But going to IMM Cologne, the international furnishings show in Germany as part of BlogTour by Modenus, helped open my eyes to expanded definitions of both terms. Part of why I found the trip so appealing was the attention paid to the future, and how the present affects it. Everything I saw, from new products in Cologne to extremely old houses in Amsterdam, was built to last.
Please read along to discover some of the companies that are forward-thinking in their products and design, and see if your understanding of what’s organic and sustainable grows (in a chemical-free garden, of course)
Hansgrohe, already pioneers in sustainability, and environmental and climate protection, had the Axor Starck Organic line, which includes the faucet you see here. Is it just me (and hundreds of visitors to the booth) who thinks it looks like a tree branch? This faucet has “Organic” in its name for the following reasons:
* Less is more: it has minimal design
* The water flow rate is 3.5 liters per minute, compared to the norm of 7 (with no water pressure difference. I’d tell you about the 90 holes in the tap that makes this possible, but it’s technical and my mind wandered off)
* The controls are intuitive, ergonomic and economical, which means you turn the water on and off at the tip of the spout, where it’s easy to reach. And the temperature is controlled at the top of the mixer
* The casting is hollow, so less material is used to make the faucet
* The water never touches brass pipes, so it’s not picking up weird pipe goobers
My next tip of the hat goes to a Canadian, woman-owned company, Du Verre Hardware. They create cabinet pulls from recycled aluminum. I’ve never seen pulls quite like these, and I was curious about Du Verre’s statement that “Our precision die cast hardware is manufactured entirely from recycled aluminum and is an environmentally friendly choice for professional and consumer alike. Du Verre Hardware is compatible with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) objectives,” so I asked owner Gina Lubin to elaborate.
“The metal is valuable and easily melted down and reused. In fact, aluminum becomes stronger as it goes through this constant process of being cast and melted and cast again. Of course, all of us are now so much more aware of the importance of reduce, recycle, reuse. It’s not only a good thing, it is expected. Recycled aluminum requires only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum. So there is energy saving as well. LEED was developed in 1998 to create greener spaces. People are making a more environmentally friendly choice. A small thing in a large project, but a worthwhile detail.”
The final entity I want to mention is the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). They are not producers of products; rather, they are a professional association for bath and kitchen specialists. What this means to you is that you can visit them to get professional help in planning your kitchen or bath project. I’ve moved often and prefer older homes, so have been through many remodels. Because of that, I hate waste and impermanence, and crave homes that respect the environment, both in usage, history and surroundings. The NKBA mission statement appeals to my values – “Committed to helping consumers and professionals understand their options for creating more energy-efficient living spaces…with a focus on environmentally friendly products and practices.”
My colleague Sarah Sarna wrote a very helpful post that describes the NKBA, so clicky on over to her description. After reading Sarah’s post, I wrote to get more information about the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) that the NKBA will put on in April, and discovered a talk that appeals to me – “Designing for a Sustainable Lifestyle.” The blurb says that “attendees will learn how to think beyond the basics of design to seek out innovative ways that solve everyday challenges which come with trying to live a sustainable lifestyle.” I’m not a designer, nor do I have any current plans to attend the show, but if I ever hire an interior designer, I want THAT person to have attended the talk.
In the end, I came home from BlogTour with an expanded idea of what it means to more fully live an organic and sustainable lifestyle. It’s more than what I DO in the kitchen; it’s what my kitchen IS. It’s the busiest room in my home, and I want it to fully reflect my values. And it was such an adventure. The show was for interior designers and home specialists, and I was probably the only healthy living blogger there. To see all the creativity and effort that is going into making our lives better (I saw nothing that was designed to be obsolete) made me excited and happy. I like owning items that have a history and will last long enough to become part of my kids’ histories. I prefer function to flash, and quality over shiny objects that glitter for a while, then lose their sparkle after a year or two. What about you?
If you want to know about the mattress I discovered at the show that’s treated with olive oil, read my quick blurb over at Freshome. Cashmere is also involved!
I was not compensated in any way for this post, nor was I asked to write it. All of the organizations mentioned were sponsors of BlogTour, and I truly feel they are working to improve our lives and planet.
