my coffee intake, but this was a no-holds-barred kind of an adventure!
The Coffee-Crawl Crew!
A cup of coffee does include some riboflavin but very little else. When taken plain, coffee has a mere 2 calories per 8 ounce cup. You add cream, sugar, flavoring, etc, that number will of course rise rapidly! Even a “skinny” Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks jumps to 70 calories per 8 ounces; all the way up to 670 calories for a Vente Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino blended drink.
First cup at the airport!  I did try to keep my coffee sizes limited, and limited creams and sugars... some!  But when you're in a city where little independent coffee kiosks are on practically every corner, who can resist!?

There are some benefits to coffee, such as having antioxidants, but James D. Lane, PhD, reminds us that just because there is a good component in coffee, that does not necessarily mean coffee is good for us!  More research, as always, is needed.
First cup once in Seattle - from our favorite place, Urban City!
“It has not really been shown that coffee drinking leads to an increase in antioxidants in the body... We know that there are antioxidants in large quantities in coffee itself, especially when it’s freshly brewed, but we don’t know whether those antioxidants appear in the bloodstream and in the body when the person drinks it. Those studies have not been done."
Mandatory Tour stop at the Pike Place Starbucks - the original one!
And then there is the caffeine aspect. Most of us know and love that boost we get from coffee. It seems like the “magic elixir” or “nectar of life” for some of us, right? The brain feels like it's functioning better, the mood picks up, and life just seems better! However, caffeine can raise blood pressure, cause irregular heart palpitations in some, and can increase levels of epinephrine or adrenaline..

Home brewed coffee at Jen's while we played games!
A small study with the American Diabetes Association shows coffee may be linked to impaired glucose metabolism, which is not a good thing! For one thing, it may be linked with Alzheimer's Disease.
The best hotel coffee I've ever had!  It was a wonderful start to each morning!
On the other hand, caffeine is a common performance enhancer of athletes! So, before a long day of hiking, we of course used that to justify why we had to get some coffee ;-)
Twenty-four hours into the trip, and I'm already on my 5th type of coffee!  This was the SECOND type of coffee the hotel offered.  Near the lobby, they had a THIRD brand!
And plenty of water!! Don't forget, caffeine makes you pee more!

Getting coffee before boarding the Ferry ride.
While in Seattle, we learned of a new type of coffee - White Coffee.  When I first saw it listed on a menu, I simply assumed it meant a white-chocolate flavored coffee drink.  But I was wrong!!  I later learned that white coffee is simply a less roasted bean!  

A stop at Cup and Muffin, where they had Rice milk available! 
I was so excited I ordered a separate cup of plain rice milk!
The longer the bean is roasted, the darker it becomes - not only in color, but in flavor.  And as I was surprised to learn, a darker roast does not mean more caffeine!  For some reason, I had always assumed the two went together.

A Slug Mocha!
Simple drip coffee with a chocolate (or white chocolate) slug - common at our hike of the Hoh Rainforest.
On the contrary!  The kind baristas at Urban City told us that it has almost twice the caffeine!  Um, hooray and yikes?  Since it is very lightly roasted, it has an incredibly mild flavor - which has earned it the nick-name of "flat coffee."  It is a bit of a watered-down nutty flavor.  By itself, maybe not the best drink.  But it was great fun to incorporate that extra nutty hint into various flavored drinks!
By this point in the trip, I had lost track of how many coffee drinks I had imbibed.
Since returning home, I have been asking around at coffee shops for this white coffee, but it seems that it has not yet migrated eastward!  I suppose that is good, considering all of the caffeine - better to avoid it as able!

Another lazy morning in the hotel, sipping on coffee before heading out for a long day of walking and hiking!
Of course, all in moderation normally! Caffeine is metabolized in the liver, and you don't want to tax your poor liver too much!! It's already doing so much for you! It one of your largest internal organs, and so important!!  So nix the caffeine as much as you can :)

Yet another Urban City coffee!  We stopped there daily!
The National Institute of Health reminds us that “the liver has many jobs, including changing food into energy and cleaning alcohol and poisons from the blood. Your liver also makes bile, a yellowish-green liquid that helps with digestion.


After a wet day of hiking through the drizzling rain, it was nice to get a hot cup of coffee at The Daily Grind!
While this trip was predominantly focused around coffee as the beverage of choice, I did enjoy some healthier options, such as lemon water, tea, and even a few green smoothies!  True tea, made from tea plants, will still have caffeine in them.  Even "decaffeinated" teas have small amounts.  

So if you want a caffeine-free alternative, try herbal teas or Rooibus teas!  They can be a wonderful alternative.  Rooibus tea is also rich in antioxidants, so not only is it easy on your liver, but gives you a warm boost of health to boot!
 
Vending Machine coffee... haven't seen that in ages!

However, if coffee is your drink of choice, just try not to tax your fat-burning, body-cleansing liver too much!  (*cough* yeah, that's a "Do as I say, not as I do" when looking at this trip!)

...But enjoy life and the occasional indulgence ;-)
The final cup of coffee at the Seattle Airport, before heading home.  A departing brew from Tully's.
Hugs!!
~Katie