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Healthy living Los Angeles

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Lisa's Likes--Travel Essentials (Just In Time For The 4th of July)

It’s official.  SUMMER is here! Hello June, July, August and sun.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, remember those resolutions that you set back in January? Of course you do (especially when you start to see your hard work pay off as you slip on your swimwear and head to the beach). 

It's important to remember those resolutions and honor your commitments to push yourself to new limits at The Studio (MDR), but what's equally important is taking time to relax and simply enjoy some R&R.  Nothing says "relaxing" like going on a summer vacation, and SimplyStylist.com recently asked our own, Lisa Hirsch, to share the must-haves in her travel bag.

Lisa's picks are fashionable, practical and functional but our personal fave on the list is the Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bar For women.  Lisa admits, “Airports are the worst when I’m trying to eat healthy so I always have a couple of Luna Bars on hand. Chocolate Dipped Coconut are my favorite, especially when I get stuck on an unexpected layover.”

To read the full article, click here.

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Lisa's Likes: Summer Meeting Style

When I’m not working at The Studio (MDR), you will probably find me attending a meeting about the studio somewhere nearby, like Zinque on Abbot Kinney.  And when meetings stack up, I rely on some of my personal, favorite things to get me through the day (and sometimes on through the night!). First thing’s first – the outfit.  Joie is one of my "go-to" brands when I’m not in my Lulu’s or Beyond Yoga wear.  This dress is just as comfortable as a pair of work out pants & a tank, but it looks way better for a stroll down Washington as I head to dinner at Casa Ado on the beach.  I pair it with flat gladiator sandals for day and chic wedges in the evening.

Like many of you, I am addicted to my iPad.  I use it for so many things…to approve expansion & design plans for the studio, to listen to audio books on everything from Feng Shui to Shades of Grey (my students are obsessed with it!!!), to watch our “coming soon” MDR workouts on YouTube, and to check emails and class sign-ups.  It goes with me everywhere and I store it in an adorable Rebecca Minkoff case (my fave).

Accessories make my look complete.  My necklace is a gift from me to myself for my 40th birthday.  A girl should never have to wait for diamonds and I didn't intend to!

Fendi is making a big comeback on the fashion scene. I love pairing designer bags with my workout clothes. It makes me feel chic even after I break a MDR-induced sweat.  Also, I support local businesses (since I own one), so I love buying my eyewear at my friend Susie's store - Eyes on Main. Not only does her eyewear scream style, but it supports the local economy and helps my baby blues see!

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Healthy Feet Will Really Knock Your Socks Off....A Guest Post From ToeSox

Each part of our body is designed for a purpose. Our legs to walk. Our eyes to see. Our thumbs to grab. And our toes to balance. But what you may not know is that one fourth of all the bones in the human body are down in your feet. These "two planks" bear the weight of our entire bodies. They receive a lot of stress and are often neglected. Imagine having a headache every day. You would probably seek medical attention for the pain. However, we are more apt to ignore symptoms of foot pain…we just “get over it.”

But as Socrates said:  “When our feet hurt, we hurt all over.”

Our feet are superbly designed between 10 toes, 52 bones (26 in each foot), 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors. ToeSox are superbly designed too. Not just to prevent you from sliding or to minimize wear and tear on a Megaformer machine or yoga mat.

Our toes, (each of them significant), separate to allow us to grip the ground, spring our bodies into motion, and help us stand still and straight. Toes are an important part of the push-off action humans use while walking, running, and climbing stairs.

Why is it that we take off our shoes right when we get home? Because it feels good. We cram our feet into shoes, forcing the toes together and making them act as a hoof. When the toes are drawn together, abductor muscles on the outer and inner foot can’t activate, and can atrophy due to lack of use.

If toes are stiff, the smoothness and efficiency of our gait will be affected, and other joints and muscles will have to compensate for the disturbance in the chain of actions. As these compensations continue, they may contribute to pain elsewhere in the body. Two-thirds of those with chronic foot pain say their foot issue has created some sort of disability elsewhere – decreasing balance, increasing soreness in the knees and hips, or preventing them from starting or maintaining a healthy exercise routine.

