Expressions of Health Blog
"Videos, Motivations, and Other Positive Stuff"
  1. Appetite for Health


    Great news!!!  Our Spriggles Motivational Books for Children are being featured on the wonderful Appetite for  Health website, a great site dedicated to offering positive nutritional information and inspiration with a unique twist.  For a chance to win a free set of these books, please visit by midnight, October 28, 2012.

  2. “Sitting Kills”


    Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2012), a study involved 222,497 Australian adults, aged 45 and older.  Researchers compared data from the “45 and Up” Study with mortality data from early 2006 through late 2010.  Not surprisingly, parallels emerged between daily sitting time and premature death.


    This data was consistent across the sexes, age groups, body mass index categories, and even physical activity levels.

    So the bottom line is….get off your bottom.  Don’t sit, get fit!!!


    story from IDEA Fitness Journal, July/August 2012

  3. Spriggles Books Head New North Carolina Program!!


    The Wayne County Partnership for Children announced Tuesday they received a grant from the North Carolina Community Foundation for the Spriggles initiative of the Shape NC program.

    Shape NC is working to create a statewide health program to ensure that a child’s earliest experiences with food and physical activity promote a lifetime of healthy behaviors.

    The Spriggles program is a series of motivational books and activities for children, written by Martha and Jeff Gottlieb, designed to inspire health, nutrition, activity and exercise. The program will be modeled at the Shape NC model early learning center at Wayne Community College and then provided to child care facilities across Wayne County.

    “We are pleased to support Wayne County nonprofits through our growing family of charitable funds. We support the Partnership for Children’s Shape NC-Spriggles program of providing health and wellness information to young children in a fun and motivational way,” said Bob Logan, President of the Wayne County Community Foundation.

    The Partnership for Children seeks to provide young children with the start they need to become educated, healthy and self-reliant. “Thanks to the NCCF grant we are able to help educate our youngest citizens about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We know that healthy behaviors start young, and we hope the Spriggles series will get kids excited,” said Charlie Ivey, Executive Director of PFCW.

    For more information visit or

  4. 99¢ Well-Spent!!


    We are happy to announce that our Spriggles Motivational Books for Children are now available in e-book format for both Kindle and Nook.  And better yet, they are just 99¢ each for a limited time.  Remember, Spriggles combines “spirit” and “giggles” to motivate and educate young children (ages 4-7) to lead healthy, active, and energetic lives.  Spriggles provides children with critical stepping stones toward understanding the value of nutrition and physical activity.

    The three books in the Spriggles series are:

    *Health & Nutrition

    *Activity & Exercise


    Why not take advantage of this great offer and download your Spriggles e-books (Kindle or Nook) for the children in your lives.  Thanks!!

  5. Latest Spriggles Review


    Brandi Thompson, a registered dietician with ABCD Eat Right, recently gave Spriggles Books this great review:


    I really loved these books that intricately combined “spirit” and “giggles” in order to motivate young children to choose healthy habits by eating right and staying active.  Each page is illustrated by kid friendly illustrator Alexander Gottlieb.  Each page touches an important topic for healthy habits. They bring to life animals in a rhyming pattern that presents them at a level that children understand and can learn from.  I enjoyed these books and plan to include them in my On A Nutrition Mission curriculum coming up in May. If you want to check them out visit for more information on where you can find these books.  You won’t be disappointed.


    Thanks, Brandi!!

  6. March is National Nutrition Month!

    March is National Nutrition Month, a good time to take a hard look at what you’re putting on your plate.

    “Get Your Plate in Shape” is the theme of this year’s eat-right campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). The Academy encourages everyone to fill their plates with the right balance of healthy foods.

    Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to the academy.

    National Nutrition Week began in 1973 and became a monthlong observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. As part of its national campaign this year, the academy’s website ( includes helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources.

    Here are a few tips to “Get Your Plate in Shape”:

    • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

    • Eat a variety of fresh or frozen vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange types, as well as beans and peas.

