Category Archives: LocalActivity

Exercising in the Rain

Wet stuff has been falling out of the sky! That means exercising outside is going to look a little different! VIBRANCE is an all-terrain, 4-wheel drive, four season experience, so if you willing and able to be in the rain, we will be right there with you!!

That said, exercising in the rain is a little different than the normal San Diego experience, so there are some things to consider:

1) It’s Wet AND Slippery!
If you have old shoes, these end up posing an even greater safety hazard in the rain due to worn treads. Just like your vehicle hydroplanes, your toes or heels can hydroplane on wet roads or grass and cause you to slip and injure yourself. Wear shoes with a good, chunky tread. Light hikers can make a huge difference in your ability to grip the ground.

2) Temperature fluctuations
You will get cold easier in the rain. Dress like we do in the Pacific Northwest to stay warm and dry, even if the streets are flooding:

* Layers Are Your Friend – Moisture wicking clothing is always the best option for exercise. If you are unsure of how warm to dress, layer with moisture wicking clothing as it prevents sweat and rain from being trapped next to your skin as you exercise. It is important to keep your skin dry during exercise because when you are wet, from sweat or rain, you become colder much faster. Avoid cotton at all costs. As it gets wet, it becomes a sweaty, water-logged wrap that adds extra weight and causes chills.

* Protect Yer Noggin! – If you need to keep warm, remember to wear a thin hat or cap to keep heat in. Covering your head will also keep your ears safe from cold wind which can cause unnecessary discomfort and lead to upper respiratory illness, especially for Vata dominant doshas. You may need to take that cap off after 10 minutes, but you’ll be glad you have it until then!

* Warm de Hands and de Feets – Remember to wear gloves and thicker socks when exercising in the cold or wetness, as these areas get coldest fastest. Make sure your shoes have vents in them to let any water that soaks in drain back out.

* Get Slick! – If it is raining outside, a good option is to wear a rain jacket. You can choose between light weight to thicker jacket options, depending on how warm you get and your activity. Generally, unless there are heavy winds, a very light water repellent layer is enough.

While exercising in the rain may seem like torture upon torture, you’ll find it has many benefits. You are far less likely to overheat, you have very little traffic from other runners or cyclists, and neither sunscreen nor sweat sting your eyes. The best part for me is the increased reward of the hot shower afterward!

Festive Winter Pasta-vaganza!

This recipe is an adaptation of my apple gorgonzola fettuccine recipe. Now that I live in San Diego, the local produce is a little different than the pacific northwest. The result of playing with what we could find at the farmer’s market was delicioso!

10 oz. brown rice (fusilli, elbows, or fettuccine)
1 small bunch lacinato kale, veined and chopped
3 persimmons, peeled and chopped
1.5 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. goat butter
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Place chopped kale in cooking water before draining pasta, and drain pasta when kale is bright green and lightly blanched.

2. Melt one Tbsp of butter in a pan, and saute the minced garlic until soft.

3. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then the hazelnuts and persimmons and saute until the persimmons are just heated through – make certain the fruit does not become soggy!

4. Add the cooked fruit and nuts to the drained pasta and kale. Toss well. Crumble in Gorgonzola and cracked black pepper and toss again. Serve immediately, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.

Holy cow, yummy!

VIBRANCE Recommends: Ethically-Sourced Seattle Restaurants

For all those in, near, or frequently visiting Seattle, these sustainable and ethically minded restaurants are a must-hit for dining out. Supporting these restaurants — and telling them why — is smart voting with your dollar.

See how it’s being done, and demand your favorite restaurant do the same!

Not listed is Mashiko’s, my favorite sushi bar of all time. Mashiko’s recently announced that they are moving to a strictly sustainable seafood menu as of August 15th. My love for them has deepened! Read more about the exciting news here!

