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Buffalo’s Best Healthy Eats: Cafe 59

As an advocate for health, wellness, and the quest to be your most awesome self, I’d like to share with you my favorite destinations for healthy meals in Buffalo and the delicious options they offer that are both nutritious and yummy.  Today’s featured restaurant for great healthy eats in Western New York is Cafe 59, a casual and charming cafe on Allen Street in the city of Buffalo.  The staff is always wonderful, the soup is homemade, and the salads are bountiful; Cafe 59 is the perfect place to go for a healthy meal.

Anytime I go to Cafe 59, I get one of their vegetarian soups. From pumpkin ginger to white bean and kale, the soups always taste fresh and are never overly salted. They have vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and meat-eater-friendly varieties to choose from each day and I’m convinced they’re the reason the line goes out the door around lunchtime each day. That being said, my absolute favorite healthy lunch item at Cafe 59 is the Mediterranean Salad. This salad is unbelievable, and arguably the very best in Buffalo. Sitting atop a large bed of mixed field greens, you’ll find house-made hummus, tabbouleh, and grilled eggplant, plus your dressing of choice (go Greek!). The hummus is the best I’ve ever tasted, the eggplant is always cooked perfectly, and the tabbouleh is delightful.  I love the way all of the ingredients blend together to make a truly delicious and hearty meal filled with protein, fiber, and so.much.flavor.  I get my salad without feta to keep it vegan and skip the pita to keep it light, but enjoying those would not completely ruin the nutritional value of the salad.

Cafe 59 is definitely my favorite place in Buffalo for soup, and their Mediterranean Salad is literally my favorite salad in the entire Western New York region. Besides my favorite items, the cafe provides a very large menu full of great sandwiches, soups, salads, and other items.  I hear from a reliable source (my boyfriend) that the reuben sandwich is outstanding!

Check out Cafe 59 as soon as you can…You can thank me later. 🙂

Be well.

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Pilates Exercise: Knee Folds

Photo via nocpilates.com

Knee folds are a component of the Pilates Fundamentals, which means they are a great tool for teaching beginners important concepts that will help them advance through their Pilates practice. Knee folds also help you find and work your deep core muscles while allowing you to feel how your legs can move while keeping your pelvis and torso completely stable. Additionally, knee folds teach moving without tension and maintaining length through the spine. In order to stabilize your pelvis and minimize tension during knee folds and other Pilates exercises, you must engage all of your powerhouse muscles from the abdominals and glutes to your inner thighs, pelvic floor and hip rotators. This exercise really allows you to engage all of those muscles to do just the right amount of work, teaching efficiency and movement without tension.

How they’re done
Knee folds are a very simple exercise:
• Lay on your back with your legs bent, feet on the mat, feet lined up with the middle of your hip.
• Find a neutral spine position, maintaining the natural curves of your spine.
• Keep the spine stable as you exhale, pull the belly button in to the back, and float one leg into a tabletop position (90 degree angle at the knee).
• Return the leg to starting position and repeat with the other leg.
• Continue alternating legs, exhaling on the lift, inhaling to return.

Why I love ‘em
What I really love about knee folds is that they are great for ALL clients, from first timer to expert. With the right variations, knee folds can be a huge challenge, and for everyone they engage the transversus abdominus muscle, instantly narrowing the waist and increasing your core strength and stability. Creating a deep fold in the hip socket while keeping the pelvis stable is a great core stability challenge and lesson in efficient movement.

Helpful hints:
• Engage your abdominals to bring your leg up.
• Think of your leg floating into tabletop position to keep the work out of the leg.
• Do not let your pelvis tuck as the leg comes up, maintain space between your lower back and the mat.
• BREATHE! Exhale to engage the abdominals and lift, inhale as you lower

Kick it up a notch:
• Try the knee folds while lying on a roller for an extra core stability challenge.
• Add a cervical curl (like a crunch) as you lift your leg.
• Once you find your core and build up strength try lifting two legs at once for a double knee fold.
• Try it while sitting on a physioball!

Be well!

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Turmeric and Cardamom in My Juice!

I recently tried a new, adventurous drink that touts some pretty mega benefits: turmeric juice.  I was taken back by the complex, spicy flavor of the “coconut nectar” flavor juice at first, but after a few sips I got used to the flavor and enjoyed it for what it is, a super healthy drink with some super great nutritional benefits. Here are some of the ingredients in the juice (Turmeric Alive’s Coconut Nectar) and the super awesome powers they have to make you feel and look great.

Turmeric: Helps with liver detoxification, natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, can moderate insulin levels, may help prevent tumor growth and certain types of cancer. It also has antioxidant powers and can lower cholesterol levels!

Ginger: Helps eliminate pain and inflammation, settles the stomach, prevents nausea, and can treat and prevent cancers such as ovarian and colon.

Cinnamon: Regulates blood sugar levels, lowers LDL cholesterol, has an anti-clotting effect for blood. Cinnamon has anti-bacterial and  anti-inflammatory powers and is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Cayenne: Can break up and move mucus, providing anti-cold and flu benefits, prevents migraines, anti-allergen, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory, aids digestion,  boosts metabolism, and could potentially prevent cancer.

Cardamom:  Lowers blood pressure, prevents blood clots, natural diuretic, has detoxifying properties, improves blood circulation to the lungs, and helps improve digestion.

Turmeric Alive boasts that it’s Yoga in a bottle and with the super ingredients above, you can see why! Even if it takes you a minute to get acclimated with the flavor, I recommend giving turmeric juice a shot.  Either experiment with the ingredient on your own at home (try this one ) or purchase  pre-made juice (Check out the Beauty Bar at Tony Walker Body & Beauty in Williamsville); you’ll benefit either way.

Be well.