Silver Age Yoga

In our society, fitness is all too often associated with youth and beauty. In many cases, people work out purely to improve their appearance, never considering the benefits that regular exercise can have for their health and overall well-being. As a result of this way of thinking, most exercise programs target the young, active community. Workouts are designed for able body people, seldom taking into consideration the needs of older individuals, who could still reap the benefits of regular physical activity. With so few options available, many people become less active in their advancing years, and predictably, their health begins the decline.

Silver Age Yoga is a technique which incorporates Hatha style yoga with the latest developments in geriatric science and research, creating a program specifically tailored to the senior citizen community. This innovative style of exercise allows elderly people to maintain a much higher level of physical functionality.

We were deeply interested in this program, and contacted Frank Iszak to conduct an interview and learn more about Silver Age Yoga.

Q: How was the Silver Age Yoga Program developed?

A: Actually   Silver Age Yoga is a style of yoga (SAY hereinafter) while  the program is called Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach (SAYCO hereinafter)

THE STYLE

In 2003, seeing the need for a yoga style that could address the need of seniors, especially those with fragile bodies (and minds!) my wife and I developed an adaptation of classical Hatha (Indra Devi lineage) Solicited the support of seasoned yoga teachers of the area (San Diego county) as well as the scientific community in the field of gerontology. Between science addressing senior health issues (represented by health professionals from UCSD, UCLA. SIRA, Scripps) and two dozen yoga teachers the style developed into a practical well- functioning senior yoga program

THE OUTREACH

Realizing that the segment of the senior population that needs the benefits of yoga the most is the one that can afford it the less: the underserved and economically disadvantaged. It was also an opportunity for me, a political refugee of the 1950s to repay a debt:  To be accepted  and becoming part of this society to me was a gift which called for reciprocation, hence was the opportunity for: bringing improved health and a better quality of life to thousands of needy seniors. As a result SAYCO was born.

HISTORY OF SAYCO
Since 2005 SAYCO trained over 200 specialized yoga teachers, (as far as New Zealand) who in turn delivered over 7500 free yoga classes, changed the lives of thousands of seniors and done  that without a single injury. SAYCO received a dozen major awards and recognitions, representing local state national and international recognition of the field of senior health.

Q: What is your target demographic Silver Age was developed for?

A: Fifty five plus in age (we have students in their nineties) ambulatory – although there are a few wheelchair ridden – students in our classes) targeting seniors living in low income areas

Q: How does Silver Age Yoga benefit your clients?

A: In numerous ways: reduced prescription medications (by their physicians edict) improved balance (less injuries by falling) reducing obesity, better breathings, reduced pain due to arthritis, faster recovery from surgery, reduced depression from a loss of (the list is long: beloved partner, hearing, vision,) in general: an improved quality of life.

Q: What are the specific needs Silver Age Yoga fulfills for its clients that other fitness

programs overlook?

A: The need ONLY Silver Age Yoga offers: FREE classes to a wide variety of seniors with a diverse age, gender, ethnicity and physical ability.  We are the only yoga organization teaching the visually impaired at blind centers

Q: Can this program be customized for people with specialized needs?

A: Specifically in two areas: Visually impaired and therapeutic yoga for seniors as presented by Duke Integrative Medicine, an intensive course we attended in 2010.

Q: How have your clients responded to Silver Age? Any stories you’d like to share?

A: A great number of testimonials and anecdotal evidence, and now  scientific research is being conducted in partnership with UCSD Medical Research in progress.

Q: You have a 30 minute Silver Age Yoga class which is aired twice daily on San Diego County Television Network, bringing Silver Age to a much broader audience. What were the challenges in producing this given the target audience?

A: The Challenges are to attract more teachers to be certified to meet the increased demand created by the CTN exposure.

Q: What are the advantages for remaining active in our advancing years?

A: Quality of life improvement, longevity, delayed institutionalization (or none at all) the list is long

Q: Can younger people with limited mobility benefit from this program as well?

A: YES

Q: What are your hopes for the future of Silver Age Yoga?

A: As our motto says:  Change a thousand lives, and find the resources to do it.

