When testing big assumptions, play it “SMART.”
• Safe (many experiments will involve a certain amount of risk, but don’t devise a test in which the end result could get you fired or badly hurt)
• Modest (start with a small test and work your way up)
• Actionable (make the test one you can undertake, not just think about)
• Research-based (you’re gathering information here, not trying to prove a point, or immediately trying to change a behavior)
• An effective Test of your assumption (one targeted toward gaining better insight into the accuracy of your beliefs and how they do or do not serve you)
More tips on “How to Overcome Your Immunity to Change.”
Tempeh Nutrition Know-How
- A 4-ounce serving of cooked tempeh provides 41 percent of the daily recommended amount of protein.
- Tempeh is a good source of probiotics, gut-friendly microbes that help control harmful bacteria in the body.
- Rhizopus oligosporus, a fungus used to ferment tempeh, produces a natural antibiotic that is effective against certain harmful bacteria.
- Tempeh is high in riboflavin, which helps the body produce and regenerate glutathione. This key antioxidant, which can be depleted by stress, poor diet, pollution, toxins, medication and a host of other stressors, is essential to your immune system and detoxification process and helps prevent chronic illness.
- The fermented soy in tempeh is high in vitamin K2, which can help prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and diseases of the brain — including dementia.
- Tempeh’s isoflavones have been shown to reduce symptoms of menopause in women and to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- The protein and fiber in tempeh can help regulate blood-sugar levels. Tempeh’s fiber also helps remove carcinogenic toxins from the body and may be able to lower rates of colon and breast cancer.
- Tempeh is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorous and potassium.
How To Make “Super Spicy Chai”
(All measurements are approximate. Experiment with them depending on your spiciness preference!)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 tbs. cardamom pods (I use a mortar and pestle to crush mine)
- 1 tbs. coriander seeds (crushed)
- 1 tbs. cumin seeds (crushed)
- 1 (or more) bay leaves
- 1 to 2 tbs. cloves
- 1 whole nutmeg seed, partially grated
- 1 tbs. black pepper
- 1/2-inch to 1-inch grated raw ginger
- 1 orange peel
- 1/2 cup black tea
- 12 cups water
Combine all spices and the orange peel in a large pot. Add the water. Boil for 20 minutes. Add the tea. Boil 5 more minutes. Strain. Then, unless you drink all the chai straight from the pot (an impressive feat!), store it in the fridge. (I use Weck or Mason jars.)
When you heat up a cup, add the milk of your choice. I don’t do dairy, so I use almond milk. In fact, I make my own of that, too, and you can learn how here.
Yoga is about starting where you’re at — physically, mentally, spiritually. But, before you run out to purchase a yoga mat and jump into any old class, a few pieces of advice:
- Let go of your ego. The ego has no place in a yoga class. Avoid the tendency to push your body too quickly or too hard, and avoid comparing yourself to other people in your class (every body is different). Move slowly and be gentle with yourself.
- Start with a gentle/beginner format no matter how physically strong or flexible you are, and take several classes at that level. This will allow you to learn how to do the poses correctly and how to transition from one pose to the next. You’ll greatly reduce the possibility of injury and begin to gain the stamina and flexibility needed to advance your yoga practice. Please refer to bullet point one if you feel you should jump into an advanced class. On that note …
- Don’t just wander into any old class. I once witnessed a first-time student walk into a class that was far too advanced for her, and have often wondered if she ever returned to yoga or if she now has a jilted mindset toward the practice because of that experience. Choose wisely!
- Love the props. The blocks, blankets, straps, wall, and chairs are there to make the poses safer and more comfortable. Again, please refer back to bullet point one if you think you don’t need the props.
- Please let the teacher know if something is uncomfortable or hurts. Your instructor should be able to provide modifications so you don’t risk an injury and you’ll be more comfortable.
- Have an open mind. Yoga is slower moving when compared to other physical practices. It forces you into your mind, which can be overwhelming for some, and the physical practice is quite different from other physical fitness practices since it integrates the spiritual component.
- Try several classes and teachers before saying yoga’s not for you. You may not be a fan of the style, or you may not be connecting with the teacher you started with. If you try several classes of a certain style or with the same person and you aren’t enjoying it, try something else (for an introduction to various styles of yoga, see “Yoga 4 You“).
Read an inspiring story about “Bill,” the 70-year-old yogi.
Nothing says “I feel strong!” quite like hefting a barbell overhead and holding it motionless for a second or two. It looks pretty cool, too.
All Olympic-style lifts are variations on the two weightlifting movements featured in the Olympic Games: the “snatch,” in which you pull a barbell from the floor to an overhead position in one explosive movement; and the “clean and jerk,” where you hoist the bar to shoulder level, then push it overhead (see “Learn to Power Clean” for details on proper form).
