Marsha is Simply Healthy!!

Over a year ago, Marsha entered my barre class. Since then, we have taken ballet and yoga together. It is difficult to put into words the strength and grace Marsha brings to each class and activity she leads and participates in 🙂 Here she is….

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
Staying alive JOYFULLY after two bouts of bone cancer, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, a kidney transplant, and a whole host of life threatening events in between.

What was your aha (when you decided to exercise, practice yoga, eat healthier, etc) moment?
I have always been moving, so I have actually never had an “aha” moment. When I lost my leg, I did not feel comfortable dancing anymore. It was too hard to maneuver a prosthetic in the 1970’s. I walked, and did abs then.

When prosthetics got better, I could do more. The first time I danced with all of my strength was with a new prosthetic at an African Dance class at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. The class was taught by Rosa Maria. Then came Djoniba, Pat Hall, Marilyn Sylla, and Carmen (flamenco). For me, movement is prayer.

Did you go all in or build over time?
I went all in, and still do. I take at least four dance classes a week, sometimes five.

What’s your go-to form of exercise? Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?
Dance. A group for sure. I like the energy of others, especially in a dance class.

Does music motivate you? What’s your must-have song?
Yes it does. Especially classical, latin, funk and hip hop. I would have to say Camille Saint Saen “The Swan”.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner? Do you meal prep or make it as you go?
6-7 nights a week. I make it as I go.

What’s your favorite recipe?
Coconut lime cake ~ not very healthy, but SOOOOO delicious!

Coconut Lime Cake

You will need:

  • White cake
  • Lime cure
  • 7 minute frosting
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Make your lime curd the night before and let it cool for 24 hours in the fridge. If you want the quick version, purchase a jar of Dickinson’s Lime Curd, available at specialty grocery stores.
  2. The next day, make your cake.
  3. Make a white cake , putting the batter into 3 cake pans and baking at recommended temperature. To enhance the flavor a bit, I like to grate some lime zest and a small amount of coconut milk in place of regular milk( maybe 1/8 of what the recipe calls for). I like this white cake recipe.
  4. While cake cools, make the frosting. Find your favorite 7 minute frosting recipe. This one is mine, complete with double boiler! Let cool a bit.
  5. Once the cake is completely cooled, remove from pans to lay out the three tiers.
  6. Place the first layer of cake down, with top visible. Spread lime custard . Add next layer, top visible. Spread the next layer of lime custard. Be generous!
  7. Spread the 7 minute frosting with a plastic spatula. Be sure to add lifted peaks to the tops and sides.
  8. Now spread unsweetened coconut flakes all over the cake.
  9. Add a twisted lime on top.
  10. Enjoy!

What is your current goal?

To be a reflection of the God in others.

Here is Marsha’s full bio 🙂
Marsha Therese Danzig, Healer, Author, Poet, Dancer, and Yoga Teacher, RYT 500, M.ed Harvard, is a pioneer in the field of yoga as the first amputee in the United States to teach yoga, for almost two decades. She is the Founder of Yoga for Amputees and Color Me Yoga® for Children, one of the first children’s yoga programs in US.
As an author, she has published many well loved books including The Tiniest Acorn , Yoga for Busy Little Hands: Mudras for Children, A Christian Yoga Practice and her autobiography, Fierce Joy, which chronicles her story of moving through multiple traumas since childhood to become a fierce advocate for our inherent right to JOY. Presently Marsha offers an online program for women called From Trauma to Trust: a nine month program to Rebirth YOU after major trauma, chronic illness, loss and trauma.
Marsha is a dancer and mover to the core. She has a fearless and abundantly hopeful spirit which infuses everything she does. She is a childhood Ewing’s Sarcoma (which is still nearly fatal) bone cancer survivor. She considers every day a gift.

