Monday, May 4, 2015

You can have a cookie.

I don't believe in zero treats. A world devoid of birthday cake would be sad. Thanksgiving without pies? Ugh. Every September when we pick apples or visit the cider mill, I'll have a single donut and hot cider. Lots of sugar and fat, so it's a treat once a year. I balance it out with healthy eating the rest of the day, and we skip the boxed deals and buy single donuts. Boxes of donuts beg to be eaten. So we just don't buy them.

While I enjoy treats, I won't eat cheesecake (probably one of the worst calorie and fat choices out there), or have desserts on a regular basis. That is to say, I don't eat the mammoth 5-person brownie special heart-attack-in-a-dish type of dessert at restaurants. I don't eat the packaged sweets at the grocery store, the little yellow cakes with white filling that used to be in my lunch box in the 70s. No store bought mass market cookies, cakes or pies. I took a picture once of the display of such products at the grocery store. I think it symbolized the problems with our health and fitness in this country. It was front and center when entering the store, begging to be noticed before the fruits and vegetables nearby.

I don't put whipped cream on my hot beverages. Many of those Starbucks drinks are too decadent for every day consumption and I can't fathom the empty calories in them. I don't drink the sugared sodas; Zevia is an occasional treat and I enjoy a small amount of alcohol a few times a year. (Wine has its heart benefits but women should be aware of frequency due to breast cancer connections.)

But every day, I have a cookie. It's as healthy as a cookie could be, with no added butter/oil and full of grains and fiber, and careful choices of sugar. My husband makes up a lot of them at once, so when you see the multiple cups of sugar and chocolate chips listed here, note that it makes approximately 76 cookies. So those ingredients are spread out among quite a few cookies. He has tweaked the recipe over the years, with flaxseed being a recent addition.

Wheat Germ Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
triple batch, serves 76

1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup Egg Beaters or other egg substitute
3 eggs
2.5 cups organic sugar*
0.5 cup molasses
4 tablespoons water
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 cups powdered milk
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
4.5 cups whole wheat flour
5 cups oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup flaxseed
2.5 cups sliced almonds
2 cups dark chocolate chips (we use Hershey Special Dark and have used the Ghirardelli dark chips, but they're a bit on the large side)

The applesauce is a trick for oil replacement that we learned years ago. At one time we used all Egg Beaters but 3 eggs spread across an entire recipe isn't a harmful amount, unless there's an allergy or moral reason to skip eggs. We have found egg replacer ingredients but haven't experimented with them yet in this recipe. As for the eggs themselves, we use either eggs from locally raised free range chickens, or the Eggland's Best, both of which are supposed to produce eggs with lower cholesterol. *The organic sugar we use is called Wholesome Sweeteners evaporated cane juice organic sugar. The green package has fair trade and non-gmo labels on it and lists it as having no pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and non bleached. So for granulated sugar, it's minimally processed... but still sugar. As for the non-gmo buzzword, disclaimer... yes I do buy non-gmo when possible as I feel the jury is still out on the health effects of modifying crops, and organic whenever possible because I just don't know the effects of a lifetime of eating pesticides on food, so I try to minimize that impact on myself whenever possible. I am not a nutritionist or otherwise expert in the food field, but I am a consumer who reads labels and follows the news as much as possible, on the things that affect our bodies. We do what we can do, right?

Now for how to make those cookies!

 Combine applesauce, sugar, molasses, eggs/Beaters, water and vanilla in mixer bowl.
In separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, milk powder, flour, wheat germ, wheat bran, oatmeal, flaxseed and mix. Slowly add contents of dry bowl to mixer bowl on low speed.
Stir in almonds and chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or convection bake at 335 for 12 minutes.
Cool 1 minute on tray.
Remove from tray and allow to cool on rack.
Eat and enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Last Hoopdance Classes of 2014

December is typically a very busy month for many, but it is the season of giving, so give yourself an hour to have fun in a hula hoop and improve your fitness at the same time. Classes are available for December in single sessions. Sundays December 7, 14 and 21, and Wednesdays December 10 and December 17. Pre-registration is required in order to hold class -- no drop-in available. Registration closes 12 hours prior to class time, to avoid last-minute disappointments. Program revamps for 2015 -- stay tuned to news and improvements!

More information about the classes can be found on the Hoop Fitness tab.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hoop class skill recaps

The recap videos we shot for the hoop skills students have been learning in class are slowly making their way to Moxie's "Inner Circle" website. There are an estimated couple dozen videos taken over the last several months with the intention of sharing them on the Inner Circle as a way to help practice along in between class meets. It is expected that the clients for whom they're intended have already learned and tried the move in class, so the format is a recap and less detailed than a tutorial would be, for example. Of course, if hooping is new to you and you want to try it, you are welcome to join us at any point in a series. I add skills as we go but we're not merely trying to nail a move once, but rather develop a smooth proficiency, so we revisit moves often.

If you want to be notified when more recaps are posted, subscribe to the Inner Circle and you shall be kept in the hoop!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Living with fear is not the same as living IN fear

Fear is all around and a normal response to things we find uncomfortable and out of routine, etc. I'm not a psychologist so I'm not going to dig too deep with that one... but I do have some thoughts and examples of how I live with it.

A lovely hooper and woman I connected with in the online community and had the pleasure to meet in person, reminded me of a positive response to fear recently when she created a beautiful photo meme for me. Maria Randolph of HoopME was quick to point out how working through a fear resulted in something new opening up. I created a freedom for myself underwater that I hadn't experienced in years. More on that excursion in a little bit.... I promise I have a point here...
The meme that honored my facing of fear. Thanks Maria!
I quit swimming when I was 13. I used to relish going underwater, playing games with it and accomplished what my parents meant for me to do, because they didn't want me to fear water or be unable to survive in it. As I grew into adulthood, I still remained close to water but preferred to sit on it. Over the years, the thrill of water play was replaced with fear as I refused to let my head go below water, letting go of my swimming skill. I became a dog paddler that clung to a noodle.

