Music for Monday

I don’t always use background music when I work or study. But when I do, it’s usually instrumental so that I can still hear my own thoughts.  Hope these tunes help keep your spirits high as you reflect on your weekend and plan for a productive week!

1. Never Mess With Sunday Yppah

2. Intro The xx

3. Forest Gump (Feather Theme)

4. Life/Universe Detektivbrian

5. Struggle for Pleasure Wim Mertens

6. Primavera Ludovico Einaudi

7. For Mom Buckethead

8. Angry Birds London Philharmonic Orchestra

9. Sunshine Adagio in D Minor The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

10. Long Life (Instrumental Remix) Bonobo

11. Minor Swing Django Reinhardt

12. Eskimo Kiss Years of Rice and Salt

13. The Letter that Never Came Thomas Newman

14. The Creative Part Kate Simko

15. Happiness (Instrumental) The Foreign Exchange

Listen to Music for Monday on Spotify!

The Traveling Gym

Chances are good that you’ve heard your body could use some exercise every day. But for those who are busy globe trotters or regular business travelers, finding time to exercise can be challenging, and a gym may not always be accessible. Although many great workout routines are now more focused on using your own body weight, packing your suitcase with some light equipment may be a good idea if you’re not sure what might meet you at your next destination.

Two of my favorite light-weight pieces are the jump rope and these Gliders.

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The jump rope is a great cardio alternative to the treadmill, and can get your heart rate up pretty quickly. Certainly a rope made of any material could do, but a light-weight plastic one (like the one pictured) may be the best option for your suitcase.

Gliders are round disks that help reduce friction, and are great for doing variations of the mountain climber. To do the basic mountain climber, place each foot on the Gliders, assume the push-up/plank position, and shuffle your feet like you’re scaling the floor by tucking your knee to your chest. This exercise targets the abdominals while building core strength and agility. Although Gliders aren’t completely necessary, they can help you climb faster, making your work out more efficient. This exercise is best on a tiled bathroom floor, since most hotel rooms are carpeted.

And of course don’t forget to stay hydrated and wipe off your sweat!

Pressing Juice: A Cucumber Number

Cucumber is an excellent ingredient for a green juice because it is a great way to take potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K in liquid form. It also has high water content, which makes it one of the more satisfying veggies to juice. Compared to other items of similar hue, such as spinach or cilantro, the cucumber is just as green but adds a lot more bulk.

These melon-like-veggies come in many varieties, and can be categorized by their intended use–slicing or pickling. Today I propose that juicing should be a new category. The two cucumbers that should be included are the English and Persian varietals because they are both seedless and more sweet than the run-of-the-mill slicing kind.

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English cucumbers are usually sold unwaxed, but whether a fruit or veggie is waxed or unwaxed shouldn’t negatively influence your decision on its juicing potential. A little wax now and again is harmless. Budget permitting, it is more important to maintain loyalty to organically grown items. The smaller Persian cucumber is one of my favorite cucumbers to eat. It is sweet and has a really nice snap, and who doesn’t like their juice snappy?

At the end of the process, I had a gorgeous glass of green. But I’m sad to report that cucumber juice isn’t great solo. I added a pear to sweeten this drink, making it much more palatable…and if snappy were a taste…this cucumber number with the pear is it: a little sweet, a little bitter, and a lot refreshing.

Voilà, Cucumber Number à la carte:

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Voilà, Cucumber Number avec un poire:

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I siphoned a bit of the pure cucumber juice to incorporate into a salad dressing later, but stay tuned to see what I can do with the remains of the cucumber fiber!

Listful Tuesday: 5 senses and the Gluten Free Life

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20120522-110323.jpgBeing Gluten Free…
Feels: much better. I feel much better without gluten. Although I can’t say that omitting gluten on day one changed me drastically, I noticed that the opposite was true. Sneaking in a “cheat” very noticeably transforms me back into…what my sister used to call…“the fart-master 2000” and a grumpy frump.

20120522-110340.jpgGluten Free Foods….
Taste: the same as gluten-rich foods as long as you stick to a fresh food regimen. But I’ll admit that not everything tastes better. Store-bought gluten free breads can be downright awful. I refuse to buy another loaf of that stuff. It tastes like -gross- with the consistency of Styrofoam. On top of that, an average loaf does not expire for about 9 months! NINE MONTHS…um…that’s enough time to grow a baby? I know gluten may not be in that loaf…but whatever magic is preserving that bread has made some sort of pact with the devil. So, no thank you.

20120522-110346.jpgGluten Free Meals…
Smell: wonderful because I’m cooking at home more often. Test-baking gluten free recipes is not only fun, but can smell oh so good. I’ve found that the key to successful gluten free baking is: if a recipe calls for oil, use butter instead (GF foods does not equal less calories, eating less and eating smart equals less calories)…another admission: some gluten-free substitutes can have a distinct smell that really makes me cringe…but that’s the nature of the game: sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. The best description I can come up with: bad smelling gluten-free products have a similar odor to less-pungent playdoh.

20120522-110351.jpgA Gluten Free Body…
Looks: like better skin. Zit-like bumps called dermatitis herpetiformis and generalized rashes like psoriasis have been linked to gluten intolerance. Staving off the offender can improve skin quality enormously. Many wonder how being gluten free can affect their weight or figure…well the answer is: it depends…if for medical reasons related to gluten intolerance, going gluten free could make you look slimmer if your problem was bloating. On the other hand, super skinny individuals can finally begin gaining some healthy weight! When the intestines finally heal, the body no longer needs to starve because of malabsorption.

20120522-110358.jpgA Gluten Free Vow…
Sounds: like a fad. There are several reasons why it seems like the gluten free life style is gaining so much attention. It could be that a few Hollyweird celebrities and Hollywood starlettes are working the media. It could be that more doctors are doing a better job of recognizing symptoms and making quicker diagnosis more frequently. It could be that our foods contain more gluten than our bodies could tolerate—not a far-fetched idea considering that genetically modified foods are so commonplace. It could be that something triggered an autoimmune reaction in our bodies unknowingly—such as a virus that we brushed off as the common cold a while ago. For whatever reason you decided to take the vow, I am wishing you all the best!