Want to design a healthier life for yourself? Then please subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter:AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
We culled from hither and yon to offer you one-stop resource shopping as follows:
Scroll through the sites of blogs for Boom Chicka Boomers listed below. Bookmark them, subscribe, check them out. Get answers to your questions. Join conversations with others who share your interests. Add to our listl.ly.com list if you know of a valuable site that speaks to health for boomers. Let’s make this the most comprehensive, helpful list of its kind!
What’s the ultimate list to be part of if you want to be a Boomer in the Know? Why, the subscriber list for our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.
We were not compensated in any way for compiling this list. List.ly.com is a free service (they do have a paid, upgraded option, but we have not gone that route). Don’t you think this list looks prettier than a bunch of links in a row?
Photo credit: webwombat.com.au.
The coffee-depression study involved 263,925 people. For a year, their drink consumption was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 of the participants had been.
Participants who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee.
“Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk,” said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health in Research.
Well, I’m not sure if I could do four cups of unsweetened coffee, but I DO know that German milchkaffee (milk coffee) is extremely tasty. At home, I like decaf because regular makes me jittery. But hand me some German milchkaffee and I get happy. Put me in a study!
While I helped myself to the free coffee and lunch (thanks, Miele), I learned about their new coffee machine from none other than Markus Miele, managing director and co-proprietor of (Insert his famous last name here)! The machine was so brilliant – not only does it know how tall your cup is, it also somehow knows how wide, so you get the exact right amount of coffee in your cup without the splashes and hot splutters. They gave a demo with a tiny espresso cup and a tall latte macchiato glass. There was even a feature called the CupSensor, which reacts to beverages made with milk froth by raising the spout 1 centimeter (that’s “a little bit” in U.S.-speak) after milk delivery so that the spout stays clean. It does other helpful chores, such as cleaning itself and making 2 different types of coffee drinks at once. It also has a milk system that for all I know comes with a happy cow right inside the machine (I suspect it’s more like an ease-of-use milk container, but I’m holding out for a mini-cow).
I heard a rumor that it’s expensive, but when you add up the cost over a year of those maccho-latte-frappe-cini-ballerini drinks you’ve been buying for $5 a pop, I guess it’s all relative. Besides, you read the bit about how it cleans itself, right?
I want this machine in my house. My house is in the U.S. This machine isn’t even available in Germany until May. I do not know when it will come to the U.S. Dear Miele, we all want this machine. Please send it to the U.S. We promise to get our own cows. Please send coffee while you’re at it. We promise to never drink soda. We promise to drink our four cups of milchkaffee every day. Thank you.
I was one of 12 bloggers invited on BlogTour Cologne by Modenus. Want to see some wonderful pictures of the team? Fellow blogger/ photographer Courtney Price has them. My picture shows how happy I can get after milchkaffee!
I was not paid to talk about the Miele Generation 6000 coffee maker. I just think you’ll like it. Miele was one of the sponsors for the Modenus BlogTour Cologne, for which I am very grateful. And thirsty. And I’d like to see this study replicated using milchkaffee.
What is your favorite coffee drink? Does it make you happy?
Kymberly: Next, view our one minute video that offers the following back-safe obliques exercise. We suggest it because you have very little chance to arch or stress your lumbar region.
Before trying the moves we’re about to suggest, take a look at our recently released “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50,” (over 23 videos, 10 modules, popular abs questions addressed). Click the link then return.
Back to our regular programming!
Lie on your back. Bend your knees and lift your legs in the air above your hips. The knees can be in towards your chest a bit; feet directly above the hips. Keeping both shoulders firmly anchored to the ground or mat and arms outstretched but below the plane of your shoulders, slowly bring your knees to the right then back to center then left. Go only as far as you can still keep your shoulders on the mat. Basically you are dropping the legs side to side in a hinge-like motion without using any momentum.
Next try reverse curls, which also target the core with little risk to the lower back. For one, the hips are tucked (posterior tilt) throughout this move, so the lumbar spine has little chance to hyperextend or arch (anterior tilt).
As for frequency, with abdominal exercises you can do them every day if you want. The abs are endurance, not power muscles so don’t really need a day’s rest in between. Go by how your back feels.Do abdominal exercises every day if you want! The abs are endurance, not power muscles so don't… Click To Tweet
Alexandra: After you’ve tried these, please check back in and let us know which exercises were most comfortable, which were most effective, and so on. We want to know how you progress.
