Leafy Greens

3 01 2013

I’ve been experimenting with leafy greens. How could I include more into my daily diet?

Why would I want to add dark leafy greens to my diet? The concentration of nutrients: fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins K, C, E and folate found in leafy greens have been found to protect from heart disease, diabetes, and maybe even cancer. Wow, I want those benefits!

Okay, so what is actually considered a dark leafy green? This is a list of greens in order of nutritional value.

1. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and potassium.

2. Collards are similar in nutritional value to kale. Collards have a chewy texture and a heartier taste. Try using a collard leaf as a tortilla wrap!

3. Turnip Greens are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and calcium. The leaves are more tender than some other greens, with a sharp flavor.

4. Swiss chard is a good source of vitamins A and C and has a beet-like taste. The texture is soft and good for sauteeing.

Before cooking, clean the kale, collards, turnips, and chard leaves by rinsing in a sink of water, draining and repeating until the leaves are dirt-free. Try rubbing the leaves with olive oil and cook for five minutes with garlic, olive oil, and broth.

 5. Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and folate. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked, but did you know that heat frees up the dietary calcium, giving you more nutritional value? Think about adding spinach to soups, pasta meals, and casseroles.

6. Mustard greens have the same nutritional value as turnip leaves, collards, and mustard greens. Their taste is more peppery and may have a mustard smell when cooking.Try adding a little vinegar or lemon juice toward the end of cooking to tone down a slight acid taste.

To store, the greens should be dry and placed in an air-tight bag, with as much air as possible pushed out. Try adding a damp paper towel for moisture. Place in fridge in vegetable drawer.

 7. Broccoli, high in vitamin C, A, potassium, and folate, is usually eaten raw with a vegetable dip or steamed. Broccoli florets can also be added to pasta, casserole, and stir-fry dishes.

 8. Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce are crunchy, while the leaf lettuces are a little softer in texture. If you are commonly using leaf lettuce in your salads, try adding romaine leaves as they are higher in vitamin A and contain more folate.

 Be careful of the salad dressing, the creamier the dressing the higher in fat and calories. Try the dressing on the side and dip your fork before adding the salad.

9. Cabbage is considered a leafy vegetable as well as a cruciferous vegetable, known as a cancer-fighter. Cabbage is also versatile in the kitchen by fixing it cooked and made into sauerkraut, adding to stir-fries, or using it raw in salads or slaw.

10. Iceberg Lettuce is the most popular leafy green consumed in the US, although less and less is being consumed each year. Another sad note: it is very, very low in nutritional and health benefits. Consider adding other greens to your iceberg lettuce salads.

Our daughter has been juicing with leafy greens, so she gave me the incentive to try it. Some of my experiments have been successful, by that I mean tasty enough to finish, and others not so much. I am learning the combination of foods with the greens is the key, just like in any other recipe. So, I Googled juicing recipes and took others’ advice on what might tempt my palate. Here is one I like:


Purple Kale Potion


4 oz. Kale

2 celery stalks

½ lemon

1 cup baby spinach

1 pineapple spear (rind removed)

1 cup blueberries



Juice all ingredients. Note: Always juice berries first. Serves 2.

Source: Jack La Lanne’s Power Juicer, Juice for Life


Did you know the darker the leaf, the better for your health? This is due to their high phyto-nutrient content. Phyto-nutrients are not essential for life, but help to boost our health. I could use a boost! How about you?

 Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Wear a color that makes you feel good.

Body: Find a recipe for a new dark leafy green, purchase it at the grocery, and give the new taste a chance.

Soul: Love your body and concentrate on what you like about your body: strong back to carry a child, beautiful smile to pass on, eyes to see that smile…

I would love to hear from you.  Contact me through email at Tammy@TammYoga.com and Facebook at TammYoga and Twitter @TammYoga.





Healthy Holidays

13 12 2012

The holiday season is fast approaching. Christmas decorations are on the shelves, the must-have toys are advertised on TV, and images of sugar plums are dancing in my head. I enjoy the holidays, but sometimes the hustle and bustle can make me feel stressed and run-down. You would think the season would be a time of joy and excitement, but with the lack of sunshine due to the shorter days, my mood can tend to lean towards the gloomy side, if I am not careful. This is when I need to take care of my immune system to avoid getting sick.

Sleep is important. During the holidays my routine may be  interrupted by changes at work, get-togethers with family and friends, kids coming home, which then my concern is not only sleeping, but getting enough sleep. Personally, I know I need 7-8 hours of sleep to function during the day. If I am unable to reach the 7 hours, I try to take a half hour power nap sometime during the day. I have even taken 10-15 minute naps in my car. You would be surprised what those few minutes of relaxation can do.