As often as you can, let your toes wiggle with their five toe natural movement. Wearing ToeSox not only supports the anatomical structure of the foot, but they provide gentle space between each toe which encourages the toes to spread, circulation to increase and muscles to engage. Strong feet result in enhanced agility, balance, posture, and overall body wellness.

Assess your foot health by following these simple steps for self-examination as recommended by American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS):

•Skin: Check your skin for calluses, blisters or areas of irritation. Now stand next to your shoes. Are they shaped like your feet or are they causing areas of constriction that may result in calluses, blisters or irritation? Now put your hand inside your shoe. Are there seams, tacks or rough places in the shoe that correspond to the areas of irritation, calluses or blisters on your feet?
•Circulation: Look at the color of your toes. Are they red, pink, purple or blue? Press down on the nail of your big toe until the color blanches. Now let go and allow the blood flow to return to your toe. The return of normal color should take 2-5 seconds in a person with average circulation.
•Flexibility: How flexible are your toes? Try to pick up a marble (excellent) or a small dishtowel (good). To test your ankle flexibility, hang your heel over the edge of a stair while standing on the stair facing the stair. Now let the heel go below the level of the stair. If this causes pain, stop the test. If your heel goes below the level of the stair without causing strain in your calf, that is excellent. If there is some strain, this can be improved with flexibility exercises.
•Sensation: Take a pencil eraser and lightly run it on the top, bottom and both sides of your feet. The sensation should feel equal in all quadrants. It may tickle on the bottom of the feet. That is normal.
•Pain: There should be no foot pain in the average foot. If there is, learn what is causing the foot pain.
•Balance: A good test for balance involves standing on one foot, with your arms out to the side and your eyes closed. If you are less than 30 years old, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds, 30-40 years old for 12 seconds, 40-50 years old for 10 seconds, and over 50 years old for 7 seconds. This can be improved with exercises.

 

For more information on ToeSox, please visit www.toesox.com
For more information The Studio MDR or to purchase a pair of ToeSox, visit www.thestudiomdr.com

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Meatless Monday: Green Smoothie

We all know it’s important to eat our veggies, but sometimes it can be tough to incorporate the vegetables we need each day into our diet especially if we may be working long hours or eating on the go.  So, what's the Studio (MDR) solution for you?

A green smoothie, which by the way is a great way to get key nutrients in one quick, easy and, most importantly, delicious drink! (And it's a perfect dessert, snack or meal for Meatless Monday).

You may have noticed the recent upswing in juice cleanses lately (especially right after new years), and while juicing fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way for the body to absorb nutrients, blending a green smoothie provides more nutritional benefits since the pulp isn’t extracted.

Contrary to what you think, you can have fun with green smoothies by trying different concoctions of your favorite vegetables mixed with fruit.  As an added bonus, you can include a spoonful of Greek yogurt for protein, probiotics and a thicker, more filling smoothie!

Here is a fantastic, refreshing smoothie that is low in fat, high in fiber and is gluten free:

2 Cups Spinach
2 Cups Diced Cucumbers
2 Ribs Celery
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger
1 Handful Parsley
2 Apples, cored but not peeled
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Spoonful Greek Yogurt (optional)

Blend all ingredients until very smooth and enjoy!

What are your favorite green smoothie or Meatless Monday recipes? Feel free to share them in the comments section.  Most importantly, cheers to your health!

Like our blog? You'll love our community. Keep up with The Studio (MDR) via Facebook and Twitter, here are the links:

https://www.facebook.com/TheStudioMDR

https://twitter.com/thestudiomdr

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Superfood Saturday--Say Hi to Açaí

It's time for Superfood Saturday's on The Studio (MDR) blog. And today, we want you to say hi to Açaí. Also known as nature’s energy fruit, the Açaí berry is one of the most nutritious foods in the world.

Açaí, harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, is chock full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids, making the tiny berry a weight loss and anti-aging superfood1!

