Sugar…What is so bad about it?

SugarI am continuing to hear about all the bad things on what sugar does to the body.  I have decided to do some research into this favorite delightful tasty treat and see what is so bad about it. Here is what I am finding…

Sugar is a natural ingredient that has been in our diets for thousands of years. It is a simple carbohydrate and when broken down it provides energy to the body. How fast or slow it’s broken down is the key and makes all the difference in how our bodies respond to it. Anything thing that ends in “ose” is sugar. The most common sugars are:

Sucrose: table sugar which is made of glucose and fructose. It is extracted from sugarcane and is found in fruits and veggies.

Fructose and glucose: are found in fruits, honey, and veggies.

Lactose is called milk sugar because it is found in milk and dairy products.

Maltose is known as malt sugar and is found in malted drinks and beer.

There is a difference between refined and processed sugars such as table sugar and unprocessed sugars that are naturally found in fruits and veggies. Unprocessed sugars contain help promoting nutrients that break down at a slower rate. While refined sugars such as candy and baked goods do not have health benefits and break down at a faster rated which is not good.

Natural sugars, when eaten in balance with other healthy foods, are more health-promoting. This can make natural sugars nutrient-dense food.  Eating processed sugars are always health-depleting and are empty-calorie foods. Processed sugars also rob the body of essential nutrients and can leave the body nutrient-deficit.  They have no B vitamins, chromium, magnesium, zinc or other minerals that the body needs to digest and metabolize.

I have craved sugar for some time now, and I am just starting to really realize that refined sugar can destroy the body.   There is much more information to come…stay tuned as I continue to figure out the sugar craze.

Getting to Change – Session 2 with the Support of Coaching

Getting to ChangeIndividuals need to:

  1. Recognized the disadvantage of the status quo.
  2. Recognize the advantages of change.
  3. Hold some optimism about change.
  4. Have an intention to change.
  5. Make a commitment to change.

Recognize the disadvantage of status quo:

  • I never really thought about how…
  • I think I have not taken this serious enough
  • I can see now that if I don’t change…. I could die sooner

Recognize the advantages of change:

  • If I weigh less, I could buy regular size clothing
  • If I weighed a normal weight, I would have more energy
  • I would probably feel better if I exercised
  • I might enjoy my grandchildren more as they grow up

Expressing optimism about change:

  • I think I could exercise 2 times a week
  • I was able to quit smoking many years ago
  • I usually can do something if I made up my mind I am going to do it
  • I think I can do this with some support from family

Expressing intention to change:

  • I think it is time for me to do this
  • I have got to do something
  • This is not how I want to be the rest of my life
  • I don’t know how I will do this but I am going to have to do it

Making a commitment to change:

  • I have a plan
  • I have accountability
  • I have the drive
  • I have support

When the Weather is Not Great: Power-Up at the Indoor Mall

It’s warm and dry…and there is coffee. Go ahead and grab your friend or family and join the walkers in the mall. It is a great spot as there are bathrooms and water. Many malls open early in the morning before the stores do. You can also window shop during your walk.

Here is a great workout

Warm-up: walk for 5 minutes at a comfortable pace.When the weather is not great


  • Walk briskly for 20 minutes.
  • Do 10 jumping jacks every time you make it to your favorite store.
  • Do 10 squats when you pass a favorite restraint.
  • Do 10 lunges when you pass a jewelry store.
  • Do 10 high marches when you pass the food court.
  • When you get to an empty bench do 10 push-ups with hands on the bench.

Cooldown: walk for 5 minutes at a comfortable pace.

March Spotlight – Karen Walker


Karen WalkerHi, I am Karen Walker. I have been attending Sarah’s yoga class for over 5 years. I thought that yoga was twisting your body into a pretzel so I would not be a good candidate. Sarah convinced me that my perception was completely wrong and to try it. Or as Sarah would say “No worries”.  Within a few months, I noticed improvement in my balance, strength, and flexibility.

My husband Terry and I have two adult children and three grandchildren. My leisure activities are physical as well as social and involve our family and friends. I enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, crew (or rowing) in an 8 person boat, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I am a recently retired Occupational Therapist having been employed for 31 years as program director and faculty at Grand Rapids Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I volunteer at Family Promise, Ability Weavers, Wittenbach Wege Nature Center, and Ada Congregational Church. Family Promise is an interfaith hospitality network that provides emergency shelter and solutions for families facing a housing crisis. Ability Weaver is a store in Lowell that sells woven products made by weavers with special needs. Wittenbach Wege Nature Center of Lowell schools provides hands-on nature programs. I participate in the classes for 3-6-year-olds called Tiny Trekkers.

