Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do the Jane Fonda

Not that you could tell from how fat America is - but exercise options are abound right now. Every week a new exercise fad comes to light as the exercise that WILL work. There's pilates (I bought the Windsor series...can't even find it now) which is gauranteed to change your life. Tae Bo and Cardio Kickboxing where replaced with Zumba and Hot Yoga. And, being the sucker that I am...I've tried them all...and each has it's benefits, burns calories, decreases stress, etc. But lately, I have gone retro in the exercise department and I'm loving it. First of all, I went back to the tried and true running. I stopped in college after an injury and must admit, it's hard on the body, but if you are smart about it and don't push your limits too much, it is one of the best energy/weightloss/sleep-aid/antidepressants I have ever encountered.
However, unlike a classic like running - I've recently added in Jazzercise as well. Yes, Jazzercise (which took me a while to even start admitting outloud). But, a little over a month into going twice a week, I am loving it. Except for slightly updated songs and outfits (on MOST of the patrons), it is the same Jane Fonda-looking, peppy dance routine activity that I recall my mom doing in my childhood. The age range in the classes is suprisingly diverse, and the workout incorprates high and low intensity cardio, stretching, and sculpting. Following routines and dancing around makes the time pass - and in 60 minutes I burn about 500 calories. I am more than a little tempted to build a retro workout wardrobe of sweatbands and leotards, but I have resisted so far. In my opinion just going, then working up to this admission is an accomplishment. That said, last night on Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl Burkes officially endorsed the Jazzercise program - so no need to hide those leg warmers anymore!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Complex Story of a Simple Soap

So if you have attemted to kick-off a journey to reduce toxins or become "green," you have undoubtedly heard the name "Dr. Bronner." Dr. Bronner is arguably the most recognized name in castile soap, namely Dr. Bronners 18-in-1 Magic Pure Castile Soap. This soap comes in anything from a bar to a vat of sorts, and in most mainstream stores is available only in Peppermint, for some reason that escapes me. It is marketed as everything from a concentrated shampoo, body soap, dish liquid, tooth paste, fruit wash, etc. It is also covered with a seemingly endless rant of religious and spiritual ideas in no particular organized fashion. I'm going to go ahead and give my official rating as great, but not magic.
First, this extremely reasonably priced (about $8 for 32 ounces) soap is often sold only in peppermint, although it is available online or in specialty stores in lavendar, unscented, almond and eucalyptus. I'm not a fan of the peppermint since I use it mainly as body soap and I don't like that cold feeling peppermint gives. As a body soap it's effective, as a shampoo it turned my hair into straw. It's a good addition to homemade household cleaners, but suds up a lot, so less is better. However, this does come in handy when using it to shave. I prefer the lavendar, but the almond has a good scent also.
I was originally concerned after I grabbed the bottle as reading material and made it a few lines into the relgious rambling, that perhaps the company behind this soap could be contributing to christian based causes and organizations, most of which support causes with which I take issue. However, after more research, this doesn't seem to be the case. Even the religious ramblings are diversified through the faiths.
The most interesting thing I found was that this Dr. Bronner fella has a VERY interesting story. He is from Nazi Germany, emigrated without his family to the U.S., spent time in a psych ward for his beliefs before starting his soap company, and has endorsed the use of vaseline and lemon juice as birth control. His story is truely an interesting read - and possible endeared the soap to me a little more.
So, in as much as this is an incomplete review, since my uses are limited...this soap is effective as a soap and cleaning agent, without charging the inflated prices of some of the more "gimmicky" eco-friendly soaps. It also lathers up well on a washcloth or sea sponge. One note, it does not leave behind a slimey "moisturized" feeling, so if you feel dry, a little grapeseed oil after the shower with solve it.