Saturday, April 27, 2013

Close Your Mouth and Save Your Life!

NASAL BREATHING -- breathing only through your NOSE (mouth shut). I'd never have guessed that this one simple change would be so BENEFICIAL!


I had the pleasure of hearing Carol Baglia, a respiratory therapist here in Cleveland, OH, introduce the topic of nose breathing, formally called Buteyko Method, several years ago as a speaker for Northeast Running Club.

which George Catlin wrote and illustrated in 1870 (it's about 100 pages long!).

I was re-intrigued recently, in Boston, about nose breathing.  Sam Gyde, triathlon rock star, from Belgium (has never run "a marathon" but qualified for Boston with a 2:53 marathon to round off his first place age group finish in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii!). Holy smokes!  Well, dear Sam, always breathes this way when he runs, and encourages athletes he coaches, to nose breathe for hour-long runs!

Ironman triathlete, Sam Gyde of Gent, Belgium,
swears by NOSE BREATHING for endurance exercise!

Why do I LOVE it? Nose breathing is SIMPLE, non-invasive, improves health effectively, and reduces stress!

        1. Improves immunity -- reduces allergies, toxins, infection.
        2. Reduces stress.
        3. Activates parasympathetic nervous system.
        4. Increases nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide -- the one that makes you silly)
        5. Improves endurance performance.
        6. Brain gets more oxygen!

Your nose is made to breathe! Your mouth is made to EAT and TALK! Unlike your mouth, your nose filters, moistens, and warms the air you breathe, making it IDEALLY ready for your lungs!

As fewer particles of pollen, other allergens, bacteria, and cancer-causing toxins pass this filter,  strong immunity from allergies, infection, and disease results.

Breathing through your nose, automatically controls the speed of your breath, so you can't breath too fast (otherwise known as hyperventilation!).

Breathing more slowly, gives more time between breaths, so we get more oxygen into our blood from the air in our lungs.

Heart rate and breathing rate increase together with exercise intensity. So with a lower rate of breathing, our heart beat and blood pressure will also be lower at any given intensity.

Nitric oxide (NO)!!! This is enough for a whole other huge post! NO helps to relax us, inside and out. NO is awesome for heart health! It even has mechanisms within our immune system; it helps our nerves communicate improving memory and brain function.  In fact, NO is key to healthy functioning of virtually all cells in the body! We're talking Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine in 1998!! Awesome stuff, and we activate it's production when we breathe through our noses!


Local (Cleveland, OH area) Respiratory Therapist: provides lots of helpful info and even clinics!
A book from 1870! Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life by George Catlin
Breathing Exercises
Nasal Breathing and Running: from No Meat Athlete and Healthy Living and Set Higher Standards
Buteyko Technique: 22 Reasons to breath through your nose


Have you ever heard of this before? Perhaps at a yoga class? Or a stress-reduction seminar? Sesame Street? I have the coolest little clip to help kids with anger which teaches a bit about breathing :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Marathon Heartbreak Like None Before

My heart goes out to anybody who was hurt in any way related to the bombings on Monday at the Marathon, and of course their family and friends. I am grateful that all of my friends and family, and everyone I know, are all safe and sound. I am grateful for the awesome volunteers, medical staff, and all others who jumped right in, who are all truly angels!

How wonderful to feel so much love coming my way, and really toward Boston in general, from loved ones all over the world :) It was also weird and unreal how in a moment, something so 'important' (fulfilling a lifelong dream of participating in the Boston Marathon), became very trivial.

Being home with my hubby, two daughters, and son, all wrapped up in a big bear hug has never felt better! Now, to find some good in a horrific situation...

Life Lessons of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Don't take life too seriously. Our pace/place/race in running, as well as in life, should matter a lot less than being with the ones we love, and doing the right thing.

Life is precious. Enjoy as many moments as possible; enjoy them as if they were your last!

