The One New Years Day Tradition you should keep ALL Year Long (its not the hangover)

New Years Day – what does that look like for you?

For most people I know and myself it looks something like this:

Sleep in, nurse champagne hangover, go for a brisk walk outside, review resolutions, and settle in for a day of football with a steaming plate of pork and sauerkraut…


(For my clients and myself, same scenarios but sub a green juice for coffee and nix the pork! Squash and sauerkraut anyone?)

So what part of that January 1st rundown should get play everyday?

Did you guess…….SAUERKRAUT?!?!?

OK, OK it was a trick question.  There is actually more than one idea to keep all year from that description

  1. Reviewing resolutions (aka GOALS) should be done every day, week, month, etc. What lazy bastards only make goals once a year?!?
  2. You should get outside in the sunshine for a few minutes every day to soak in the rays Vitamin D.
  3. Rest and recovery is essential to your fitness regime.

However, these are topics for another time.
(Resolution “conquer procrastination” didn’t make my cut this year)

Right now I wanna talk about the joys of fermented cabbage! Yay!

So what is so great about sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It is made by pickling the cabbage so that the natural lactobacilli bacteria present on the cabbage leaves ferments the sugars inside the cabbage.

Therefore sauerkraut is a natural probiotic and full of enzymes that are really good for your digestion.

Probiotics help friendly bacteria to flourish in your stomach. They help to digest both grains and protein.  I.e. you’ll “Eliminate”/ aka go to the bathroom more often! :-p

I’m all for fast and healthy digestion that but how am I going manage eating kraut every day?

Mix it up!

  1. Throw it into soups after you cook the soup. Don’t cook it into the soup. It will just get mushy and rob the probiotic benefits.
  2. Put on top of salads.
  3. Try mixing in different flavors and spices like ginger, curry, cayenne, and lime.

And by the way–eat it at the START of your meal so that it can create a nice base to help digest the protein or starch to follow.

Where do I get sauerkraut?

  1. 1. You can make your own at home but I haven’t had much luck with that myself yet. Will need more lessons from Mom on that one. There are plenty of youtube clips on making sauerkraut at home if want to try it out though.
  2. You can find some really creative and tasty ones at farmers market and natural food stores.  I’ve seen variations flavored with rye, curry, ginger, and ones made with carrots and beets in them as well. Yum!
  3. In big grocery store chains the kraut can be found in bags in the frozen section or in glass jars in the “kosher and ethnic foods” aisle.

What the hell was with this blog post?
I’ve never even heard of eating sauerkraut on New Years Day!

It might sound silly but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that this meal isn’t EVERYONES New Years tradition. Oh myopia. Everyone I grew up with did it- but upon and moving out of PA and doing some research – I found out that the whole pork and sauerkraut thing is actually a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

Italians have the seven fishes, southerners do black eyed peas and greens, and there are tons of other traditions that I don’t know about.

Try out the sauerkraut for a happy and frequently eliminating belly. But I’m also curious what other healthy traditions you and your family do to ring in the year? Let me know below.

Happy 2012. :-) SP

Mixtape Motivation Monday

Christopher Wolfgang Mauch makes really really pretty pictures.
But sometimes he also makes really, really fun music.

And lucky for us last night he “found” this 20 minute mix that he made “hiding” in his ipod.
Is that the DJ’s version of finding a crumpled $20 bill in the pocket of a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in months? Delightful!


“Ready in Twenty”

Warmup: (4minutes)

  • Cat-Cow                                                            20
  • Downdog with Calf Stretching                              10 breaths
  • “Worlds Greatest Stretch” – definition at bottom     5 per side

At 4minutes in the BPM’s start to bump up a notch so now its time for

Activation Drills and Plyometrics: (4minutes)

  • Glute Bridging                   3x 10
  • Jump Squats                    3×6
  • Dance Party in Full Swing by Minute 8 so get a warmup lap in

Run at a MODERATE Pace for 2 minutes (2 minutes)

  • Now time to up your Intensity….

High Intensity Intervals. Aka RUN bitches!!!  (10 Minutes)

  • 1 minute work AFAP
  • 1 minute Rest.
  • Repeat Sprint / Rest 4 times for a TOTAL of 5 sprints and 5 rest periods.