Diet is a tricky thing for me to control at this time of year. When I say diet, I don’t mean I am trying to lose weight. By diet, I am suggesting a way of life. My goal most days is to eat as healthy as possible, knowing there will be days that I veer off course. But, I have found that if I am consistent with my diet 80-90% of the time, I can easily get back on track. So, when I am looking over the buffet of food I am tempted with only once a year, I enjoy myself in moderation.

Learn to say “No”. This is a suggestion where you do as I say, not as I do. I am not good at saying “no”. I enjoy helping others and want to please, sometimes at the expense of my own mental and physical health. During the holidays, it is easy to try to squeeze one more thing onto the agenda: one more gift to buy, one more cookie to bake, another party to attend. I am learning to think twice before committing myself to something I may regret and causes undue stress. I pick and choose want to do rather than what I feel obligated to do.

I love to shop. I don’t mind the crowds, but then I have never ventured out the day after Thanksgiving. Shopping online has become a great way for me to comparison shop, or to find an item that wasn’t available at the store, or to make a purchase when I don’t have the time to shop. One of my friends does all her shopping online. Another friend tries to avoid crowded stores that are packed with all types of germs. To each his own.

Exercise. Now, as much as any other time of year, it is important for me to keep up with my workout routine. It keeps me mindful of my eating, my sleep, my energy, and my mood.

Lastly, I need to set aside time for myself, time to relax. A good book, a bath, mediation can be forms of relaxation to rejuvenate and refresh. We all need to take care of ourselves. Listen to your body for signs of a cold or sluggishness and respond with some self care.

 Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Attempt to sleep 7-8 hours per night.

Body: Maintain your workout routine as much as possible.

Soul: Choose to “taste” the holiday treats or share with a friend.

I would love to hear from you.  Contact me through email at Tammy@TammYoga.com and Facebook at TammYoga and Twitter @TammYoga.




Mindful Eating

19 11 2012

“Food and emotional nourishment are intimately bound together in the depths of our unconscious. Just as you might fill an inner emptiness with food, so you can reject or deny your needs, and therefore reject food, in the misbelieve that the smaller the body the less the longing for love.” Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind

Eating mindfully is not a diet or special formula for weight loss, but a way to live in the moment and notice behaviors that may not be serving us. Most of these behaviors have become habitual reactions to common triggers we encounter throughout our day.

One trigger may be stress. Stress is our body’s way of redistributing energy: our hearts start to race, our blood sugar rises, and we are more alert. This is good if it is for a short period of time, but our lifestyles have put our body’s stress mode into overdrive. This causes the adrenal glands to produce higher than normal levels of cortisol, which has been linked to increased weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.

Sleep may be a cause for some that deal with weight problems. Too much or too little sleep has been proven to increase hormones that affect our ability to read the signs of hunger and fullness.

There is no easy or quick way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You may need to go deeper into your current patterns for dealing with stress. Do you eat to feel better? What feelings do you associate with certain foods? What foods do you eat to suppress feelings of anger or loneliness? What is preventing you from breaking through these habits?

Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Examine your feelings about your body, relationships, and other areas of your life. Are these feelings true? Begin to notice negative thoughts running through your mind and replace them with life-affirming thoughts to heal those feelings. It may not be easy at first, but you may be surprised at the thoughts that may be keeping you from being the person you would like to be.

Body: Focus on a healthy body. Find exercise that you like to do. Realize that what you are capable of may not be what your spouse or friend is able to do. Your body is built different, you are at different places in your life, but you are doing what you know to be best for you.

Make room for plenty of rest.

Explore ways to reduce stress: yoga, meditation, journal, etc., and incorporate them regularly into your daily life.

Soul: Spend time to discover your passion. What do you enjoy doing? What do you do well? Explore your passion and share it with others. Send that positive, loving energy out into the world.

How are you taking care of yourself?



Water and Lemon

1 08 2012

What is the saying? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. What if you tried making the lemonade to avoid the lemons altogether?

I have found a great way to start my day. It has become a part of my morning ritual, along with washing my face and flossing and brushing my teeth. I drink a glass of warm water with the juice of one half of a lemon. It is easy and the benefits make it a priority for me.


  • Stronger immune system: A strong immune system helps to ward of disease. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which helps in fighting off colds. The potassium found in lemons helps to control blood pressure and has been shown to stimulate brain and nerve function.
  • Balances pH: A healthy body is alkaline. Lemons are an acidic food. But, when we consume lemons our bodies shift it to alkaline, creating a balanced pH.
  • Weight loss: The pectin fiber found in lemons, helps to reduce food cravings. So, maybe lemon and warm water in the morning will make for better food choices for the remainder of the day. It has been shown that people who eat a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.
  • Digestion: Warm water helps to stimulate the digestive tract and the muscle contractions to move foods through the digestion process. Lemon nutrients help to rid toxins in the digestive tract.
  • Natural Diuretic: Lemon juice increases urination and flushes out toxins. So, the toxins will be eliminated faster due to the increased rate of movement through the urinary tract.
  • Healthy skin: Lemon juice eliminated toxins from the blood helping to keep the skin clear. The vitamin C found in lemons helps to prevent wrinkles and blemishes.
  • Hydrates the body: Start the day off right by hydrating the body. When the body becomes dehydrated, the organs have a hard time functioning properly. This can lead to other health problems: stress, toxic buildup, and constipation, to name a few.

