What the Heck’s an ANDI Score?

Let me begin by saying that “the secret formula to health” is H=N/C (Health=Nutrients/Calories). 

An ANDI score begins to refer to an item of food’s nutrient density. For example, here are items one through ten on the Top 30 Super Foods (according to Dr. Fuhrman):

Collard Greens/Mustard Greens/Turnip Greens (ANDI=1000) *1000 is the highest possible ANDI score

Kale (ANDI=1000)

Watercress (ANDI=1000)

Bok Choy (ANDI=824)

Spinach (ANDI=739)

Broccoli Rabe (ANDI=715)

Chinese/Napa Cabbage (ANDI=704)

Brussels Sprouts (ANDI=672)

Swiss Chard (ANDI=670)

Arugula (ANDI=559)

So there’s an example for you of the highest “super foods” on the Nutrient Density list. You see, a food like kale is packed full of nutrients, and yet quite low in calories. This combination (H=N/C) makes it’s ANDI or “Health” score off the charts, it receives a perfect score of 1000. 

Now, for example, raspberries have an ANDI score of 145 while walnuts score a 34. These are both INCREDIBLY healthy foods, yes, however they are significantly higher in calories than kale therefore making their ANDI scores go down.

Something like almond butter (one of my FAVORITE food staples), in a serving size of 2 TBSP, packs around 203 calories which gives it an ANDI score of 26. No one will argue that, in moderation, nut butter is filled with protein and nutrients. This scoring system simply gives one an equation with which to work when making food choices. Now we’ve only discussed healthy foods thus far, leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts…what about something like a beer? How about a dark chocolate candy bar? Apple pie? Here are some not so high ANDI scores, indulgences that one should limit and approach with an attitude of moderation:

Beer, 12 fl oz, Calories=139, ANDI=7

Dark Chocolate Candy Bar, 45-59% cocoa, 1.5 oz, Calories=254, ANDI=34 (*NOT BAD!)

Apple Pie, One Slice, Calories=411, ANDI=6 

Wine, 4 fl oz, Calories=80, ANDI=3

Cola, 8 fl oz, Calories=60, ANDI=1

Now let’s quickly look over that last list. I want to preface this by saying there are very few things I like to dub “unhealthy.” I like to think of my lifestyle as healthy and my food choices as healthy, because they’re balanced and I care about consuming the most nutrients as I possibly can. I will say, however, that a cola (and I used to be a Diet Dr. Pepper drinking gal as a teenager!) is unhealthy. There’s literally no nutrients to it, no wait I’m sorry, it scored a one…but seriously. You’re drinking carbonated, chemically enhanced, food dyed SUGAR. For 60 calories is it worth gaining zero nutrients? To some, yes, and more power to them. But to most of us, we’d be better off reaching for something else. Look at that glass of wine and dark chocolate candy bar, for instance. You can consume even a five ounce glass of wine with your dark chocolate bar and keep it at 355 calories and an ANDI score of 40-something (I’m no mathematician, let’s face it now while it’s still early). I’d just like to point out, you could reach for a tablespoon of pure sugar for 49 calories and a ZERO on the ANDI score – how different is that from a cola? A point and ten calories. Perhaps think of that the next time you reach for a Coke!

Now please don’t get me wrong, I strive to inform with this little post and not to condemn soda drinking, apple pie eating people, ha ha. I *firmly* believe that moderation is the key to happiness. I’ve still not read Dr. Dean Edell’s Eat, Drink, and Be Merry but my Dad is a fan and has alluded to its endorsement of a moderate and balanced lifestyle. A slice of your favorite dessert on occasion is what life is about (and this is coming from a girl who has a little bit of dark chocolate pretty much every night after dinner – I crave antioxidants, ESPECIALLY in chocolate form!!!). We don’t know how long we have so let’s not restrict our favorite taste sensations because it didn’t make Dr. Furhman’s list of Superfoods! I’m simply calling for more attention in our daily food choices. Oftentimes folks reach for a cola forgetting that it packs calories, forgetting that it doesn’t offer their body nutrients. They want the caffeine, or the sugar rush. I think we ought to stick to real foods. Enjoy your beer, but realize it’s “7” on the ANDI score isn’t going to benefit you after three or four. Again, I’m referring to your daily life, your routine evening, your usual snacks. Try and make the healthiest decisions you can on a day-to-day basis and it will balance out your delicious indulgences. Variety is the spice of life. Apples, pears, plums, oh my! Okay that was lame. I’m just saying, if you want caffeine, pick up 8 oz of brewed coffee and be rewarded with a whopping punch of antioxdants. Even with 2 TBPS of half and half you’re adding 39 calories but with an ANDI score of 10. Trying to think smart on a day-to-day basis will extend your life, your energy, and ultimately the happiness you feel in every moment. 

