health | pg.3

Artificial Reefs: Ocean Junk or Help for an Endangered Ecosystem?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 8th, 2013 | 8 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: climate change, coral reefs, Eco Travel, environment, environmental awareness, environmental impact, environmental toxins, Florida, green, Green Living, Gulf of Mexico, health, marine creatures, marine environment, marine habitat, nature, New York, ocean, ocean health, PCBs, reefs, save the environment, travel, World Wildlife Fund

Sea turtle

Coral reefs around the world are in trouble. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about one-quarter of coral reefs are considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat. Some suffer from heavy fishing pressures, while others are succumbing to pollution or careless tourism. Climate change, with its attendant rising sea temperatures, is exacerbating the problem, speeding coral deaths.

More than half a billion people live near corals, relying on them for food, shelter from storm surges and the income that tourism brings. With natural reefs diminishing, artificial reefs are increasingly gaining favor. These structures usually take the form of sunken ships, decrepit oil platforms or other human trash.

But is depositing more human refuse in the oceans in order to create artificial reefs healthy for the environment — and for us?

New Year, New Beginnings

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | February 4th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Personal Growth | tags: change, eco decor, Eco Decorating, gratitude, Green Living, habits, happiness, health, hibernation, home, meditation, new year, reflection, resolutions, season, soups, warmth, wellness, winter

It’s hard to believe that it was only a few weeks ago that we were contemplating the end of the world. Not only did we survive the apocalypse, we survived the holidays!

Now the conversation is all about ‘New Year = New You!’ and making huge life changes now!

I prefer to work with the earth’s gentle cycles as my guide. For me, the winter season is for hibernation and quiet contemplation … a time to go deep ‘inside.’ It is a time for rest (with so many hours of darkness) and for reflection, a perfect time to tap into dreams and journal.

When we attune ourselves with the seasons, we allow our inherent natural rhythms to flow, which are easy to follow and feel good about.

The Shaman and Ayahuasca

Alyson Charles by Alyson Charles | December 6th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Conscious Living News, Health & Wellness, Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: Amazon rainforest, ancient ritual, art, blessing, confidence, disease, documentary, Don Jose Campos, filmmaker Michael Wiese, gaiam tv,, health, mind, mind-altering, painter Pablo Amaringo, Peru, psychoactive, realms of consciousness, south america, spirituality, tea ceremony, The Shaman and Ayahuasca

The Shaman and AyahuascaIt all starts with a simple discussion. The next thing you know, you’re off to the Amazon rainforest in South America, drinking tea made from a psychoactive plant and taking part in an ancient ceremony intended to heal and open the realms of consciousness.

That’s what happened to filmmaker Michael Wiese as he was searching for a cure after being confronted with a serious disease. Michael realized the universe was co-conspiring to aid in his mission, and soon he, his wife and his translator were off, embarking on a mysterious and deeply personal adventure.

The Shaman and Ayahuasca on follows these three on a thought-provoking journey, providing unique personal perspectives, majestic and stunning visuals of Peruvian surroundings, and wisdom from a famed shaman. It also piques the viewer’s curiosity: What does this psychoactive elixir taste like? How does it feel to be whisked away to other realms and connected to the cosmos? How does it feel to return to reality? Here are a few of the most intriguing and eye-opening moments from this fascinating documentary:

Recipe for a Grounded Holiday

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | November 20th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home, Personal Growth | tags: animals, books, Brain function, detox, diet, food, Green Living, Grounded, health, healthy-eating, holiday season, love, meditate, nature, nutrition, read, reading, self-love, sleep, soul, thanksgiving, toxic, toxic environment, walk, Yoga, You are what you eat

The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.

Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.

The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.

S-U-M-M-E-R: That’s How I Spell Fun, Fresh and Fit!

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | July 23rd, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Personal Growth | tags: clothes, Clothing, diet, exercise, fashion, Fitness, food, fruits, health, healthy, hydrate, hydration, nutrition, relax, relaxation, SPF, stress, summer, summer produce, summer wardrobe, sun, swim, swimming, the firm, vacation, vegetables, veggies, warm weather, water, work out, workout

SummerBy The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr

I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.

Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.

Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:

Objects on Foot Are Closer Than They Appear

Ginny Figlar Colón by Ginny Figlar Colón | July 13th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Family Health, Fitness, Green Living, Green Tech, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth, Weight Loss | tags: car, car-free, children, community, dad, drive, driving, exercise, exerise, family, Fitness, Google Maps, health, healthy, kids, mom, neighborhood, parenting, pedestrian-friendly, running errands, stroller, take a walk, walk score, walkability, walking, walking directions, WalkScore, weight-loss

Happy family walking togetherIt usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.

That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.

I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.

I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.

Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.

So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.

10 Reasons to Quit Your Coffee

Mark Hyman, M.D. by Mark Hyman, M.D. | July 6th, 2012 | 8 Comments
topic: Detox, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating | tags: 5-HIA, acidity, addiction, antioxidants, blood sugar, caffeine, cardiovascular disease, catecholamines, cholesterol, chronic disease, coffee habit, cortisol, detox, diabesity, diet, diterpenes, doctor, dysbiosis, energy, GERD, glucose levels, glycemic index, health, healthy, heart burn, heart disease, Huffington Post, indigestion, inflammation, insomnia, insulin resistance, Mark Hyman, nutrition, serotonin, sleep, stress, triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, withdrawal

10 Reasons to Quit Coffee

Coffee: Is it good or bad for us? You might get media whiplash trying to figure that out. The truth is, I find this subject to be as confusing as you probably do.

After all, the media certainly doesn’t help clarify whether America’s favorite morning beverage is going to land you in the doc’s office or set you free with a clean bill of health. It’s no wonder so many of you shrug your shoulders in utter confusion as you refill your morning mug and get on with your day!

I know all about this adoration of coffee. I, too, was smitten and enamored with Coffea Arabica. We had our courtship during the 1990s, when I worked more than 80 hours in the emergency room and saw 30 to 40 patients a day.

I traded sleep for espresso, authentic energy for Haagen Daz coffee ice cream and normal circadian rhythms for high-speed, caffeinated adrenaline rushes.

But then, my body began to communicate to me what I had been attempting to ignore — that I needed to slow down and let the natural systems assume their proper course. You can read more about how I successfully turned my health around here.

As I began to tune into my body and provide it with what it really wanted — fresh, whole, real, unprocessed foods; sleep; relaxation; and the time to enjoy the life I had created for myself and my family — I was able to break up with coffee and make up with my health.

You can too, and I’m going to tell you how. But first, let’s discuss what makes coffee such a hot topic widely disputed in today’s health circles.

Week 10: Putting It All Together

Tanja Djelevic by Tanja Djelevic | May 21st, 2012 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness | tags: 10-week program, animal protein, bikini body, body cleanse, confidence, deep tissue massage, detox diet, detoxify, eggs, energy, exercise, fish, Fitness, fruits, fun, health, healthy, laugh, laughter, motivation, natural-cleanse, personal trainer, self confidence, spring training, stretching, vegetables, veggies, week 10, week ten, weeks, well-being, wellness, whole grains, work out, workout, Yoga

Thumbs Up Fitness Woman

Congrats! You made it to the tenth and final week of the Better Body and More Energy Challenge! I knew you could do it.

For your last assignment, I’d like to you tie together everything you’ve learned about nutrition and fitness over the past nine weeks. Don’t worry — it sounds more daunting than it really is!

This Precious Body … A Reservoir of Hope

Katherine Robertson-Pilling by Katherine Robertson-Pilling | May 17th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Personal Growth, Yoga | tags: benefits of yoga, broken leg, femur, healing, health, HOPE, inspiration, motivation, Spring, springtime, Yoga, yoga-therapy

Hope and the BodyIf hope were a season, it would be Spring. Flowers are budding, bees are buzzing, trees are leafing and birds are building nests. Life picks up its paintbrush and makes a splash across Nature’s canvas. Its message:

“No matter where you are today,

Something new is on its way.”

While Spring gives evidence in the world around us, life flows just as hopefully within us. We usually relate to our physical world as solid and fixed. But it is not — it is alive, active and changing at every level, seen and unseen. Science now demonstrates that everything is energy, particles dancing with each other all the time. And I have learned this lesson in my bones.

One afternoon three years ago, in the fullness of Spring, I went out to buy groceries, stepped up onto a sidewalk and fell. I did not take another step for four months. Unable to stand, as I waited on the curb for the ambulance, I kept my mind focused on the desirable outcome. But I knew the truth. Even in those first five minutes, something in me responded, “Okay. If this is what’s next, let’s go.”

6 Ways to Make Hope a Habit

Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag | May 15th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth | tags: belief, choice, exercise, faith, fitness expert, Gaiam Hope Project, gratitude, guilt, happiness, health, healthy, HOPE, how to form a habit, mindfulness, negativity, personal trainer, positive thinking, positivity, self-criticism, stress, well-being

Make Hope a Habit

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown

Hope is having positivity, belief and faith — in yourself. Hope is perseverance, because it doesn’t give up. With a little practice, you can make hope a habit. Not only will you improve your health and fitness, but you also will improve your life.