To learn more about Silver Age Yoga, please visit their website at: http://www.silverageyoga.org/

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Posted in Informative Reports | 1 Comment

SuperSlow Zone

I had driven past the building a number of times, a two level affair smack dab in the middle of “The Forum” shopping center. It was hard to miss, painted with a Tuscan style mural of cherubs dancing on a fountain and adorned with dramatically arched windows; my eyes inevitably wandered its direction. The sign most prominently featured on the storefront was  Bed Bath and Beyond, but on the top level was that baffling sign reading “SuperSlow Zone.”

Upon Googling, I discovered that “SuperSlow Zone” was a unique sort of exercise franchise. Basically, each center provides personalized training sessions, employing a number of specialized weight training machines, more akin to what might be used in therapy rather than a standard gym. These machines would be set to as heavy a weight as the client could handle, then the client would be made to repeatedly lift this weight, very slowly, 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down. The website proudly toted this as “The fastest way to fitness…guaranteed” which seemed ironic given the name SuperSlow. A video featured on the site showed a young woman, who had gone from a size 12 to an 8, with two 20 minute one on one sessions a week, which she could do in her street clothes.

This sounded promising. Admittedly, time has always been one of the biggest obstacles for me in hitting the gym. There’s always an article or two to finish up, an ever mounting inbox full of emails I need to reply to, or all those phone call I need to return.

Then again, even when I make the time to go, I’m forced to change into those dreadful clothes. From my experience gym clothes fall into two categories, you have loose and baggy, or tight and unforgiving, neither of which are terribly flattering on the average Jane.

This wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that there are not only wall to wall mirrors there to mock you, but other people at the gym who are happy to step up to the plate. For some people, the gym is a social outing, and without fail, you always have a few who find need to smirk and snicker at those whose drawstrings don’t pull as tight. Then you have those people who creep up behind you and decide to deliver an impromptu coaching (never trainers mind you, you’d have to pay for their opinions.) I always just want to look up vacantly at them and say “Exercise? Dag Nabbit! They tricked me! I just followed the trail of donuts in from off the street!”

I’ve found myself most comfortable going to the gym between 1 and 2am, when no one’s there but the cleaning crew. However, for anyone holding an occupation other than writer, that kind of schedule isn’t really doable. To be able to just drop in for a 20 minute one on one session, in what I’m already wearing, only twice a week AND see results, this sounded like a Godsend! I had to know more.

I clicked on the contact link and sent an email, asking if I might be able to interview someone with the franchise and write a blog about SuperSlow Zone. I was promptly replied to by Thom Tombs of the SuperSlow Zone in Carlsbad, who invited me to try out a session while I was there. He emailed me the necessary paperwork, and suggested I “wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and shoes with supportive soles.” A few exchanges later, and I was ascending the escalator, paperwork in hand, towards that second level over Borders and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Thom greeted me at the door. The lobby was beautiful, with sort of the tranquil minimalist décor you would expect at a Spa rather than a gym. Thom led me to the consultation room, where I took a seat and began to ask my questions:

The Interview

Q. How did SuperSlow come in to being?

A. Well SuperSlow started as part of an Osteoporosis Study at the University of Florida. A fellow by the name of Ken Hutchins, who worked for Nautilus at the time, was put in charge of the exercise portion. Working at Nautilus, he had done training of professional athletes, [but] the subjects in the study were elderly women, often frail because of their osteoporosis, so using traditional strength training protocol wasn’t safe. Not only that, it was really difficult to keep records of progression and the work that they were doing … so that’s where SuperSlow was conceived. As time went on he wrote the SuperSlow protocol, there is quite an extensive technical manual that he developed.

Q. Describe a typical SuperSlow session for me.

A. Well, a typical SuperSlow Session, when you walk in your instructor usually meets you at the door. Your instructor takes care of setting up your equipment, we keep track of your seat settings on each piece of equipment, and we keep track of your weights, what’s appropriate resistance for you on each piece of equipment. You come in, as you can see it’s quiet, it’s private and there are really no distractions. So, your job is to come in and work hard but we take care of everything else for you as far as the equipment, making sure that you’re safe and also that you are getting everything you possibly can from your workout for that day.

Q.How does SuperSlow work and what are the advantages that SuperSlow offers over traditional weight loss and weight training methods?