Planting an Indoor Herb Garden

Why wait for the weather to change? Planting an indoor herb garden can be an easy way to introduce yourself to the joys of gardening and is a wonderful way for gardeners to get their gardening-fix even during darker, colder months. Tending to plants can be very relaxing, therapeutic, and rewarding. Harvesting fresh herbs for spaghetti sauce, stews, and broiled meats gives your food a flavor which rivals your favorite restaurants! It is far less expensive than buying herbs in the store, and since it is a living plant, you never have to worry about the excess rotting in the fridge!

What You Will Need:

  • A Window – ideally with Southern exposure in winter. If you live in a dark place, you can use full-spectrum lamps to keep your plants happy!
  • Herbs – choose plants which you will actually use (I rarely use marjoram, even though it grows easily). My favorites – basil, thai basil, lemongrass (not an easy one to grow), cilantro, and oregano. You can start from seed if you wish, or purchase starter plants from your nursery.
  • Several small pots with holes for drainage – individual pots will allow you to keep an easier eye on each plant and its needs. If space is of concern, you can group them in one container, but growth may be compromised if your herb choices have differing needs.
  • Organic Soil – Choose organic, compost-rich soil for your plants. It contains a wider spectrum of nutrients and beneficial organisms than standard potting soil.
  • Plant food — worm castings, worm tea, PlanTea, or fish emulsion among others to give your herbs once a week.

For actual planting, this video is a basic how-to.

For some medicinal qualities of common herbs and spices we use in cooking, check out this blog post!

Bee-ing Mindful of our Pollinators

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays food carnival. Click here to learn more about sustainable eating and living.

Anyone out there enjoy almonds? Almond butter? Do you like that almond butter on apples?

Do blueberries, peaches, avocados, pears, pumpkins, cherries, melons, soybean and sunflower products also contribute to part of your daily diet? If so, you have bees to thank.

Bees are responsible for pollinating the above plants, and are an unrecognized essential part of our agriculture industry. Without bees, not only would apples and almonds disappear from our grocery stores, but $15 billion dollars of agriculture crops would no longer be available — that’s 100 different varieties crops grown in the USA annually. Overall, honey bees are responsible for 1/3 of our food crop.

I don’t write about this to discourage you from being afraid of bees, or from swatting at them. I bring light to the benefit of the honey bee because there is a significant problem affecting bees which threatens our food supply and bees’ very existence.

Western beekeepers have lost more than 25 percent of their colonies over the last few winters, in what is being termed as “colony collapse disorder”, in which an entire colony leaves the hive and dies. Reports of CCD come from 35 states in the USA and several other countries in the last three years. Suspected causes range from pollution and chemical exposure to poor nutrition, viruses and cell phone signals.

We each can do a part to help honeybees survive. Planting bee-friendly species such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, jasmine, wisteria, sunflowers, violets and other bee-pollinating flowers will ensure adequate food sources for your local population and keep worldwide populations sustained.

Make a donation to UC Davis or Pennyslania State University to help them find a solution to Colony Collapse Disorder (Click here to donate).

Support your local beekeeper by purchasing their products at the farmer’s markets. Beeswax candles and local honey are natural, sustainable products that support your local economy and keep your local beekeeper in business.

Thanks to Anthropologie for the alert on the honey bee crisis.
Click on the links below to learn more:

Photo taken from (user Autan) Click here for more of Autan’s work

Agnew, Singeli. “The Almond and the Bee.” San Francisco Chronicle October 14, 2007

“Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons.” The New York Times Online.October 14, 2007.

“Disorder Caused 45% of Bee Losses.” The Daily Green Online. 14 June 2007.

Haagen-Daaz’s website for education and more:

UC Davis Research Facility and Upcoming Garden Plans:

Bee-friendly plants for your garden:

Finding an Exercise Buddy: Resources for Extra Support and Motivation

I used to do all of my fitness solo. This was in part to not knowing anyone who was interested in exercise and being concerned about others being too fit or too unfit to be a suitable partner while I was training. Regular group exercise (outside a gym environment) did not come to me until I joined Always Running in college. Having a group of people expecting my presence made a radical difference in my consistency, progress, and motivation. I formed lasting friendships, shared resources and experiences, and had great adventures on the trails with others. I could get all geeky about anatomy, sweat, exercise, and running shoes and they would respond with equal enthusiasm. Sharing successes and setbacks were received with understanding and encouragement. My family doesn’t quite get what it means to qualify for Boston, but my running buddies sure do!