While it may be difficult to find Açaí berries in your local supermarket, Açaí juice is widely available.  There is also, a new product featuring the unsweetened pulp of Açaí which provides many benefits including2:

  • A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

So, if you’re feeling a little sluggish, or if you just need an extra boost of energy, this recipe for an Açaí smoothie is a fantastic choice to consume before or after your workout at The Studio (MDR).

Açaí Berry Smoothie 

1 Unsweetened Pure Açaí Berry Smoothie Pack 8 oz Almond Milk 1 Banana 1 Scoop Whey Protein Powder 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed Oil

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Is there a superfood you'd love to read more about? Let us know, we are looking for future "Superfood Saturday" ideas.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/Açaí -berries-and-Açaí -berry-juice-what-are-the-health-benefits
  2. http://www.oprah.com/health/Açaí -Dr-Perricones-No-1-Superfood

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Sugar Free Saturday's: A Guest Post And Recipe From Amy Samuelson

My name is Amy M. Samuelson and I have spent the last twenty-five years in the entertainment business as a writer/producer. Visit my website at www.amysamuelson.com. I am a former New Yorker living in Santa Monica, California. I also maintain the blog, Amy Does It Sugar-Free.

Last year I had an epiphany regarding “good health” and how to attain it by reducing salt and sugar in my diet and kicking up my exercise regimen. I also began attending (MDR) Total Body classes at The Studio (MDR) run by Lisa Hirsch. The changes that have occurred to my body, mind and spirit are phenomenal.

  • My sense of self and humor returned quickly.  I had forgotten how much fun life offered.
  • Blogging on Amydoesitsugar-free also means I will not sugarcoat this lifestyle. My entries are written with a sense of humor and truthfulness. Truth being the bully everyone pretends to like. I will chronicle my successes, missteps and adventures.
  • Sugar-free living is limited to 15 grams of sugar a day. Sugar exists in almost everything we eat… Read labels carefully.

Here’s my recipe for “Mellow Yellow” scallops, served with asparagus and brown rice. This entire dish is low in sugar and salt.

I buy frozen scallops at Trader Joe’s in a 12 ounce package. I defrost them in the bag. Once defrosted, I take them out of bag, squeeze out their juices, and place them on top of 2 paper towels. I cover them with more paper towels in order to remove excess liquid. It is important that the scallops are as dry as possible before “woking” them.

Next, I place a generous amount of saffron into my wok along with chopped garlic, olive oil, 2 Tbs of white wine (optional), lemon thyme, ginger and the juice of one lemon. I heat my mixture until it is hot and place my scallops into the wok. They are done in approximately 5 to 6 minutes. You never want to overcook your scallops. They will become tough. Fault on the side of under versus over. Garnish them with lemon zest.

Asparagus is an amazing and health friendly vegetable. It is high in vitamins and the folic acid it contains is good for depression. Also, it has a cleansing proponent that flushes your system. Of course, we have all noticed that our pee smells funny after eating asparagus.  Well, it turns out to be a good thing. Who knew? 

There are many ways to cook asparagus.  I prefer sautéing my asparagus in lemon, garlic and oil. Sometimes I add a little butter with fresh pepper. It is ready to serve in less than five minutes.

As for the brown rice, I buy mine at Trader Joe’s in microwaveable packages. However you choose to cook it is fine--just remember that brown rice is always preferable over white rice in this regimen.

Putting it all together. After everything is cooked, place a scoop of brown rice on a plate, dice up your asparagus and place them around your brown rice and put  the scallops on top of the rice. Voila, the result is a picture-perfect entrée that looks as beautiful as it tastes.

This entire meal took me less than 20 minutes to prepare and serve.  Sometimes, I make a quick green salad with whatever vegetables I have in the refrigerator with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing.  Again in wishing you good health, I remind you that lemon is a color you can smell.