A. SuperSlow works like any strength training or any body building activity. The idea is to bring the muscle that you are working to a point of momentary muscular fatigue. That triggers the body’s growth response mechanism so you get stronger not from exercising, you get stronger as a result of having exercised. Your body then needs adequate time and recovery resources in order to repair the muscle and make it stronger.

SuperSlow is the most time efficient and most effective method for strengthening. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn, so in that way as far as fat loss goes, having more muscle helps your body burn more calories and makes your body more efficient at burning calories. SuperSlow is the most effective way of doing that.

Q. Who can a SuperSlow program benefit and why?

A. Our clients right now range from age 12 to 79, and we’ve had older clients as well. It’s really ideal for anybody because it’s generalized exercise, its generalized strengthening. As far as who it benefits the most, busy professionals, busy moms, older people who want to remain active.  As a society we’re aging longer, we’re living longer, and in order to maintain function throughout your life, in order to maintain your activity level, it helps a lot to be strong. Really that’s what it’s all about, that’s what exercise is all about.

I just wrote an article that talks about the assumed objective vs. the real objective of why we exercise. It’s not because we like running or like bicycling, or like lifting weights for that matter, it’s because we want the results. We want to be stronger, we want our bodies to function better throughout our lifetime, and that’s what it’s really all about.

Q. Is this program viable for people of limited mobility?

A. Yeah, because you’re working with an instructor, we’re always working in a pain free range of motion. Because it’s so personal, it’s one on one, we’re going to work with you in the largest range of pain free motion that you can do. We don’t really worry too much about what you can’t do, we work on what you can do, get you stronger in that range and hopefully increase that range over time.

Q. What is the retention rate with your clients? Do they tend to use this for a specific weight loss goal or do they tend to maintain?

A. We have both. Exercise is a lifelong process, just like you’re always going to have to get haircuts, you’re always going to have to trim your nails, you’re always going to have to exercise. SuperSlow offers a very convenient way, really in as little as 20-30 minutes a week, it’s a way of exercising throughout your lifetime that’s always going to produce positive results for you.

Our focus is on safety. A lot of times people start exercising, and maybe they’re not prepared for what they’re doing or maybe they’re being pushed in some direction where they aren’t ready to go and injure themselves. That sets you back from your original goals. That’s actually how I got started with SuperSlow. I’m a former Marine, and I used to think that the way to get in shape was to run.  So, I went out and ran, stepped on a rock, broke my ankle. Now, I’m sitting around for 6-8 weeks, waiting for my ankle to heal, and putting on an extra 20lbs in the meantime. Being safe is just extremely important.

Q. I think we already touched on who the target demographic is, it’s really for anybody isn’t it?

A. It really is, you know I can tell you that our average client is about 55 years old, we’re about 60% female, 40% male and they all get great results.

Q. So how many centers are you currently operating?

A. Well, SuperSlow Zone is a franchise, there are currently, I think about 25 nationwide, and there will hopefully be more. SuperSlow Zone is a fairly new franchise, but SuperSlow has been around since 1982, back when Ken wrote the SuperSlow protocol.

Q. Do you foresee this going international?

A. Oh absolutely, we actually have a SuperSlow Zone in Istanbul. Actually, Dilek, who is the owner of that facility, came to Carlsbad for her certification.

The Session

Having finished with my questions, Thom went over my paperwork with me, and over some safety precautions for the work out. He then proceeded to show me where the changing area was, though he added it usually wasn’t necessary.

“Say if you came straight from work and wanted to take off your tie” he suggested. On an average day, I’d probably need somewhere to tuck my heels away, but today I came prepared, sporting my cross trainers.

We entered the work out area. I was surprised by the set up, this was nothing like a normal gym. Gone were the mirrors, speakers pumping their oh so infectious jams, and televisions so common place in most gyms. The walls were lined only with a row of oscillating fans on either side. I also took notice of the fact that all the machines were facing away from one another. I could really appreciate that. No one, other than your instructor, staring you down while you work out.

Thom informed me that in most gyms, they don’t care if you actually show up. They intentionally oversell their memberships, knowing that half the people paying will never set foot inside. He explained that SuperSlow really requires you to fully concentrate on your movements and form, something that can’t be done with a lot of distractions like TVs and stereos. Your instructor, someone trained in the SuperSlow technique, monitors your form. This seems an improvement over trying to do it yourself in a mirror, while fixating on the new roll you’ve discovered.

