A few weeks ago, my family and I rented some top-notch bikes and took off on a mountainous adventure through the rolling hills of the Ozarks. We spent quite a few days there, taking in the sun soaked-blue skies and the endless forests. It was a reminder, as most outdoor adventures are, not to discount the importance of nature in our busy, technology driven lives.
I never get over how lucky I am to get to be active with my family and friends. I know no better than feeling than sharing these types of spectacular moments with my son, as he appreciates what a wonderful thing it is to be alive.
It was a camping trip, so of course I had the requisite cup-a-noodles! But hey, if I eat spinach with this, it's totally better for me, right?
I hope you make time to find peace and happiness with people you love this weekend. Remember that health is about more than what you put on your plate - It's how happy you feel when you wake up in the morning, and how proud you are when you go to bed at night. Dedicate your time to the people in your life who matter, and dedicate your effort to the goals that make everything better. Happy Friday. :)
So here I am, perched against a wall on a random street near the beach in California. I didn't have access to a gym that day, but I DID have a wall, and if you're looking to tone those isometric muscles, that's really all it takes.
The average American spends 12 hours a day sitting. To put that in perspective, you're awake for 16 hours, and you spend a full 12 of them with your butt in a chair. The overwhelming consensus? It's not good!
So here's the challenge: Take at least one minute for each of those hours you spend sitting, and turn it into a wall-sit. In 12 minutes a day you can seriously tone your legs, lower abs, and if you're up for it, your arms too!
I won't belabor the description of how to do a proper wall-sit. You sit! Like you're in an imaginary chair with your back straight against the wall. The most important part is to make sure that your legs are bent at a clean, 90 degree angle. No knees hanging out over your toes!
Start out holding your plank for how ever long you can and work up from there. Ideally, you'll be able to hold the pose for at least two minutes - That's when you start to get into really good muscle building territory. If you can hold your wall-sit for longer, that's even better. Do however many reps it takes you to get to 12 minutes each day.
If you're up for it, there are lots of ways to tone your arms while doing a wall-sit as well. Hold your arms up overhead, add in some light hand weights and do curls or straight arm lifts, or simply press your hands together like I am in this picture, applying a constant force. There are endless combinations of ways to tone your arms while you're working your legs.
Every once in a while, I like to invite the whole crew over for brunch. It's a fun weekend tradition that brings my family together, including my older children and some of my nieces and nephews. As you can imagine, we get quite a few different eaters in the room! So when I'm looking for a recipe that's simple, quick, and sure to satisfy even the pickiest of our crew, this is what I usually turn to! The cook time is so short that I usually start the meal as everyone crowds into the kitchen for coffee, and it's usually done by the time everyone finishes that leisurely first cup. This dish is also perfect because it's so healthy and easy to customize. I can add or leave out parts of the meal without having to change the recipe for everyone else! This weekend I threw this dish together to serve 8 happy eaters, and we were all so satisfied! The recipe below serves 4, but you can double it or tweak it easily. If you've got a hungry teenage boy (I do!) then you might add an extra egg or cook up another portion size. This breakfast is guaranteed to be fast, packed with good nutrition, and terribly delicious.
10 oz bag of shredded red cabbage (approx. 3 cups packed full)
1 C. chopped Kale
1 sliced Avocado
1 sliced Onion
Large non-stick skillet with snug fitting lid
2 T. Water
2-4 Tbsp Balsalmic Vinegar
4 Large or Medium fresh eggs (the older an egg gets the more likely the white will be watery and the yolk will break)
1 tsp Black Pepper (season to taste)
1 tsp Sea Salt (season to taste)
1 package Extra-Lean Ground Sausage (can be turkey!)
There's something so soothing about whipping up a delicious confection or baked treat - The smell, the ritual...it's addicting before you even get to eating the food! And then there's the tradition: Baking brings the family together. So, in effort to keep your baking fun, warm, and guilt-free, here are my favorite healthy secrets for making any baked-good recipe a little better for you.
Step 1: Add Some Fruit
One incredibly easy way to cut down on the sugar in a baking recipe is just to add in some fruit. The frozen blueberries that I tossed into these muffins pack a sweet and tangy punch. As a result, I just don't have to use as much sugar to make them incredibly satisfying. Another fun swap that I use is actually ditching the processed white sugar altogether. I use natural honey if my recipe still needs a sweet kick. If you can afford it, use honey that's sourced locally (it will help make your body less vulnerable to seasonal allergens). Farmer's Market, anyone?
