Archive for November 7th, 2009

By Sue Shekut, LMT, ACSM PT, Certified Wellness Coach

There is still time to enjoy the fall colors and get a bit of healthy hiking in this fall. Throw on a few layers of clothes, a good pair of hiking shoes, a camel back for water and grab a few LARABARs and you are ready to hike Waterfall Glen in the Chicago area!


Waterfal Glen

Waterfall Glen is one of the DuPage County Forest Preserves. It rings Argonne labs and offers hikers, bikers, fishermen (and women), horseback riders and picnickers a chance to get away from the sounds, smells and traffic in the city. Being in nature has a stress relieving effect and exercise is good for stress management as well.

According to researchers at Cornell University: “Our study finds that life’s stressful events appear not to cause as much psychological distress in children who live in high-nature conditions compared with children who live in low-nature conditions,” says Nancy Wells, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis in the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell. “And the protective impact of nearby nature is strongest for the most vulnerable children — those experiencing the highest levels of stressful life events.”

From the Waterfall Glen website:

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve has w glacier-formed ridges, ravines and potholes. The preserve is exceptional, because it contains features not found anywhere else in the county: The largest contiguous woodland block – over 700 acres — and a dolomite prairie, with rock very close to the surface and shallow soil, home to rare plants for the region.


Fall Colors at Argonne/Waterfall Glen

Waterfall Glen’s many habitats — prairies, savannas, oak-maple woodlands and planted pine groves – and distinctive features make it a haven for a wide variety of plants and animals. Surveys by District ecologists have recorded more than 600 native plant species at the preserve, which includes 75 per cent of all the plants known to grow naturally in DuPage County. In addition, countless fish, amphibian, reptilian, and mammalian species can be found in the preserve, as well as more than 160 avian species, some year-round and some migrating.


Cyclists are invited to use any of the preserve’s eight-foot-wide multipurpose trails, although they are asked to stay toward the outside of the trails as a courtesy to other visitors. To prevent damage to sensitive natural areas, cycling on trails less than eight feet wide is prohibited.


Several old quarries scattered throughout the preserve offer still fishing waters. All persons 16 and older (except legally disabled persons) are required to have in their possession a valid Illinois sport fishing license. All anglers must follow District and state regulations.

Horseback Riding

In addition to the main trail loop, Waterfall Glen offers trails suitable for horseback riding throughout the preserve. Visitors with trailers should park in the designated parking bays at the trailhead on Northgate Road.

Model Aircraft Area

A large open field in the southwest section of the preserve is a popular spot for local model aircraft enthusiasts. For more information on access to this area or use by qualified model aircraft clubs, contact Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.


Visitors are welcome to spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the mowed grass areas at Waterfall Glen. Ground fires are not permitted, except in the fire ring at the trailhead area.


Waterfall Glen’s four marked trails range from 0.2 miles to 9.5 miles in length and meander through some of the preserve’s most scenic areas. The main trail is an eight-foot-wide crushed-limestone multipurpose trail. In addition, there are many unmarked mowed-grass trails and footpaths that dissect the preserve. Feel free to hike and explore these smaller, less-conspicuous paths, but remember that they often are not linked to the main trail nor are they shown on the preserve map.


River at Waterfall Glen

To find out more about Waterfall Glen go to the DuPage Country Forest Preserve Website here.

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By Sue Shekut, LMT, ACSM PT, Certified Wellness Coach

My boyfriend and I are avid hikers and bicyclers. We have spent many happy hours biking and hiking around Chicago area forest preserves this spring, summer and fall. But we get tired of the relative flatness of the terrain. Then we went to Starved Rock State Park this October and fell in love with the canyons in the area. We hiked about 8 miles one sunny Sunday, climbing literally hundreds of stairs and hills. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but for Chicagoans, it’s only 1.5 hours away from downtown and well worth the trip! And, it’s family friendly. We saw many parents with small children, babies in backpacks and people from all over the Chicago area.

I’ve loaded some of the pictures we took and use them as screen backgrounds. Feel free to use them yourself to give you a bit of natural relaxation on your computer desktop.

The View of Starved Rock from Lover’s Leap, the rock outcropping directly opposite Starved Rock.


Starved Rock

LaSalle Canyon. See how small the person in the picture is compared to the canyon? This gives you an idea of the majestic size and scale of the canyon.


LaSalle Canyon at Starved Rock, Oct 2009

I love this shot of the bottom of one set of stairs along the hike. Some thoughtful previous traveler gave us a heads up on the stair count before us. 155 stairs to climb. With the motivational cue: Do It Fatman!

We did it!


Stairs at Starved Rock

The view from the top of the stairs. Indeed, 151 stairs we climbed. And prior to that another 141 stairs at another area of the trail.)


Another view of LaSalle Canyon. At this time of year, there was less water so we were able to hike into the canyon and walk all the way back to the edge of the waterfall which is behind us in this shot.


If you look closely you can see the tiny trickle of waterfall still falling in October.


