June Jams. “Let Me See Your Hands!” Playlist

Summer is here and its time for a new workout playlist to jam to! My friends and I always laugh over how so many music DJ’s these days (like Alesso, Calvin Harris, Avicii) often shout, “LET ME SEE YOUR HANDS!” when performing at a concert. It really works to get the crowd going and always makes me smile to hear their enthusiastic fist pumping requests embedded within their sets. This playlist has some of the latest new sounds in dance, house, and workout. Im excited to share these fresh new tunes with you. These beats will help you move your feet and enjoy your summer in style. 

June Jams. “Let Me See Your Hands!”

What are you listening to and fist pumping to? List your top favorite summer hit as a comment below. Id love to play it in my next class and get everyone’s hands in the air!

Wishing you a summer full of fist pumping adventure,

Caroline

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How Healthy is Your Salad? Build a Better Salad Guide.

When you’re trying to eat healthier, a cool crisp salad seems like the ideal meal. But not all salads are created equal. Just because your meal is green doesn’t mean it’s lean. Get to know how many calories you are consuming and learn to build a better bowl with my healthy salad guide below.

Many people commit to eating salads to lose weight or eat healthier but are disappointed with the results. Frustrated and confused, they resort back to a hamburger and fries. Sound familiar? Perhaps the problem isn’t the decision to choose a salad, but rather the ingredients you pick for it. You see, a salad can either be diet-friendly or a diet disaster.

The word “salad” usually conjures up images of vibrant greens packed with healthy nutrients. But often salads found on most restaurant menus or created from salad bars are far from healthy. In fact it is extremely possible your “healthy” salad bowl to be worse for you than eating a McDonald’s Big Mac. Yep, you read that right. A Big Mac has 550 calories and 29 grams of fat. But with the wrong ingredients, a “healthy” salad can contain three times that amount.

For example the T.G.I. Friday’s Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad contains 1100 calories and 71 grams of fat (16 grams are saturated), the Applebee’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad clocks in at 1280 calories with 92 grams of fat (24 of which are saturated), and the California Pizza Kitchen Roasted Vegetable Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast (which sounds totally healthy!) comes in at 910 with 58 grams of fat. Even a standard Whole Foods Market salad bar salad loaded with heavy ingredients and dressing can cost you more than 1,000 calories and 80 grams of fat! For some people, that’s more than half their day’s worth of calories (and all their fat). That said, don’t toss in on salads — they can be a nutritious, delicious, filling, diet friendly choice and a great way to satisfy your daily vegetable requirements. Just follow my guidelines for making the perfect healthy salad — and you’ll never have to worry again.

Caroline’s Healthy Salad Guide

  1. Start with a strong foundation. First things first: Start by upping the nutritional ante by choosing a base for your salad that provides important nutrients like folic acid and lutein. Give up the iceberg for mesclun greens, baby spinach, or a spring mix that includes a variety of dark green lettuces. For less than 20 calories per two cups you can have a tasty, nutrient-rich base.
  2. Pile on the veggies. Take advantage of fresh vegetables and load them on top of your greens — at 25 calories or less per 1/2-cup serving you can’t go wrong. Choose a variety of colors to get the most health benefits — red bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and red onions are all great choices. Be sure to stick with raw or lightly steamed vegetables and steer clear of ones that are fried or swimming in oily marinades.
  3. Add protein for power. Your salad becomes a meal when you add the protein! If you’re opting for animal protein, select one lean source (or two if you’re extra-hungry), such as four egg whites or three ounces of skinless chicken or turkey breast, water-packed chunk light tuna, wild salmon, or lean sirloin steak. If you’re vegetarian or just want to mix it up, choose half a cup of cubed tofu or three-quarters of a cup of chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, or other legumes. Stay away from caloric or processed meats like bacon and salami, and definitely skip anything fried or drenched in heavy sauce.
  4. Choose one extra. Extras are those items that typically add another dimension and flavor to your combo of greens, vegetables, and lean protein. While some of these extras are packed with nutrients, they’re also packed with calories, so they should be added sparingly. Luckily, a little of these goodies goes a long way, so you won’t need more than one of the following (each of which is between 40 and 70 calories): 2 tablespoons cheddar, Parmesan, goat, Swiss, or feta cheese; 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds; 1 tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds; 1 ounce avocado; 10 small olives (canned/jarred in water); 1/4 cup croutons; 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins.
  5. Dress it up lightly. Some people eat salad only if it’s doused with dressing. Unfortunately, dressing can take a salad from fresh and nutritious to downright unhealthy. One tablespoon of your average vinaigrette is about 80 calories and one tablespoon of creamy ranch is almost 100 calories. Ask for the dressing on the side when ordering, and if the restaurant only offers regular (full-fat) varieties, limit your usage to one and a half tablespoons for an entrée salad and one tablespoon for a side salad. Whenever possible, choose light, low-calorie, or low-fat options. You can also make your own light vinaigrette using one part oil and three parts vinegar with some mustard, lemon, 100 percent fruit jam, or spices for added flavor.
  6. Dining Out Smart. Want to order a salad while out to eat? Watch out for menu words like “fried”, “crusted”, “creamy”, and “crispy”. Also be careful with ingredients like wonton strips, noodles, heavy cheeses, and sugared nuts. When you order, ask your waiter to add extra vegetables (filling fiber!) and ask for dressing on the side so you can apply lightly. Not sure if the salad you want to order is healthy or a hidden calorie bomb that might damage your eating goals? Pull out your smart phone and quickly google, “calories in restaurant salad name here”. You can get an idea of the nutrition in your potential dish… and figure out if you’re better off ordering another entree instead.