Exercising with others is a powerful way to develop a foundation of support for your fitness goals. Long after your trainer has switched gyms or retired, your exercise buddy will be there to share in your sweat, boost you up after defeat, and cheer you to the finish line.

The internet has allowed for an abundance of options in finding others with similar goals, exercise availability, and support. You can connect locally and find someone to drag you out of bed (or drag out of bed) for a morning hike every Saturday or connect virtually with someone across the country who has the same desire to lower his cholesterol by 50 points or complete a race a month for the next year. Below are some great resources to check out.

  • Meet-up is a great source for free activities of all kinds – hiking, cycling, triathlete training, tennis, running, and more! Search for your desired activity and attend an outing in your area.
  • SparkPeople: Spark People has launched regional groups for fitness and nutrition goal support. It is also a great resource for nutrition and exercise information and a place to keep track of your personal goals.
  • Post a request on your gym bulletin board for someone to lift weights or do cardio with.  If you enjoy each other’s company, outdoor off-site activities can be arranged.
  • a site specifically for finding an exercise partner by age, activity, and location.
  • Speak up in your existing class or group – always see the same people in your Yoga  or Spin class? Strike up a conversation and make a friendship. People are often very excited to connect with others.
  • Visit your local running store or athletic store and ask about group activities. Road Runner Sports and other local running shoe stores often host running groups. Title Nine has been known to hold rowing groups, hiking groups, and women’s soccer groups. Lululemon often holds yoga in the store during off hours. Visit your local fitness store and inquire about what is available, or be pro-active and start one with their support!

Have you utilized any of the above resources or found any others which have worked well for you? Comment below on where you have gone for extra support and how it has helped you out!

How to Find Grass-fed Food Sources:

Eatwild has a comprehensive database of grass-fed food sources in both the US and Canada. I utilize them as a resource when I am traveling, searching for options for clients, or investigating options I find on local menus.

Aside from being a fabulous resource, they also offer educational articles on why grass-fed is a preferable option, have a small store of books on farming, food, food politics, and cooking gadgets. It’s a site worth bookmarking for future reference!

To find local suppliers of grass-fed products in your area, click here:

Romio's Pizza — now catering to food intolerances!

Romio’s Pizza has wowed me by offering dairy, gluten, and/or soy-free pizzas coming the first week of June!

They have partnered with DaVinci’s bakery to reach out to those of us who have food intolerances. DaVinci’s makes a D/S/F pizza crust and DaVinci’s has been offering soy cheese to those who are lactose intolerant (please note – the soy cheese make have the milk protein casein in it; check with staff to make sure). I’m no stranger to a cheeseless pizza from my vegan days (back in the 90’s, in Alaska, when soy cheese was relatively unheard of), so even if Romio’s hasn’t figured out a dairy-soy free cheese, I’ll gladly order a pie from them the next time I’m having a craving for pizza or wanting to prep for a long run.

Please show Romio’s your support by ordering from them the next time you want a pie. Thank them for considering those with food intolerances and encourage them to keep up the good work!

Romio’s is located in Greenwood, but offers delivers free to the following areas:
North to 160th St.
East to I-5
West to Puget Sound
South to the Ship Canal

Greenwood, Phinney, Green Lake, Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Loyal Heights, Crown Hill, North Beach, Blue Ridge, North Park, Broadview, North Gate, And Bitter Lake.


Tel: (206) 782-9005
Fax: (206) 781-9181


VIBRANCE Recommends: Vipassana Meditation

I had the great pleasure of spending my holiday learning how to meditate. Meditation has been on my list of to-do’s for a few years now, but I felt uncomfortable trying and thought I couldn’t “do it right”. My brain would never calm down, I felt awkward and silly, and wasn’t quite sure how sitting and listening to my inner chatter was going to give me clarity, insight and peace.

