Thursday, August 29, 2013

Step Up to the Calorie Counter: Avocado Toast

Breakfast may be hectic, but you can still make it healthy and tasty. Here's an 5-ingredient recipe from Lucy's Morsels that is quick, easy and tasty.

cheddar cheese, shredded
wheat bread
baby spinach
salt and pepper

  1. Cut open the avocado. 
  2. Set aside with shredded cheese. 
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Meanwhile, put your bread in the toaster. 
  5. Spray the pan with nonstick spray for easy removal. 
  6. Crack an egg into the pan. I like to do it toward the side of the pan and then tip it to prevent too much spreading of the egg white. If you want you egg over-hard (no runny yolk), like me, poke the yolk after about 30 seconds. You can see mine isn't too pretty, but it all seems to come together by the end. Flip the egg. 
  7. Mash avocado (however much you desire) onto the toast. 
  8. Season with salt and pepper. 
  9. Place spinach leaves on top of the avocado. 
  10. Place egg over spinach. 
  11. Sprinkle with cheese (if desired), salt, and pepper.
Visit Lucy's website for a few other tasty ideas — she has quite a few.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tai Chi Tuesday: Breathing for Self-Defense

Here is a video by Sigung Richard Clear, who will be giving workshops in Fairfax, Va., on September 20-22. I have attended four events he has held — two Tai Chi Gala workshops, one semi-private healing workshop and a qi gong healing weekend workshop — and I have learned a lot and enjoyed myself immensely.

If you're interested in attending his upcoming Fairfax workshop, drop me a note via e-mail and I'll share the information with you.

Check out his YouTube channel for more videos.

Hope to see you in September.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Step Up to the Calorie Counter: Lemon Breakfast Parfait

Easy breakfast dish? Plenty of fruit, a little protein and a delightful presentation? Yes, please.

And, as Donkey is wont to say, "Who doesn't like a parfait?" 

This Lemon Breakfast Parfait recipe is courtesy of Master Forks and is perfect for diabetic diners.

  • 3/4 c  fat-free milk
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 c  quick-cooking couscous
  • 1/2 c  lemon low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 c  light dairy sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp  honey
  • 1/4 tsp  finely shredded lemon peel
  • 3 c  assorted fruit (such as sliced strawberries, nectarines, or star fruit; sliced peeled kiwifruit; blueberries; and/or raspberries)
1. In a medium saucepan combine milk and salt. Bring to boiling. Stir in couscous; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Cool.
2. In a small bowl combine yogurt, sour cream, honey, and lemon peel; stir into couscous mixture.
3. To serve, spoon half of the fruit into 6 parfait glasses. Spoon couscous mixture over fruit; top with the remaining fruit. Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tai Chi Tuesday: Seven Transformations of the Tai Chi Form

Tai Chi, like all other disciplines of study (including non-martial arts studies), evolve over time. It is important to understand the phases of Tai Chi so we don't get to hung up on any one phase in our practice. The key is to keep an open mind so we are open to a deeper learning.

Here is how I see the Tai Chi phases, or building blocks, work and evolve.

Each individual will spend a different amount time on different phases, depending on their understanding, their ability to learn new things and dedication to practice.

  1. The form. The form is the series of movements that make up our set. This is the beginning of your Tai Chi practice. how we move properly, weighted and balanced. (Better balance provides fall prevention)
  2. Good dan tien breathing. We breath through the dan tien to create relaxation and energy flow through the body. (This lets us de-stress and lowers blood pressure.)
  3. Combine dan tien breathing with the form. This allows us to learn to move in a relaxed and balanced state of mind, or calm mindfulness.
  4. Apply the movements to self-defense scenarios. This adds more flow to the movements when it's attached to context. At this point, many practitioners begin to make the form their own — and we learn how to defend ourselves).
  5. Chi development. Make sure chi development takes place all through the study. When the form starts to flow and feel relaxed, chi flow increases and the form evolves once again. Now the form takes on a living, breathing feel as we expand and contract the chi energy. (Other health benefits include healthy organs).
  6. Revisit the self-defense aspect. This happens once the chi energy becomes more part of the form. Instead of just moving with the dan tien leading. We perform the self-defense movements with the expanding and contracting of energy. (Learn to manipulate opponents energy: "Move 1,000 pounds with four ounces.")
  7. Put your mind and body in harmony. It is imperative if you wish to perform Tai Chi skillfully — total relaxation. Mind and body need to be in harmony. This relaxation of mind and body can be very spiritual for some people. Spirituality brings better understanding of self, which in turn brings better relationships with others.
Tai Chi Chuan is multi-faceted, as I have stated many times. Each practitioner needs to choose how far to take their practice to make it enjoyable and beneficial to their needs.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Step Up to the Calorie Counter: Not Your Processed Fruit "Roll-Up"

Want to carry fruit with you, but you don't want the mess?