Thom set me up on a leg press machine. This machine was different from its gym brethren in that it had specialized controls. Rather than just changing the weight, and seat height, this machine allowed the instructor total control over the range of motion the client could execute. This truly was a personalized work out.

Thom set the weight for just 5lbs under my body weight. He explained that if your legs can carry your full weight all day, they should be able to manage just a little less for the duration of the exercise, which is usually about 1.5 to 3 minutes per machine.

He spent some time determining my starting and ending points, locking them in so that I wouldn’t over extend during the exercise. He then instructed me to lift very slowly, allowing 10 seconds between start to finish.  I was to let the weight just barely touchdown when I returned to my starting position, and then very slowly creep back to ending position, resisting the urge to force my way up or “fire out” as he referred to it.

I was surprised by how challenging this was, but this slow, steady movement really forced the muscle to work. I tried several of the machines using this technique. At the end of each set, Thom would have me hold the weight in suspension for a few seconds, then release. I could definitely feel the “point of momentary muscular fatigue.”

At the completion of my session, I didn’t feel exhausted, and wasn’t dripping with sweat but I certainly felt I had given my muscles a work out. Thom made sure to let me know that if I felt any pain the next day, SuperSlow Zone would provide me with a complimentary relief session, a service offered to all clients. I was told “that adverse levels of muscle soreness can usually be relieved by repeating the exercise(s) that prompted the soreness” which is basically what the relief session would consist of. This made me think about all the times I had talked myself out of a trip to the gym with the excuse that “I was too sore to go back just yet” and remained that way for the rest of the week. I probably would have been better off just getting back on the horse so to speak.

The next day, I found that despite a minimal amount of soreness in my legs and chest, I was walking taller, and feeling more energetic. I definitely felt like I had given my body a work out. SuperSlow is truly doable for anyone. It doesn’t involve rigorous movements, just slow, steady repetitive motions, performed with concentration and focus. It is the perfect example of quality versus quantity. A short, but intense work out twice a week beats out hours fumbling around at the gym in my book any day.

To find a SuperSlow Zone near you, visit: http://franchise.superslowzone.com/ssz-locator

San Diego Locals: http://www.superslowsandiego.com/index.html

SuperSlow Zone Carlsbad is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carlsbad-CA/SuperSlow-Zone-Carlsbad/190355691368?ref=mf

-To Your Health,

-Sarah Marcotte

Posted in Informative Reports | 1 Comment

Zucchini Adventure!

The past year, we’ve been working on our very own backyard garden. Many of the seeds we initially planted were eaten by hungry jack rabbits, who snuck into the yard. However, it would seem that said jack rabbits don’t have a taste for cauliflower or zucchini, which is all that was left in our rather unvictorious little victory garden.

We decided to cut our losses and prepare some dishes using the veggies left available to us. We bring you, the fruit of our labors, stuffed zucchini (actually, zucchini is a squash, but you get the idea.) Cauliflower to be prepared at a later date.

For This Recipe You Will Need:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups cooked Spanish rice
  • 3 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp diced Ortega chiles (canned)
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream
  • 3 tbsp salsa

Start off by boiling a pot of water. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, you’ll be using it later on.

Slice your zucchini lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds inside. You may want to cut off the two tail ends of your zucchini to make this simpler.

 Once the water has reached a boil, place the zucchini in and boil for about 5 minutes, or until skin is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Remove the zucchini from the boiling water, and place on a paper towel to drain with skin side up.

While the zucchini is draining, mix your rice, 2 tbsps of sour cream, 2 tbsps of chiles and 2 tbsps of salsa in a separate bowl.

Scoop your rice mixture into the shell of the drained zucchini. Use the left over tbsps of salsa and cheese to drizzle down the center. Place in the oven, preheated to 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Serve with additional sour cream and salsa to taste.

Posted in Fatties in the Kitchen | Leave a comment

S.N.A.C.

While sitting in on “The Good Food Factory”cooking class, at The Center For Healthy Lifestyle in Solana Beach, CA, we had the good fortune of striking up a conversation with Carrie Chacon, Certified Clinical Nutritionist. Carrie is the creator of S.N.A.C cards, an innovative new system that helps teach kid’s about the foods they eat, and how different foods fuel their bodies. We thought this was a great idea, and wanted to know more about S.N.A.C cards. Below is an interview with Carrie Chacon, explaining what S.N.A.C.ing is all about.

