Friday, May 29, 2009

Green Garlic and Spinach Frittata

2 T. olive oil
3 stalks organic green garlic
4 c. chopped organic spinach
6 large eggs
1/4 t. kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
1 T. fresh parsley

Heat skillet and saute chopped garlic. Cook for approx. 5 min., until soft and golden.

Add the spinach and cook for 2 min. until wilted.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, salt, pepper and parsley.

Pour egg mixture into skillet on top of the garlic and spinach.

Cover skillet loosely and cook until egg is set - about 8 min.

Place skillet under broiler and continue cooking until egg has completely set and is browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly prior to serving.

ENJOY! What a dish -- protein and veggies.

Serves 8. 97 cal.; 7 gr. fat; 3.5 carbs; 5 gr. prot.

"Red Betty"

It's 85 degrees here in Portland. Time to dust off "Red Betty" for the season and get on it for commutes.

Biking is a low impact way to burn calories and to boost your cardiovascular health.

Upon my own transition from running to biking, it was unbelievable how forgiving biking was on my body, from the spine to the ankles.

It's an ideal activity if you have any low-back or knee issues. And you're not pounding the pavement!

It's difficult, as a personal trainer, to lure runners from their sport into another, like cycling. However, once an injury occurs and becomes chronic, it's a bit easier to convince them to "go to the other side."

Prior to doing any exercise, be sure to gently stretch your major muscle groups. This will increase your range of motion. Begin your ride with an easy, warm-up period of 3 - 5 minutes.

Of utmost importance is to be fit properly on your bike. Any qualified bike shop can help you with that.

Portland is known for its bike culture.

But when you ride, remember it is you, the cyclist, that is the vulnerable one. Think like a vehicle, not a pedestrian. Stick to the bike lanes and obey traffic signals. Be visible. Choose bright colors to wear, including a helmet.

Keep your eyes on the road. Be consistent, assertive and predictable.

But above all, enjoy all this great city has to offer -- up close and on your bike!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"What's love got to do with it?"

A few weeks ago I rummaged through stacks of papers and unused items. You know the drill; an attempt at Spring cleaning.

I tried my best to follow the simple rule: If you haven't seen it or used it in two years, then toss it.

But there was one item I discovered after 34 years that will break the rule. It will find its way into my mother's "Hope Chest".

I inherited Mom's chest upon her death five years ago. Over the years Mom and I had combed through it periodically. It has in it yearbooks dating back to 1931, family birth certificates and passports, World War II food rationing stamps, President Kennedy memorabilia and love letters written from my father to my mother when they were mere teenagers.

What I found during my purge was a love letter of another kind.

I have a close friend from childhood who attended my wedding in 1975. Along with a wedding gift she sent quote to us handwritten on a fine piece of flowered rice paper.

It read:

"Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves."

When I stumbled upon it, I must admit that it stopped me in my tracks.

Whether it be in a personal relationship, a friendship, a business relationship or a family relationship, the quote rings true. It's simply a good rule to live by.

As it turns out the quote was a far larger gift than any present could have been. It has endurance.

It will join the other specialty items in the chest today. Perhaps our children will find it years from now and reflect on what the quote actually symbolizes.

To share in the love and the unity of those around you certainly has the merit to bring happiness to one's life.

Happiness brings contentedness and wellness. That's the "domino effect" at its finest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mole Patrol

Our skin comes under that enormous "umbrella" of health.

Some of us grew up in sunny climates and should take some responsibility for our skin, which daily performs an overtime job for our bodies. Remember that even if you feel that you take meticulous care of your skin now, reflect on how you spent your time in your teens and 20's. That is what counts for us "baby boomers."

What follows is the ABCD system for detecting skin abnormalities from the American Cancer Society.

ASYMMETRY: one side looks different from the other.

BORDERS: irregular, notched, scalloped or otherwise indistinct.

COLOR: more than one shade.

DIAMETER: larger than a pencil eraser.

Early detection is the key to describing skin cancer. Make it a habit to scan for suspicious moles every two or three months. Visit your dermatologist annually.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables -- like watermelon, berries, cooked tomatoes, and peppers -- contain antioxidants that can protect your skin from sun damage. These heighten your body's natural SPF (sun protection factor).

Avoid white bread, white rice, and processed foods made with refined sugar. Reduce the amount of saturated fats you eat every day.