AFAP = As Fast As Possible!!!
1 minute rest = slow your ass down to a walk, catch your breath and get ready to go again


  • Repeat Downdog to Stretch out Calves
  • Quad Stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch


Worlds Greatest Stretch: (from Athletes Performance)

Take a Large Step forward with your left leg, as if doing a lunge.  Place your right hand on ground outside of your left foot and support your weight on the hand.

Take your left elbow and reach down to your instep (forward leg) while keeping your back knee off the ground.  Then move your left hand outside your left foot and push your hips stright to the sky, pulling your toe up toward your shin.  Finally, step forward forward into the next lunge and repeat on the opposite side.

Glute Bridge
Lie faceup on the floor with knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.  Bridge your hips toward the ceiling by firing your glutes.  Only your shoulders and heels remain on the ground.  Maintain a strong contraction.  Hold, then lower your hips toward the floor and then repeat.

Squat Jump
Stand with your feet wider than your hips and your hand on your head.  Sink your hips down until your thighs are parallel to the fround.  Your chest is up and your tummy is tight.  Jump – exploding from your hamstrings and glutes. Extend your ankles, knees, and hips completely to a straight line and land SOFTLY in the same starting position.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Ginger Pie

 I’m thankful for pumpkins!!!!! 

Pumpkins are a great source of carotene, vitamin C, B1, B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and fiber.

Colonists supposedly created the first “pumpkin pie” by slicing off the pumpkin top, removing the seeds, filling the inside with milk, spices, and honey and baking it in hot ashes.

RECIPE given to me by Stephanie Carbarcas (with modifications for gluten free)

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar  (I used organic sucanat, i.e. brown sugar)
  • 1-cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups flour (I used a mixture of ½ cup Almond flour with 1 ½ cup Arrowhead Mills “Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix”)
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 2 tspns cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tspn cloves
  1. Slice pumpkin in half and roast for 45 min.
  2. Set aside pumpkin seeds to roast for snacking later***
  3. Discard stringy stuff.
  4. Scoop out the rest of insides and puree in a food processor or blender.
  5. Mix flour and spices together.
  6. Combine pumpkin puree with eggs and sugar in a large bowl and mix in the dry ingredients.
  7. Grease pan with some coconut oil and bake. (I used a 9’’ round Springform pan)
  8. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick/knife comes clean
  9. I ended up baking for about 45/50 minutes because I think the fresh pumpkin and coconut oil made it really moist and dense.
  10. Cooled and then drizzled with a bit of store bought organic gluten free vanilla frosting.

The result ended up being quite moist and surprisingly rich. Like dark chocolate – only needed a few bites of PURE PUMPKIN PLEASURE.


I would like to try to make it a bit lighter as well but not sure how to modify.Suggestions?

Play around and let me know how it turns out for you.





NYTimes Article – Yoga Addict’s New Mantra: ‘Mix It Up’

Yoga Addict’s New Mantra: ‘Mix It Up’
Published: November 22, 2011

I WAS an addict of ashtanga yoga for a decade. It made me strong. It made me feel superior to people who went to the gym. What it did not make me was skinny.

Leann E. Johnson

Ashtanga yoga is essentially the mother of vinyasa, the sweaty kind — a set series of daily poses you do abetted by a teacher “adjusting” you by, say, sitting on your back. There’s no music and little talking. It is widely believed to have been created for adolescent boys and tends to attract former drug addicts and Type A personalities; I’m the latter.

Ashtanga mirrored my professional life as I segued from journalism to writing for Hollywood. “All is coming” and “practice through the pain” are among the mantras of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the late ashtanga guru, of the aptly named Mysore, India. Manhattan’s version of Jois is Eddie Stern of SoHo, whose studio is a modest, brightly painted loft above the restaurant L’Orange Bleue — an enchanted urban oasis with lots of fresh flowers even in the dead of winter.

It took me only a few months on the yoga studio circuit to figure out that all my favorite teachers (plus Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna) practiced with Eddie, whose name was always uttered in hushed, reverent tones. I also learned that you have to practice at least three days a week, though six were preferable (Saturdays and full or new moons were for rest), and that his students drank their own urine.