After several positive testimonials, I decided to give myself a crash course in meditation by attending a Vipassana retreat in Onalaska, WA. For 10 days I sat and meditated, mostly in silence, with periodic breaks for delicious, wholesome food and walking on the retreat grounds. My rationale was 1) I can’t procrastinate or escape if I’m at a retreat, 2) 90-100 hours should be enough time to get comfortable with it, and 3) the quiet time and introspection were in dire need at that moment.

So off I went!

I cannot really describe what occurred, or how it occurred, but I can tell you that one does not leave such a retreat the same person who arrived. 10 days of mediation takes great effort, its true, but the profound rewards of attentiveness, awareness, and clarity are given without conscious struggle or effort. Your objective is to sit and observe, and through this process you somehow release attachments and struggles to emotions, ideas, and expectations. It’s as though you distract yourself with the meditation process while someone else cleans house (or head, as the case may be). I left knowing I had changed, but not knowing just how I had changed.

In the few weeks since my return to civilization, I have observed the following; I am more calm and accepting of the world around me – traffic, people, weather (the cold bothers me less, Mom!); I have greater faith in the unfolding process of my life, and I hear things I did not hear before such as inflection in tone and that which is unsaid. I am less afraid to be straightforward with my opinions, thoughts, and feelings. I feel more comfortable with who I am, even if others are not.

I might be more daring. I might be less hog-tied by uncertainty. That is not to say I am fearless – but now I know in my gut that it’s a passing phase. It will come up, show its face, and fade away, just like all other emotions and experiences in human existence.

Vipassana, or insight meditation, trains the subconscious mind to accept the impermanence of all things. We can consciously observe and accept that everything changes and nothing is forever but for some reason we still become attached or repelled to ideas, thoughts and habit patterns that, according to Buddhist philosophy, only lead to pain and suffering. Something we want doesn’t pan out, something we did not expect throws us for a loop – these things simply occur; our reaction to them is what ignites unpleasant feelings in our body or mind. Vipassana meditation is reported to alleviate suffering through developing a deeper understanding of the temporary nature of all things through simple observation of the body.

Of course, 10 days does not a Buddha make. While I’m not walking around enlightened, I can report that if I do get irked at traffic or burned rice it doesn’t last as long. Interactions with others that would normally upset me (rude strangers, for instance) don’t phase me. I can more clearly see how my own thought patterns can lead me to unpleasantness, and I’m less likely to fall down the rabbit hole after them.

If you are interested in exploring Vipassana mediation, retreats are available all over the world. The centers are run by donation only so that everyone can have access to the benefits of a calm, equanimous mind. For more information, contact me or visit the National Vipassana Website at

VIBRANT Life Workshop Series Begins May 10th!

Beginning this month, VIBRANCE is offering a lively, interactive group program to assist those seeking no-fuss, easy secrets to healthy living! This workshop series is open to enter at anytime, though those who begin the program at its inception will receive the greatest benefits and special discounts.
This workshop series will cover the following subjects –

  • Protein, Carbs and Fats! What’s healthy, what’s not?
  • Adding healthy foods into your diet one easy step at a time!
  • Nutrition Secrets that tame mood swings and the blues
  • Dealing with food cravings that get the best of you
  • Discover food and exercises right for your unique body!
  • Healthy snacks to keep you on track
  • Simple ways to increase vibrant living with greater ease!
  • How to end self-sabotage for good
  • Tips for enhancing your relationships for continued success
  • ….and more!

This workshop series begins Thursday, May 10th and is held every other Thursday from 6-7:30pm. Prices are as follows:

  • $65 per class to drop-in
  • $100/mo. (two 90 min. classes)
  • $90/mo. – Three month series commitment (6 classes) ($85/mo before May 10th)
  • $85/mo. – for all six months (12 classes) ($78/mo before May 10th)

Those who pay in full for the three or six month series before May 10th will receive additional savings as a reward for their commitment to better health and vibrancy! Email or call 206-227-1231 to sign up!