DESERTJULZ's SparkPeople Blog DESERTJULZ's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community I am a gazelle? In today's aerials class, we focused on trapeze positions. At first, I found it rather difficult to trust my balance and position and let go with my hands. It was truly a moment of pride for me when I was able to accomplish the "Gazelle" position, relying completely on balance, and not holding on to anything except my knee. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Although there is a very thick mat under the trapeze, there is still that little... Sun, 1 Feb 2015 19:57:35 EST Addicted to Aerials? After the flying trapeze class, I had to find other aerials to try. I'm in the middle of a "taster" series of aerials classes at the Circus School of Arizona. Today's class was aerial silks! This exercise requires strong upper body and core. I'm not really strong enough, so the instructor did help me quite a bit. If I continue taking aerial silks, I can see that my core & upper body will become much stronger! <BR> <BR> Here are some photos from my class. Can't wait to do it again! <BR... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 17:22:19 EST I Can Fly! On my recent vacation to visit my daughter in Washington, DC, I took a flying trapeze class. My daughter videoed each of my "flights." This is one of the videos she took. <BR> <BR> Exploring new choices for exercise can be great fun. The thrill of flying through the air on the trapeze was amazing. And, as you can see, safe. I wore a belt with safety lines and there was a huge net under the rig which you couldn't possibly miss. Dismounting with a backflip into the net was a blast. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:43:09 EST 14 IS a Magic Number! (14-day results) Exactly two weeks ago, I set a goal to track food and exercise daily on SparkPeople. My friend, LINDAK25 had inspired me with her two blogs about a 14-day challenge. It made complete sense to set a short-term goal for 14 days. In fact, I was excited to discover what results from such a simple goal. <BR> <BR> Near the end of the first week, I injured my foot, which has curtailed my exercise. However, I still tracked everything -- food and whatever exercise I could accomplish. <BR> <BR> T... Sat, 19 Apr 2014 12:04:47 EST Is 14 a Magic Number? My friend, LINDAK25, has inspired me to try 14-day streaks. She said, "Hey, you can do anything for two weeks, right?" See her blog, "Challenged to a 14 Day Streak" here: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5652452 </link> <BR> <BR> Linda chose to walk every day and limit going out to eat to only twice per week. She wrote about her success and her next 14 day challenge here: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp... Sat, 5 Apr 2014 11:29:36 EST Veggie Challenge Blog #2: Seaweed Salad The SparkArizona Team Challenge to "Eat Your Veggies" is encouraging me to try new vegetables. Since I completely LOVE vegetables, this is a bit of a challenge. I have eaten seaweed salad before, in restaurants, though I have never made my own. So we'll consider this a "make a new veggie" challenge! <BR> <BR> I was at Whole Foods, looking through the seaweed choices to find one I'd not had before (yes, I love seaweed), when I saw this handy bag, mixing a wide variety of sea veggies: <BR> ... Sun, 19 Jan 2014 13:45:24 EST Challenge Blog: Creamy Maitake Mushroom Soup (vegan) In SparkArizona, I am participating in the Eat Your Veggies Challenge, which includes trying a new veggie and blogging weekly about how you're getting your five veggies in each day. <BR> <BR> Today, I discovered that there is indeed a veggie I had not previously eaten! I found this lovely Maitake mushroom at Whole Foods: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I also found the cutest little head of cauliflower, just about 1.5 cups of floret... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 22:11:01 EST An Abnosome Week with GISHWHES! I've been largely absent from SparkPeople for the last week. Why? Because I've spent every spare moment scavenging for GISHWHES, aka Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen! <BR> <BR> As a member of Team Average Joes Love(s) Archangels, I had some very important assignments to scavenge. Assignment #1, create a grammatically correct sentence using the first letter from the name of each team member. Show the names and sentence on your submission. <BR> <BR> <img src... Mon, 19 Aug 2013 22:48:31 EST SparkPeople DID IT!!! On May 31, I posted this blog: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5374099 </link> , in which I made my own 1,500 minute trophy because the largest SP trophy offered was 1,000 minutes. <BR> <BR> Today, I received this trophy!