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Meatless Monday: Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

A few Saturday's back, we told you about the benefits of adding the superfood Quinoa to your diet. At The Studio (MDR), we aren't just about burning calories, we want you to consume calories too! Here's why. We want to ensure that you have the fuel your body needs to maintain the energy of each strengthening and muscle lengthening class. MORAL OF THE STORY--don't come to class on an empty stomach! With that said, in honor of Meatless Monday, this protein packed recipe is sure to delight your appetite!

Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

Yield: Makes 4 (side dish) servings Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain.  It makes the perfect partner for lime-spiked black beans and fresh tomato.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 packet of sugar substitute stevia
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash Quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Add Quinoa and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of Quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, the water is absorbed and the grains will be translucent and fluffy.

Add Quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com.  Read more:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Black-Bean-and-Tomato-Quinoa-238939#ixzz1kyHdpGHi

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The Studio (MDR) Superfood Saturday's: Flaxseeds

For this week's Superfood Saturday on The Studio (MDR) blog, we're favoring the flaxseed.  Similar to the chia seed we posted about last week, we love the health benefits and versatility of the flaxseed. Wellness experts and media alike are calling this the new wonder food for its ability to help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer.  WebMD also reports that, although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:

Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.

Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods.

Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

Tips for Incorporating Flaxseed's Into Your Diet:

  • Drink plenty of water. There is so much soluble fiber in flax that it is important to drink plenty of water when eating flax products, otherwise constipation may result.
  • Remember to start slowly if you aren’t used to a high-fiber diet.
  • If you purchase the whole seeds, you need to grind them up to get the benefit.
  • Flax is often used as an egg substitute in baked goods for people who can’t or choose not to eat eggs. This is because of the soluble fiber, which adds structure to the food.
  • About 2/3 to 3/4 cup of flax seed yields 1 cup of flax meal. With my grinder, it’s 3/4 cup, and my recipes reflect this.

Flax Recipes and Serving Suggestions:

  • Raw or toasted: Sprinkle over cottage cheese, ricotta, yogurt, breakfast cereal; put in shakes (thickens them somewhat)
  • Cooked in a hot cereal: For example, try Hot Flax Peanut Butter Cereal or Hot Pumpkin Cereal

  • Cooked into other foods: For example, meatloaf, meatballs, or casseroles.

Have you ever tried flaxseeds? Want to share your own recipe? Leave a comment here or chime in via our community on Facebook--http://www.facebook.com/thestuidomdr Also, we'd love to get your input. Which superfood should we feature for next Saturday? Let us know.

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Superfood Saturday From The Studio (MDR): This Week, It's All About Chia Seeds

It’s time for Superfood Saturday at The Studio MDR and this week it’s all about the Chia seed!  Yes, this----> chia seed.  While most of us know the word "chi" from the famous ch-ch-ch-chia jingle, chia seeds are becoming a widely popular superfood that you can add to almost anything you eat or drink!

Superfood Saturday Facts About Chia Seeds:

  • Chia seeds have more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant food, including flax seeds, and they are about 20% protein.
  • When soaked in liquid, Chia seeds form a thick gel. When consumed, researchers believe they slow down the rate at which digestive enzymes turn carbs into sugar, making it especially beneficial for diabetics and others with blood sugar issues.
  • Chia is hydrophilic and will absorb more than 12 times its weight in water. This makes it helpful in maintaining body hydration, something that is especially beneficial for athletes who need to remain hydrated.

Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants that they do not spoil easily and can be stored for long periods. PLUS, they have also been known to improve the following:

  • Anti-aging
  • Weight loss
  • Gastro-intestinal health
  • Bone health
  • Prenatal health
  • Heart health
  • Stabilized blood sugar
  • Prostate health
  • Menopausal symptoms

Not many side effects have been reported as a result of ingesting Chia seeds but if you have high blood pressure or allergies, you should consult with your doctor before consuming them.

You can order Chia seeds online or pick them up at your local health foods store like Sprouts or from our neighbors at Whole Foods Venice.  If you are not sure what to add Chia to in your diet here are some tips and recipes! And if you've tried chia seeds, we want to hear from you. Tell us how they have helped you look it+feel it+live it in the comments section below.

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