Twitter: @yogaforamputees

Thank you Marsha for sharing your story!!  Please leave any questions and comments below 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story?  Email me at

Arlene is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is one of my amazing students, Arlene!  I was lucky enough to meet Arlene when I began teaching and have been lucky to have her as a student and a friend ever since.  Everyday she can be found taking a variety of classes and enjoying time with fellow YMCA members.  She is truly special and I am so happy she has shared some of her tricks for leading a healthy lifestyle!!


When did you begin leading a healthy lifestyle and how has it affected your life to this point? 

I guess I have to go back 37 years. I was always thin and not necessarily fit as the only type of exercise back then was Gloria Steven’s and we did tons of leg lifts and ab work but NO weights. 

I was 31 when I had my son and for whatever reason unknown to many, especially me, I gained 17 pounds during pregnancy.  Once David was born I went from a size 6 back then, it is now a 2, but with that said to a size 14. I looked as if someone blew me up like an air balloon. No matter what I did, starving eating a lettuce leaf and a hard-boiled egg, I kept gaining weight.  Finally, I was seen by Dr. Bernard Klinman the top endocrinologist at Mass General Hospital.  Because of my pregnancy something happened to my thyroid.  It took over a year and a half for the proper dosage to work.  At that time they gave you synthroid then waited 3 months and then raised the dosage an mg at a time.  Because I was eating properly and exercising, bringing my son to Gloria Steven’s each day and placing him in babysitting services (at a cost of $1.00 per class,) I began to lose this excess weight very slowly.

From that time to today I was so concerned about helping others find why they were overweight.  When my son was in nursery school, I became a Weight Counselor for 3 different companies over the next 5 years.  One dealt with a limited interview and having clients listen, over 4 weeks, to different tapes at night (cyber something was the name of the co.).  The second was a Thin from Within program developed that included individual counseling and group counseling sessions.  It also included 4 weeks of a tape program that you listened to at night.  

Believe it or not the 3rd company, 35 years ago, had a computer program that in today’s world would be ancient but we asked the clients what they ate, then placed the information into a program that told them how many calories their choice registered and placed them on a very limited (PROBABLY UNHEALTHY) but calorie perfect diet to lose weight.     

I then continued at other fitness programs available at the time and for years took my son with me. Unfortunately that was the time that “life time memberships” were offered. I then chose “2” that I remember 35 years later after signing it. It was their lifetime as corporations not mine and lost many hard earned dollars as each went out of business or closed their facility.

No matter where life took me exercise and healthy eating choices were an integral part of my lifestyle.   When my husband became very sick and I had to become a 24/7 caretaker the video world was my new best friend.  I purchased every video available and when cable TV brought the option of fitness TV, I then became their best follower.   Today, I can’t recall the exact instructors I followed but for sure I never ever stopped exercising. Because of the weight gain due to my thyroid I was a portion control person and a behavior modification person from my years of counseling.  

I to this day, 35 years later, do believe in behavior modification and portion control and any trick that works smaller plates measuring your food, logging your food and today I am a FIT BIT enthusiast.

It was a $100.00 investment but I log everything I eat and every program I participate in and even wear the unit at night and know how many hours I sleep and how long it takes me to fall asleep and how many times I wake up during the night.

Being honest with what I record and seeing my weekly report I believe keeps me fit and on track and healthy and truly happy that I have been the same weight within a pound or two over a lifetime…..

The joy of coming to the Y is a very personal and joyous part of each of my days.  The friendships I have made and the feeling of wellbeing has never been better as a 68 year old woman living alone and creating a life.  Only 2 years ago, after making that decision to sell my family home of 40 years, and creating a life alone is the gift that just keeps giving. 

What are some of your favorite aspects to healthy living?

Enjoying the choices I make to stay healthy and fit.  It allows me to enjoy: Exercising in a variety of group programs offered at the YMCA; choosing all of my favorite foods and eating them in moderation; and taking classes at CCCC (Cape Cod Community College) offered by Academy of Life Long Learning.