Do you think you could benefit from warm water and lemon juice every day?

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Pamper yourself with a good book, a nap, a bath….

Body: Call a friend and take an exercise class together.

Soul: Call a loved one and tell them, “I love you”.

I would love to hear from you.  Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)


Goals vs. Intentions

23 07 2012

We are almost half way through the year. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions for 2012? Have you accomplished what you set out to achieve? Are you moving closer to your goals? If you are struggling with what you thought the New Year would bring or gave up on what you hoped would be, maybe you are like me and have confused your intentions with your goals.

It is a good idea to have goals that map out your desires. They require a plan and the discipline to follow through with the plan to make them real. As you proceed and work the plan, you begin to live your life in the future. If you reach your goal will you be happy? What if your efforts do not produce the ideal plan you had in mind? Do you start to doubt yourself? Do your dreams become unattainable? Will that make you unhappy?

Now, let’s look at intentions. When I think of my intentions, it is more about how I am living right now, this moment. Am I the type of person I want to be? Am I acting, speaking, thinking like that person? I want to live every day by the human values I believe to be important. When I focus on my intentions I am motivated to achieve my goals. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I become side-tracked from my plan and react in an undesirable way. This is when I need to refocus and feel my intentions to help create my future, even when it is different than I had originally planned.

It is an ongoing practice for me to live in the moment. But, when I am in touch with my intentions, I am more successful in reaching my goals. My desires and wants are not my focus. These goals are ever changing or may become another goal or may never achieved. It is my intentions that remain and give me peace of mind. I am not giving up on my goals nor am I trying to be perfect. My attempt is to let go of the competition, the judgments, and the expectations attached to those goals. This is my journey.

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Put your eating utensil down between every bite.

Body: Act like your inner child. Skip, ride a bike, go to the park.

Soul: Do something kind for someone else, anonymously.


I would love to hear from you.  Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)


What’s So Great About Broccoli?

26 06 2012

Article printed in the Weekly Record Herald on June 24, 2012

I had a hard time with broccoli as a child. Mom saying “it’s good for you” just wasn’t enough for me to choose to eat it. I guess I am the type of person that needs to know why. It wasn’t until I was older and started to focus on a healthier body that I realized how wonderful broccoli is. Now, I eat broccoli several times a week. Mom would be proud.

You may have read about cruciferous vegetables as must-have foods we should eat several times a week. The cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower rates of cancer, containing phytochemicals that increase the activity of certain enzymes in our bodies that fight cancer-causing agents. Broccoli is in the cruciferous family. This is the kind of information I needed to include broccoli in my diet on a regular basis.

Anyone watching their weight may want to consider adding more broccoli to their diet. The fiber in broccoli helps with digestion and is filling, while low in calories and fat. Here is where you need to be careful! How the broccoli is prepared (sauces, other ingredients, etc.) can add calories and fat. It can be steamed, microwaved, stir-fried, eaten raw in salads, and baked in casseroles. Be careful not to overcook, which would result in lowering the nutritional value.

Broccoli is available year-round, but best in fall and winter. Look for sturdy, dark-green spears with tight buds, no yellowing. If broccoli tops have more purple, it indicates a higher level of carotenoids. The stems are edible, so don’t throw them away. Peel, chop, and serve with the florets. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Broccoli Slaw From Eating Well: Winter 2004, The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook (2005). The original recipe has been lightened with reduced-fat may and yogurt. This makes eight servings, 3/4 cup each.


4 slices turkey bacon

One 12-16 ounce bag shredded broccoli slaw or one large bunch broccoli (about 1-1/2 pounds)

¼ cup low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt

¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper

One 8 ounce can low-sodium sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and coarsely chopped

½ cup finely diced red onion


Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, microwave on high for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.) Drain bacon on paper towels. Chop coarsely. If using whole broccoli, trim about 3 inches off the stems. Chop the rest into ¼ inch pieces. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add water chestnuts, onion, bacon, and broccoli; toss to coat. Chill until serve time. You can also make ahead, cover, and chill for up to 2 days.
Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Try a new healthy recipe or make a favorite recipe healthier.

Body: Take the stairs, park further away from destination, bike or walk on errand.

Soul: Before bed imagine your perfect tomorrow.
I would love to hear from you.

Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga.