How about wrapping it to go?

Yes, it really is that easy.

Peanut Butter and Fruit Roll-Up

Image courtesy of Pinterest

It really is that easy. 

  1. Choose your bread. Keep it thin so it rolls easily, such as a whole wheat tortilla, thin pita (split a pita pocket in half) or naan.
  2. Choose your fruit. Banana are the perfect fruit on the go, but strawberries, raspberries or other fruit that's not too juicy or fragile may be on the menu. This is your creation, so make it your way.
  3. Choose your peanut butter. Check the sugar and salt content in your favorite peanut butter or spread to make sure you're staying healthy. Even a little may be too much.

What will you put in your roll-up?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tai Chi Tuesday: The Science of Elastic Force

I have attended dozens of workshops, seminars, classes and symposiums in my life, but only three have changed my life. The Science of Elastic Force, with Sifu Mark Rasmus, is one of them.

There are always new techniques to learn and tricks of the trade, but Mark Rasmus does his best to increase the overall skill level of his students — and succeeds.

The Science of Elastic Force is the elastic properties, magnetic properties and electrical properties of the human body. Once this is examined, we can take these forces and manipulate them on an opponent. Creating tidal waves of force, supplied by ripples of force from our opponent.

Sifu Mark Rasmus not only has great skill, but he is able to teach this skill in a limited amount of time. Perfecting this skill normally takes years — but after this two-day seminar, I feel like I got a pretty good handle on it.

Check out some of Sifu Mark Rasmus' videos on YouTube.

I also would like to thank everyone who attended the seminar because I enjoyed practicing with them. I just wish I was able to work with every person in attendance.

I also learned an important tidbit: eight or nine hours of Tai Chi a day is about my limit.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Step Up to the Calorie Counter: Grilled Brussels Sprouts

As this Chefs Recipe Magazine recipe proves, you really can grill anything. 

1 pound of Brussels Sprouts
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Equipment needed:
  • Bamboo skewers
  • BBQ or Grill pan

  1. Skewer the sprouts.
  2. Mix the mustard and olive oil and brush it on the Brussels sprouts. 
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Learn About the Science of Elastic Force in Maryland This Weekend

This weekend, I will be studying with Sifu Mark Rasmus in Frederick, Md. during his seminar, Science of Elastic Force.

The two-day seminar, with Mid Atlantic Movement Arts, will feature much interesting information and fascinating hands-on training from this Australian metaphysician and longtime devotee to Wing Chun and Tai Chi.

I featured one of Sifu Mark Rasmus' videos on Tai Chi Tuesday yesterday, which I hope you were able to view. If not, visit my blog to watch the video — it's great!

Click here to Sifu Rasmus' website, and here you will find his YouTube channel.

Check out another of his videos, Tai Chi open and close push hands Sifu Mark Rasmus Chiang Mai Thailand.

Hope to see you this weekend.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tai Chi Tuesday: Previewing the Skills of Sifu Mark Rasmus

I will attend Sifu Mark Rasmus' seminar this weekend in Maryland. Here is a video from his YouTube channel.

I am looking forward to all of the things I will learn and practice with him. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Step Up to the Calorie Counter: Fruit Popsicle

Hot enough for you? Try this all-natural fruit popsicle, courtesy of DAMY Health.

Tropical Fruit Protein Popsicles

  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 can of pineapple
  • 1 c blueberries
  • 1 c Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or 6 packets of stevia)

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Fill popsicle molds and place in freezer.
  3. Freeze for 24 hours.
  4. Enjoy!
Makes at least six popsicles. (Use leftovers for smoothies.)

Protein Option: Add two scoops of vanilla to make this a high-protein summer snack.