About That Colonoscopy…


I just had my first colonoscopy (welcome to 50!), and it was not so bad. Read on for an outline of the colonoscopy prep and procedure, along with my tips for getting through it.

Colon cancer is a preventable thing, and the best prevention is colonoscopy, where a doctor looks at the inside of your large intestine (rectum and colon), checking for growths and polyps. They use a flexible tube with a camera.

I scheduled my colonoscopy for last Thursday, after only hearing bad things about the prep. Here is what happened.

Prepping for the test

It is pretty obvious that your colon must be pretty clean in order to see anything, and the prep involves lots of laxatives and liquids. My doctor’s protocol for a Thursday 12:30pm procedure:

  1. No blood thinners from Sunday, five days prior (fish oil, aspirin, nsaids, coumadin).
  2. No whole seeds, beans, nuts from Tuesday, two days prior
  3. Last meal is breakfast on Wednesday before 6am. Only clear liquids after (black coffee or tea, water, broth).
  4. Take 4 Dulcolax laxative pills at 1pm to start things moving.
  5. At 6pm, drink one liter bottle of prepared and chilled MoviPrep (laxative plus electrolytes), 8oz every 15 minutes, followed by 16oz of your clear beverage of choice.
  6. At 6am, repeat above. Then nothing until after.

I get up early anyway, so I had my Shakeology and one cup coffee with milk before 6, and then one cup black coffee. I was hungry later, but was OK with beverages. Teas, coconut water, broth.

I worked until noon, and was home by 1. After the Dulcolax, I had some cramping but no movement.

At 6pm, I started the MoviPrep, which is disgustingly sweet. My strategy was to use a straw and just slam it down the back of my throat. In between and after, I drank 16oz. of warm chicken broth and veggie broth, which helped get that taste out of my mouth. By the end of that, I had cramps and diarrhea (which is the point). Before the end of the night, I ran to the toilet about 12 times.

Not to be gross, but you really will be peeing out your behind, and that is what you want. Ultimately the liquid should be a clear  brownish yellow. I had that by 11:30pm and was able to sleep.

In the morning, I prepared coffee and did the same thing – slammed the laxative and then sipped good, warm coffee to get the taste out. Then I passed that fluid, and by my 12pm arrival at the doctor’s office I felt fine.

Hubby came and was my designated pick up person. You are sedated for this, so someone needs to take you home.

The Colonoscopy

I went back, changed into a hospital gown and robe, and met with the anesthesiologist. Then they called me into the room, where I met the gastroenterologist and nurse. As I laid on my left side, they started the anesthesia.

I woke up 45 minutes later feeling fine. They made me eat some cookies with juice, gave me the report, and sent me on my way with hubby.

I was able to eat lunch, although I felt full quickly. I didn’t poop for about 36 hours, which is normal. And when I did, it was fine.

My Results

I have no polyps or growths! I do have some hemorrhoids that I already knew about, as well as diverticulosis in my lower colon, which are pockets that can get inflamed. But because I eat so much fiber, they are not a problem.

And I don’t have to go back for 8-10 years.

So, don’t be scared! The colonoscopy is not so bad, is 100% covered by most health insurance, and really can save your life. Just go!

In my next post, I will share my favorite ways to sneak in as much fiber as possible into my day. And look for a great giveaway from GoMacro bars!



Review: AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones


AfterShokz headphones sound great and allow you to hear everything else!

I rarely wear headphones out in the city. There is so much ambient noise that I like to be aware of – people, cars, buses, and trains, for example!

So when I heard about these Trekz Titanium bone conduction headphones from AfterShokz, I was pretty interested.

How They Work

Bone conduction is a natural part of the hearing process as sound travels through our eardrums and bones simultaneously. AfterShokz has taken the concept to the next level through development of a suite of proprietary audio technologies and design patents that resulted in headphones that deliver unrivaled situational awareness and comfort.

Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them. In this way, blind people can use them while commuting and still hear the train announcement and all ambient noise along with music.

And this works well. I even experimented with putting in the included earplugs, and crazily enough the sound was louder!

There are also built in microphones, but since they are on the outside, you will sound like you are in a vast room and folks will hear the noise around you. This could be better.

aftershokzHow They Fit

While I love earbuds conceptually, I have small ear canals and have always had a problem getting them to fit and stay in my ears. Over the ear phones just make me sweat and are uncomfortable.