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If you like to hike, ski, run marathons, or otherwise burn calories in the great outdoors, you may have needed to resort to energy bars to keep you going. Nowadays, many people eat energy bars as a mid afternoon snack or to supplement a forgotten lunch box.  “Energy” bars can be packed with as much sugar as a candy bar. However, some energy bars face better than others in turns of good fats, low calories and great taste. (It sounds like a beer I am describing, but no, energy bars are not replacements for a Miller Genuine Draft 64!)

One of my favorite energy bars is the LÄRABAR.


Lara Bar Varieties

It is available in about 12 different flavors, from Coconut Cream Pie, Cashew Cookie, Banana Bread, Key Lime Pie, Pistachio, Lemon Bar, Apple Pie, Chocolate Coconut, Ginger Snap, Peanut Butter Cookie to Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie, Cocoa Mole PB&J and the new Tropical Fruit Tart.

What’s So Great About These Bars?

Can bars with dessert names be good for you?  From the LÄRABAR website, take a look at the ingredients:

LÄRABAR is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices – energy in its purest form. Made from 100% whole food, each flavor contains no more than eight ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended.

Quality standards for LÄRABAR ingredients are: All natural, No added sugars or sweetener, Raw, Non-GMO, Non-irradiated, No sulfites, No preservatives, No fillers, No colorings, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free and Vegan (But don’t let that scare you away, they are tasty!)

LÄRABARs are sweet with no added sweeteners. They use no added fillers, supplements or flavorings.  All of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, good carbohydrates and healthy fats are derived exclusively from the whole, raw food used to make LÄRABAR.  Plant-based fats are healthier than animal fats. The fat in LÄRABAR comes primarily from nuts-all plant-based fats containing Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol and help protect the heart.

The carbohydrates in LÄRABAR are good carbohydrates, derived from fruit and, ultimately, necessary for the body to function. They also contain fiber and plant phytonutrients that help the immune system. It’s the processed and refined carbohydrates you should avoid-the kind found in white flour, white rice, and added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, white sugar and grape juice.

Larabars are Uncooked and Unprocessed. The essential enzymes, which are necessary fo

Pecan Pie bars

Pecan Pie bars

r the digestion and utilization of nutrients, remain completely intact in their most natural, powerful state. A diet abundant in raw, unprocessed foods is important for health and longevity.

LÄRABAR contains approximately 20 grams of whole-food-source carbohydrates, which are essential to good health. Each bar contains approximately 5 grams of protein.

My favorite bar, Pecan Pie, is simply a combination of pecans, dates and almonds.

JŎCALAT aka Chocolate LÄRABARs

The company also sells chocolate bars. You may say, wait, aren’t chocolate bars candy bars, which are bad for me, high in transfats, sugars and all that unhealthy gook? Well, normally yes. But in this case, no! LÄRABAR has a line of bars, JŎCALAT bars, that are made with cocoa powder, but no added sugar or trans fats.

The chocolate in JŎCALAT, along with the fruit and nuts, contains high concentrations of natural antioxidants, which appear to be helpful in combating disease and aging.

Each JŎCALAT bar contains at least 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber, along with a healthy dose of Omega-6 essential fatty acids, which help keep your heart healthy AND has the added benefit of being under 190 calories. JŎCALAT bars contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, which decrease stress and increase energy. Resident phytonutrients promote a hea

lthy immune system.



German Chocloate Cake Bar Ingredients

JŎCALAT German Chocolate Cake Bars

A new entry JŎCALAT bar offering, this bar contains Coconut+Pecans+Almonds+Cocoa. And that’s it. Listed out like that, it may not sound like it tastes that good, but try it and see if it gives your taste buds a bit of that German Chocolate Cake taste., without the nasty sugar

drop a real cake usually give you. And without the bad fats and guilt too!

So Where Do I get These Tasty LÄRABARs Already?

Order LÄRABARs directly from their website and have them shipped to you. Click here to order directly.

OR buy LÄRABARs from Whole Foods Markets at about the same price without the shipping costs.

Make Your Own Bars

As a last resort, if you have time and are adventurous, make your own raw fruit and nut bars!

Try this recipe from the Cookie Madness blog

Sort of Like Larabars

Makes about 3 bars or a quarter or a 4×4 inch square which you can form and then cut or punch into shapes.

1 1/2 ounce almonds (about 1/3 cup)
3 ounces pitted dates (about 14, if you don’t have a scale)



Homemade "Lara-like Bars"

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 tablespoon prune puree
1 tablespoon quick cooking oats.

Place almonds in food processor and process into crumbs. Pour into a bowl. Place dates in processor

and process as much as possible. Add almond crumbs back into processor and process until well mixed. Add cocoa, prune puree and oats. Process a little more, then dump into a bowl and knead until ingredients stick together. Shape into a rectangle. If it’s too sticky, knead in some more almonds or oats. Slice into about 3 bars or press into a square and cut out cute shapes.

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