Caribbean

Review: SinuOrega Nasal Spray

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SinuOrega Nasal Spray works extremely well, if you can handle it.

3/5 stars

Ever since we moved back to NYC I have struggled with my sinuses. After having only one sinus infection in six years while living in the Caribbean, I have had at least four in the past few years.

My physician prescribed generic Flonase, but now that Nasacort is over the counter, United Healthcare has informed me that they are upping my co-pay to $30 from $10 (for the exact same generic drug). Because the people who receive over $300 per week out of my pre-tax income would rather not pay for anything.

So I have become a huge fan of saline nasal sprays, with Ocean being my favorite.

Back in April, at the start of spring allergy season, I received an email from Naturally Savvy offering me a chance to sample and review North American Herb and Spice's SinuOrega.

I received a full size (2 oz.) nasal spray and a general spray, suitable for odor elimination and cleaning.

sinuoregaBasically, you are inhaling the emulsified oils of wild oregano (here as NAHS's Oregano p73), bay leaf, sage, and clove in a sea salt (saline) base. Oregano is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so it actually clears out your sinuses on many levels.

If only I could handle the burn and the smell/taste!

NAHS warns on the package that there can be some mild burning sensations just after spraying, but for me the burning wasn't minor and lasted for a bit. And then there was the intense oregano and clove taste in the back of my throat. Worse than the odd rosewater aftertaste of Flonase.

I - just - can't!

Now, I can handle the smell when it's not in my own body, so the cleaning spray is fabulous for me.

And look, North American Herb and Spice's SinuOrega has 4.5 stars on Amazon, so clearly it works well for most people. The few negative reviews focus on the inability to handle the burn and smell, not the efficacy of the nasal spray.

My sinuses felt great on the days that I used the spray, but not great enough to withstand the burn.

Have you tried a natural nasal spray? Has it worked?

Why I Am Not A Celebrity Trainer

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I am not a celebrity trainer.

I may be well known, command fees of well over $100 per hour, and train celebrities.

But I would rather be the help.

As many of you know, hubby and I have had several major life changes in the past decade. We sold everything and moved to the Caribbean island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos in 2005, then over to the tiny, A-list resort island of Parrot Cay in 2007, and then to the very big island of Manhattan in 2011. Where were we before TCI? On the Main Line of Philadelphia, living a life that we created, but realized that we didn't want.

IMG00021.jpgI turn 48 in just a few months, and am thinking back to where I thought I would be and what I thought I would be doing at this point in my life.

Generally, I knew I would be teaching something (since I do that well) and hoped to be in a major metropolitan area. Oh, and I was sure to have cats.

Just typing this is funny, because life turns out so differently.

Now I find that while I have general ideas about my likes and dislikes, I have stopped major life planning beyond how much money I would like to earn in order to live well, and where I want to live. And I am always open to changes in these depending on situation. Living well in NYC, for example, costs more than living well at Parrot Cay.

NYBG.jpgIn the course of this move I have had to do lots of introductions and lots of profile changes. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, professional forums, directories, and bio boxes are everywhere and they all always need updating.

This is causing a small crisis as I attempt to redefine myself.

Who am I?

I am a Pilates teacher, a fitness trainer, a writer, a mom and grandmom; I am a gourmand who loves pizza and Five Guys burgers as much as caviar, and a clean freak who hates to actually clean. I am actively and openly Jewish, I appreciate Buddhism, and I cannot stand religious zealots of any kind (even though I believe in something unidentifiable, I lean towards atheism); and once a philosopher always a philosopher, as I spent over a decade of my life teaching and studying western philosophy.

I love to stay up late and sleep late (which people don't always know with my current schedule that starts at 7-7:30am), love dogs as much as cats, identify as a liberal, and truly believe that we are witnessing what Plato meant in The Republic when he said that democracy would devolve into rule by the lowest common denominator.

Oh, and I am a Usui Reiki Master teacher who practices and teaches energy channeling even though I am not always sure what it is that I am doing (I do it because Reiki actually works).

So who does this make me?

Titles bother me. I hate the phrase "celebrity trainer" even though I do train plenty of celebrities. I don't like the phrase "reiki master healer" even though that is the official title on my certificate. Plus people do feel and sleep better with my reiki treatments and my students all successfully practice reiki on themselves and others.

I actually like the phrase "service worker." I like being the help. I am lucky enough to choose to live my life and earn my living in service to others (and hopefully myself as well). Never denigrate service workers — all of us behind the scenes people who keep people and places going.

You like a clean subway seat? Thank the people cleaning. You like having dinner served on clean plates at a restaurant? Thank the dishwasher before you thank the chef. Had a great workout? Thank the trainer.

When did chefs, personal trainers, and hair stylists become celebrities? If you get paid to provide a service, whether it's deciding what's for dinner and cooking food for your customers, cutting and styling someone's hair, or helping someone look and feel great, you are the help. You are in service.

My name is Lynda Lippin, and I am the help.

Daily Self Reiki Practice

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Daily self reiki practice is important for all reiki practitioners. Help yourself first so you can better help others!

When I was still living in the Caribbean my husband bought me Pamela Miles' Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide, one of the clearest books on Reiki I have read. Over the years Pamela and I have stayed connected (even though we saw each other more when we lived in different countries, as opposed to the same island), and her Reiki, Medicine, and Self-Care Facebook page and her Reiki Blog are great resources for me.