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)


The Scoop on Whole Grains

16 05 2012

Article printed in the Weekly Record Herald on May 13, 2012

Hi, my name is Tammy Shellhaas. I am a yoga instructor/personal trainer and I would like you to join me on a journey to challenge your mind, body, and soul. Every other week we will explore a new aspect of a healthy lifestyle. My hope is to offer new information, or a new perspective to what you already know, or reintroduce an idea that may have been forgotten. So, let’s get started…

When our children were small, I decided to make the switch to whole grain products. I admit, I was a little sneaky about it, but it was for the benefit of our family. So, I justified my underhandedness for our healthier lifestyle.

At first, I used whole grains, solely, when making out favorite dishes. That did not go over very well with the kids or John! (I have to admit, I was not a fan at first, either.) I did not give up. I decided to make small changes. I substituted a portion of the white flour in bread, cookie and pancake recipes with whole grain flour and gradually increased the amount as we became accustomed to the texture and taste.  I did the same when substituting refined grain pasta with whole grain.

I read labels to choose the best products I could find and we learned to enjoy and savor the taste of these healthier foods. The whole foods were denser and more filling, adding nutrients we were missing from our diet. By including whole grains to our diet, we increased our intake of plant-based proteins, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, foods high in fiber and antioxidants have been linked to reducing the risk for certain health problems: obesity, stroke, and certain types of cancers.

What is a Whole Grain?

Following is the official definition of whole grains, approved and endorsed by the Whole Grains Council in May 2004:

Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.

This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

I take this to mean that a food labeled whole grain is as close as possible to eating the food right from the plant. Can’t get much better for you than that! The Whole Grain Stamp is an easy way to spot products with ½ a serving (8 g.) of whole grains.

What are examples of whole grain?

What is a serving size?

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

Some foods contain whole grains, as well as, refined grains. Crackers, pancake mixes, meal replacement bars, and products that contain a larger amount of whole grains, it is necessary to eat more of those foods. The recommended serving size for these foods is 16 grams.

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Try substituting a portion of the refined grains in recipes with whole grains.

Body: Try a new cardio machine (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) or change your workout route.

Soul: Write down 10 things that make you smile. Keep the list and refer to it whenever you need a pick-me-up.

I would love to hear from you.           Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)


TammYoga In Balance

15 04 2012

In Balance

I will be writing a new column entitle, TammYoga In Balance, for Tipp City Record Herald. This first column is a question and answer piece to introduce the column. It was printed on Sunday, April 8, 2012. A new column will be printed every other Sunday. I hope you enjoy following me. Please let me know what you think.

Look for the next column on Sunday, April 22, 2012.


Tammy Shellhaas

Family (spouse and/or kids):

My husband, John, and I have been married for almost 29 years. We have two children: Ben, who graduated from Ohio State University and is currently serving in the National Guard in Afghanistan and Betsy, who is attending Ohio University.


I am an ACE certified personal trainer and yoga instructor at La Bella Viaggio in Troy.

Where you’re from and where you live now:

I grew up in Troy and currently live in Troy.

How you first got interested in health and wellness:

My initial interest in health and wellness began in college. I was overweight and did not eat right and began to educate myself on what I needed to do to make a change for the better. I started jogging and making healthy changes to my diet. When John and I were first married and starting our family, I took exercise classes and worked out at home to exercise TV shows and tapes I rented from the library. When our daughter was a senior in high school and we would soon be empty nesters, I made the decision to become a personal trainer. I knew I would need something to occupy my mind during this stage of my life. Once, I became certified and was training part-time, the transition to becoming a fulltime personal trainer and, eventually, yoga instructor was a natural progression. I enjoyed helping others to achieve their goals and share what I had lived and learned.

The most common fitness or nutritional mistake people make:

The biggest fitness and nutritional mistake I see is when a client makes a drastic change in diet or exercise at the very beginning. It is unrealistic to think that the goals they want to reach will be accomplished quicker if they skip meals or lift too-heavy of weights. I’ve been there, done that. It doesn’t work. And more than likely, they will not stick with it because they cannot do this long term.

The best advice you’ve ever been given:

There is no quick fix. Consistency to a healthy diet and exercise program will help you to achieve your goals so that you can maintain the achieved results. I had to learn this after many trials and errors. It may not be easy or fast, but it is possible and has greater results for success.

Favorite music to listen to when you workout:

I like most genres of music. I listen to oldies (Oldies are now the music I grew up with!), as well as, Adele, Rihanna, Pink, U2, Rolling Stones, and Lady Gaga. I recently downloaded Shazam to my phone, so, when I hear a song playing over the speakers at the mall, I can download it and add it to a Spinning playlist. So, it could be any artist, it just needs to catch my attention.

Future goals:

My future plans are to continue learning from my fellow trainers and clients to challenge myself and be the best that I can be. I feel I am doing what I was meant to do. I enjoy seeing my clients surprise themselves by doing something they never thought possible.