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It is the small things that thrill me, for some reason. Receiving this official trophy somehow made my morning! <em>334</em> <em>224... Wed, 31 Jul 2013 12:48:59 EST Pre-Dawn Fitness Hikes I've been hiking twice a week at North Mountain, in the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. A fellow SparkFriend and a local non-SP pal and I meet up at the trail head by 5 a.m. We do a few warm up exercises, then head up the mountain! <BR> <BR> In Phoenix, daytime temperatures are hitting over 100 F every day, with some days over 110 F. If I'm going to be outside at all, it needs to be early or very brief. At 5 a.m., before the sun is up, the temps have been around 80 F. Completely tolerable, t... Sat, 27 Jul 2013 23:32:57 EST Fooducate: My New Favorite Smartphone App Yesterday, a group of Sparkers met up at Paradise Valley Mall for an early morning, indoor *air-conditioned* mall walk. Some of us walked two miles, some three, and I hit four (because I went one extra time around with a late arrival. :D) <BR> <BR> On the way home, HIKERBECKY and I stopped at REI so she could spend her reward points. We were both pretty hungry, so stopped to look at the power bars/snack bars. I pulled out my favorite, a "Pure Bar." (Organic, raw, made with dates & nuts, a... Sun, 21 Jul 2013 12:46:41 EST Weight Graphing For the first year on SparkPeople, I "officially" weighed in once a week, on Sundays. Often I would weigh on other days as well. Sometimes, my weight on Friday or Monday would be 2-3 pounds lower than on Sunday, yet Sunday's weight was the "official" weight, so it was the weight I recorded. <BR> <BR> Now, I'm a member of the "At Goal & Maintaining & Transition to Maintenance" SparkTeam. We're having a challenge where we try to stay at our goal weight for eight weeks. The allowable varian... Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:04:35 EST When You Blow Thru a Goal, Change it! Several months ago, I set a goal of accomplishing 1,200 minutes of exercise each month. That equates to 20 hours, an average of 5 hours exercise per week. It seems a lot for a woman who works full time, yet still doable. <BR> <BR> In May, when I vacationed in Washington, DC, and Shenandoah National Park, VA, I did a lot more hiking and walking than "normal." As a result, I totally blew through my 1,200 minutes goal, accomplishing 1,501 exercise minutes for May. And I blogged about it, of... Sun, 30 Jun 2013 22:34:17 EST I Ran for a Full Mile! On Tuesday, I ran for a mile! Without slowing to a walk. It is a wonderful milestone for a 55 year old gal who once said she would never, never-ever, run. <BR> <BR> Then, just to prove it wasn't a fluke, I ran for a mile, without slowing to a walk, again this morning. :D <BR> <BR> Why did I decide to run after a lifetime of avoiding running? In the process of becoming fit, I took up the challenge to walk further and hike more often. My weekday mornings limit me to about 30-45 minutes of ... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 23:17:20 EST Handling the Phoenix Heat With temperatures starting in the low to mid 80s, many Phoenicians give up outdoor exercise beginning sometime in June and do not resume until October. Me, I can handle the early morning runs until the temps get into the low 90s, then I resort to only walking short distances to keep the hounds happy. <BR> <BR> Some people I know have already sworn off exercising outdoors, even early in the day, saying mid 80s is too hot for them. I wondered why we were so different until I saw this graphic... Sun, 16 Jun 2013 18:42:49 EST Mall Walk Disaster Note to self: It is rather important to find out information before making plans. <BR> <BR> Second note to self: When you plan an event, make sure the venue is open. <BR> <BR> It is becoming very hot here in Phoenix, Arizona. Daytime highs are over 100 every day and recently over 110. Even if you get up at 4:30 in the morning, it is already 84 degrees. Actually, 84 might be the overnight low. With those temps in mind, the SparkPhoenix Team is NOT planning any walks along the Murphy Ho... Sun, 9 Jun 2013 22:38:21 EST Shenandoah: Foggy Day (Part 3) Day 3, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. <BR> <BR> Woke and looked out the window. It appeared to be raining gently. I walked outside to the facilities to obtain ice for our ice chest. It was not raining. The clouds had landed right on top of us! We were in a heavy fog. Whenever there was something solid, a tree or a building, the fog condensed and dripped, giving the appearance of light rain. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Fo... Sun, 2 Jun 2013 23:06:44 EST Motivated by Spark Trophies? Why does a SparkPeople Trophy motivate me? Somehow, it is fun and rewarding to earn a trophy by working hard -- that's it! The trophy doesn't sit on a shelf, doesn't collect dust, and wasn't presented at an important meeting or ceremony. I simply logged the minutes and the trophy automatically appeared on my SparkPage. I received an email saying I had earned the trophy. <BR> <BR> My monthly fitness minutes goal is 1,200 minutes. That is TWENTY (yes, 20) hours of exercise! A pretty good ... Fri, 31 May 2013 22:54:43 EST Shenandoah: Dark Hollow Falls (Part 2) On our second day in Shenandoah, my daughter and I hiked about 10 miles on & around the Appalachian Trail. After a short sojourn back at our lodge room, we drove to the Dark Hollows Falls trailhead. We had to hike to a waterfall, by gosh! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The trail followed the creek all the way down, it was beautiful and I cannot even begin to describe the wonderful fragrance of the mountain in Spring and by the spri... Sun, 26 May 2013 19:47:07 EST Shenandoah (part 1) Spending time in nature is so good for the soul. <BR> <BR> Last week, I flew from Phoenix to Washington, DC, to visit my daughter. We left town and spent the first three days in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Oh my gosh, what a gorgeous place to be! In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah is lush, wet, and wild. <BR> <BR> We stayed at the Skyland Lodge, inside the National Park borders. This was the view from our back porch: <img src=" Sat, 25 May 2013 21:27:21 EST Hiking in the city - Papago Park This morning I was up early and out the door by 7:00 a.m. for a solitary hike. Having read about a 4-mile trail at Papago Park, which is very near the Desert Botanical Garden, I headed for the Park. Somehow, I missed the turn into the park and ended up on the north end. Luckily, there was a bit of parking on the street (McDowell Rd), so I parked there and headed up these steps to a trail. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Despite app... Sun, 28 Apr 2013 19:45:14 EST The Pancake Queen Strikes Again! (What's Cookin' #8) Oh my oh my oh my! What delicious, nutritious, pancakes! <BR> <BR> Starting idea: desire to make a new pancake recipe using garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour purchased earlier in the week on a whim. <BR> <BR> Now, for some history. My family used to call me the Pancake Queen. When my daughters were young, we had a tradition of pancakes every Sunday. Every week, they had a game to see who could figure out the "secret ingredient" in that Sunday's pancake recipe. It could be obvious, like c... Sat, 27 Apr 2013 14:10:46 EST Peaceful morning full of desert blooms... This morning was my special time at the Desert Botanical Garden. Why "special time," you might ask? Because it was alone time, just me and my camera. I could walk at my own pace and stop as often as desired to snap photos. Which I did, and did, and did! There were so many beautiful shots to capture today... <BR> <BR> Like this gorgeous prickly pear blossom: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> or this lovely blossom, which must have been clos... Mon, 22 Apr 2013 01:06:37 EST Is it a weed? Or is it a nutritious, free, dark leafy green? Before mowing my yard (rife with weeds), I decided to harvest the leaves from all the dandelions. I've been eating them now for a week and love them! Are dandelions weeds? Yep. Are they nutritious, free, dark leafy greens? Yep. You can also pay for them, if you'd rather have someone else grow them, yet since they choose to populate my yard, I harvested them. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> That's a photo of the dandelion greens I ... Sat, 20 Apr 2013 21:50:53 EST Do you ever You've been tracking nutrition religiously on the SparkPeople nutrition tracker. However, you often track a meal *after* you've eaten and sadly discover you went over your calorie allotment for that meal. <BR> <BR> Do you ever go back to look at the foods and adjust the portion size? "Gee, if I put it was only 1/2 tablespoon of oil, instead of a full tablespoon, that will shave 55 calories!" or, "My piece of bread was near the end of the loaf, where the slices are smaller. I'm going to ca... Sun, 14 Apr 2013 19:20:06 EST What's Cookin Good Lookin? (Round 7) DIVINE Mushroom Burgers When