Friday, August 5, 2011

Introducing Kids to YOGA and RUNNING

Two of my favorite ways to exercise or relieve stress are yoga and running.  Yes, they may seem like polar opposites but both forms of exercise provide incredible mental fortitude and physical release.  Some people claim that they hate running. And as a child, I never loved it either.  Usually, it felt like punishment - especially in the hot, humid Houston weather.  If our coach was upset with us, she would make us run a mile or two!  So I didn't enjoy it because it had a negative connotation!  It wasn't until college and law school that truly I fell in love with running.  It was a great way to stay in shape and clear my head and get some fresh air.

My father learned and practiced yoga growing up in India.  It was his way to start they day - yoga and prayer.  Unfortunately, I didn't pick up on his good habits early in life.  I was introduced to yoga in law school and I was shocked to learn how poor my balance was even though I was in great shape.  Two of my best friends and I decided to run the Dallas White Rock Lake Mararthon during law school!  It was so much fun training together but we were worried about getting injured. So we took yoga classes to prevent injury (our instructor was a speed runner), and I really enjoyed improving my balance, core strength and agility. I was surprised at how hard some of the poses were and how much concentration was involved.  Yoga was a great way to literally still my mind and learn to focus.  And it still is a great way to meditate.  I've always struggled with poor posture and I carry my tension in my neck and shoulders.  So yoga is a great way for me to continue to improve my posture, loosen my neck and strengthen my spine!

Although yoga and running are my passions, I don't expect my kids or husband to love the same forms of exercise that I do.  I do believe that if we introduce our children to something we enjoy then it's a great way to bond with them.  Usually, I hear stories of people make pancakes or cookies with their kids.  Which is great and fun! But there are many other ACTIVE ways to interact with our kids and family.  Playing soccer, baseball, biking, running, swimming or yoga are better avenues to create great memories for you and them! 

Teaching them to steady their mind, improve their focus or clear their head through sport, dance, music or yoga is much more beneficial for them.  They will learn to cope with stress better, be happier and not pick up bad habits like smoking, drinking or overeating to calm their nerves.

Here are some excellent websites on yoga and running:,8052,s6-1-0-5,00.html?bcpid=780919303001&bclid=1504353751&bctid=36856867001

Have a great weekend and enjoy some fun activities with your family and
friends!!  Thanks for reading!  Ruby :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Leading by Example and Blueberry-Peach Cobbler/ Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipes

Right now I'm reading a library book called "One Year to an Organized Life with Baby" by Regina Leeds.  We are expecting our second child (a boy!) in November! My husband, daughter and I are very excited.  So every weekend, we are organizing and tackling one room or closet!  Fun stuff! 

This book has been a great motivator and it's given me some great advice that can be applied to daily life.  The author wrote, "...the best way to create change is not to try to convince others to change but to change ourselves..."  This statement can apply to almost every facet of our lives.  If we want our kids to eat healthy, then we have to eat healthy.  If we want our children to be active and positive, then we ourselves should be active and positive.  So try to incorporate healthy habits and exercise into your family routine.  Even taking a walk together after dinner is a great way to bond with your children and spouse.  Or plan to participate 5-K run/walk or 1 mile fun with them. It's usually for a great cause and it'll teach them awareness and kindness towards others. Plus running a race or participating in a walk is incredibly fun and rewarding!  If you aren't a run, then you can go swimming with your kids or ride your bikes together. 

As I approach my third trimester, my sweet tooth is kicking in! Uh-oh!! :) So I've tweaked some of my favorite recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way and not feel guilty!

Blueberry-Peach Cobbler (prep time 5 minutes/ bake time 20 minutes)
1 Carton of washed Blueberry
3 Large Peaches
4 T Orange Juice
3 T Sugar or Agave or Honey
1/2 t Cinnamon
Crescent rolls 
8 inch glass cooking dish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees In a medium sauce pan, simmer the first five ingredients on medium heat until the blueberry start to burst and the sauce begins to boil (usually takes 5-7 minutes). You can taste the fruit filling to make sure it's somewhat sweet.  Feel free to add more sugar or honey if the blueberry-peach filling is really tart.