ACTION: The most pain-free exercise you can benefit from today and every day is to subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Enter your email and claim your bonus as well!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Lately I have been more and more frustrated with the fact that my knee and foot issues are preventing me from working out as often, intensely, and comfortably as I want. The optimist in me is convinced I will wake up one day and discover that my left knee has forgotten it ever had two surgeries. As a result, my right foot would then decide it no longer has to compensate for that knee by bearing the impact brunt in a painful manner.
Fortunately, I am still able to teach fitness, walk my dog, and engage in lots of activities (though lunges and snowboarding are now out barring some medical or aging miracle). But I definitely worry about limited days or types of action. Ahhh, to enjoy high impact aerobics again! And I feel the pain. Nevertheless, I persevere in trying solutions, solutions I want to share with you in case you are experiencing similar joint pain.
A combination of factors helps me continue going for the gusto in my beloved step classes, on powerwalks, and in all forms of dance and cardio classes. If you are also suffering from joint pain and want to stay or become more active, try the following. Let me know if any of my strategies work for you. For sure speak up if you have found other ways to move pain-free with each added year of an active life.
First and foremost, get shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and designed for each exercise mode. Don’t follow trends; follow your medical or fitness professional’s advice and your own body. I invest in several pair of workout shoes, and wear them only for the designated activity. I fully embrace my boom chicka boomer status at this point and care more about pain-free movement than fashion, style, and low cost. Vive la TheraFits when it comes to my fave walking shoes!
Confession time: I pooh poohed orthotics for years, advocating fixing movement patterns instead. A youthful biomechanics snob was I. Experience (code word for “joint pain”) has taught me that even good form, attention to footfall, and body awareness can’t totally fix my foot problems. Orthotics are taking the pressure off my arthritic big toe, which makes me hopeful I will avoid the toe surgery my sister had for this same problem. But now I have new pains in the pad of my foot. The gait shift from the orthotics may be the culprit. Or the savior. I am still experimenting with the orthotics. Any tips?
I’m currently in the first month of a two month trial of Pure Matters Joint Health supps. At first it seemed as though the supplements were not making much of a difference. I believed they would work miracles; I wanted them to be the magic pills; yet my knee still hurt. Maybe I expected too much. Then I neglected to bring the tablets with me on a 2 day trip and boy, did my knee hurt – a lot!. You bet I raced back to the tablets before teaching advanced step yesterday. Yes, my knee felt better. This stark comparison makes me hopeful that joint supplements do provide some relief, albeit subtle at first. More on the Pure Matters Joint Health effects in another month or so.
No surprise that I advocate and abide by having strong muscles to bear as much load and impact from exercise as possible. The stronger my core and lower body, the more I can count on muscles and less on joints and ligaments to power me through activity.
I hate being cold and wet. Don’t you? So I get into pools only when both the water and air temp are toasty. Or when my joints scream after mountain hikes like a slipped fan belt. ( I LOVE hiking and powerwalking except when every step hurts). When at Rancho la Puerta I hiked every morning, then hopped myself into several aqua classes as I really, really, really wanted to exercise without holding back. Ignoring the pain was not really working any longer as an option. (Forgot to mention that the “ignore” solution has been one of my go to strategies for years.) While I prefer land classes, I gotta give full props to aqua classes as the place to plunge in for joint protection while working out hard and heartily!
Bring on the mind/body healing modalities! Suffice to say that you’ll be reading more in a future post about the Cranial Sacral Therapy sessions I took while at Rancho la Puerta. Spoiler alert – my knee pain has gone down a bit since then. Will more sessions help more? Can this modality actually realign my knee, foot, and gait and bring them back to their pre-soccer injury condition? Hello knee from my twenties! Good-bye aging joints! Stay posted as I seek out a few more CS sessions.
Where does that leave us? Combining all of the above has allowed me to keep on keepin’ on. No solution alone seems enough. Is it unrealistic to believe I will again be pain free? I really want to do MORE with the rest of my life, not less.
Makes me think of the song Alexandra and I sang in a talent contest at age 10 — Andy Williams’s hit, Born Free. Verse one went great as we wooed the judges in our matching wool plaid skirts and knee socks. We were soooo cute, if our mom did say so herself. Born Free, as free as the wind blows.
Then came the painful part. One of us went with “Stay Free” as verse two; the other launched with “Live Free.” Twins fighting, then laughing hysterically onstage in the middle of our song did not make for a big talent win. Or place. Or show. Ahhh, good times!