Q: What are S.N.A.C. cards, how do they work?

A: S.N.A.C. cards are a fun and engaging way to teach nutrition to kids.   Designed to educate kids on healthy eating using a language they understand, S.N.A.C. uses visual, audible and sensory methods.

In doing so lessons learned will ‘stick’ and recall of concepts is quicker. This makes S.N.A.C. a fun and educational “game” children enjoy. Each S.N.A.C. card has nutritional information and suggested serving size, along with a bonus meal or snack ideas.

A great way to use S.N.A.C. is in meal preparation. I will pull out a Muscle, Brain and Mover Food card (code for protein, carbohydrate and fat) put them on the counter and talk with my kids as we cook. In the past I would feel overwhelmed as I cooked, I would worry about balancing my kid’s meals, feeding them too much or not enough; but now we have a starting point and we can modify food if the kids need to play soccer, take a test or anything else that may need more nutrition.   Austin and Isabella (my little pumpkins) find it so funny that they can feed their eyes with carrots, their bones with black beans, their cells with eggs.. well I could go on and on.. We have a lot of cards!

At snack time the kids will pull a Muscle card, Brain card or Mover card, and if we have the food they know it’s ok. And they have learned by the visual aids how much to start with. I seldom have to say ‘get something healthy’ because they have learned what their bodies need and how to measure a serving size.

Q: What inspired you to create S.N.A.C. cards?

A: My Kids!

I started S.N.A.C. with a simple desire to change how my kids thought about food. I wanted them to understand that food does not make you right or wrong, good or bad. Food is something that nourishes your body. Food can be such a touchy thing for many people. We are constantly being told that making a healthy choice means we are good and strong, and choosing an unhealthy food means we are bad and weak. When really we are not either of those, we are simply feeding our bodies, and the real choice is “What do I want from my food today?” I want to play all day with kids? Feed those muscles, feed the brain, and the move it around. I want to finish up my filing or be spot on for work? Pile on the Brain Food with something to get it moving, along with Muscle Food to keep your body alert. And yes, we know there are days when we want to sit and enjoy our food slowly and lavishly. Dark chocolate with a glass of wine anyone? Wait, S.N.A.C. is about the kids! But look what we can learn as well.

I wanted my kids to love the body they have. My son is shaped very different than my daughter. Each of them are amazing and beautiful in their own way and in their own body. With S.N.A.C. the focus is on fueling their body and mind, not on being right or wrong. That empowerment has flourished in so many other parts of their life too. They are comfortable and confident in who they are because they have been given the power to make choices for themselves.

Q: How do you hope S.N.A.C. cards will be implemented?

A: S.N.A.C. can easily augment any nutritional program in schools, hospitals, YMCA’s, after school programs and more. Because S.N.A.C. talks about the benefits of whole, natural foods, implementing our information and programs can bring programs into compliance for most nutritional recommendations.  Strict diets that require vigilance can also use S.N.A.C. since all they would have to do is use the appropriate card, or custom make a S.N.A.C. pack. The support S.N.A.C. can offer is so wide and endless.

As a family we use S.N.A.C. in many different ways. For meal preparation, for snack choosing, for grocery shopping, and even as a ‘flashcard’ game.

My kids love to see if they can remember which food goes with which character. For instance, instead of presenting food groups as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, S.N.A.C. categorizes foods as Brain, Muscle, and Mover Foods. Each of the three Master Cards (Muscle, Brain, Mover) includes a list of healthy foods for each group, their nutritional content, and easily understood information about the food’s function in the body. They also contain helpful, visual aids to help determine portion size.

S.N.A.C. Is a simple tool to help parents instill healthy eating habits early for their kids, which will stick with them for a lifetime.
Q: What age demographic are S.N.A.C. cards targeted towards?

A: S.N.A.C is designed for kids from as early as 6 months to 12 years.

S.N.A.C. can be used as soon as kids are eating solid food. The information on the cards is a great way to communicate about food and teach kids the nutritious value of a variety of foods. My sister reads the back of the cards to her 5 year old and her 10 year old reads them himself. My cousin gives her 3 year old the banana card while he is eating a banana, all the while pointing to his muscles and talking about how it is helping him so he can jump!