As I age balance, strength, and flexibility are important for my health. I appreciate Sarah’s attention and response to our needs as she leads our yoga classes.

Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living

Peppermint Essential OilI love this oil because it helps me in so many ways. Keep in mind these are ways that Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living has helped me. I am not saying that it will cure these issues – only how it has helped me with these issues.  I am not a doctor. That being said I use Peppermint for the following:

  • To help me focus or wake up
  • To clear up my sinuses from a cold or allergies
  • To calm my upset stomach
  • To help with bowel movements
  • To help with heartburn
  • To cool off on a hot summer day

I tend to keep a bottle at the office so I can open it and simply let it sit on my desk – open – for 5 minutes. This helps to clear up any sinus issues I may be having. I also like to do this in the afternoon when I hit that afternoon slump. Smelling Peppermint helps to wake me up and focus my thoughts back on my work. I’ll rub a drop or two of Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living on my stomach when I am not feeling well or I am having digestive issues. I heard recently that someone puts one or two drops in their toilet before sitting down when they need to have a bowel movement.

I have also put one or two drops of Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living under my tongue to help with heartburn. In the summer it is nice to have a spray bottle with some of the peppermint oil and water combined to help me cool off in the heat. If you try this be sure you do not spray this on your face or in your eyes. Lastly, Peppermint oil is one of the 3 oils I use from Young Living as support for my sinus allergies. I combine the Peppermint with Lavender and Lemon in a capsule with the Young Living V6 carrier oil.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the information in these blogs please feel free to contact me through The Hammock LLC.

Well, that is it for now. We will chat again later.


Certified Therapy Dog Visits the Hammock Yoga Studio

It is an honor to have a certified therapy dog come join us for restorative yoga. Sam is Kathy Walsh‘s certified therapy dog who works for programs in hospitals and libraries. It is extremely relaxing to have the therapy Sammy around during the yoga class. He is a gentle, and loving therapy dog!

What is a therapy dog: Unlike a service dog, a therapy dog is a pet trained to interact with many people other than its handler to make those people feel comfortable, relaxed, focused, and decrease anxieties. Therapy dogs are only allowed into places like hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and libraries by prior authorization.

February Spotlight – Jeanne Smit

Jeanne SmitHi…my name is Jeanne Smit and I have been coming to Sarah’s class for just over a year now, with my husband Ed. I enjoy gardening, sewing, and fitness, which has always been a big part of my life. I have been doing some form of exercising since I was a teenager.

I have four children, who are very fitness-minded also, and eight grandchildren who I hope will find their fitness important also.  I always knew that you need to keep your body moving in some way in order to maintain a good, healthy life.

‘Keep moving’ is my motto. I do know I’m not the most flexible person in the yoga class, but I know it’s very good for my mobility.  It’s so true, as you age, your body just doesn’t move like it used to….and I cannot believe I fall into that category!!    My body isn’t the same one as when I was 20, 30, 40, or even 50!

I believe that Yoga is very good for the body and mind, and I enjoy the feeling after the class is over.

When Willpower Isn’t Enough

When Willpower Isn’t EnoughDo you snack every night in front of the television?

Do you drink too much when you are out with friends?

Do you buy clothes that you don’t need without realizing it?

These can become bad habits.  Many bad habits are operated mindlessly, on autopilot.  How do you stop these bad habits? The key is to figure out how to get your mind off of autopilot. It is learning to disrupt the behavior before it starts.

How many of you go to the movies and buy popcorn and eat the whole bucket within the first 20 minutes of the movie, and then have to run out again to get more? Are you hungry? Probably not. It is just mindless eating. If you would like to break a bad habit, spend some time thinking about the situations in which bad behavior often occurs. Considering doing something else instead of going back into mindless autopilot. Any alternate activity is less likely to trigger mindless eating. Try mixing up your routines, or changing hands when you eat making the situation more mindful and aware.

Many times, we blame ourselves for failures and chalk it up to lack of commitment or willpower.  We need to understand how behavioral mindless activities start by understanding how they really work and applying the most effective strategies to overcome our bad habits.   We need to get off of autopilot and fly our own plane. This would be a great coaching session. Are you ready?

Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of YourselfYour children can often pick up on your stress much like a sponge.

  • Do routine things to ensure less stress for all
  • Do your best to make sure the entire family eats a balanced meal to stay well and nourished. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and exercise.
  • Do not forget to take care of yourself. If you are not feeling okay, it conflicts with the order of everything else.
  • Take a nap, read a book, or take a long hot bath. Relaxation is one of the ways you can best approach the struggles with that following stress and anxiety.