These just sit over my ears and in from of the canals. Very comfortable!

I would love it if the strap was more adjustable so I could use them while doing Pilates, where I am on my back a lot.

The Upshot

Trekz Titanium from AfterShokz are great bluetooth headphones! Easy to charge, comfortable, with great sound quality. Note that if you have ears that are sensitive, you can sometimes feel the vibration with a heavy bass, and that may bother you. It doesn’t bother me, but hubby cannot deal.

At $129.95 they are a bit expensive, but I believe they are worth it, especially since they are the only ones out with this technology.

Buy Pink Trekz Titanium through 10/31/16 and AfterShokz will donate 25% of proceeds to Bright Pink – a non profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and education. Plus, use #AwareWithPink on social media and they will donate another .25 per use!


Review: Pelvic Clock Device for Back Pain

pelvic clock

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The Pelvic Clock Device is brilliant for those of us with unstable pelvises and back pain.

A few months ago I received an email from the folks behind what was to become my new favorite little exercise device, the Pelvic Clock. And I did not answer right away.

I thought, “This little gadget is small, expensive, and what good could it really do?” After all, I have lots of small gadgets and rollers at home to help me feel better. Did I really need another thing?

But they were persistent, and I ultimately said yes. Now I wouldn’t want to be without it.

What Is The Pelvic Clock Device?

Basically. the Pelvic Clock is a small (6.5″ across, 2″ deep) dome made in the US out of rubber, with an imprint of the human sacrum in the top. When positioned correctly, your sacrum is supported in the device with a little bit of traction. The basic lower back exercises are simple – flexion/extension, side to side, and circles (the pelvic clock exercise), followed by some diagonal stretches.

The first time I did the basic series, my SI joint was out, and it popped back in! Then I had hubby, who has a spondylolisthesis with herniated discs, get on it, and his back adjusted and felt better.

Feeling cheeky, I brought it over to the studio one day for my colleague Tori to try out, and her back happened to be out. It adjusted during our session and by the next day she felt 80% better. If she had to see the chiropractor, that one visit would have cost the full amount of the Pelvic Clock.

Meet Yana

Yana Blinova is a Lenin Scholar, with Master’s in Exercise Science. She is also a former gymnast, who coached both the Soviet Army Rhythmic Gymnastics Team and the underdog Italian Olympic Team, who managed to win a silver medal in the 1992 World Championships and placed 4th at the Atlanta games. Did I mention that she is also blind?

In the 1990s, Yana’s doctors recommended an invasive spinal surgery to repair her back injuries and ailments: spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and sciatica. She wanted to avoid surgery and did, using this device! She invented this in her tiny NYC kitchen.

I met Yana a couple of weeks ago when she came to visit me at Real Pilates, where we shot some videos of the device in use, with me and Yana teaching my colleague, Bridget Casey-Insana.

Good for More Than Just Lower Back Pain

As I learned while working with Yana, the Pelvic Clock Device can be used for the pelvis in supine, sitting, and standing (against a wall) positions. It can also help the upper back, shoulder girdle, and feet. In addition, there are several standing exercises that will help with balance and stability, including lunge and squat variations.

Because you can use it standing, it is safe for pregnant women and for folks who cannot get up and down from the floor. It can also be used in bed.

Note that to really be effective, you need to do the exercises daily for a while. But at least they take 10 minutes at home, versus going out to a PT or chiropractic session.

Pilates and the Pelvic Clock Device

I saw immediately where this device could be used in Pilates – the Corkscrew exercise being an obvious choice.

I highly recommend this device to Pilates teachers and personal trainers, both for your own back and your clients. It is so small and light that I can toss it in my purse! And they offer bulk pricing for direct orders.

Bridget felt so much better after this shoot!

Here is a playlist of some videos, including the basic exercises, the foot strengthening exercises, and the Pilates Corkscrew.

What I Learned from the Fitcode Genetic Test

fitcode genetic test

The Fitcode Genetic Test gave me insights into my high cholesterol, joint issues, bone strength, and best fitness programs!

I am fascinated by genetic testing, and was excited to try the Fitcode Genetic Test. Now that we have successfully mapped our genes, it is possible for a simple cheek swab to give us useful information about ourselves.

And since I am adopted and know nothing about my family history, this information is even more important.

