January heralds new beginnings, as does this issue of Beyond the Acorn.

As we find ourselves on the other side of the holidays, I know many people—myself included—have succumbed to tasty temptations of food, drink and indulgences. From Halloween to New Year’s Day, I have happily embraced the revelries. One smidge of taste here, a forgotten exercise session there couldn’t possibly make a difference . . . could it?

Alas, the forgotten regimens and sly increases in sugary treat intake do have a way of catching up with me. So as I dust away the chocolate chip cookie crumbs and put away the holiday baking toys, I’ve become more receptive to making new changes toward a better self.

The vision for Beyond’s health and wellness issue is to capture the spirit of “Building a Better You.” Within these pages, we delve into different topics concerning personal fitness, nutrition and general wellness. Besides creating more nutritious meals, why not take up a new activity? An unfamiliar pursuit refreshes the mind and spirit as well as the body. The activity can be indoors or outdoors, in solitude or with friends. There are so many groups and classes from which to choose. Experiment with something fresh and possibly out of your comfort zone. You might laugh and mark it off as a “Glad I tried it!” or “Oh, no, I won’t do that again!” Or you might possibly discover a passion you would never have realized otherwise. The benefits will be yours to enjoy for a lifetime.

Our time and place create a perfect environment for “Building a Better You.” I grew up in New Jersey, and my family and I were always thrilled by the winter box of oranges that would arrive from our California relatives. Today we are lucky to live in a place where we have access to so many options for improving our health. Pick from Bikram yoga or mountain biking; take up tai chi or surfing; stimulate your body and blow away any stress. We truly live in the land of plenty, that offers abundant varieties of foods, fun and unique lifestyle opportunities. With the multitude of healthy choices that are available, there is bound to be something that speaks to your soul. We at Beyond the Acorn endeavor to give you some ideas and local places to find new experiences and healthy habits. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Me, personally? I’m putting down that truffle and putting on my new hiking shoes to look for some undiscovered trails. Hope to see some of you out there.

Lisa signiture copy




Lisa Rule, Publisher


Healthy living is a carrot dangling from the end of a stick for many of us.

We ache to feel good, look better and take on each day as if it’s our best on earth. Truth is, though that carrot may remain just out of reach, each time we take a positive step toward improving our lives by taking care of ourselves and others, we get to nibble a bit of the sweet prize.

In this issue of Beyond the Acorn we touch on lots of ways to achieve greater well-being. “Get Fit” surveys 10 of the hottest trends in exercise today. Once you’ve exhausted those fun and effective workouts, we challenge you to turn the page to explore our list of local businesses that specialize in helping you burn calories and tone your body.

Our “how to” story introduces a series of gentle yoga stretches that can help you get every day off to a good start. Once you’re up and moving, check out some of our high-tech tools to bring your exercise regimen into the 21st century. We could barely scratch the surface on the mountain of apps designed for fitness, but join us as we give it a try with innovative apps like Pocket Yoga, Gratitude and Mt. Everest.

To fuel the body that you’re getting in gear, we visited the California Health & Longevity Institute in Westlake Village. Paulette Lambert, the institute’s director of nutrition, told us that a repertoire of 10 healthy and easy-to-prepare entrees is a great start for any health-minded home chef. She shared five good-for-you meals that are temptingly delicious and can be completed in less than 30 minutes. That gets us halfway to our goal.

In “Eating Outside the Box,” we’re introduced to a collective that home delivers seasonal goodies grown or made locally and provides suggestions on how to integrate them into your family’s daily fare. It’s an omnivore’s dream come true. And it goes well with our display of “Foods with Benefits” and “Super Herbs and Spices.” I can almost hear your body sing with delight.

There are several other stories in this issue that we hope will pique your interest, such as how science is showing that many of life’s simple pleasures are quantifiably healthy (yes, that includes laughter, music and sex!). Then we bravely sum up the entire human life cycle by looking at the “Stages” of living through the eyes of an ancient philosopher, the classic Bard of the Renaissance and local health experts.

We’re proud to deliver this richly packed issue of Beyond the Acorn to your home and trust that you’ll find some tasty tidbits to take from its pages. Can’t wait to visit you again in April with great ideas for Outdoor Living. Until then, be well.

Leslie signiture copy



Leslie Gregory Haukoos, Editor-in-Chief