Know that you are loved, and pass it on. You'll get it all back and more, I promise!
Love is the only thing you get more of by giving it away :)

See the good in people, in life. It's all around, especially if you're looking!
Consider this Zen story: Once a woman moving into a village asked "what are the people of the town like?"  The monk asked the question back about the town she had come from. She replied "rude, unkind, selfish". The monk told her "the people here are just the same". Then another man came around asking about the monk's town. The monk again asked the question back. The man answered "the people there were kind, loving, helpful". The monk told him "the people here are just the same".
So you see it's all in how you look at a situation, a person, life in general. See the bright and shiny, and again you'll find more bright and shiny :)

Be aware of your surroundings.  It's easy to get lost in your thoughts and not notice what is happening around you.  You might also enjoy my post about MINDFULNESS :)

In the words of Kathrine Switzer, "Be fearless!"  Acts of terror are meant to do just the opposite - spread fear - so we can show our strength by following Kathrine Switzer's advice -- being fearless!

2013 Boston Marathon Runner Passport autographed by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967; she had to be sneaky to get in there and was famously, and unsuccessfully tackled by the race director!

Once a great man, my grad school adviser, Marco Cabrera, may he rest in peace, gave me a compliment that I've always remembered. He said "you're not afraid to fail!" It didn't seem like much of a compliment at the moment, but in the years since, I've found that this is an attribute of many successful people in history. If you go for what's beyond what you KNOW you can achieve, you'll reach for really amazing goals and awesome possibilities, with some failures, and other seemingly impossible accomplishments, and always truly exciting experiences!

COMMENTS: What have you been up to? I've been missing the blog in a pre- and post- Boston Marathon daze of busy-ness, awe, and shock!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quick and Easy Lentil Tacos with DIY Taco Spice!

Hola!  Ready for a simple, Mexican delight?!  

I haven't had ground meat in a couple of decades at least, but I would guess that the meat flavor isn't the thing that stands out the most about a taco. Could it possibly be the spicy flavors?!

Lentil Tacos

Yummy Lentil Tacos
Lentil tacos are SO simple!  Basically just lentils, and taco seasoning.

Lentils and beans are AMAZING (read here)! Another cool thing about lentils and beans is that you don't have to worry about food borne illness, the way you should when cooking meat.

Lentil Tacos (idea from this recipe)  Check out awesome!

1 c dry lentils
1 c water
3 Tbsp taco seasoning*, one packet, (single batch Taco Spice)

Let simmer for ~20 minutes, or until tender and water has evaporated and been absorbed into lentils.

*This is spicy...go with less for milder flavor...we go as little as 1 Tbsp for our kids.

Optional step: blend lentils in a food processor, adding additional water slowly, as necessary, until mixture resembles ground meat.

  • Fill taco shells.
  • Top with whatever toppings you enjoy.
  • We use lettuce, tomato, and avocado - YUM! (Greek yogurt in the pic, but no need!)
  • Plenty of salsa tastes great too!
  • We haven't use it, but a bit of vegan cheddar cheese, or vegan plain yogurt would make a very familiar taco.


Taco Spice (adapted from this recipe)

Single batch (taco seasoning packet equivalent):
1/2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, garlic, and paprika
1/4 tsp each of cayenne*, onion, and pepper
pinch of unsweetened cocoa (Mexican flavor trick!)
*adjust for more or less spicy mix.

Single batch (~3 Tbsp of mix) per cup dry lentils.

Make lots of taco spice, store in spice container, and use over and over!

Multiple batches (24x single):

1/2 c each of oregano, cumin, garlic, and paprika
1/4 c cayenne*, onion, and pepper
1/8 c of unsweetened cocoa
*adjust for more or less spicy mix.

Quick and Easy DIY Taco Spice
  • HUGE SAVINGS (awesome breakdown here)! Make a batch of this recipe for 25 cents or buy a packet for up to $2!)
  • AVOID chemicals, preservatives, strange, unnecessary ingredients! Especially excess salt/sodium, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Tastier, more authentic FLAVORS!
Homemade taco seasoning is great for...
tortilla soup, taco dip, chili, enchiladas, and of course TACOS!

Try Taco Spice in:
Easy Vegatarian Chili
Tasty Tamale Pie
Mexican Fiesta Bowl (2-Minute Friday Night Dinner)
Healthy Mexican Lasagna
Tofu Scramble
Anything that you want to give a spicy flavor boost!

COMMENTS:  Do you use any spice mixes? It seems making them ourselves can save money and perhaps even make a better flavor! Pumpkin Pie Spice? Curry? Other Indian mixes? What do you think?


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