The Fitcode Test

Orig3n offers a few genetic tests to consumers, including skin and nutrition assessments. They offered me their most comprehensive test, the Fitcode test, to review. This test is priced at $149, and analyzes endurance, power performance, metabolism, joint health, and exercise recovery.

I received the test, which came in an unassuming small box. The box contained instructions, a release, a return label, and the collection kit. The cheek swab was easy, and I had the kit boxed up and ready to go within a few minutes. The return shipping is paid, so all I had to do is drop it in the mailbox.

I received an email after about two weeks (the sit says four) with a link to my results. The results may be viewed via an iOS app, or on any browser.

My Results

The report is broken up into the categories above, and lets you know whether you are Gifted, Normal, or need Adaptation regarding a specific gene. While normal in most respects, I had a few areas of concern, most of which I already thought were the case, but never had proof.


I am gifted in terms of Cell Repair in recovery. According to the report,

You have a less common result that is found in 25% of the population. People with this result may have better protection than people with AA or AG against free radical damage from high intensity sports. People like you are typically associated with faster recovery from intense exercise.

I love short bursts of High Intensity exercise, versus long term endurance things that annoy me. Always have!

So it is also interesting that I am gifted in fast twitch muscles (again, better for short term, high intensity sprints), lower levels of inflammation (so I recover faster from the intensity), and greater blood flow to my muscles that leads to more power (I love my heavy weights). I also have strong joints that are less prone to osteoarthritis (again, less inflammation).

Studies have shown that this result is more often associated with power athletes than those with the CC genotype. People like you may have greater blood flow to your muscles and therefore more strength for exercise that requires power over endurance.

Adaptation Needed

I have always felt that my joints were hypermobile, and they are! I have the gene associated with hypermobile joints. It is important for me to keep my joints strong to avoid injury.

I also have two genes that make it harder for my body to metabolize saturated fat, which explains my tendency towards higher than average cholesterol and weight gain. That means I have to watch my consumption of saturated fats.

Of more concern to me is the gene that leads to weaker bones and issues with vitamin D use.

You have a result found in about 60% of the population. This gene codes for the Vitamin D receptor and functions to control calcium and phosphorous levels in your body which is important for your skeletal muscle strength. This result is associated with a higher risk of muscle and bone injury when performing high intensity sports.

I have had issues with broken bones not healing (remember the great crushed toe incident of 2013?), and should probably be a bit more concerned about osteoporosis prevention.

Fitcode Takeaway

While so much of the information we get regarding our bodies is questionable at best, I now feel like I have a better understanding of my body, including how to train and what to watch out for.

It makes sense that I detest running and any long form cardio, preferring to do short, high intensity sprints. It also makes sense that I gravitated into modalities that focus on power, strength, and joint mobility. I dislike yoga because all of that joint stretching hurts me, but I love Pilates because there is so much strength and power work that I can reign in my overly flexible joints.

And now I know that my sensitivity to saturated fat really is a genetic gift, and that I need to maintain bone and joint strength more so than mobility.

This really was an eye opener for me, and I am so happy that I did this!

Book Review: Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core


Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core is a complex and smartly written book for experienced Pilates teachers.

I generally dislike Pilates books, especially ones that focus on functional anatomy. While this may sound odd coming from me, let me explain.

Most functional anatomy books end up modifying Pilates exercises to the point where they are unrecognizable as Pilates, while at the same time writing off the classical Pilates exercises as dangerous. By taking that approach, the books end up being useless for Pilates teachers.

But Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core manages to promote Pilates while discussing movement and functional anatomy. Instead of changing the exercises, the authors give teachers strategies for how to address movement dysfunction from within the Pilates system via a functional understanding of how our Powerhouse works.

Anatomy expert Dr. Evan Osar and Pilates Teacher and bodyworker Marylee Bussard approach Pilates as functional exercise and approach anatomy and movement from the standpoint of biotensegrity (a concept which I cannot explain well in a short review, but check out more on biotensegrity here). The book is written for teachers who already have a good understanding of anatomy and Pilates. This is not a book to read during your teacher training or even first year of teaching.

But once you know Pilates, anatomy, and have been teaching for a while, this book is indispensable. Seriously! Fabulous discussions of motor learning, fascial connections, and breathing. Clear photos of real clients doing Pilates exercises that show breakdowns in core support and how to address them. And best of all, a whole list of cues that can help your clients connect with their bodies within the Pilates system.


