Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shoes 101

Who is ready for spring sneaker shopping? I know I am... But standing in front of the shoe wall at your local sporting goods store can be very overwhelming. Is the $100 shoe really that different from the $60 shoe? Would a running shoe work for a walker?  What about a cross-trainer?  The single most important piece of equipment to virtually any kind of exercise program (running, aerobics, hiking, tennis, basketball) is the right pair of shoes.  Go where serious runners and athletes shop. Salespeople at these stores are trained to observe your gait and recommend the best pair for your stride and foot shape, plus they’re familiar with the unseen features of each shoe. Here are some basic tips and features:

Heels. Walkers typically strike the ground heel first, walking shoe heels should be no more than an inch higher than the front sole. Now, most running shoes have flared soles for stability.  And a cross trainer needs a firm heel, for frontal and lateral movement.

Flexibility. Before you try a shoe on, bend it and twist it. Walking shoes need to be flexible enough to roll through each step and bend at the ball of your foot without giving you a fight. Cross trainers need to be firm for good support, depending on the sport.  Running sneakers should have ample and proper flexibility for your running stride.

Lightweight. Good all-around workout shoes shouldn’t feel like bricks. You’re looking for spring in your step, not cement blocks on your toes.

A reasonable price. Shop around once you know what brand/style is right for you, get a feel for fair prices, then look for good sales and closeouts. A good rule of thumb: less than $50 typically won’t buy the comfort features you want, but at more than $120, you’re paying for style.

Love them, but not too much.  Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes and not your running-around-town shoes.  You’ll break down a pair of shoes standing in them or wearing them to the mall and running errands much faster than when you’re running or exercising. Another big mistake many people make when buying athletic shoes is not replacing them often enough.  Don't replace workout shoes when they start looking bad, because shoes start to break down while they still look good. When the support (the reason you buy the shoe in the first place) is gone you’ll start feeling strange aches and pains in your knees, hip, and back.  Most experts recommend that runners replace their shoes every 300 to 500 miles. If you don’t run enough to have a mile count, or running’s not your sport, you should replace your athletic shoes at least once a year.

Now, that you know the basics on buying workout shoes, it's time to head out and buy some new shoes... Mia and Isabella say "Class Dismissed!"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

De-stress the Stress

I promised that even though I am pregnant, I would not make this blog about pregnancy.  I am only a few weeks away from delivery, and I have been researching ways to stay relaxed during labor.... Really, everyone needs tips for de-stressing the stress in our lives.

Here are my great soothing relaxation techniques, that I have been using to cope with my pregnancy worries (and contractions), but they work for everyone's life, especially as a mom (like when the baby's on a crying marathon).  First of all, Yoga's a fabulous de-stresser, if you have time to take a class... Do it (plus it can help you learn how to focus on breathing).

But my primary technique, breathing, you can use just about anywhere, anytime, to soothe your soul. Sit with your eyes closed and imagine a beautiful, peaceful scene (a sunset over your favorite beach; a serene mountain vista). Then, working your way up from your toes to your face, concentrate on relaxing every muscle, one at a time. Breathe slowly, deeply, only through your nose and choose a simple word (such as "yes", "positive", "gratitude", or "one") or mantra/affirmation to repeat aloud every time you exhale. If you are concerned with others hearing you, say your word in your head.  Sometimes, I also count as I inhale and exhale, 1-2-3-4-5-6, I allow my breath to get longer and longer.  Ten minutes should do the trick, though even a minute or two is better than nothing.  De-stress your stress, no matter who you are or where you are!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shrimp & Spinach Pasta

Here is fast, easy, and yummy recipe for you, Self Soul Spacers!  I always keep spinach in my fridge for smoothies and salads, it's a Thayer staple.  Another Thayer staple is frozen shrimp, for those of you that know my husband, you know why, lol.  After a long afternoon of first grade homework and swim lessons, I needed a quick dinner that all of us would enjoy.  I hope you enjoy Shrimp & Spinach Pasta, as much as we did!!

Side note: This is what happens every time I cook with spinach... Lol.

Shrimp & Spinach Pasta
Serves 4, time 20 min

1/2 lb dried whole wheat small pasta, rotini
1/2 lb frozen shrimp, medium peeled & deveined
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 cups of spinach
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbs lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh herbs, basil thyme or parsley... Whatever you have chopped

Boil large pot of water w/ salt.  Add pasta and cook until al'dente.  Add shrimp, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, drizzle (1-2 tbs) olive oil. Heat med-high heat. Add onions & sweat, then add garlic.  Add spinach & lemon juice, salt & pepper, fresh herbs, toss until spinach is wilted.  Add cooked pasta & shrimp.  Toss. If a little stiff add pasta water to loosen.  Transfer to serving dish, top with Parmesan cheese.