Do you prepare a lot of meals at home?

Yes, I cook for myself each and every night.  I make my meal times special, using my favorite dishes and wine glasses. My morning meal includes reading the Cape Cod Times; afternoon meal includes listening to music and catching up on articles of interest that I have saved and evenings do include a glass of my favorite Shiraz and watching the news of the day.

What’s your favorite meal to prepare?

The most amazing, exotic, healthy, huge salad I can prepare, including everything from salad greens, avocado, nuts, beans, artichokes, Flax seeds etc. to name a few ingredients off the top of my head.

What do you consider to be the key to your success?

Eating in moderation, not eating in between meals, always being seated when I eat, and choosing the proper plate/ dish or cup to make my choices special.

My motto for exercising is anything I do is better than nothing, I engage in a huge variety of programs, using modifications and good judgment  

If you had to name your greatest accomplishment, what would it be?

In the area of family, it is to have a wonderful relationship with my son and daughter in-law and my two grandchildren.

Overall, to begin each day being grateful for, what I do, what I have and who I am; and always embracing a positive attitude, smiling and feeling happy.

Do you have any current fitness or healthy living goals?

To stay healthy and fit, positive and happy and embrace each person I meet in a positive way each day

Thank you Arlene for sharing your story!!

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story? Email me,

Gabi is Simply Healthy!!

Hello to everyone over at Simply Modern Dance! My name is Gabi Walter, and I am the blogger over at my own site I blog about all sorts of topics from health and fitness to current events and my own life experiences. I am a college student who is constantly looking to appreciate the present moment and find who I am with the world at my fingertips. I am so thankful that Susan has invited me here to talk a little bit with you about who I am and what I love to do.

Gabi Walter from

What was your aha moment?
My aha moment was the middle of this past summer. Last year I really got into running, slow at first and then I picked up my miles each week. An easy run became 6 miles in the morning. I run to clear my head and reflect on the day ahead or the week. It is my time to just escape the world and all its worries and just be in the moment of enjoying myself outside with my thoughts. I was making a new route when I came across an absolutely beautiful scene and thought, “life is wonderful and I am so truly blessed.” I get that feeling every time I run. I think about how thankful I am to have strong legs that get me to and from places, and a healthy body that can withstand anything this crazy life throws at me. Here’s a post I wrote about finding my love for running.


Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?
I often venture out on my runs alone, but I would rather prefer to exercise in a group. All of my boot camp sessions at the gym are in a group and I absolutely look forward to them each week. There is something so inspiring working out with others and seeing each other improve every class. The rest of the group is my motivation to keep going and push through a tough workout. We all rely on each other throughout the class for support, and it is that support that gives us the strength to reach our fullest potential.


What is your favorite time to work out?
Mornings! I  am a morning person who is up at 6:30am even on the weekends! I swear I’m not crazy 😉 I have to start my day at the gym to give me that boost of energy I need for the day. I can work out at night sometimes if my schedule is restricted to only being free in the evenings. However, after dinner I am too tired to do much of anything.


Does music motivate you?
Yes, absolutely! Whenever I am working out I have to have a playlist going or iTunes radio on. I set my pace or the repetitions I am doing to the pace of the music. I even challenge myself by trying to plank or do an ab sequence to a whole four minute song. “Run the World” by Beyonce is my go-to ab series song! “Stay the Night” by Zedd is one of my latest favorites. 🙂
How many nights a week do you cook dinner?
I make dinner every night of the week. Some nights when I know I do not have time, I make quick meals (sometimes resorting to leftovers). Other times when I know I have a lot of time that evening to put into dinner, I find myself experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up some great recipe that I end up having to share with my readers. I love to cook, so any free time that I have usually always ends up with me in the kitchen whipping up a new meal.