    • Check the ingredients list on food packages to find foods that are made with whole grains.

    • Vary your protein choices and include seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.

    • Eat more plant-based proteins such as nuts, beans, whole grains and whole soy foods such as tofu.

    • Keep meat and poultry portions lean and limit to three ounces per meal.

    • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.  Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and fewer calories.

    • If you are lactose intolerant, drink lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

    • Cut back on sodium and calories from solid fats.

    • Compare sodium in foods and choose those with the least amount listed on the nutrition facts panel.

    • Season foods with spices or herbs instead of salt.

    • Select lean cuts of meat or poultry and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

    • Use heart-healthy oils like olive, canola and sunflower oil in place of butter or shortening when cooking.

    • Be mindful of your daily calorie needs. Think about the portions on your plate. Divide your plate in four sections: whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, and a side of dairy such as a cup of low-fat milk, one ounce of low-fat cheese or yogurt.

    • Get into the kitchen and take charge. Cooking more often at home allows you to be in control of your food, choose healthier fats, less sodium and increase the fiber in your diet while balancing the amount of calories you eat.

    • Avoid large portions by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses. Fill your plate with nutrient-dense, lower-calorie foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein foods such as beans, lean meat, seafood and poultry.

    • Watch out for liquid calories. The calories in fruit juices, sugar-laden coffee and other sugary drinks can add up fast. Also, think before drinking alcoholic beverages as they have calories too. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Choose 100 percent fruit juice.

    • Log it. Use a food log to keep track of the foods, the amounts and calories you are eating daily. It will make you more aware of what you are eating.

  7. My 10-day Vipassana Meditation Retreat


    Happy New Years All!

    I just returned from the most challenging, rewarding, fascinating, and life changing experience . . .  I attended a 10-day Vipassana Meditation Course in Bloomfield, MI.  It truly was a fantastic experience.  Below is a summary of the course, taken from “Introduction to Vipassana Meditation”.  I would be happy to share personal experiences and answer any questions you may have – just give me a call!    I highly recommend this course to everyone!  See the Vipassana Meditation site or for further info as well.

    The technique of Vipassana meditation is a simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and lead a happy, useful life.  Vipassana means “to see things as they really are”.  It is a logical process of mental refinement through self-observation.

    From time to time, we all experience agitation, frustration and disharmony. When we suffer, we do not keep our misery limited to ourselves, instead, we keep distributing it to others.  Certainly this is not a proper way to live.  We all long to live at peace within ourselves, as well as with those around us.  After all, human beings are social beings, and we have to live and interact with others.

    Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques.  It was rediscovered 2500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha and is the essence of what he practiced and taught during his forty-five years of teaching.  In our time, Vipassana has been reintroduced by Mr. S.N. Goenka. (To learn more about Mr. Goenka, go to the Vipassana website)

    To learn Vipassana meditation it is necessary to take a ten-day residential course under the guidance of a qualified teacher.  Ten days of sustained practice has been found to be the minimum amount of time in which the essentials of the technique can be learned for Vipassana to be applied in daily life.  For the duration of the course, students remain within the course site, having no contact with the outside world.  Students refrain from reading and writing, and suspend any religious practices or other disciplines.  They follow a demanding daily schedule which includes about ten hours of sitting meditation, with many breaks interspersed throughout the day.  They also observe silence, not communicating with fellow students.  They may speak with the teachers whenever necessary and they may contact the staff with needs related to food, health and such.

    There are three steps to the training.  First, students practice avoiding actions which cause harm.  During the course they undertake five moral precepts, agreeing to abstain from killing living beings, stealing, speaking falsely, all sexual activity and the use of intoxicants.  This simple code of moral conduct, along with maintaining silence, serves to calm the mind which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation.