Q: Do you see potential for developing S.N.A.C. card sets that specifically target an age range (for example: Ages 0-3/age:4-6 /age:7-10 /age:10-13)?

A: Absolutely! There are many groups that need specialized cards including diabetics, vegetarians, girls, boys, athletes, etc.  They all face different nutritional challenges and concerns; so a specialized pack for each will be developed.

S.N.A.C. will be able to grow in every direction possible, driven hand-in-hand with by our community of S.N.A.Cers.
Q: At what age do you think children should become actively involved in their personal health and diet, and to what degree?

A: I feel that at an early age kids should always know what they are eating. By letting kids know what they are eating from the 1st bite of solid food their involvement in nutrition begins.  If veggies are constantly hidden in food kids will never know they like those foods. So they might eat them if they are disguised but what happens when they aren’t?  When kids are aware of the power of food they are more apt to choose healthier foods.

My son was given more nutritional responsibility this year; at 9 he understood it was best to eat a breakfast of Muscle, Brain and Mover Food. He began to see a difference in many areas of his day. At school he stayed focused until recess, while before he was hungry an hour after he ate. He was up and focused at his early-morning baseball games, allowing for better play in the field and energetic support of his teammates. These situations reinforced to Austin that fueling his body up leads to just plain old feeling good. Oh, and some pretty good hits!

Q: In general, how do children respond to S.N.A.C. cards?

A: Kids love to talk about what they eat and they love to tell you the worst thing they ate! They love to tell you they can eat a whole pizza, 5 pieces of cake and 3 sodas. Then we talk about S.N.A.C.  and I pull out my handy dandy Sludge Card! And talk about the crowd going wild. Sludge represents “overindulgence”, “too much”, “feeling yucky”. Sludge does not talk about specific foods or food groups. And because of that kids don’t feel threatened at all when we touch on the subject of foods that make you feel sludgy.

And they get it! They get that Muscle Foods feed your muscles and if you’re going to play soccer you need to feed your muscles! Brain Foods will help with your spelling test! Done. They get that all 3 groups work together and are important to each other.

When I present in classrooms, teachers will tell me many months later that everyday at least 1 student if not more will talk in S.N.A.C. Terms. The teachers quickly capitalized on that by rolling it right into curriculum.

Q: Are S.N.A.C. cards something you foresee eventually being used as part of classroom curriculum?

A: Speaking of curriculum…Yes! S.N.A.C. easily translates into curriculum that can be integrated right into teacher’s lesson plans. I work with educators to develop worksheets for grades K-5.  The worksheets can be used in all curriculum, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and more. There are crossword puzzles, word searches, and food addition, along with grade-specific projects. Included in the curriculum package is a number of S.N.A.C. packs, posters for the cafeteria and special event help.

A big benefit to schools using a nutritional program is the access to grants that opens up. Budget cuts have hit schools hard and grants are a fantastic way to find extra funds. S.N.A.C.  has grant writers available to assist schools as well.
Q: What have been some of your obstacles in bringing S.N.A.C. cards to the public?

A: Exposure has been a big obstacle. I can shout from the mountain tops about nutrition, but without key support from schools, hospitals and especially families, it’s difficult to break through the noise.

On a much more personal level, not exposure of the product but of myself. S.N.A.C. comes from my heart and putting it out there for people to see and judge has been a HUGE challenge for me. Every step of S.N.A.C. pushes me outside my comfort zone, yet every time I hear a child talk about S.N.A.C. , I build more confidence and then I’m take on something a little bigger.

Q: How can people who share your vision help bring S.N.A.C. cards to the publics attention?

A: Talk about S.N.A.C. to everyone! There is a great core group in our S.N.A.C. family and we all believe that S.N.A.C. embodies a way of life, a joy of life and the importance of family. But we need our S.N.A.C. family to grow, because the more people talking about S.N.A.C. and using the cards with their kids, the easier it is to spread the word.

Fan us on Facebook, ask your school to contact us, or just talk to us! We’re happy to help answer anything we can about S.N.A.C or child nutrition.


Q:
How much do S.N.A.C. cards cost and where can you get them?