A Swedish study conducted in 2007 linked high blood sugar levels to malignant melanoma.

In a 1995 landmark study at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, individuals who had been treated for non-melanoma skin cancer managed to slash their risk of developing new precancerous skin growths by 75 percent simply by lowering their intake of saturated fat from 36 percent of their total calories to 20 percent.

We now have clothing with protective sunscreen available to us.

Lastly, slather on generous amounts of "broad-spectrum" sunscreen before you go out -- even on cloudy days.

We Pacific Northwesterners do enjoy the sun when it does appear. But be smart. With the above guidelines in place, we can still enjoy our lovely outdoors and keep our skin safe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friendships=Happiness in the "City by the Bay"

Recognize this place?

According to Tony Bennett, many of us leave our hearts here.

In my case, this city holds a special place in my heart. I left many beautiful friends there. Of the group I know, all but two of us remained in the Bay Area. Some were kindergarten classmates. A few of us received our First Holy Communion and our Confirmation together. Many of us went through elementary school and onto Catholic High School "joined at the hip." So, yes, there's a bond.

I made a promise to myself five years ago after burying my mother in San Francisco's (Colma) Holy Cross Cemetery (she joined my Dad who died 9 years prior): I would make an annual Spring sojourn to S.F., not only to place flowers at my parents' grave but to keep a connection with the girls I grew up with.

After three days of updating one another on our lives, families, ambitions and our beliefs, I left feeling rejuvenated by the beauty of the city and with a renewed appreciation for friendships established long ago.

It's a unique city. It's a unique bond.

We all knew one another's parents; played in the neighborhoods of S.F. together; learned our way around the city as kids on public transportation; bumbled our way through the teen years side by side; broke rules and kept secrets; shed tears and laughed until we cried (and, well, okay, we got into trouble together).

Through it all we have come out on the other side of age 50.

I spent time on the return trip to Portland contemplating how and why we have become the adults we are.

One thing I do know for sure. We each had a hand at one point in time in "raising one another."
There's a lot to be said for that.

We agreed we'd set our sights on another "city by the water" next year for our 40th high school reunion.

New York City, here we come!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Springtime - Boosting the Immune System

Okay, you have read it in the newspaper, online and in your magazine.

Partake in physical activity. Hmmm.....seems simple!

Whether it be power walking (use those arms and hips), cycling, strength training, swimming, practicing yoga or Pilates; they all boost your immune system.

With all of the recent weather changes in the Pacific NW, many of us are still falling victim to the recent flus that still abound.


Exercise boosts the immune system. It keeps inflammation in check and encourages problem cells to self-destruct.

A 2006 study from Rutgers University found that mice that ran on a running wheel developed 30 percent fewer tumors -- and smaller, slower growing tumors -- when exposed to UV light than mice without a running wheel in their cage.

Statistics show that the risk of all types of cancer, including skin, is higher in people that are obese.

GET STARTED: Exercise for thirty minutes everyday. Try to maintain a healthy BMI of up to 24.9.

For more info go to

Movement is a good thing. Right? Being stiff and immobile is no fun!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rock-A-Bye, Baby

INSOMNIA by definition is the inability to sleep or to stay asleep for a period of time.

One-third of the population of our society has insomnia.

We share the roads with the sleep-deprived, work with them and live with this population on a daily basis.

So, let's understand some of the condition:

People who get less sleep are prone to obesity. They release more cortisol which, in turn, deposits more fat in the body.

Here are some solutions:
*Start the day with a good breakfast, just like your mother always suggested!

*It is okay to nap if you didn't have a good night's sleep. Research has proven that if you nap for 15 min. you will feel more alert and less sleepy, even if you haven't slept well the previous night.

*WATER: Losing as little as 1/2 cup of body water could turn into low-grade chronic fatigue. Drink eight 10 oz. glasses of water/day. Add four more glasses if you have exercised that day. Empty your bladder prior to retiring for the night.

*Exercise earlier in the day (but, by all means, exercise!).

*Cut caffeine after 2 p.m. Refrain from alcohol within three hours of bedtime. Don't forget that there is caffeine in colas, chocolate, tea and some medications.

*Go outside when it's sunny and turn on the lights in your home in the morning. This will help to set your awake/sleep cycle.

*Play some of your soothing music prior to retiring.