Do you meal prep or make as you go?
Over the past month I have gotten into meal prepping, and I swear by it! By preparing your meals for the week ahead of time, it saves you so much time during the busy week. You have your meals all planned out and almost made, which then just requires some last minute assembly. This way you are not tempted to go for the first or quickest thing in the fridge, which can often times be unhealthy. My motto for meal prepping is to take the time now to save the time later. These are protein muffins I prep as snacks for the week. Click the link to get the recipe 🙂

What’s your favorite recipe?
My readers know from my many WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) posts that I LOVE CEREAL! I make all sorts of creations, but my favorite is my very own creation I call The Loaded Cereal Bowl. I mainly have this in the morning for breakfast, but it often sneaks its way into other meal times throughout the week. It is packed with nutrients, is easy to make, and will keep you satisfied until your next meal. Here is the recipe and how to make it for those of you wish to try this delightful concoction.

IMG_5640What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

In 2011, when I was a senior in highschool, I was named the Distinguished Young Woman of New York. Distinguished Young Woman is a scholarship program for college bound young women. The judges score the contestants based on five categories: scholastics, interview, talent, fitness, and self-expression. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life going to nationals in Mobile, Alabama and meeting wonderful young women from all 49 other states. To hear more about my experience click here.

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What is your current goal?
My current goal is to complete the Buffalo Half-Marathon in May. I am excited to be running with my dad who is an absolute pro at triathlons and half marathons. I already run far distances each week of about 8 miles and feel that this is just the next step in challenging myself physically.


What quote do you live by?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am a huge quote fanatic and absolutely LOVE this quote. I live by this each and every day. I try to inspire others to be better and do better in their own lives as I try and do in mine. Weather it be actively taking time out of your schedule for others or exchanging a smile with a stranger, every individual has the power to make a positive change in the world.

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Twitter: @Just__Gabi


Thank you Gabi for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions or comments for Gabi below 🙂

Interested in sharing your own Simply Healthy story?  Email me at!

Jackie is Simply Healthy!!

My first Simply Healthy featured blogger is Jackie!  You can find her blogging about her journey at Gone Running.  Jackie struggled with an eating disorder for many years.  She bravely shared her story as a part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  Please take the time to read her story!!  Here she is….

Jackie from Gone Running

What was your aha moment?

My “aha” moment came for me when I realized that 1) if I continued in my eating disorder I would die from it and 2) my 2 little girls would watch my behavior and follow in my footsteps. I’d do anything to spare them from suffering as I have. So I began to fight harder than ever before to overcome my eating disorder and that pummeled me into the world of running/fitness that has become a healthy lifestyle for me.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group? 

I typically exercise alone. I have 2 kids, so juggling their schedules and my husband’s busy work schedule is hard to coordinate with others. I do group spinning class 3 times a week and boot camp once a week, those are fun to do with others. My weight lifting (2-3 times a week) is usually alone and my running is mostly alone, except for a few occasions a friend will join me.

Texas 10 CS

Do you use music when you workout?

I love to run with music most of the time, it keeps my mind busy, but there are some mornings that I will leave the headphones behind when I run in the dark and it is such an amazing thing to hear the sounds of the world waking around you as you speed by on a run.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?  Do you meal prep or make it as you go?

I try to cook at home at least 3 times a week and make enough to cover the other days. We eat out at least once a week when we meet my husband for dinner on the weekends. I am a make as you go kind of girl, you’ll find me in the grocery store 3 or 4 times a week as I pick up fresh produce, meat, fish, etc.


What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?  What is your current goal?

My great accomplishment to date is overcoming my eating disorder, something I once thought was impossible; the second greatest would be the finish line of my first half marathon a few weeks ago.

My current goal is to continue to improve my half marathon time and complete at least 6 half’s this year and five 10 mile races. I am aiming to run my first full marathon in January 2015!









Thank you Jackie for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions for Jackie in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story?  Email me at


Finding a little sunshine this winter


A bright spot this winter has been watching the Olympics! We have been watching whenever possible. This has meant some late nights before teaching all day. I’ve been working on increasing my protein to help with my energy level.