A: S.N.A.C. can be purchased at www.snaccards.com for only $19.95. Our site is a fun way to keep up on snack ideas, meal suggestions, recipes and nutritional motivation for a busy life.

Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know about S.N.A.C. cards?

A: S.N.A.C. came from a place of love, a love of food! And from compassion for today’s busy families, hope for our planet, excitement to educate people about food.

I envisioned families sitting together talking over the meals that were prepared together and catching up on their day. Our kids have been provided a solid and safe foundation to find their voice and discover trust in their decisions using S.N.A.C as a foundation for decision making and empowerment. All these things lead to higher self-esteem and self-confidence, which lays the groundwork for the rest of their lives.

Life is good, we have to enjoy it and celebrate each other! Over a S.N.A.C. Card!!

Posted in Informative Reports | 6 Comments

A Trip To “The Good Food Factory”

One lazy day, while doing a little channel flipping, we came across a program that really caught our attention! Being Encinitas locals, we were first drawn in by the familiar beach-side locations. A show being filmed right in our home town? Our interest was piqued.

The Show

The show was none other than “The Good Food Factory” a fresh take on your traditional cooking show. There are a number of things that set “The Good Food Factory” apart, from it’s effervescent hostess Amanda Curry to the gorgeous shots of the Southern California coast, but what we love is that this is a cooking show targeting young people, teaching them to cook healthfully and to love doing it!

This show is just what the doctor ordered! How often do you hear dismal news reports discussing the childhood obesity crisis? Newscasters have become adept at criticizing the modern diet and ever diminishing activity levels of the young, yet rarely do you hear a real, practical solution in these broadcasts. “The Good Food Factory” offers just that. Teach children to take control of their diet, and develop a lifelong love of cooking and eating well!

What’s not to love? Amanda approaches each recipe as an exciting new project. She exudes such joy and vivaciousness that children and grown ups alike can’t help but share her enthusiasm.

In the episode we caught Surfboard Sandwiches, the camera follows our hostess and her young friend Dagan through the entire process of bringing a meal to fruition. Amanda easily turns a trip to the grocery store into a whimsical adventure, but it is in the kitchen that she really shines.

Amanda embews such a sense of fun and wonder into her cooking that you would believe she’s working magic. In a way, she is. She is transforming the way an entire generation of children will approach their diet.

After a bit of searching on the web, we discovered that in addition to creating and hosting “The Good Food Factory” Amanda teaches classes at The Center For Healthy Lifestyle in the neighboring city of Solana Beach. We just had to sit in on one of these classes!

The Classes


The Center For Healthy Lifestyle is a beautiful yellow cottage, complete with an organic garden. Inside, we found Amanda, dressed in a green apron and chefs hat, playing host to a gaggle of excited youngsters, 14 to be exact, in the kitchen. The children sat around the island atop wooden stools, the room bubbling with their laughter. You could tell they were already entranced.

Amanda passed print-outs of the day’s recipe to all the students, Homemade Soft Pretzels. She presented an assortment of ingredients that the children could choose to add to their pretzels; berries, nuts, cheese, broccoli, even crushed pretzel pieces. She then let the children know that they had access to the entire garden outback, and anything they picked, they would be welcome to mix in.

The children were delighted to explore the lush garden, and pelted Amanda with an onslaught of questions about the various fruits and vegetables they discovered. They brought their new found treasures to the sink to wash them off, brimming with pride. It was amazing to see children come alive like this over vegetables, the proverbial nemesis of children everywhere. Amanda was already working her magic.

Back in the kitchen, Amanda had one little girl assist her in showing how to roll the dough and twist it into the shape of a classic pretzel. The children were eager to get their fingers around it. Creativity was abound. Some children twirled the traditional shape, while others created blueberry topped snakes, and cheese sprinkled whales. When they were finished, Amanda put the pretzels on a tray, lined with butcher paper, and wrote the name of the student each belonged to beside these works of art.

The class then was split into groups to create team pretzels. These team pretzels would be collaborative efforts, which would be sampled by all. Amanda delegated different ingredients to each group, some kids tackling a broccoli and cheese pretzel, while others worked with strawberries or crushed pretzel bits. The kids cheerfully worked together, giggling and joking with one another.