I found this recipe, it sounded good... <BR> <BR> <link><BR>recipes/r/mushroomburger.htm </link> <BR> <BR> When I made it, with a few modifications, it was ABSOLUTELY DIVINE! The modifications: doubled the mushrooms, tripled the garlic, halved the onions, halved the oil, switched out 1/4 cup fresh cilantro for the 1 tsp dried parsley, baked rather than pan-fried. <BR> <BR> It was a very easy recipe. RUTHXG's blog about her stuffed peppers got m... Sat, 13 Apr 2013 16:43:49 EST Recipe Challenge: Curried Red Lentil Dahl (Round 6 What's Cookin') YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY! This recipe is definitely going in my favorites list! The flavor of curry is always a hit for me, add to it the red lentils, onion, and garlic and it's a winner. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>il-dahl-328537 </link> <BR> <BR> In the SparkTeam, At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance, there is an ongoing challenge to try new recipes and blog about them. I've sat on the sidelines for several rounds, watching others. This time, I de... Tue, 9 Apr 2013 23:58:33 EST Hike to Cloud Nine No sleeping in on my only day off this week. Nossirreee! I was up early so that I could drive up to North Mountain Vistor Center and meet up with HIKERBECKY and two of her non-Sparker friends, Carrie & Stephanie for a hike up Shaw Butte. <BR> <BR> Now this may sound a little difficult to believe, yet it is completely true. We hiked to Cloud Nine. From the visitor center parking lot, it was about 2.4 miles and approximately an 800 foot elevation change to arrive at Cloud Nine. Here are ... Sun, 24 Mar 2013 22:51:24 EST Vegetarian Green Enchiladas (easily adapt to Vegan) My friend, Susan, hates onions with a passion. As she was coming to my house for dinner, I promised to make a meal with no onions. Also, because she so dislikes onions, she never goes out for Mexican food. It is so hard to find onion-free Mexican food in a restaurant! So I decided to make an onion-free gourmet Mexican meal. <BR> <BR> Enchiladas were item one on my list. Despite spending over an hour reading the ingredients on every brand of enchilada sauce in two different stores, I coul... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 15:07:02 EST Burn 300 calories with exercise Off SparkPeople, a group I'm in has been doing a 28-day "Jump Start Bingo" challenge in February. Each day, we can make our own decision to tackle one of 28 "Bingo squares." So far, I've selected the following Bingo squares: <BR> <BR> 2-1-13 - Journal your food on a Friday (easy, I track every day on SP) <BR> <BR> 2-2-13 - Take your vitamins (again easy, I do every day) <BR> <BR> 2-3-13 - Schedule your realistic workout schedule on your planner for the next 7 days and stick to it. Send t... Fri, 15 Feb 2013 22:02:49 EST Walk 3/Run 2 Week 3 of the "5K Your Way Walk/Jog" program. This week, I "walk 3, run 2." First two workouts, follow to 30 minutes. Third workout, to 36 minutes. Wow! <BR> <BR> Now who would think that "walk 3, run 2" would feel so much harder than walk 3, run 1.5," which was last week's plan? This morning was workout #1 for this week. By the time the last 2-minute run portion started, I was struggling to stay at run pace. Made it though! then had a nice walk back to the house. <BR> <BR> The inc... Mon, 11 Feb 2013 22:48:35 EST BOOTCAMP: No longer a scary word to me! When I first joined SparkPeople, I wouldn't even look at the 28-Day Bootcamp program. The word "Bootcamp" had me envisioning strenuous, hour-long workouts, using 25 pound weights, and running up and down stairs or gym bleachers. Very, very scary. <BR> <BR> In January, a SparkFriend invited me to join January Jumpstart. It was so much fun! (Thank you, HIKERBECKY!!!) It wasn't all that hard: follow a short Coach Nicole video each day, and on 5 days each week, complete 30 minutes of cardio... Thu, 7 Feb 2013 17:35:58 EST Acorn Squash Stew (Vegan) I've been participating in a non-SparkPeople challenge, called Jump Start Bingo. It's sponsored by the Chi-Running/Chi-Walking instructor. Every day in February, we select one of 28 choices and complete that square. Some squares are exercise, some are nutrition, some are just getting a full 8 hours sleep. <BR> <BR> Today, I was home from work with a sore throat, though the rest of me felt great. It seemed like a good day for soup, or stew. The slow-cooker was calling my name, as were th... Wed, 6 Feb 2013 20:07:35 EST Superbowl Hike: Quartzite Trail Hmmm, Superbowl Sunday is here. Many Americans have been waiting with excitement to see "The Big Game of The Year." Me? Not so