This weekend Pamela put out a call to action. She asked that all of us who do daily self reiki practice identify as such.

You can see the badge in my sidebar, but in case you missed it:

Daily Self Reiki Badge

I practice mostly in the early morning, before I get out of bed. It keeps me calm, balanced, and sane in an insane city.

 

Book Review: The Longevity Kitchen Cookbook

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Finally, a cookbook that offers gorgeous, tasty, easy to follow recipes featuring all the anti-aging power foods we love.

5/5 Stars

While I was working in the Caribbean, I met a lovely woman named Caroline Nation. The former publisher of W Magazine, Caroline had left the fashion publishing world and entered into the world of nutrition with her fabulous nutrition site, My Food My Health (use code "Lynda" to receive 15% off your first order).

We remained in contact, and a few weeks ago we met for tea and she handed me a copy of The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods [120 Recipes for Vitality and Optimal Health] cookbook, which is written by My Food My Health consulting chef Rebecca Katz, along with Mat Edelson (the pair behind The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen).

With a forward from health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, this beautiful book offers recipes for all occasions and times of day. There are great soups, appetizers, breakfasts, and even desserts. The recipes feature different combinations of power foods like asparagus, basil, blueberries, dark chocolate, kale, olive oil, sweet potato, thyme, and yogurt.

While The Longevity Kitchen is organized like most cookbooks, by meals, there is also an index that categorizes the recipes by health benefits.

Need some immune boosting? Try Chicken Tortilla Soup and Carrot Apple Slaw with Cranberries.

Under too much stress (like most of us)? Here come Sweet Potato and Zucchini Pancakes and Sweet Potato Bars to the rescue.

Enhance your memory and brain power with Golden Roasted Cauliflower aside some lovely Wild, Wild Salmon Burgers.

Blood sugar out of control? Even things out with Smoked Salmon Nori Rolls and Sicilian Green Beans.

You will also find Flexibility Promoters, Liver Boosters, Heart Strengtheners, Skin Enrichers, and LDL Cholesterol Reducers.

A well written and presented cookbook full of great information, beautiful photos, and easy to follow recipes that turn out well. Just a well done book!

The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods [120 Recipes for Vitality and Optimal Health]

Book Review: The Vitamin D Cure

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Book Review: The Vitamin D Cure by James E. Dowd, M.D. and Diane Stafford

The Vitamin D Cure, Revised

Every winter I, and many people I know, start to feel depressed, tired, and fat. We crave comforting carb-laden foods like mashed potatoes with gravy and stop wanting to go outside in the cold, which just makes things worse.

What I always knew as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is not necessarily a psychological disorder, according to Dr. James Dowd, but is in fact caused by a simple nutritional deficiency. Hence, The Vitamin D Cure. After all, my symptoms were much better when I lived in the Caribbean, even though we still changed the clocks in Turks and Caicos and it got dark at 5pm. At least the rest of the day it was warm and, most importantly, sunny.

In the cities we have less direct sunlight, fewer locally grown fresh foods, and generally we move less. According to Dowd, these factors contribute to a large-scale vitamin D deficiency, stating,

"An unbalanced diet, vitamin D deficiency, and the medical problems they cause affect more than two-thirds of the US population (about 200 million people)."

Despite the name, Vitamin D is actually an anti-inflammatory hormone that the body needs to function well. Obesity, lack of exercise, and lack of exposure to sunlight are the biggest culprits here (and wearing sunscreen negates the positive effects of sun exposure).

Almost every week I read a story in the news about vitamin D deficiency being linked to asthma, Crohn's Disease, MS, arthritis, and numerous other diseases. Dowd learned the hard way himself when he left his native Texas for dark and chilly Michigan. Soon after, he started experiencing joint inflammation and pain, sleep disturbances, weight gain, muscle cramps, and fatigue which were all a result of vitamin D deficiency from less sun, less exercise, and more processed foods.

Dowd offers some quizzes to help you figure out how much vitamin D you need and then sets out to help you get that amount via sun, supplements, a low-acid diet, and more exercise. Any doubts I may have had about this theory were eased when I flipped through the 36 pages of references backing him up.

httpv://youtu.be/GsbCP42BDtw

 

 

Vertical Pilates

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This morning I taught, as I do every Thursday at 9am, a Vertical Pilates class here at Parrot Cay. It's always funny to me when guests come in and I tell them to get a thin sticky yoga mat instead of the thicker Pilates mats and they say, "Oh, we're standing for the whole class?" as if "Vertical" meant something else.

I reminded my 12 guests this morning that Joseph Pilates developed Contrology exercises while interned as an enemy alien by the British during WWI. That in the prison camp there was limited space, limited time, and thousands of German men who were there for years (the British didn't release the Germans until Germany made its first reparations payment, which took a little while). These were men of all backgrounds who were separated from their families, and Britain was being ravaged by the influenza epidemic and the war. This was exercise born of the need to survive physically and mentally!

Joseph Pilates taught a lot of standing exercises from basic jumping jacks and squats to lunges, single leg squats, and martial arts maneuvers. There were push ups, side planks, walking elephants and cats, jogging in place, and many other exercises that many people do not associate with Pilates.

Put them all together for an hour and you have a pretty intense weight bearing workout for the whole body. People's legs were shaking! They couldn't hold their arms up any longer! They felt the work.