Both lifts require — and build — lots of power. Most people begin to lose muscle mass around age 30, starting with the white, fast-twitch muscle fibers — the largest, most powerful fibers in your body. The best way to work these fibers, and stave off age-related muscle loss, is with exercises that require you to move either as quickly or forcefully as possible. “Heavy Olympic lifts require you to do both,” says Olympic weightlifter Wil Fleming, CSCS.
Practice these moves often enough, continues Fleming, and your increased strength will also help you jump higher, run faster, and throw farther in your favorite sports. Another benefit? Because “O-lifts” engage nearly every muscle in the body, you’ll burn fat at the same time.
One important caveat: Olympic lifting requires not just full-body strength but also mobility, coordination, timing, and balance. So for those interested in working up to challenging weights, Fleming recommends seeking out qualified instruction. “I’ve been practicing these lifts for 15 years,” Fleming explains, “and I still work on my technique, the same way a golfer might work on his swing.” To locate a club, visit USAWeightlifting.org or seek out a trainer certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Kale Cooking Tips
- Blend a few chopped-up young kale leaves — but not the stems or very thick leaves — into fruit smoothies. It’s a great way to sneak greens into the diets of the veggie-averse, especially kids.
- Add kale to breakfast egg dishes. Try an omelet with par-cooked potatoes, caramelized onions and steamed kale — or a scramble made with tomatoes, bell peppers, green onion and kale sprinkled with feta cheese.
- Whip up a quick summer kale sauté with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and basil. Sauté kale with small amounts of bacon for flavor, then lightly braise it in vegetable stock to soften. Great with roasted turkey, meatloaf or grilled tofu.
- Chop, cook and mix kale with grains to add nutrients and flavor to dishes like barley risotto or rice pilaf.
- Kale is wonderful in miso soup or tossed with rice noodles.
- Kale’s earthy flavor pairs well with hearty meats, beans and sausages. I particularly like kale with braised pork. I often substitute sautéed kale for cooked spinach in spanakopita, on pizza, or layered with ricotta cheese in calzone.
- Blanched and frozen kale is great to have on hand. If you gently break it in the bag, it can be easily added to simmering marinara sauce, soups, stews and beans.
Faced with an entire shelf of olive-oil options, all with different labels and price points, how do you choose? Start with these pointers from the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), a nonprofit organization that recently petitioned the USDA to develop clearer olive-oil standards:
- Opt for “extra.” As a rule, you’re best off choosing extra-virgin olive oil, which gives you more nutrition and flavor for your buck. Just plain “virgin,” while cheaper, tends to be less flavorful and have fewer health benefits.
- Don’t be dazzled by claims. The labels “cold pressed,” “cold extracted” and “first press” have little meaning when attached to extra-virgin and virgin olive oils, all of which must be processed that way to earn the virgin or extra-virgin designation.
- Avoid also-rans. The labels “olive oil,” “pure olive oil,” “light olive oil” and “refined olive oil” are lower-quality olive oils that do not meet virgin standards and have been refined to make them palatable.
- Look for the harvest or milling date, which indicates when the olives were picked; it should be within the last 12 months. If there is no such date, estimate the harvest date by looking for the “best by” expiration date, which is generally 18 months to two years after the harvest.
- Steer clear of imposters. Even the hallowed label of “extra-virgin olive oil” can be misleading. According to a recent report, more than two-thirds of imported extra-virgin olive oils (and one in 10 California extra-virgin olive oils) are actually lower-quality olive oils that may also be cut with other kinds of oils, such as canola, safflower and peanut. Read on for tips on how to spot the real stuff.
- Look for the USDA seal. The presence of the USDA seal indicates that the oil has been produced in accordance with the new regulations governing the use of the label “extra-virgin olive oil.” If you’re buying domestic, look for the COOC’s “Extra Virgin Seal” for oils made in California, which produces 99 percent of domestic olive oil.
- Buy from a reputable source. Better grocery stores and specialty retailers are less likely than big-box bargain outlets to sell low-quality oils from questionable sources. Specialty retailers are also much more likely to let you taste the oil before you buy it.
- Beware of too-good bargains. Although you can get a liter of certified California extra-virgin olive oil for $10 to $25, says COOC’s executive director Patricia Darragh, if you see a liter of imported extra-virgin olive oil for under $10, it’s probably too good to be true: “The Euro is currently strong, and then you add in fees associated with shipping across the Atlantic and suddenly you’re only spending a few dollars for ‘extra-virgin olive oil’? It’s not financially feasible.”