I'm no stranger to facing fear, once I recognize that I need to take care of it. As I approached my 5-year anniversary with an advertising firm out of college, a milestone which would have opened benefits to me, I dumped the job. I saw no future in advertising for me so I jumped into the unknown, going back to school for exercise science (Science! The subject I ran screaming from as a kid and teen.) I absolutely LOVED it. I feared I'd be old in class. Nope, I was average or among the younger of them. I feared that I could fail. Nope, it took me longer than most, but I graduated with a 3.9. I missed the 4.0 because I got a B+ in the A&P course I made myself take but didn't need.

(A fact I share not to brag, but to point out that facing something you dread -- a potentially awful A&P course everyone hated -- could be a beautiful thing. I loved it! Worked my butt off and the strict professor scared me but it was my most crowning achievement of  those years. Not a bit of regret, as it set me up with the solid foundation I need for my life's work. Plus at the end when I aced my muscle anatomy practical, I got to "high five" that strict professor. <Grins> )

I'd been set up to face this sort of thing head on, 10 years earlier. In my mid 20s, I went on a dogsledding trip by myself with a group of people I had just met. (And in a roundabout way, it led me to someone who became a friend who ultimately introduced my husband and I. And since they were both into cycling, I had to face my fear of bike riding -- of falling off. It's perfect. We ride a tandem and I trust him completely. So where will your fears lead YOU?) I'm painfully shy so I feared being alone would be weird. Nope, I managed. Struck up conversation with some fellow sledders from New York and the trail guide thought he had to look out for me so I wasn't really alone. After my dogs abandoned me out of the gate, I was offered a ride in his sled and I said to myself, "Hell no. I'm doing this!" Got back on with MY dogs, survived, no bruises. Hung out on the trail with my dogs, enjoying a cold beer. (Best one I ever had. Nothing has ever come close.) My fellow club members? They eventually caught up and went home bruised and battered. I had been afraid during our sled briefing. Afraid! Now what was all that about? Fear, slayed. It was suggested I take a job as a trail guide, which I declined because I was in advertising, but it foreshadowed in a way, the life I have today.
Face your fears thoughtfully.

I've been a personal trainer and health fitness specialist for 8 years and 4 years respectively, and it fits my philosophy well. I promote activity while working closely with people in small environments. I insisted to my college advisor that I'd never teach group exercise because of the large group dynamic that I feared. Well I put that to rest. I've been teaching hoopdance -- hula hooping -- to groups of people now for 3 years and in fact just today, I had the joy of teaching hoopdance to nearly 30 new hoopers in an environment where it was necessary for me to use a microphone. My voice didn't sound nearly as weird through a mic as I thought it would! Found -- the freedom to share what I can teach, and be heard. Magic!

What's truly magical are the journeys we allow ourselves to be on. Despite my protests I was won over by a hula hoop, looked up a lovely Hoopnotica instructor for lessons, and then noticed a teacher training coming to town after just 3 lessons. I went. Let me count off the fears... got lost downtown, parked in a junk yard, braved a fierce guard dog, went in the wrong door where it was dark and shadowy voices echoed, to eventually find one of the warmest environments a person could fall into. Despite all of that and my new, unrefined skills, I was welcomed with hugs and encouragement by Jocelyn Gordon and Jacqui Becker who at the time were master trainers with Hoopnotica and have since evolved with their own ventures themselves. I was intimidated at first. They were sooo good and my skills were.... raw. But there was nothing to be afraid of, or to feel bad about, because with their guidance and the joy of my local teacher Shavonne Readus, I was able to grow into my skills and become an instructor myself.
Open your eyes to what scares you.

So it's in this hooping community that I noticed a mystical hooper -- because we're always reaching beyond ourselves, right? -- and was inspired by her to explore some underwater hula hooping because of the beauty she created. Her name is Vivian Spiral, and her unusual performance art locations have included underwater. The images and video are stunning. I wanted to try it myself despite no longer being able to swim. It was challenging! I am not her and I cannot be her, nor do I report to be, because I am not. I can be me underwater though, and despite shaking in fear anticipating how I'd hold my breath in water after quitting so many years ago... I took the plunge. And wow! I played. I played through my fear. I saw things I've never seen before underwater, because I opened my eyes for the first time. I let go of the fear of the unknown, and let in the under water world and so much more. The lake was cold, and yet it was a blast to dunk again and again -- so free! I shivered but didn't want to get out. It was as if I'd rediscovered the kid I used to be. Maybe I will return to swimming!

It's this exploratory period that I've been enjoying as an adult that gives me a youthful glow in my heart. I feel in my soul that I am 25. The world is my adventure. Everything awaits because there is freedom in facing the other side of fears, as Maria so thoughtfully pointed out. I'm terrified of heights but I wanted to try aerials last year. Then I saw an article in my local paper about a new aerial studio opening. I signed up for classes right away. This year, I tried the cyr wheel.
This was after I stood on it.
As a trainer and instructor, I meet people who are taking those first steps to rediscovering something for themselves. Perhaps they're shy at being seen, or don't think they can accomplish weight loss or unsure about trying a new hoop move and my purpose for them, for you, is to say hey -- I travel this path too, I've got this, I've got you, I'm at your side.

See you on the other side of fear.