Spray canola oil into the cooking dish to grease it.  Pop open the crescent rolls, use half the rolls to line the cooking dish. I simply unroll the crescent rolls. It doesn't have to be perfect.  Pour the warm blueberry-peach mixture on top and then use the rest of the rolls to make the crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown!!  This tastes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or vanilla soy cream from Trader Joe's! Enjoy!

Chocolate Chips Cookies (prep time 10 minutes/bake time 12 minutes)
Preheat over 375 degrees
2 C     100% whole wheat flour 
1/2 C  Unbleached All-purpose flour (or use all whole wheat flour)
3/4 C  Sugar
1 C     Applesauce
1/2 C  Canola oil
3 T     Water
2 T     Vanilla
2 T     Crushed Flaxseed (optional)
1 t      Baking Soda
1 t      Salt
1 C     Semi-sweet chocolate chips 
Canola Oil Spray 

Mix all the ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a large bowl. Once the the mixture is well blended and sticky, add the chocolate chips.  Since these cookies have no butter or eggs, they are much healthier.  The applesauce makes the cookies more fluffy and cake-like.

Use a cookie sheet or a spray canola oil a flat baking dish (or even a pizza pan). Take a spoon and scoop out a generous portion on the baking dish.  Make sure to give the cookies a little space to spread out.  Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes until they brown on top.  This recipe makes 18 medium-size cookies. Your house will smell amazing while these bake!

This recipe is so easy that your kids can make them! So get them in the kitchen and have them help out!  
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


We live for the weekends!  After a long week, we usually relax on Friday nights and try to meet up with family and friends over the weekend.  If the weather is nice, we go to the park and play tennis.  And if it hot, hot, hot... we go to the pool or take an early morning walk in our neighborhood.  It feels great to get some fresh air and exercise early in the morning.  It makes my whole day easier because I have more energy and a better attitude!  

Summertime is a great time to take advantage of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.   This is a great time to BUY FRESH & BUY LOCAL!  We love going to the farmers markets in our area.   Our newspaper usually posts local farmers markets and the times they are open.  Check the Internet or your local newspaper. This is a great time to replace junk food like cookies and chips with cherries, peaches, watermelon and corn on the cob! The less junk food you bring into the house, the less your family will eat them.  Place a big bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table!  Pre-wash the apples, peaches, or pears.  There are plenty healthy and sweet fruits that can satisfy your family during the summer.  When you are grocery shopping, try to avoid the chips and soda aisles.

Here are two of my favorite summer time recipes.  I love making low fat blueberry pancakes and mango milkshakes (my version of Indian mango lassi). Who doesn't like pancakes?  Well, here is a great guilt-free recipe that you can enjoy with your family and kids. Don't worry, I usually take short cuts in recipes and sneak in healthy ingredients. I'm not a gourmet cook and my recipes are usually easy!  Your kids will still like them!

Blueberry Pancakes (Makes 6-8 pancakes)
2 Cup of your favorite Pancake Mix
1 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce (instead of eggs)
  (* if you don't have applesauce, you can use 1-2 ripe bananas*)
1 Cup of Fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 Cup of Whole Ground Flaxseed
1 Cup Skim Milk
Canola Oil Spray 
Maple Syrup

To make the pancakes low-fat, use 1 cup of applesauce instead of 2 eggs.   This significantly reduces your fat, cholesterol and calories.  Instead of water, use skim milk because it is a great source of calcium and vitamin D.  Ground flaxseed is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and lignans.  Check this link out for more information. You can find it a your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or health food store. Once the batter is ready, add the blueberries.  Heat a non-stick pan or pan on medium-low heat and you can use canola oil spray instead of oil. Although maple syrup is expensive, it's so much better and healthier than the regular pancake syrup which is full of corn syrup!  Try it!  Your family will love it and it goes really well with the blueberries.   ENJOY!