O.K., the urine part turned out not to be true, though during a pilgrimage to Mysore, I did start consuming clarified butter because it was supposed to increase flexibility. Other than that, while in India, I eschewed dairy, alcohol, meat and sugar. I went to bed around 9 p.m. to wake up energized for yoga sessions at dawn. I remember looking at my bikini-clad self in a mirror and thinking, “This yoga thing is really working out for me.”

When I got back to New York, I was more enthusiastic than ever to be practicing at Eddie’s. Now I felt like an insider. For the first time in years, I wasn’t working in an office, and practicing ashtanga was like a part-time job. By the time I walked there from my apartment in the West Village, practiced, had breakfast with a friend and walked home, half the day was gone — but I felt virtuous instead of guilty. Never mind that I’d returned to wining and dining, with renewed vigor. I felt sure that as long as I got on my mat, surrounded by all the lithe, beautiful people at Eddie’s, I would not bulge bigger than a size 8.

Whenever a friend would express doubts about just how many calories I was burning at yoga, I would scoff something like, “It’s not really about that.” As I walked by gyms with my yoga mat strapped to my back, I’d feel empathy for the human hamsters on their machines, watching TV. I was way more evolved.

Seven years later, I was engaged and living in L.A. I’d advanced to the point where I could do a handstand in the middle of the room, almost touch my head with my feet, fall gracefully into a backbend and stand up. I also felt a little … soft around the middle. True, I had cut back to practicing three times a week because I now had a full-time job writing for a TV show. But I was also planning my wedding, and suddenly I desperately wanted to hire a personal trainer.

During my first training session with Alyma Dorsey, an encouraging professional beach-volleyball player, at a basic gym in the basement of my apartment building (no flowers, but plastic-foam cups around a water cooler), I bragged that I was in great shape because of yoga. Alyma was very polite about it and said I should keep practicing if it made me happy.

I woke up the day after our session barely able to walk. But soon I started getting the hang of lunges and weight lifting. On days without Alyma, I was even walking uphill very fast on the treadmill, like the hamsters I’d once scorned, while watching TV shows on my iPad.

I also had found out that two of my favorite yoga teachers were very into spinning and that the most beautiful lithe woman at Eddie’s ran almost every day.

Within two months of personal training, I lost five pounds and dropped down to around a size 6. I had more time because my yoga practice was about 90 minutes, and it takes only 45 minutes of cardio a few days a week to get results. Everything felt firmer and better.

I started lying to my L.A. yoga teacher, Loren Russo, who’d been a roommate in Mysore. I told her I was really busy with work instead of admitting to my intense, sweaty sessions with Alyma. Confused, Loren observed that I looked better than ever.

Then, as my wedding approached, a friend asked if he could bring a date: his new girlfriend, Tracy Anderson, training guru to the stars. Including Gywneth and Madonna. As a wedding present, Tracy rented out a room at the Gold’s Gym in Palm Springs and led a fitness class the day before my wedding. About a dozen of my girlfriends showed up. I managed to keep up while my yoga-enthusiast friends either snuck out or faked leg lifts in the back.

At the wedding itself, I got a lot of compliments on my newly svelte frame and cut arms. Some people even asked me for my secret. “Less yoga,” I admitted, sotto voce, with a note of sacrilege.

Now I’m practicing only about once a week, for meditation, stretching and community. Loren recently observed that I’m not nearly as flexible as I used to be, and I finally confessed that I’m really into working out with a trainer.

“I’m just trying to mix it up,” I said meekly.

Loren just smiled and said, “Great.”

I left her that day feeling the way yoga is supposed to make you feel: enlightened. If not particularly lighter.

A version of this article appeared in print on November 24, 2011, on page E3 of the New York edition with the headline: Yoga Addict’s New Mantra: ‘Mix It Up’.

Stay Fit with Friends this Fall – 4 Ways.

1. Get Outside for a Playdate – Together!

September 11th, 2010, 3:30am: Conversing with friends at a hotel bar downtown. The question is posed. Friend: “Hey Sarah – you are coming on this bike ride tomorrow afternoon aren’t you? Me:  “Yes of course, you know I love bike rides!” What I didn’t know then is that we were going to be riding 100 miles of NYC.