As the group pretzels were whisked away to the oven, Amanda helped the children prepare a variety of dips for the pretzels using natural ingredients such as honey, yogurt, berries and vanilla.

The children were given paper bags in which to bring their personal pretzels home and share with their families. Amanda then announced each groups’ pretzel, and it’s individual ingredients, cutting them into 14 pieces and letting each child have a taste.

As the children’s parents arrived, they proudly showed off their pretzels, and their finds from the garden. One little boy excitedly asked Amanda “Can I take my Swiss chard home with me?” Never has a child brimmed with such elation over his vegetables.

The class was a triumphant success. A curiosity has been awakened in these children that won’t easily be smoldered out. Food is no longer something they will just passively graze on, but something to be celebrated and enjoyed. For many of these children, their diet will become something they actively participate in and want to more fully understand. This is the first step in adopting a healthy lifestyle, and it’s wonderful that someone like Amanda Curry is devoted to fostering this in young people.

Join The Fun

The Good Food Factory is trying to raise funds to shoot another season, spreading the joy to even more youngsters, and they’re looking for your help! The Good Food Factory would gladly partner with  businesses or like-minded people that share in the vision of making healthy food fun. If interested, contact Amanda directly at: amanda@thegoodfoodfactory.com

To sign up for Amanda’s classes, visit The Good Food Factory website: http://www.thegoodfoodfactory.com/

Or email Amanda Curry: amanda@thegoodfoodfactory.com

First class is free sponsored by Jimbo’s…Naturally!

The Good Food Factory can be seen on channel 4SD in San Diego every Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm and Wednesday afternoons at 4:00pm.

If you are outside of the San Diego area, check out “The Good Food Factory” sizzle reel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvCKjumFtkM&feature=player_embedded

And a FULL episode “The Sleepover” is also featured on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/13398546

Become a fan of The Good Food Factory on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheGoodFoodFactory?ref=ts&v=wall

-To Your Health!

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BLT Salad

There’s nothing quite like biting into a warm BLT, the crisp bacon melded with fresh, cool lettuce and a thick juicy slice of tomato. It’s heaven between two toasted slices of bread slathered with mayo. Tragically, as with so many foods, the traditional BLT also comes loaded with fats that we could do without. We set out to modify this deli favorite for the more health conscious set. We bring you The BLT Salad.

For This Recipe You Will Need:8 Slices of low-fat turkey bacon

  • 4 slices country Italian bread
  • 8 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1.5 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1.75 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced

(Serves 4)

Take a large plate, cover it with a paper towel, and lay bacon strips on top. The paper will help the bacon drain. Cover the strips with another paper towel and microwave for 2-4 minutes. Break the cooked bacon into 2 inch pieces.

Toast the country Italian bread. Then place each slice on 4 separate plates. Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Top each slice with romaine, tomatoes, sliced avocado and bacon.

Add a few tablespoons of your favorite low-fat dressing and enjoy.

-To Your Health!

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Potsticker Soup

Here at Healthy Old Fatties’ we love Chinese food. Unfortunately, much of what makes our favorite Asian delicacies so tasty are the heavy sauces and deep-frying. While these certainly enhance the flavor, it doesn’t make ordering Chinese the most optimal choice when looking to eat healthfully. Today we’d like to offer a fast, fresh and healthy alternative that incorporates much of the Oriental flavor we adore while skipping on the added fat. We bring you Pot Sticker Soup!

For This Recipe You Will Need:

  • 1/8 oz. chopped parsley
  • 5 oz. canned bamboo shoots (drained)
  • 5 oz. canned water chestnuts (drained)
  • 2 32 oz. boxes of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 3/4 oz. packets of fried rice seasoning mix
  • 8 oz. shredded carrots
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets (washed)
  • 6 oz. snow peas (washed)
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (washed)
  • 8 oz. frozen pot stickers

Pour your broth into a large pot. When the broth has been brought to a boil add in your seasoning packets, and stir.

Next, add in your vegetables.

Then, add your pot stickers to the brew,

and toss in your parsley.

Stir the soup and cover, making sure to watch and stir frequently.

The soup should simmer for roughly 30 minutes, or until veggies are crisp tender and the pot stickers are heated through.

Ladel your soup into a bowl and serve. You may choose to add some Sriracha sauce for an extra kick.

-To Your Health

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