Another long week behind us! Yay. It’s finally starting to feel like summer is on the horizon! For some reason the word horizon just reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books, Their Eyes Were Watching God, "Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see."
So anyways, I decided to sign up for the Brooklyn Half marathon at the end of the month. I won’t really have time to do long runs in preparation, but I think I will be okay with a fair amount of quality training runs over the next two weeks. I was convinced to do it because it is supposed to be a fun, flat, beautiful course. Any run with both Prospect Park and Coney Island in its course has to be scenic and fun!
For everyone doing the Healthy Kidney run this weekend—GOOD LUCK!
So on to some reviews.
First, Tiger Balm!
I had kind of heard of Tiger Balm when I was offered the chance to try it, but didn’t really know what it was. However, upon arrival I instantly loved the marketing materials, who doesn’t want a massage on the go?
So in case you are also new to Tiger Balm, here is what it is supposed to do:
Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub is great for executives on the go, providing fast, soothing relief to neck and shoulder aches and pains anytime and anywhere. Simply massage this topical remedy onto the affected area, and its pain relieving properties will work quickly to deliver the desired relaxing effect. This water-based cream gives a clean, non-greasy feel to the skin, and the calming fragrance makes it even more pleasant to use in any stressful situation.
I do love the clever marketing integration, relief for sore office workers! Check out the results of a survey of 500 New Yorkers who live and work throughout Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs was commissioned by Tiger Balm and conducted by Promark Research:
- Three-quarters (74%) of New York office workers feel they are under more stress than those who live elsewhere.
- Two-fifths (43%) of respondents feel they are working harder or working longer hours now compared with a year ago because of the economic crisis, and 61% say they are currently feeling more stress than they were before the recession began.
- Though all respondents spend a portion of their day sitting behind a desk and/or computer, the majority of workers surveyed (60%) spend six hours or more at a desk and/or computer.
- More than half (53%) of office workers believe that spending time at a computer causes stress on the body and related physical pain.
- The largest number of office workers who are experiencing work-related stress and pain feel it in their neck and shoulders (39%), while 29% feel it in their back and 15% feel it in their arms.
- Approximately one-quarter (24%) of office workers experiencing work-related stress and physical pain say that it is affecting their productivity at work.
- New York office workers are cutting back on luxuries and indulgences, including self-pampering activities such as manicures, hair maintenance and massages (57%). They’re also using coupons and relying on sales to save money (48%), and limiting the number of days they buy lunch at work each week (45%).
- A large majority of New York office workers (69%) think that a regular massage, concentrating on the neck and shoulders, can help them manage stress and relieve associated pain. However, a relatively large number of respondents volunteered that they didn’t know if it could or not.
I definitely related to the ones in blue! I think we all our more worried about job security and feel the need to step up our game at work! As for spa treatments, I would say I am less likely to go to a fancy spa and still with the cheaper, low frills places for waxes, nails, hair, etc. I rarely splurge on massages, so I think that will remain the very infrequent treat.
As I know everyone in my office was feeling the end of academic year push, and we have all been pretty stressed lately, I brought Tiger Balm to several of my co-workers. They were all really excited. One person did ask me, “do i look like I am in pain?” But a few days after I brought it in, people were coming to my desk asking if I had any more for their stiff necks!
I tried Tiger Balm on Tuesday night. I followed the suggestion for neck and shoulders, and since it also said joints, I rubbed some on my knees as well. As soon I opened it, it reminded me of Bengay and Icy Hot. It was not as greasy, fragrant or intense as either of those products. While I wouldn’t call it a massage, it definitely relaxed me and there was a nice tingly, pain relieving sensation for hours and hours after I put it on. I really liked the menthol-esque smell. I woke up and could still feel it working. As I didn’t really have much pain before, I am not sure if this would be effective for someone with significant neck pain, but for my stress-related soreness, it did it’s job.
If you are looking for a massage with a sweet ending, I wanted to post the recipes for the Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Date Muffins and Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies I recently made, that you may have seen on Meghann’s blog. I got a few requests, so I thought I would share. I adapted both of these recipes from ones I found on the web. I thought they both came out great, especially considering how healthy the ingredients are for the most part. While I never worry about making cooking healthy, there is always a slight hesitation that baking was meant to be gooey and indulgent, but my worries were put to rest with the first bite. I was also shocked that they held up through trips to Florida and Ohio—I sent some to my sister for her birthday!
The WW Sweet Potato Date Muffins were very closely adapted from the recipe on The Wednesday Chef. I had been wanting to make these forever, and was happy to find even with less butter and sugar, they were delicious. Next time I make them I may add more sweet potato and make sure to have all the suggested spices on hand, so I get an stronger flavor.
Whole-Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins
1/2 pound sweet potatoes (also known as yams)-I used 1.5 huge ones, could have used 2.
Vegetable oil spray for coating the tins
2/3 stick butter+2 TBSP applesauce
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup soymilk+1/2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
9 Medjool dates, pitted and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces-I should have added some raisins to make up for having less dates on hand, use the full 12.
I followed the directions on the Wednesday Chef website with minor changes to the ingredients, as you will see above, they also only took about 22 minutes to bake. As I said these were very yummy, and I think will be out of this world with more sweet potato, spice and dates—and even less butter!
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
While not the prettiest cookies on the block, these were pretty addicting. I kept the in the fridge, so they maintained their fudgy richness.
I had been wanting to try Ellie Krieger’s Breakfast Cookie recipe, but it had a lot of ingredients I didn’t have on hand, so I did some googlin’. When I came across this bfast cookie recipe, it sounded so good, I couldn’t resist.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 of a bar Newman’s Own Organics 70% Cocoa Super Dark Chocolate-chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup PB and Co. Crunch Time Peanut Butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the first nine ingredients (through the chocolate chips) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla, applesauce and peanut butter together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
Roll dough into 16 to 20 balls, pressing down to flatten in the shape of a cookie. Place dough on cooking spray coated cookie sheets one inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Makes 16 to 20 cookies. (I made about 22)
That Newman’s Own Organics Dark Chocolate is amazing btw, it rivals my long time love of Dagoba.
And just in case you don’t have time to bake, I recently tried Enjoy Life Soft Baked Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and was shocked by how yummy and healthy they are! I am a chewy cookie girl and these were large, soft and dense, just how I like ‘em.
While I have to admit I didn’t recognize the first ingredient—sorghum flour—a wheat free grain, these cookies are 100% natural and you can certainly feel good about eating them! They contain some sources of sugar, but come on, they’re cookies! They are great for vegans and those with gluten, nut or soy allergies as they contain to wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, or soy.
Sorghum Flour; Grape, Apple and Pear Juice Concentrates; Brown Pure Cane Sugar; Date Paste; Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Liquor, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter); Expeller Pressed-Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil); Water; Natural Rice Dextrin; Xanthan Gum; Baking Soda; Salt; Vanilla; Rosemary Extract
While the texture has a very subtle graininess, I thought they were delicious and very satisfying, you certainly can stop at the serving size of two. Two cookies contain, 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram protein and 2 grams fiber.
Enjoy your Saturday kids!