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Take charge of your health!

One of my jobs is as a physical therapist in a hospital where patients are constantly dependent upon a long list of individuals who are in charge of their health care plan.

The respiratory therapist to give them their breathing treatment, the nurse to give them their medications, the doctors to diagnose them, the surgeons to operate on them, and the physical and occupational therapist to help get them out of bed- just to name a few! Yes, there are many many more people involved! Hard to imagine it would take so many people to manage the health care of one person.


I had a fellow therapist, a teacher at the time, pose a question to me while I was in graduate school that resonated with me and never left my mind. “What would you do if there were no doctors, pharmacists, surgeons, etc. to take care of you and manage your health? How would you treat your body differently?” It was such a profound question that got me to thinking, who is responsible for our health? It is...

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food and nutrition Aug 18, 2014

Growing up in the South I was surrounded with fantastic cooks, most of them in my family.

The good thing was the taste of the food and the bad was that it was fried with lots of butter and red meat. I learned to make biscuits and gravy. My grandmother showed me this when I was 8 years old. There was lots of butter and fried meat, as well as fried vegetables, ironically. My grandparents were lucky to live to the ripe old age of 90 years.


As I grew and followed my life to where it would take me, I became serious about ballet and my mother became an avid runner. We started a garden in the back yard full of vegetables and fruits. We lowered out intake of meat and started a healthy regiment of good food. My mother researched vegetarian cooking, and soon became well informed on how to get proteins and essential vitamins and minerals in our diets.


I would like to share these recipes and hope you enjoy them as much as I have.


Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, and TVP

You may not...

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Be a Yes!

I recently purchased a license plate tag with the message, “BE A YES!” Since then I’ve had several people ask me what it means to “be a yes.”

I imagine for each person there is a slightly different interpretation, but here is mine.


Throughout the day, and perhaps throughout of our lives, we set boundaries for ourselves. (Most of the time unknowingly) Whether they are big life goals or small day-to-day challenges. For example, “I can’t start my own business,” “I don’t have time to workout,” “I can’t do another wheel pose or hold this lunge any longer,” or “I’ll never be that flexible.” You might not even realize that by coming out of a pose early or procrastinating on something you want to do with your life you’re saying, “No, I can’t do this.”


So, first, I challenge you over the next week to open your eyes to the moments throughout your day when...

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Healthy Habits

Want to improve your health and nutrition but don’t really know where to begin? Are you exercising, but didn’t realize proper nutrition is also vital to a healthy body? Here are 10 suggestions that you can use to start eating and feeling better!


10 smart nutrition habits 


1. Eat within an hour of waking to stimulate your metabolism. Having something quick and ready to go is helpful. Whey protein shakes; boiled eggs, or pre-made oatmeal bars are great. (Bars that you cook for yourself; future recipe to be posted!) Even a piece of toast with peanut butter and a banana is quick to make. Green juices or smoothies can even be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days for convenience!  (Read our upcoming blog re: Why juicing is so good for you!)


2. Pre-cut your vegetables and pre-cook snacks (which you can do the night before or a few days before). Personally I like to boil the whole...

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Juicing: What’s the Big Squeeze???

The word “juicing” is now tossed around on the daily from Dr. Oz to Oprah to LeBron’s wife, Savannah Brinson, the owner of the Juice Spot here in Miami (my fave!), but what’s the down and dirty on it?


Juicing, as defined by the Mayo Clinic is an “[extraction] of the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit.”  Essentially, juicing takes out all the liquid and leaves all the fiber behind.  I know you’re thinking, “isn’t fiber healthy?” “don’t we need fiber to keep things moving along?” “doesn’t fiber help me to feel fuller longer?” “doesn’t our body naturally cleanse itself?” – all good questions, and the answer is YES to all of them!  BUT, there are some benefits to this whole juicing craze, which I would like to discuss...

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The early bird gets the workout

exercise family Jul 14, 2014

No time for exercise? Here’s a no excuse way to fit in a workout everyday.

Simple math is all it takes to schedule exercise time: cut out one hour of evening TV and set your alarm to wake up 30 min earlier. Presto! You’ve just accomplished two great things for your body; 30 minutes more sleep and 30 minutes available for morning exercise. If you don’t need more sleep you can just adjust the formula. Voila! You now have a full hour to exercise.  But why exercise in the A.M?


“Top Ten Reasons” for getting up with the early birds to get moving:


  1. Exercising early in the morning “jump starts” your metabolism, keeping it elevated for hours, sometimes for up to 24 hours! As a result, you’ll be burning more calories all day long—just because you exercised in the morning.
  2. Exercising in the morning energizes you for the day—not to mention that gratifying feeling of virtue you have knowing you’ve done...
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What You Eat vs. What You Lift

Like Batman and Robin, Sonny and Cher, Bert and Ernie, Diet AND Exercise will forever be linked when it comes to designing a successful weight loss program and living a healthy lifestyle. 

We have previously discussed different ways for you to kick start your fitness programs and even gave you some great Pilates moves you can practice independently at home.  Since what you eat is just as important as how you exercise here are some nutritional tips you should also find helpful.


When it comes to food, quality is more important than quantity. In other words what you eat is more important that how much, or how little, you eat.  Try to limit the intake of foods that are refined, processed or with little nutrient content especially foods and drinks that are high in sugar. Studies have shown that if you eliminate two cans of soda a day for a year you can lose one pound a week even if you make no other changes to your diet. That’s over 50 pounds a year just by...

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Earn Your Stretch 5K

events news Jun 18, 2014

April was a busy month for Pilates in the Grove staff and clients! 


Pilates in the Grove hosted its first annual Earn Your Stretch 5K benefiting Grove Outreach food bank on Sunday, April 6. The event celebrated whole body health and wellness with a run/walk through the beautiful, tree-lined streets of Coconut Grove, a finish line stretch and Pilates mat session, and a post-run celebration with nutritious juices and treats by The Last Carrot and The Health Nut. Other Supporters included: Prestige Realty, Charles Schwab, Grove PT, Erik Spoelstra Basketball Academy, Timed Events LLC, Dealtificate.com, H&H jewelers, The Grove Spot and more.

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Change the world…one act of kindness at a time.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

I came across this quote the other day and it stuck with me and made me think.  Of course we have an impact on the lives of our close friends and family, but I think we also can have an impact, however small it may be, on every person we interact with throughout the day. The way you treat the person next to you on the bus or the barista at Starbucks could potentially affect the rest of their day.

Remember that interview question, “How would your friends describe you?” I think an even better question would be, “How would the grocery cashier or a bank teller describe you?” Would they describe you as impatient and rude or friendly and kind?  We have the ability and the choice to either impact someone’s day for the better or the...

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Local fitness enthusiast spreads word about benefits of Pilates

fitness news pilates workout Jun 26, 2013

(This article was originally published at Coral Gables News)

Local fitness enthusiast Christa Gurka is dedicated to improving the overall health and wellness of the Miami community, and she is doing so through the exercise known as Pilates.

A Coconut Grove resident, Gurka, coowner of Pilates in the Grove (3316 Virginia St.) and Pilates on the Beach (712 W. 51 St.), has a contagious energy and passion for sharing the physical and mental health benefits of Pilates to people of all ages and fitness levels.



While she has gained notoriety teaching the exercise to a number of Miami-based celebrities, including Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, WNBA player Ruth Riley, pro volleyball player Kelly Schumacher, and pro golfers Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis, Gurka is committed to helping anyone and everyone live their best life.


“Whether your training for a marathon, need to be limber to chase toddlers around the house or manage the stress of coaching in the NBA,...

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