Want to know how your salad bar selections measure up? Enter your choices in this handy salad calorie calculator from  and get the full nutritional breakdown in your salad bowl. My favorite salad combination (grilled chicken, mixed greens, veggies, pecans, and cranberries) comes in at 430 calories with 23 grams of protein and 18grams of fat. How does your favorite mix total up?

Bottom line? Don’t give up on salads, just remix your bowl and make your salads work for you.

Here to help you fuel your life with power,

Caroline

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Make Today Count.

Who do YOU want to be?

Strong. Confident. Healthy. Happy, Hilarious. Tenacious. Hot. Bright. Brilliant. Adventurous. Fit. Intelligent. Successful. Positive. Loving. Radiant…..

The truth is you can make yourself anything and have a lot of fun doing it. But its up to you to make it happen. You’re in charge.

You are entirely up to you.


Your life is yours and yours alone. Rise up and be who you want to be.

Make Yourself.

Make Your Life.

Make Today Count.

Here to see you shine,

Caroline

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Needles are GOOD for you? The Inside Scoop on My Acupuncture Experience

 

I come from a family of Doctors. My dad is a doctor. His brothers are doctors. My grandfather was a doctor. His father was a doctor. His fathers father was a doctor. My mother was a nurse. Her sister is a nurse. My mothers father was a doctor. My little brother is in medical school to become a doctor. The list continues on… they are all inspiring and passionate about helping others through Western Medicine. 

I grew up a Kaiser kid (thank you dad!) and was lucky to have good health. Regular check-ins, shots, and appointments, I feel blessed to have had the resources to be and stay healthy. After moving to San Francisco,  I was the age where I was no longer under my parents benefits and to pay for my own healthcare (tear). With so many health options I began to explore the Eastern side of things.  Chinese medicine, acupuncture needles, and strange-smelling herbs are completely unlike the medicine that I grew up experiencing.  But I was curious to try it and see for myself if it really did live up to it’s reputation as being “life changing”.

I started acupuncture treatments hoping for help with hormone balance, a nagging yoga hamstring injury, relaxation, and general wellbeing. Through the process I developed an incredibly beneficial and nurturing relationship with my acupuncturist, Michelle Graves. She always has my best interest at heart when treating me and over the course of our work together, she’s provided me various resources and made recommendations for teas, books, supplements, and a myriad of natural health related products, some of which I’ve adopted into my daily routine. I have found acupuncture to offer a more holistic and preventative perspective to health care. It’s medicine and lifestyle treatment that really does have powerful, potent results. 

Are you curious about acupuncture? You’re not the only one. If you’re one of the many people who are considering trying acupuncture, here are a few things you should know:

Acupuncture 101. 