You will need a blender for this recipe.  It's fast and easy!
1 ripe Mango (use a peeler to remove the skin) 
(Cut up as much of the fruit over the blender - it may be a little messy
or used frozen pre-cut mangoes)
2 cups skim milk or soy milk
1 cup non-fat yogurt
1 cup vanilla ice cream or soy cream
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional) - try it :)
1 cup of ice (optional) 
Agave Nectar or Honey (optional)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend away.  You can always alter the recipe to meet your needs.  If you don't have a mango, use strawberries or bananas.  You can use Greek yogurt if you don't have regular nonfat yogurt.  If you like it thicker, use less skim milk.   Or replace the skim milk with soy or almond milk or Lactaid.  If the mango is really sweet, you probably won't need to add agave or honey.  Indian Lassi is usually made with only yogurt.  Just play with it to suit your family's tastes.  When I was a kid, I would gag when my Mom made banana milkshake but my brother loved it.  Each kid is different!  As a kid, I loved mango shakes and still do today!! :)

Stay cool and have a great weekend!!!  Drink lots of water and take a family walk!!
Ruby  :)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Growing Rate of Obesity in America

I have finally found my purpose!  Yes, the light bulb moment!  As a wife, mom, daughter, sister, colleague and friend of several wonderful people, I have come to the conclusion that we have nothing without our health.  It simply is the essence of our existence.  And I've seen so many intelligent adults including MYSELF struggle with weight, health and self-esteem issues.  As adults today, we have so much more information accessible to us compared to our parents did 15 or 30 years ago thanks to the Internet.  We can use this knowledge and information to make sound and healthy decisions for ourselves and our families. And we can also share this information with our friends and colleagues.

When I hear the statistics of the growing rate of obesity among adults and children, it horrifies and saddens me.  What are we doing to ourselves and our children?  We are practically poisoning them with sugar, preservatives, salt and fast-food! Children and adults in America hardly get enough exercise and then I hear that schools are cutting out recess and athletic programs due to financial constraints.  This makes me very sad and mad.

The obesity rates for American adults has doubled since 1980 and sadly, it has tripled for children! Obesity is the cause for more than 30 serious disease.  Please see for more information.  Can you imagine how much strain this will put on our healthcare system? And can you imagine the impact this has on a child who struggles to fit into society. We are constantly bombarded with images of skinny models or actors with six-packs.  Kids who are overweight are constantly ridiculed in school.  Unfortunately, schools and parents are to blame for providing junk food as a form of nutrition.  Why do you think there is a McDonald on almost every corner in America?

We live in a society that is constantly racing the clock.  We work long hours and we have little time to plan meals, buy healthy fruits and vegetables and actually prepare nutritious meals for ourselves or our families.  So we run through fast-food restaurants on our way from work or we buy frozen meals that are full of sodium and preservatives.  And I admit once in a while or in a week I do the same thing because I'm tired of cooking and cleaning as well. But it's definitely not a solution for every day of the week.  My husband and I have our favorite places to eat out as well but I know that I can make a healthier version of the same foods at home.  I want my daughter to taste a variety of foods (especially fruits and vegetables) and eat fresh home-made foods most of the week like I did growing up.

So this blog will be about healthy recipes, exercise for kids and parents, and encouraging families to exercise together and provide good examples and role models for our children.  So I encourage everyone to start with a simple goal: drink 8 glasses of water, eat 4-6 servings of fruits and vegetables and take a 30 minute walk with your spouse, children, friends or dog. 

On a final note, here is a great article for all parents: 8 Reasons to Make Time for Family Dinner:,,20410583,00.html

Welcome and thank you for reading my post!
Make it a great day with healthy food and exercise!!!
You can do it!