This may sound like a daunting task at first (and it did to me too) but once you just accept the fact that you will have a numb crotch for the duration of the ride – its fine. Its great actually.

Do you remember being a little kid and riding your bike in circles around the neighborhood? Goofing off with your friends with no sense of time until your Mom yelled for you to come inside? This is kind of like that but more awesome because there is no curfew and more stops for food and beer ( I mean carbs).

A group called the NYC Bridgerollers / Bridgerunners has organized this ride as a tribute to NYC on September 11 for the past 2 years. This was a special tribute ride but they organize rides / runs all throughout the year and this crew has a way of making their meet-ups feel more like a party in motion rather some triumph/obstacle to overcome.

I brought my friend Greg along this year and regarding the journey he said, “I will never forget it. Amazing feeling. That is what fitness is about for me; the camaraderie and group dynamic. I would have never finished if that was a race”.

(all photos courtesy of Craig Wetherby @

2. Take a Fitness Adventure – Together

Sometimes the best way get rid of bad habits and integrate new ones is to “pull a geographic” and get out of town!

Install healthy new practices and enjoy the relaxing benefits of nature. There are tons of yoga retreats out there to choose from.  But for November I cant recommend more to join Jules Febre and Julie Kirpatrick for the CELEBRATE LIVING RETREAT – Jivamukti Yoga’s 20th Annual Thanksgiving Retreat located at Ananda Ashram in the Catskills.

What a better way to enjoy the beauty of the changing of the season, give thanks for your blessings, be led through twice daily asana practice, and have someone else plan, prepare, and cleanup a healthy veggie Thanksgiving feast.

If yoga isn’t your thing (I DONT understand why not – but whatever) you can still reap the benefits of a fall fitness getaway. Book a weekend at Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills and get in some fall foliage trail running, river kayaking, or rock climbing.

3. Go to Sporting Events – Together

Any sports fan knows that just WATCHING their favorite team compete elevates testosterone, blood pressure and heart rate. (At times uncomfortably so!) Add a few leaps off the couch and fist pumps and it can be quite a workout!

But watching human athleticism at its finest is also a great motivator to do something more yourself. Get to the game a little earlier and pass the ball around for a bit.

Wake up and watch the marathon runners. If you blink you will miss the Kenyans sprinting at the front of the pack. Show support for the rest of the pack by handing out water, tissues, bananas, high-fives, energy gels, and lip balm.

Then use that enthusiasm to go for pre-dinner run together and sign up for a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot!

4. Take a Group Fitness Class – Together
Group fitness classes and tandem training sessions offer a fun and economical way to workout together without requiring you and your friends to have matching gym memberships.

Relax by taking a yoga class at your local yoga studio. Get your heart rate up by taking a spin class at studios like Flywheel (with Holly R!) and Soulcyle.  If you dont live in an urban area with all these offerings - My relatives across the country from the Carolinas to Alaska are very into Zumba!, which is also offered in community centers and churches.

Or hire a trainer to take you and your buddy through a semi-private training session together. Its fun to play off one another’s energy and as a bonus most trainers will provide a bit of a price break for duet sessions. :-)

Shameless plug time!!!!!!!
If you are badass Brooklyn bitch ( or Manhattanite willing to cross the bridge) please come join our Fall Fitness Camp on Monday nights at 8 Berry Street in Williamsburg.  One part sweaty warrior princess strength training.  One part gooey yoga cool- down.

Message me for details at





Fish Sticks – How Fish Oil Helps Make a Flat Belly

Fish Oil is not news.

You’ve been hearing about the benefits of Omega fatty acids for years. You’ve heard that they are good for skin, mood, heart health, etc.

But when I canvassed my friends and clients recently, I found out that very few of them were actually supplementing with fish oil.

So how about this – did you know that fish oil and DHA supplements might aid in FAT LOSS?

Particularly that stubborn squishy around your belly part that you pinch and contort and hold up your shirt and say “Sarah, How do I get rid of THIS?”
Yeaaaah………………so if that got your attention lets go over the benefits of this maritime miracle medicine again.

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN friends read up as well!!!! I’ve put some options for you at the end!!

Continue reading