I love adding spinach to pretty much everything and I’ve been adding whey protein powder to my oatmeal. This has been working pretty well, but I’m always looking for new ideas.

Enter a little sunshine, or Sunshine Burgers. Through Fit Approach, I was given the opportunity to try Sunshine Burgers and create a recipe. Lucky lady, I received each of the yummy flavors. I picked Hemp and Sage because it was the most interesting to me 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

3 defrosted Hemp & Sage Sunshine burgers
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 peppers chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Farfalle

Cook the pasta

Sauté the garlic. Add the patties and peppers and cook until the peppers soften, approx 5 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Stir until the spinach is wilted.

Serve the veggie mixture over the pasta – Enjoy 🙂

Need to find the burgers? You can look here and check out all of the other flavors. It’s nice to see so much variety in veggie burgers. Clearly, Sunshine Burgers put a lot of thought and effort into their product. I can always get behind a product created by a mom!

We are looking forward to making tacos tonight with the chipotle burgers! How do you use veggie burgers?

Disclaimer: Sunshine Burger provided the burgers for free. All opinions (and the recipe) are my own!

Finding gym success in January…


I teach at a variety of gyms and I LOVE January!! There is something so fun and hopeful about January at the gym. Everyone is excited and moving along. I read Carly’s (from Fine Fit Day) post about 8 Gym Rules No One Should Ever Break (she is spot on) and it got me thinking. It’s important to know the etiquette, but it’s also important to know how you can become the regular facing the fun, influx next January.

Go in motivated and know your limits. It is so tempting to take the hardest option in a class or amp up the treadmill to Usain Bolt speed. Here’s the thing, that’s great, but when it hurts to walk the next day – you’re less likely to go back. You want to break a sweat and I always want my students to remember me the next day. I want them to feel a little twinge here and there, not be so sore they can’t move.

Meet the people around you. It doesn’t matter how far they are on their journey, they can become a cheerleader or partner in crime. The more friends you have at the gym, the more motivated you’ll be to go back.

Try different programs, classes and instructors and stick with what works for YOU! Everyone is looking for something different, you might not even know what you’re looking for. That’s why it is so important to keep trying until you find the right fit for you. I truly believe there is something for everyone.

Ask questions! Everyone was once a beginner. If you don’t understand an instructor’s instruction or how to use a machine. Ask! Odds are good that someone else has the same question. It’s better to know how to do something the right way and see the benefits you’re looking for.

Laugh! Seriously, don’t take it so seriously you can’t laugh. Laugh with your instructor, trainer or friend. Smiling makes it hurt less (honestly!) and it makes the process more enjoyable.

Don’t give your power away! You are strong enough to be there and don’t let anyone take that away. It doesn’t matter how many reps you are doing or how slow you’re going. You are there and that’s important.

Don’t wimp out! Keep after it! Sweat is good, a little muscle pain is good. Embrace the process. Always remember that you are worth it and you deserve YOUR journey!

Have fun this January and carry it into February!!

Seasonal Transition

Only three weeks ago, this beach was full of tourists enjoying the end of summer. I began figuring out my fall schedule and thankfully, picked up some new classes. Now, the boys venture off on the bus and I head to work.

Our transition has gone well in all areas except my running. I have mostly brought it inside and I’m finding the treadmill difficult. There are things I should be doing and it’s hard to push myself. Still, I have found time and I’ve been pushing through. It is finally beginning to be familiar again.

I am currently focusing on the duration of my treadmill time and not the distance. Thirty minutes is the time I have and I need to make it count. I learned this summer that continuing to move will get me where I want to be. There is no time limit, I know I can push it through a 5k. Speed is nice but not necessary.

This journey has taught me to keep going, regardless of how fast or slow I go. It continues to challenge me and that is good. Keeps me from being bored 😉

How are you challenging yourself?