Yeast Infections and Exercise

yeast infection

Many women get more yeast infections when they start exercising. How to avoid yeast infections and treat them if you get one.

I have always been prone to yeast infections, even as a little girl. And my doctors always treated me with Monistat. First the 7 day treatment, then the 5 day, and finally the 3 day.

Now, of course, there is a ONE day treatment, and it is available over the counter at any pharmacy.

Avoidance is, of course, preferable. When I lived in the Caribbean as a fitness and pilates teacher, avoidance became quite important. I quickly learned the importance of always wearing cotton underwear, washing laundry always with a cup of white vinegar to kill yeast and mildew (if your clothing ever gets the mildew smell, white vinegar in the wash is the only thing that works).

Here are some more good tips from Monistat:

1.       Choose cotton underwear for workouts: It’s breathable, absorbent, and flexible — pulling moisture away from the skin and allowing some air flow. Moisture build up can lead to irritation, yeast infections, or bacterial infections and as you might guess, the more sweat the more moisture. If you are planning a heavy sweat session, make sure you are wearing breathable underwear and even plan to change pairs halfway through if possible.

2.       Make Sure It’s the Right Size: Wearing underwear that’s too tight can cause skin irritation by rubbing and pinching. Tight clothing in general can also limit breathability and increase the risk for yeast infections.

3.       Shower ASAP: When you finish up your workout, hit the shower as soon as you can. No sprays or wipes do the same job as a quick rinse in the shower. If you’re in a rush or planning to do more active things after your workout, like mowing your lawn or cleaning the house, try to at least change into a fresh pair until you can shower.

4.       Treat it Quickly: If you do end up with a dreaded yeast infection, don’t delay treating it with an over the counter suppository like Monistat which can cure a yeast infection without a prescription. There is nothing worse than trying hit the gym while dealing with serious discomfort that accompanies a yeast infection.

If you are interested in an all natural approach, check out Love Wellness, which offers all natural, boric acid-based yeast infection treatments that work!

My Favorite Body Care Products

Body Care

My Favorite Body Care Products are all natural and smell great!

When you have been married as long as hubby and I (23 years), you start to share body care products. After a while, you agree on common favorites based on fragrance and what your skin needs.

We are both very scent sensitive, preferring natural fragrances or unscented products. And we each have skin disorders, eczema for me and psoriasis for him, so need body care products that moisturize and calm.

Seaweed Bath Company

I received samples from Seaweed Bath Co. and both of us loved the shampoo and body wash enough to order. Since then we have used their bar soaps, body creams, and bath salts. I am actually trying their not-yet-released facial product line right now, and the products are super hydrating, smell great, and my skin looks and feels fabulous.

While on a personal journey to find a better skin solution for Adam’s severe bodywash_eucalyptus_front_copy_largepsoriasis, we discovered the soothing and detoxifying powers of seaweed. We were delighted to discover that seaweed not only calmed Adam’s troubled skin, but also provided important benefits for all skin and hair types.

The Peppermint and Citrus scents are light and natural, and the unscented products still smell ok, not weird like many unscented products do.

The shampoo and body wash lather well and rinse clean, without drying. The body cream sinks right in and feels light, but is extremely effective. The baths all contain seaweed and salt, and detox while treating your skin.

Serenity Acres Farm

The folks at Serenity Acres Farms raise goats for milk, and their goats milk soaps and body creams are rich and creamy. Their tagline is Happy Soaps by Happy Goats, and the soaps I tried are all different and all wonderful. Even hubby likes them!

At Serenity Farms we strive to create a place where we work with nature instead of against nature to create a healthy, sustainable, bio-dynamic home for us and our animals and make the planet a better place, one hoof print and one soap at a time! Serenity Skin Care and Soaps are toxin free, all natural, and are good for you, good for your body and good for the planet.

I love the goat stories and the cute folded boxes. But I love the soaps more. And the body cream is light and fluffy, yet rich and deeply moisturizing at the same time. Note that the products smell more in the box than they do when in use, so don’t be put off.

Como Shambhalatravel-kit-s

Having spent time as both a guest and staff at Como Shambhala at Parrot Cay, I grew very attached to the Como Shambhala Invigorate products. They smell wonderful, are full of botanicals, and are very hydrating

The Invigorate body wash, shampoo, and body lotion all take me back to that gorgeous beach, even in my NYC bathroom. And the salt scrub works wonders on my dry skin as the fragrance transports my soul.