What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is a medical therapy developed over 2000 years ago in Asia. Acupuncture stimulates specific points beneath the skin by the insertion of acupuncture needles. This process restores the balance of the body’s energy, also knows as “Qi” (pronounced chi). Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Moxibustion are some of the essential elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

How does acupuncture work?  This is a simple question with a VERY complicated answer.  The ‘Chinese medicine’ view of acupuncture is that the body is comprised of meridians, or energy channels, that run all over your body.  Each meridian impacts different organs and body parts.  The lung meridian, for example, runs down your arms and has a divergent channel that goes to the lungs.  The acupuncturist uses very thin needles to manipulate points along the meridian; one of the goals of these manipulations is to remove blocked energy, or qi, and promote healing.  Think of the meridian as a garden hose that waters a flowerbed.  If there’s a kink, the hose won’t be able to water the flower.  The ‘Western medicine’ view of acupuncture is that the needles increase blood circulation, activate the release of certain hormones, neurotransmitters and produces an immune response to speed healing.

Does it Hurt? NO. Most people who have never had acupuncture do not realize how thin acupuncture needles are. They do not bear any resemblance to needles that are used for injections or to draw blood. Acupuncture needles come in varying lengths and thinnesses, and some are as fine as a hair. They bend when you touch them. (Click here to see an acupuncture needle up close.) When needles are inserted into acupuncture points, they often produce a feeling of heaviness, like a dull ache. This is an unfamiliar sensation for most people who have never had acupuncture before, but it does not hurt. If you have a fear of needles, let your acupuncturist know. Most acupuncturists stock several needle sizes and will be more than happy to use the thinnest variety at your request.

Is it safe? Acupuncture therapy has been used for thousands of years in China. Acupuncture is the treatment of choice for one-fourth of the world’s population! The needles are FDA approved, individually packaged, pre-sterilized and disposed after a single use.

What can acupuncture treat and how often do you need treatments?  A well-trained acupuncturist (see below) can help almost any condition.  Acupuncture can relieve pain conditions, headaches, digestive issues, fertility problems, insomnia, and more.  More acute conditions (like a pulled muscle) might only need a few treatments, but more serious conditions might require one – two treatments a week for several months, plus maintenance treatments.   Because acupuncture is natural medicine, it takes longer.  If you can couple your acupuncture treatments with an effective herbal formula or supplement regimen, it will be much faster. For example, I got great relief from my overstretched yoga hamstring injury from bi-weekly treatments over 6 months that targeted ligament healing. 

How much will it cost me? Typical acupuncture appointments run from $60-120 per session. But now that it’s become such a widespread treatment for many health issues, some insurance companies are now covering some or all acupuncture. Check with your health insurance to see if they cover acupuncture. If not, check out community acupuncture clinics. Community acupuncture is a nationwide movement to create access to acupuncture by removing the barrier of cost from healing. It is practiced in a group, rather than one-on-one, setting. The treatments are primarily on the front of the body and mainly on distal points (legs, arms, hands, feet, ears, etc.). Community-style clinics run on a sliding scale in order to make them more affordable, and so that people can get the amount of treatment they need. Typical prices for community acupuncture range from $10-25 per treatment. 

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Treatment Room at Michelle Graves Acupuncture practice in San Francisco

How do you choose an acupuncturist?  The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a website called AcuFinder are amazing resources to find your perfect practitioner. You want to find a practitioner that is both state AND nationally board certified under NCCAOM.  It’s essential you do your due diligence to find a credible provider. I think the best way really is word of mouth. I went through several acupuncturists before finding my perfect fit with Michelle. Im SO grateful for her and am a patient for life now 🙂

Now that I know more about Chinese medicine and have seen it successfully work with me and my friends, I’m a huge fan.  It’s a gentle, holistic, and effective approach to healthcare.  And that’s not saying there’s something wrong with Western medicine – I think the best healthcare includes BOTH holistic and Western treatments.  Theres a time and a place for everything, and Id like to continue to work with both my doctor and my acupuncturist in living a healthy, happy life.  

Have you tried acupuncture or another holistic medicine treatment?  Leave your comments below. And if you are in San Francisco, check out the following talented Acupuncturist providers for the highest quality care:

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Yours in health,

Caroline

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