Is it too much to ask that my joints Live Free and Stay Free, as free as the roaring tide. Life is worth living, especially worth living if it’s Pain Free! Who’s with me on this singalong?
Dear Readers: Have joint issues changed your exercise life? If so, what strategies have you put into action in order to stay active?
Free yourself with action that will help you live free: Subscribe now to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above. Please share and subscribe!
We are going to see a lot of beautiful, trend-setting, functional products there. I am not a designer. The other 13 bloggers are. I probably don’t even wear the right shade of lipstick for my coloring, and my house is decorated in Post-Modern Dust Kitty! What I am is a baker, a cook, a person who gets sweaty, and I live in a home. More importantly, all of you like to eat, bathe and live in comfort, and all of us care about leading healthy lives. This includes buying products that reflect our values and take the earth into consideration.
While I’m in Germany and Nederland (I cannot bring myself to use the English “Holland” or “the Netherlands,” due to my Dutch ties), I will take a lot of pictures so I can share all the cool stuff I see with you. For now (I depart on Saturday), I’ll just mention one product that I’m really curious about. Judging from the comments I’ve gotten from many of you, we are mutually curious about the steam oven from Miele that I mentioned in our post BlogTour: Cologne, Amsterdam and Gifts for Your Home.
I wrote to Miele to get more info, with a particular request to know if I could do baguettes in the steam oven. Rather than reword her answer, I’ll quote directly from Julie McCrary, Miele’s local PR rep.
I too am a baker and have enjoyed trying out lots of new recipes in the steam oven. This year I’ve made Banana Bread and Molten Chocolate Cake in the steam oven, as well as fajitas, steamed meatballs and a fabulous seafood stew. Oh, did I mention that one of the great things about cooking with steam is that you can cook multiple things at the same time without the fear of flavor transfer? As for the nutritional value, vegetables cooked in the Miele Steam Oven retain about 20% more nutrients than vegetables that are boiled on a cooktop.
The steam oven is also great for reheating leftovers. Because it uses steam instead of direct heat, moisture is reintroduced to the food and unlike when you reheat food in a microwave, the food is moist and doesn’t dry out.
You are correct about the baguettes, you can proof dough in the steam oven. There’s even a specialized program within the Miele MasterChef settings which help set the right time and temperature.
I am now trying to figure out if I can sell my sister in exchange for one of these! Oh, wait, it’s under $1000, so I could maybe just sell her hair. Short red hair is valuable, right?
There is a recipe link on the Miele site, with over 100 recipes for the steam oven. I’ve linked it for you, but a few of the recipe titles are making me really hungry: Vanilla Bean Custard with Blackberry Coulis, Smoked Paprika Roasted Scallops with Asparagus and Dill Sauce, and Steamed Lobster and Corn Dumplings with Mushroom Puree. You see where I’m going with this? – Straight to the kitchen!!!
Sooooo, um, yeah, I want to break out in the song “Food, Glorious Food,” from “Oliver,” skipping the gruel!
I’ll be doing further posts about some of the other cool stuff, but in the meantime, did I mention we’ll be taking a tour of the Köelner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)? My undergrad degree was in European Medieval History, so I’m pretty dang excited about this special event too. If you want to follow along, we’ll be on Twitter using the #BlogTourCGN hashtag. And the BlogTour itinerary is right here.
If you’re curious about Cologne (Köln for the German speakers), Amsterdam, kitchens, baths, design, furniture (especially Scandinavian) or want to meet the sponsors, my fellow bloggers, and perhaps even a few of the European bloggers, join our Twitter chat today, January 10, 4:00 pm EST/ 1:00 pm PST, using the hashtag above. Bring your questions. I’ll be bringing my fork, wit and curiosity!
You can mock our sense of fashion by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share, subscribe and have fun leading a healthy life!
P.S. While I do have more dust kitties than I might like, I actually am a snob (according to my sis), and have some truly fab furnishings. All the products made by the sponsors of BlogTour would match them perfectly!
Photo credits: All photos are from the Miele site, except the Dom.
I received no compensation or products for this post, although I will happily mention that Miele is one of the sponsors of BlogTour.
I recently won a free blood test from WellnessFX. The cool part? It included a consultation with a registered dietitian.