I sincerely hope this post didn’t turn into some weird “preachy health-nut rant” because I genuinely only wanted to define what an ANDI score is, and I ended up chastising Coca Cola. Well, it’s 9am on a Sunday morning, what can I say? In hopes that no loyal cola drinkers are offended, I hope you fill your day with joy and antioxidants, and many smiles 🙂

Happy Sunday.

YogaWorks, yes yoga works.

Hello all,

I’m considering applying for the YogaWorks 200 hour teacher training this year. I have arrived at a crossroads, however, in my quest towards the hybridization of my passion (yoga) and my heart’s work (journalism). I have reached an ultimate quandary:

Does one want to turn their hobby into an obligation?

Let’s lightly examine both sides of the coin.
One, I am a writer. It’s who I am. It’s in my blood. It’s what I’m here to do. My mind operates in a myriad of prose tangled with poetry, drowning in single words, etched by their own beautiful syllables. Writing is what I will do, whether or not it ever procures a salary.

Two, I am a yogi. The sheer bliss that yoga bestows upon me radiates from my soul and fortifies my very existence. I cannot imagine my life without it. I can’t even go one single day without at least one asana, even if it’s only Tadasana. Yoga brings me a sense of peace, certainty, and inspiration I did not know was possible. It gives my life purpose.

That being said, what being in my shoes wouldn’t come to the question, “Why not combine these two loves?” I can’t really even categorize writing and yoga as “hobbies.” Nor could I classify them as “obsessions” or “passions” or “interests.” They flow deeply within my blood, course through my veins with the fervor of an earthquake tracing a fault line. They are as one as the hemispheres of the very brain that has become cognizant  of the qualm about which I’m writing.

Now for less of the dreamy, blissed-out fact, and more of the functional side of the coin. I’m prepared to spend $3,250 for the 200 hour teacher training. This includes unlimited yoga at YogaWorks for the duration of the program, after which I will be a certified yoga instructor. My personal intention in obtaining my certification is to blend my practice with journalism to create something beautiful…I’m not yet sure as to how this will manifest. Baby steps, right? I envision retreats, a magazine, perhaps a studio, definitely a book. One thing is for certain, I am not afraid of the uncertainty involved in a risky move like this. I would love to be able to teach yoga, however this is where my qualm of turning my hobby into an obligation arises. I’m concerned that teaching yoga might become like any other “job” and I might dread my alarm ringing in the darkness of early hours to teach a 6 a.m. class, or missing dinner at home because I have an evening vinyasa to teach. I must admit, though, the longer I practice, the more dedicated I become, and frankly the longer I write about this…the more I’m convinced that teaching would be as much a hobby as practicing. I feel they would entwine as one. Therein lies my answer to that quandary, I suppose!

Next is the assumption I have made about being able to possibly teach at YogaWorks after a 200 hour training. I see that is far from possible. It appears there is an additional 300 hours needed, as well as a hefty application fee to even attempt and become a part of the actual YogaWorks certification. The good news is, my dream is not to teach at YogaWorks (though I don’t doubt it is a coveted, incredible, and rewarding position to earn). My dream is to write about yoga and the divine light of humming energy it shines into the lives of practitioners; I want to lead an annual summer backpacking yoga retreat with my best friend; I intend to reach out to eating disorder victims, both suffering and recovering alike, and illuminate the beautiful lesson taught to me by Ashley Turner that the body is “an instrument not an ornament.”

I selfishly wrote this post so I might work through the internal dilemma I’ve been tossing from left brain to right, and back for several weeks now. I’ve discussed with two trusted individuals, and with their respectful opinions as well as my own under my belt, I am overjoyed to say I’ve reached a point of deeper clarity thanks to this post. I hope it has brought even one thing to light for you, so that you might be repaid for reading to the end. I know it has brought many things to light for me, and this is yet one more reason why I am forever married to the art of manifesting the written word. Cheers to manifesting. I hope you all have a gorgeous Saturday night.

Warmly,

Sara

Respecting the Integrity of the Skin

As I chatted on the phone this morning with my best friend of fifteen years the topic of skincare came up, as it frequently does. She shares my same lifestyle of holistic wellness, yoga and a firm belief that balance is the key to happiness and health. I respect her opinions and find her wise beyond her years, thus creating the perfect atmosphere for a lifelong friendship and honest answers and guidance. I digress…my point is that we began discussing how we both use and love Bare Escentuals because it doesn’t act as a “mask.” We both agreed that, while we enjoy the flawless look of mineral powder foundation, we both put such energy into taking good care of our complexion and bodies that it seems a shame to cover up our natural glow.
This brings me to the question of make-up: why do we wear it? Most men don’t. In fact, most men probably don’t even use moisturizer, but I think those who don’t are missing out on a luxurious and beneficial self-care routine…again, I digress…natural lashes, natural skin (blemishes, freckles, discoloration and all!) should be honored, it’s YOUR face, it’s MY face. It’s who we ARE. It’s how you go to sleep at night (HOPEFULLY!!! Wash your face every night!) and how we wake up in the morning. It’s how we look when we go camping, when we’re ill, when we’re stripped down to our barest forms of “us.”

I like to go bare-faced these days 99% of the time. A little mineral mascara and lip balm (with daily spf, obviously) is my go-to face. My OWN face. Now that’s not to say I’m anti-make-up at ALL. I love being girly! I have plenty of make-up. Am I good at applying it? No. Do I use even half of it before the expiration date rolls around? No. But whatever. Those girls who wear make-up everyday, if it makes them happy, GOOD! They are respecting the integrity of their true joy, if it makes you feel good then do it! My problem was I felt I was wearing a mask, albeit an all-natural loose powder mask, ha ha. Regardless, it made me feel like I was being dishonest to the face I’ve worn all through my childhood. The one with freckles, a little chicken pox scar, the rosiness that naturally arrives when I’m running late to work.

I have decided to not think in black and white. Meaning, I’m not anti or pro make-up (nor am I anti or pro most things, save the really important matters in life). I am neutral. But I do want to share two products that I think urge one to tuck away the foundation and show their REAL face to the world. See the photo below 🙂

Lastly, I will leave you with an awesome quote that was pretty much the only thing I loved from that big blockbuster film last year Hanna:

“I don’t [wear make-up]. I think it’s dishonest. This is my face. Take it or leave it.”

Ashley Turner & Steel Cut Overnight Oats

Just popping in to make several recommendations, as I so love to do 😛 first being:

  • Steel Cut Overnight Oats. They’re chewier, as steel cut oats reguarly are, and they require longer cooking time than slow cook old fashioned oats, so they will remain chewier and more textured even with the overnight process. I enjoy this texture, however, so if you want to give it a shot I recommend you do! My photo is of the same pumpkin, local honey and almond butter recipe that I posted before, just with steel cut oats this time.
  • Ashley Turner. Yes I’m recommending Ashley Turner to you, ha ha, she is an amazing woman but what I’m really recommending is that you look into her practice. I am an avid Kathryn Budig follower, and Ashley Turner radiates a similarly positive and uplifting energy. Her aura is just phenomenal. Also, Ashley Turner has more yoga DVDs, one of which I just finished. I enjoy all of her DVDs. They can be found on amazon for a great price, and I recommend purchasing the three “frequently bought together” DVDs Power Yoga, Yoga for Weight Loss and Yoga for Flexibility and Stress Relief : http://www.amazon.com/Element-Power-Yoga-Ashley-Turner/dp/B004AEQNS0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337888083&sr=8-2
    Now, let me just say, I am not on a weight loss quest. I am simply ENAMORED by that DVD because of the therapeutic and inspirational messages Ashley promotes throughout. I finish feeling as though I just left a soothing mind and body therapy session. It gets the muscles burning, but really just focuses your attention back on yourself and what’s truly important. It also offers the greatest guided savasana meditation I’ve ever experienced. Do yourself a favor and pick up this trio of workouts and you’ll feel your heart and mind reap as much, if not more, benefit than your body.
  • Lastly, I hope everyone has a beautiful day. Let us all strive to navigate the rest of this week with grace, harmony and balance. “No one can do the inner work for you,” as Ashley Turner says. Turn inward, what do youneed? Give yourself that today, right now. Don’t put it off. What is anything worth if you’re not at peace with yourself?Namaste

It’s been far too long…

Eleven days to be exact and, while this is far from “far too long” in the grand scheme of things, let’s remember I have just finished COLLEGE. I should be blogging a lot more 🙂

Sooo, here I am! I have little to report other than I’m headed to evening Vinyasa Flow with my favorite instructor, I’ve asked him to a.) kick our butts and b.) work on backbends. We’ll see if my requests are honored. Regardless of whether or not we have a butt-kicking back-bending class I’m thrilled to be attending my second in-studio class in a matter of three days! I’ve grown so accustomed to my home practice that this in-person assistance is proving extra valuable for me.

Also, I remade my yoga mat cleaner. It is now distilled water, 12 drops of tea tree oil and a splash of vinegar. MUCH better. This other stuff posted below reeked of vinegar and it’s no fun to practice with your face on a mat that smells like you just ate fish and chips on it. I digress…

Another thing, remember those overnight oats I posted about? Oh good GOD are they good. I want to say that, apart from one day, I’ve made them every.single.morning since I posted about them. They’re THAT filling and awesome. I’ve tried other combos now (also with a barley, rye, oats dry slow-cook breakfast blend instead of just oats, using steel cut oats next!) with variations of honey, blackberries, blueberries, frozen banana, almond butter, pumpkin and (how could I not have though to add this earlier) pumpkin pie spice! Seriously. Addicted much? 

Lastly I’d like to share a link about the beauty of being a female (if you’re male and freaked out by girly body talk, sign off now). It talks about how we ought to slow down and honor ourselves during our cycle instead of running ourselves into the ground. It’s one week out of the month where we usually gripe about bloating, cramps, headaches, fatigue, on and on and on…instead of that why don’t you take the next, ahem…opportunity you have 🙂 and use the time to reflect. If you practice yoga, don’t push yourself through trying vinyasa or heated classes. Take restorative classes, avoid inversions, take Supta Baddha Konasan (Goddess Pose – here are instructions: http://evolutionvt.com/evoblog/goddess-pose-in-yoga/) often and cleanse with deep breaths and gratitude for the way your body works, and thank it for functioning properly. Fertility is a gift. Here is the wonderful article to remind us how blessed we are: 

http://email.yogajournal.com/t?r=11&c=37289&l=93&ctl=113E5E:0FADE4BBFD517006D2825E745A735E1A&

 

Other than that, I’m signing off and heading to yoga. I hope you all have a blessed evening. Breathe passion and manifest bliss, that’s my Tuesday motto for you! I hope it carries into many Tuesdays to come.

Namaste

DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner

 

DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner: one to three parts ratio of warm water & distilled white vinegar, plus 8-12 drops eucalyptus essential oil and six drops lavender oil. Spritz, let sit, wipe with warm wet cloth, then wipe with small dry cloth. Voila 🙂

 

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Another Amazing Pinterest Find

I make myself a brown sugar and olive oil body scrub that I keep in the shower and use several times a week, but for my best friend’s college graduation present I wanted to get more creative.

So I looked up “eco-friendly, DIY gifts” on Pinterest and, low and behold, just what I was hoping to find popped up on my screen:

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2010/05/lemon-sugar-hand-scrub-for-mom.html

I did my own twist on this using extra virgin olive oil, organic white sugar both fine grain and granulated, and sweet orange aromatherapy essential oil (known for its “brightening” effects). 

Here’s how it came out! I sampled the top overflow layer, as the recipe notes will be leftover, and it not only smells divine but my hands are like butter!ImageImage