    The second step is to develop a more stable and concentrated mind by learning to fix one’s attention on the natural reality of the ever-changing flow of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.  By the fourth day the mind is calmer and more focused, better able to undertake the third step, the practice of Vipassana itself:  the observation of sensations throughout the body, the experiential understanding of their changing nature and the development of a balanced mind by learning not to react to them.  One experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness.  This truth realization by direct experience is the process of purification.

    The entire practice is actually a mental training.  Vipassana can be used to develop a healthy mind.  Students receive systematic meditation instructions several times a day, and each day’s progress is explained during a video evening discourse by Mr. Goenka.   Complete silence is observed for the first 9 days.  On the tenth day, students learn to practice metta (loving kindness meditation) and they resume speaking as a transition back to their ordinary way of life.  The course concludes on the eleventh day.

    All courses are run solely on a donation basis.  There are no charges for the courses, not even to cover the cost of food and accommodations.  All expenses are met by donations from those who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the same opportunity.  Neither Mr. Goenka nor his assistant teachers receive remuneration; they and others who serve the courses volunteer their time. Thus, Vipassana is offered free from commercialization.

    Although Vipassana has been preserved in the Buddhist tradition, it can be accepted and applied by people of any background.  The Buddha himself taught Dhamma (the way, the truth, the path).  The technique works on the premise that all human beings share the same problems, and that a pragmatic method which can eradicate these problems can be universally practiced. Vipassana teaches those who practice it to be self-dependent.  Vipassana courses are open to anyone sincerely wishing to learn the technique, irrespective of race, faith or nationality.

    Vipassana has the capacity to transform the human mind and character.  The opportunity awaits all who sincerely wish to make the effort.

    I hope you will find the time in 2012 to take part in this wonderful experience!



    Yoga Class Schedule (as of Jan. 1, 2012) 

    Monday:   6:00 pm – 7:15 pm             Level 2 (Intermediate) 

    Tuesday:  10:00 am – 11:15 am         Gentle Yoga

                           6:30 pm – 7:45 pm           Level 1 (Basic)

     Wednesday:  5:00 pm – 6:15 pm    Level 2 (Intermediate)

                                7:00 pm – 8:15 pm      Gentle w/meditation

     Thursday:  10:00 am – 11:15 am     Gentle Yoga

                              6:00 pm – 7:15 pm       Level 1 (Basic)

    Gentle Yoga – A slower-paced class that concentrates on increasing flexibility by holding stretching postures longer and repeating them.  Suitable for all levels of yoga.

    Level 1 (Basic) – Geared toward beginners with a very basic understanding of alignment principles, breathing techniques, and postures.

    Level 2 (Intermediate) – Assumes a strong familiarity of postures and generally 1-2 years of yoga experience.  Classes will vary between Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Power, and Gentle.


    ****Suggested price is $7 per class.  However, EOH Community Wellness allows each student to simply pay what they can…no questions asked.  We want to make these classes affordable to the entire community. ****


    For class availability and information, please call 989/739-5498 

  9. New Years: Intentions, not Resolutions


    This New Years, let’s not be content to merely make resolutions.  Hey, over 95% of all New Year’s resolutions fail!  Instead, let’s set INTENTIONS.  What’s the difference, you say?  Resolutions are all based on “future outcomes”…like losing weight or stopping smoking…and they must be planned for and worked on and achieved through great discipline.  Great if you can do it.

    INTENTION, however, is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, according to Buddhist practice, it is a path that focuses on how you are “being” in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on UNDERSTANDING WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU and make a commitment to ALIGN YOUR ACTIONS WITH YOUR INNER VALUES.


    What are your inner values?   Live by them.  Think according to them and act according to them.  Remember, thoughts become actions and actions become habits.


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – Martha and Jeff


  10. Thanksgiving Poem

    May your stuffing be tasty

    May your turkey be plump,

    May your potatoes and gravy

    Have nary a lump.

    May your yams be delicious.

    And your pies take the prize,

    And may your Thanksgiving dinner

    Stay off your thighs!