Maybe your reaction is, “Big deal. I get my blood drawn once a year during my physical.” Yes, but does your doctor actually take 20 minutes to explain what the results mean? And does your doc then make dietary suggestions? Aha, that’s the bonus.
I exercise quite a lot and take no prescription drugs, so I chose the RD for my consultation. But I could have chosen from their list of medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths or naturopathic doctors.
I drove to Ventura, California, for the blood draw, and was in and out in 15 minutes. A few days later I received my results, which of course, were only vaguely comprehensible to me (I do know how to read the cholesterol and iron bit, but that’s about it). The results categories were red, orange and green. I was green in nearly every category, which is the good color!
No magic here – the green is a result of exercise and a healthy diet (portion size and food selection). The only result of concern was my LDL – low density lipoprotein. That’s the bad cholesterol. For this, I blame my parents, as there’s a genetic component. I’m not a big ice cream or milk person, but I cook and bake with butter. So even though I don’t use a lot of it, during our consultation the RD still suggested I substitute olive or canola oil when possible. I’m putting her recommendations here because they are good ideas for everyone to consider:
Use unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil) in place of saturated fats (butter) when cooking.
Limit amount of butter added to food (1-2 teaspoons).
Avoid Trans Fats (hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil) often found in regular peanut butter, packaged baked goods, and fast food.
She said my elevated bilirubin could be related to my self-reported high stress levels. Even though I do lots of exercise, I also have a lot of financial stress (anyone else paying out-of-state university fees?) and constant work deadlines. So I’ll consider yoga (probably won’t happen), more walks (probably will happen), or going to bed earlier (probably won’t happen).
Luckily the RD didn’t push me to take a bevy of supplements, as that wouldn’t be me, but she did suggest Omega-3 fish oil, which makes sense for someone who’s a vegetarian and over 50 (which I may or may not be)! Because I’m very picky, I went with the softgels from Pure Matters, a company that puts it right out there in their mission statement: “Our bodies and lives are the product of what we put into them. Our goal is to be the most transparent and holistic source for wellness and performance available.”
Whenever I remember that my body and life reflect my choices, it’s fairly easy to walk away from poor foods.
I wrote this post to encourage all of you to stay on top of your health. Get your blood checked. Move your carcass. Eat foods that are friendly to your body. Take supplements as needed. And be kind to those idiots who drive under the speed limit on a one-lane mountain pass when you’re late to work. Yeah, still working on that one…
Speaking of winners (me and you), have you entered our giveaway yet for a free one-year membership to Anytime Fitness? The deadline is 17 January, so get your entries in!
I was not compensated for this post. I was provided with the Omega-3 fish oil tablets from Pure Matters at no cost. All opinions, blood, stress and youthfulness are entirely my own!
You can get even more great health and movement tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share, subscribe and have fun exercising!
Photo credits: CreativeCommons.org: Debs (ò?ó)? (tomato heart)
We won a photo contest that Anytime Fitness held, and our prize is really YOUR prize, as it’s a full year’s membership to give away to one of you.
The requirements are simple:
* You must live within 30 miles of an Anytime Fitness, in any of the 12 countries where they’re located. Anytime Fitness has over 2,035 locations, so click on the link to see which one is near you.
* You must complete the one mandatory requirement we have in our Rafflecopter giveaway below (you’ll want to play along as our videos are fabulous). Also take advantage of the optional entry actions to increase your odds. If you are already an Anytime Fitness member, you will get a year’s extension on your current membership.
That kind of sums it up. The picture you see here is the one that we used to get you this fabulous prize. You are free to comment below at the total supremeness and creativity of our picture. Or suggest video topics you’d like us to add to our sterling collection. Or submit fitness questions to us that we’ll answer right here on the blog. Wow, this giveaway is so cool, just like Anytime Fitness and Fun and Fit. You spend a few minutes of your time entering (you can come back every day for extra entries) and in return you might win a prize worth thousands of dollars. As Monty Hall said, “Such a deal!” Okay, he actually said, “Let’s make a deal,” but we updated it.
We’ll pick the winner Thursday, January 17th, 2013, who will be notified by email and/or tweet. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or we’ll pick another winner.
All the links you need to enter this SuperCaliFragiListicExpiAliDocious entry are conveniently located right here:
Start 2013 as a winner by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share, subscribe and win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway