Lunch Specials for Tuesday, May 23, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Scallops With Mushrooms in a Light Pesto Sauce

Sandwich: BBQ Chicken Sandwich With Garden Salad & Soup

Salad: Tuna Apple Salad Raisins, Walnuts & Lemon Vinaigrette

Pizza: Chicken Alfredo Calzone

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce


Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

What is good emotional health?
People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life. They feel good about themselves and have healthy relationships.

However, many things that happen in your life can disrupt your emotional health and lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety. These things include:

Good changes can be just as stressful as bad changes.

Being laid off from your job
Having a child leave or return home
Dealing with the death of a loved one
Getting divorced or married
Suffering an illness or an injury
Getting a job promotion
Experiencing money problems
Moving to a new home
Having a baby
How can my emotions affect my health?
Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. This is one type of “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be physical signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

Poor emotional health can weaken your body’s immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, you may not take care of your health as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or taking medicine that your doctor prescribes. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs may also be a sign of poor emotional health.

Back pain
Change in appetite
Chest pain
Constipation or diarrhea
Dry mouth
Extreme tiredness
General aches and pains
High blood pressure
Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
Sexual problems
Shortness of breath
Stiff neck
Upset stomach
Weight gain or loss
Why does my doctor need to know about my emotions?
You may not be used to talking to your doctor about your feelings or problems in your personal life. But remember, he or she can’t always tell that you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or upset just by looking at you. It’s important to be honest with your doctor if you are having these feelings.

First, he or she will need to make sure that other health problems aren’t causing your physical symptoms. If your symptoms aren’t caused by other health problems, you and your doctor can address the emotional causes of your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest ways to treat your physical symptoms while you work together to improve your emotional health.

If your negative feelings don’t go away and are so strong that they keep you from enjoying life, it’s especially important for you to talk to your doctor. You may have what doctors call “major depression.” Depression is a medical illness that can be treated with individualized counseling, medicine, or both.

How can I improve my emotional health?
First, try to recognize your emotions and understand why you are having them. Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress, and anxiety in your life can help you manage your emotional health. The following are some other helpful tips.

Express your feelings in appropriate ways. If feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. It’s OK to let your loved ones know when something is bothering you. However, keep in mind that your family and friends may not be able to help you deal with your feelings appropriately. At these times, ask someone outside the situation, such as your family doctor, a counselor, or a religious advisor, for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health.

Live a balanced life. Try not to obsess about the problems at work, school, or home that lead to negative feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be happy when you feel stressed, anxious, or upset. It’s important to deal with these negative feelings, but try to focus on the positive things in your life too. You may want to use a journal to keep track of things that make you feel happy or peaceful. Some research has shown that having a positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost. You may also need to find ways to let go of some things in your life that make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Make time for things you enjoy.

Develop resilience. People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view of yourself, accepting change, and keeping things in perspective. A counselor or therapist can help you achieve this goal with cognitive behavioral theraphy (CBT). Ask your doctor if this is a good idea for you.

Calm your mind and body. Relaxation methods, such as meditation, listening to music, listening to guided imagery CD’s or mp3’s, yoga, and Tai Chi are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. For example, you may do it by exercising, stretching, or breathing deeply. Ask your family doctor for advice about relaxation methods.

Take care of yourself. To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Avoid overeating and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Using drugs or alcohol just causes other problems, such as family and health problems.

Lunch Specials for Friday, May 19, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Chicken Rosemary

Sandwich: Prosciutto Spinach Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Primavera Salad With Grilled Chicken

Pizza: Small Spicy Chicken Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Linguini Shrimp Carciofi


Lunch Specials for Thursday, May 18, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Fettuccini Sausage

Sandwich: Turkey Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Mexican Style Salad With Steak

Pizza: Create Your Own Calzone Two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia With Pink Sauce


Lunch Specials for Wednesday, May 17, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Penne Asparagus With Mushrooms in Pink Sauce

Sandwich: Chicken Pesto Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Blackened Chicken Salad

Pizza: Dill Cream Pizza

With Smoked SalmonToday’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon With Arrabiata Sauce


Lunch Specials for Tuesday, May 16, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Chicken Marsala

Sandwich: 1/2 Meatball Sandwich With Garden Salad & Soup

Salad: Asparagus Salad Mix Green, Spinach, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Baby Shrimp & Lemon Juice

Pizza: Small Alaskan Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce


Lunch Specials for Monday, May 15, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Sandwich: Hot Pastrami Sandwich With a Small Salad

Salad: Caprese Chicken Salad Spinach, Mix Greens, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

Pizza: Small Pizza Plus Two Topping

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Talapia Spicy Pomodoro Sauce


3 Meditation Techniques For Beginners

3 Meditation Techniques For Beginners

Gold stars to those who can make it through this article without wondering about dinner or unattended emails, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or scanning half a page before realizing you have no idea what the heck you just read.

Amit Sood, author of the upcoming book “The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living,” calls this autopilot daze, in which we’re physically here, but mentally elsewhere — our “default mode.” And it’s not a great place to be. We spend about half of our day in default mode, in which we’re typically unhappy, he says, adding that too much time in this mode can lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety and attention deficit.

Got Five Minutes? Meditate in a Garden

Our brain’s counter to default mode is its focus mode. Imagine if, as you were reading, a giraffe walked up to you. Chances are, you’d stop reading and thinking about emails, dinner and Instagram, and focus entirely on the giraffe. A perhaps more realistic example: You’re driving home from work, thinking about who knows what, when a police car pulls up behind you. Even if you’re obeying the law, your attention may now shift to the rearview mirror and speedometer, as recollections of the workday are replaced with silent urges for the police car to change course.

We may not want a police car (or a giraffe) following us, but it is helpful to engage that focused attention these experiences beckon. Meditation is essentially the process of doing just that — cutting through our brain’s static and finding focus. The practice not only offers a slew of health benefits, from stress management, to possibly helping with high blood pressure, heart disease and depression, but it’s also something you can weave into your everyday life. If you simply want to give it a try, there’s no need for a trip to the doctor’s office or a monastery. “Meditation is nothing mystical,” Sood says. “It’s basically your trained attention.”

Beginners can try the three simple meditation exercises below just about anywhere, at anytime. Before jumping in, here’s a bit of advice from Catherine Kerr, director of translational neuroscience at Brown University’s Contemplative Studies Initiative: “Go slow, and be compassionate and gentle with yourself.” It’s natural for your mind to wander as you try to focus, she says, so when it does, don’t distress.

Walking meditation. This practice is “very traditional, simple and well suited for stressed out people today,” says Kerr, who used walking meditation to manage the overwhelming emotional energy she felt while grieving for her father. Find a space outside, and simply walk at a slow or medium pace, focusing on your feet. Try to distinguish when your toe touches down the ground, when your foot is flat on the ground and when your toe points back upward. Feel the roll of your foot. Observe sensory details: a tingle here, a pull of the sock there.

When your mind wanders, and it will, gently bring your attention back to your feet. You’re building a skill of noticing when your attention drifts into default mode and bringing it back into focus. This ability can help you be more present and in control of your attention every day, especially in times of stress.

Plus, Kerr points out, this practice is a mild form of exercise. Start by dedicating a specific time and place to practice, and when you become comfortable with walking meditation, try it as you walk to the bus stop, office or just about anywhere.

Novel experiences. The next two tips come from Sood, and they’re a bit more modern. Remember how you jump into focus mode when you see a police car behind you or unexpectedly meet a giraffe? We escape our brain’s jumble of day-to-day thoughts when we experience something out of the ordinary. Similarly, Sood points out, you may greet a loved one with more attention after you’ve been apart for a month compared to if you see him or her daily.

Try this: When you come home and meet your family at the end of the day, pretend like you haven’t seen them in 30 days. To an extent, yes, you’ll be faking this feeling. But it may help to think about transience, Sood says. There’s only a finite number of evenings you’ll have with these people you love. For example, Sood thinks of his oldest daughter, who is 8 and 1/2 years old. “She will be off to college in 2,000 evenings, and 2,000 is a very small number.”

Another way to support this feeling of novelty is to aim for acceptance. “Our brain is a fault-finding machine,” Sood says. “My goal is that, for the first 10 minutes at home, I try to improve nobody.”

This practice isn’t limited to family. Try creating a fresh perspective of just about anyone you see in your everyday life, such as co-workers and neighbors, to pull you into focus mode. Sood explains how, after back-to-back-to-back appointments, some doctors run the risk of seeing their patients as problems. When Sood, a doctor of internal medicine, begins feeling this way, he looks at patients in a new light to give them undivided attention. He tries to think, “There’s a part of the universe that deeply loves this person and cares for him,” he says. “If I carry this feeling with me, I will find this person novel and meaningful.”

Gratitude exercises. What are your first thoughts as you awake? Maybe: What am I going to wear today? When is my first meeting? Where’s my coffee? Even as we’re still yawning and stumbling out of bed, we often dive head-first into default mode. “I invite people to delay that by two minutes,” Sood says. Take two minutes when you first awake to find focus.

Try this exercise right now, as Sood walks us through it: Close your eyes. (Well, maybe read through this first, and then close them.) With your eyes shut, imagine you’re waking up this morning, as you picture the layout of your room. Now think of the first person for whom you’re grateful. “Bring that person’s face in front of your eyes,” Sood says, “and focus on one part of their face that you really like.” Now send them what Sood calls a “silent gratitude,” or “just a note of thankfulness that this person is in your life.” Do this for a second, third, fourth and fifth person — perhaps someone who has died. Picture him or her happy; try to imagine the color of their eyes. Sood, who is also the director of research and practice at the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, says people often cry when they try this exercise. One man came to tears upon realizing he didn’t remember the color of his teenage child’s eyes, signaling that he’s perhaps spent a lot of their time together in default mode.

These silent gratitudes work for early mornings, as well as between appointments, waiting in the checkout line or during one of Sood’s go-tos: stopped at red lights. “I’ve connected with all kinds of wonderful people in my life — my high school teacher, my grandmother who is no more … you start feeling like you’re not missing out on life.”

Lunch Specials for Friday, May 12, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Scallops Onions, Mushrooms, Oil, Garlic & Pesto

Sandwich: Chicken Salad Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Steak Salad

Pizza: Small Checca Pizza With Pineapples

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Linguini Shrimp Carciofi