much. Instead of watching the game, I met up with fellow SparkFriend, HIKERBECKY, and tried out a trail new to me, the Quartzite Trail in the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today was gorgeous weather. Low 60s (F), overcast and threatening rain. However, the trail was dry an... Mon, 4 Feb 2013 00:29:44 EST I can be a Chi-Runner Fifty-four years old and I have *never* been a runner. I tried it out a few times, many years ago, with the most recent being 2002 - over 10 years ago. Hated it every time. <BR> <BR> In July, I took a Chi-Walking class. With a goal of increasing my pain-free walking distance to be over 5 miles. Before Chi-Walking, if I went over about 1.5 miles, my low back muscles would tighten up and ache for several days. In Chi-Walking, I learned that my stride was causing the problems. Instead of l... Tue, 29 Jan 2013 22:44:53 EST Bitten by the Fitness Bug! Today, I met an important milestone goal on my path toward a more fit Julia. Today, January 26, 2013, I completed my very first-ever-in-my-entire-life "register and pay for it" 5k. You'd think that, at 54 years of age, perhaps I would have been in an official run (or walk) before this. Nope! MILESTONE COMPLETED! May I please have some Woo-Hoos and Huzzahs? <BR> <BR> Here's a shot of me on Thursday night, after picking up my race packet: <BR> <img src=" Sat, 26 Jan 2013 14:25:23 EST Yoga Hiking at South Mountain Park (with photos) <img src="">On, there's a Phoenix, AZ based group called Women's Fitness Network, which I learned about on the SparkPhoenix Team. Yesterday, I attended the Yoga-Hiking at South Mountain event. It was an intriguing idea, my beloved yoga mixed together with my favorite outdoor fitness activity: hiking. <BR> <BR> We met up at the ramada near 48th Street & Guadalupe. The hike leader, Jezaree (Jezy) is a certified yoga instruc... Sun, 6 Jan 2013 15:38:46 EST Happy Healthy New Year! A healthy start for 2013 actually had its roots months ago. Getting my life on track with exercise and learning where I was failing in my nutritional choices headed me in the right direction. The roots branched and grew stronger and stronger. <BR> <BR> When asked what I wanted for Christmas, almost all my choices were health related. I asked for a slow cooker and a quality blender. <BR> <BR> My manager ponied up the Ninja Master Prep Blender, which by the way, Consumer Reports rates as... Tue, 1 Jan 2013 21:20:25 EST Crafty Christmas Tradition Arts & crafts have always been on my hobby-list. When my kids were small, every single ornament on the Christmas Tree was hand-made. Now my daughters are in their thirties and one of them has TWO children! So I've started a crafty holiday tradition with them. <BR> <BR> Each year, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I get a tracing of my grandkids' handprints. Then I make them a Christmas Tree ornament the size of their hands. Since Hunter was just born this year, he'll be getti... Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:09:56 EST "The Power of the World works in Circles" says Sioux wise man... (photo-blog) Perfect Phoenix day for a walk. Temp in the 60s, sunny, with a clear blue sky. This is why we tolerate our very hot summers, so we can enjoy beautiful, temperate autumn & winter! <BR> <BR> There is an amazing quote from Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux Indian, at the Steele Indian School Park. Today, SparkFriend GALINAZ and I walked backwards out of the beginning of the spiral so we could read the words of this Sioux wise man: <BR> <BR> "You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a ... Sun, 9 Dec 2012 21:17:31 EST Spiral Walk, MapMyFitness, 5k Planning Yesterday, I took my two greyhounds to Steele Indian School Park for a long walk. Well, two miles is long for a sprinting dog (smile). We walked the entire park's perimeter, then down into the spiral and back out. A Spiral Walk. Here's how the walk looks on the MapMyFitness android phone app: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The park is on Indian School Road, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and - in fact the road was named for the Indian... Sun, 2 Dec 2012 22:50:21 EST Back to Yoga. Why, oh why, did I wait? Second yoga class tonight after getting back to practicing. Why oh why oh why did I ever wait five months for this? <BR> <BR> I have been an on-again, off-again yoga student. Without fail, every time that I incorporate yoga regularly as part of my fitness, I experience the following: <BR> <BR> * Peacefulness - my mind and heart feel more at peace with the world <BR> * Centered focus - my mind stills, and I am more able to focus on whatever task or event is at hand <BR> * Relaxed muscles -... Fri, 30 Nov 2012 22:27:04 EST Endorphins fixed my annoyed mood I was becoming irritated, so I needed to take a long walk. Yes, Ms. Patient Lady was annoyed. The co-worker promised to complete her portion of the project I must finish. She promised it by 9 a.m. It wasn't done, she promised by noon. It wasn't done. "Julz, I was interrupted. I promise it will be done by 12:30." <BR> <BR> Guess What? <BR> <BR> Yep, that is when I decided that I really needed a walk. Well, I need some cash tonight as my massage therapist will be visiting. :D Now, I dr... Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:32:56 EST Holiday Fitness What a wonderful holiday weekend it's been so far! Thursday started with a 5+k. Well, 5k is 3.1 miles and we walked 3.2! SparkFriends Steve and Debbie hosted the "Race Against the Rolls" Thanksgiving Day 5k at 7:00 a.m. So it was up early, early and drive 30 minutes to their neighborhood. They had it all mapped out with arrows. Fifteen people came. Some jogged, some walked/jogged, and some of us (me) just walked. My goal was 50 minutes, which would have been just under 17 minutes per ... Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:10:07 EST To Track or Not to Track? That, Sparkfriends, is the Question. On September 1, I reached my goal weight. About a week later, I decided to stop tracking every bite and monitor my weight daily. I firmly believe that we must be able to reach a point where we understand the concepts of healthy choices, proper portions, and abundant exercise. My plan was going pretty well, up a pound, down a pound. Staying in a good range. This is doable, people! Truly it is! <BR> <BR> Then in early October, my non-profit group, Greyhounds of Fairhaven, traveled to Las ... Mon, 19 Nov 2012 23:50:14 EST Map Me! SparkFriend HIKERBECKY taught me about a cool app for my android phone: MayMyFitness. I downloaded the app at the end of October and Oh My How Fun! I can log Dog walks, regular walks, runs, running or walking on treadmill, climbing stairs, biking, hiking, swimming, and many other fitness activities. <BR> <BR> So far, I've mostly been using it for walks and dog walks, although I did map a hike, too. :D The app uses my smartphone's GPS system and measures my distance very accurately, to the... Thu, 15 Nov 2012 21:35:18 EST A Day in the Garden Having recently purchased a one-year membership to the Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix, Arizona, I was excited to take my granddaughter for a visit. <BR> <BR> Stella will be four years old in just two days. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> First, we walked along the wildflower pathway. Since it is autumn, there aren't many flowers blooming, though we saw a few. What we did see, less than eight feet away from us was this bunny! <BR> <i... Mon, 12 Nov 2012 21:02:03 EST Greyhounds at the Dona Ana Renaissance Artsfaire Our non-profit, Greyhounds of Fairhaven, recently promoted the adoption of retired racing greyhounds at the Dona Ana Renaissance Artsfaire in Las Cruces, New Mexico. What, you may ask, does promoting greyhound adoption have to do with SparkPeople and getting fit/healthy? Let's see... unloading 8,000 pounds of gear, setting up camp, putting together real wooden furniture, walking the hounds around the fairgrounds... yeah, I burned some calories! Plus, it is a huge benefit to my mental healt... Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:30:27 EST Lost Dog Wash - Benefit Hike This morning, the Sheltie Rescue hosted a hike at Lost Dog Wash Trail as a fundraiser for their non-profit. We made voluntary donations of $10 to help the Sheltie Rescue. I met up with fellow Sparker, HIKERBECKY, to drive out to east Scottsdale, AZ, to the trailhead. <BR> <BR> While waiting for the group hike to begin, I shot a few photos of the dogs joining in the day's hike: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> rescue poodle meets rescue sheltie ... Sun, 28 Oct 2012 16:44:26 EST Soak Your Nuts! I mentioned in my recent salad blog, "Salads Make me Happy!" that I soak my nuts and seeds for added nutritional benefit. That is an understatement. There are many good reasons to soak your nuts (and seeds). <BR> <BR> Back in 2003, shortly after my introduction to the idea of a raw foodism lifestyle, I learned about the value of soaking nuts and seeds before incorporating them into your recipes. <BR> <BR> Although I am not a raw foodist, I did follow a raw vegan lifestyle for a full yea... Fri, 26 Oct 2012 22:24:35 EST