Step 2: Switch Up Your Grains
Let's just say it: That ultra-processed, bleached white flour isn't doing anything for you. I recommend using a combination of whole wheat flour and old fashioned or rolled oats! The oats are my favorite, because they add great texture and have way more fiber. No one wants to eat a muffin and still feel like they're starving, so make your baked good more satisfying by swapping out some flour for oats.
Step 3: Go For Yogurt
Alright, this one is actually brilliant. Got a recipe that calls for sour cream, milk, an oil? Of course you do! Almost every baked good calls for at least one of these ingredients. Ditch it and just supplement the same amount of unsweetened greek yogurt or plain kefir, mixed with water. Most muffin recipes call for milk and oil, but the ones I baked this morning were just my trusty combination of kefir whisked with a little water until it had about the same thickness as regular milk. I'm serious, just put a little bit of yogurt in a glass measuring cup, add water until you've reached whatever liquid amount you're replacing, whisk together, and voilá. Adding a little greek yogurt or kefir will make your recipe light, moist, and give it a boost in protein! If you want, you're the only one who needs to know. Making this change shouldn't affect the flavor of your recipe.
Have fun baking all your favorites with your new set of healthy swaps! Do you have your own healthy hack we all should know? Tell us about it in the comments! I'm always excited to hear about new ways to make our favorite activities healthy and stress-free!
You've probably heard of Matcha by now, and if you haven't, welcome to the in-crowd - It's hip, it's trendy! Matcha is the powdered green tea that's taken the world by storm, and for good reason. When I'm in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, it's not coffee I turn to. Don't get me wrong, I love a good cup of coffee - alway will! - but here are the 4 reasons Matcha just might be better than your average cup of joe.
3. Matcha boosts memory and concentration: Matcha powder contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something I'm always in search of during my workday!
4. Matcha has more antioxidants: Matcha is ridiculously full of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the mighty epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications to the treatment of so many disorders, including cancer.
I think one of the best parts of this green wonder is how easy it is to find! Maybe you haven't tried Matcha yet, but your opportunity is just around the corner! Seriously, you can order this drink at any Starbucks, or you can find the powder at almost any natural foods retailer or Walmart. If you decide to order your first drink, just be sure to watch out for all the heavy add-ins. This tea is so good it doesn't need cream or tons of added sugar.
When you have to decide between hitting the pavement or heading into the woods, it might be worth it to get a little off the beaten path. Here's why!
TRAIL RUNNING WORKS A WIDER RANGE OF MUSCLES
A trail is innately more bumpy than the perfectly-flat road and it's commonly spotted with tree roots and rocks, so you’ve got to watch your step. More significantly, you’ve got to balance your body as you run over and around these obstacles, causing you to use all of those smaller, quick reflex muscles in your legs (as well as core and arms). While the terrain of any trail can differ, most often the surface of the trail is significantly softer than concrete or asphalt, meaning that your step depresses a bit each time, requiring you to lift your leg and use more muscle each time you take a stride.
YOUR JOINTS WILL TAKE LESS OF A HIT ON THE TRAIL
Running on the trail will give your body a relief from the hard, unforgiving pavement. Trails take away a lot of stress from the impact that you’d normally get running on harder surfaces. Some of the forces that would normally be transmitted from the pavement up to the ankles, knees, shins, and hips are dissipated when the foot hits the ground on the trails, because there’s some give there.
THE FRESH AIR IS GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR LUNGS
One of the best reasons to run on the trail is to get some fresh air—literally. Road runners in rural areas may have less traffic to grapple with than those who run on urban territory, but for both groups, getting out into the woods for a run is better for the lungs.
YOU CAN’T ZONE OUT, BUT YOU CAN GET IN THE ZONE
Trail running requires intense focus. Even if you’ve hit the same six-mile path for years on end, it ’s going to require that you watch where you’re going carefully. This kind of focus is exhilarating and energizing. What’s more, the trail doesn’t have all of the roadblocks, stop lights and cars to watch out for, making it easier to get in the zone and enjoy a more streamlined run. You may even hit a new PR.
BEING IN NATURE IS GOOD FOR YOU
Trail running takes us up the mountain, over the river and through the woods, and that often gives us a much more scenic view than we could ever hope for on an urban jaunt on the road. And if the scenery isn’t enough to sway you to the side of trail runners, perhaps the fact that nature is good for the emotional and mental well being of all humans will be. Studies have shown that just five minutes of green exercise resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood.
IT’S QUIETER AND CALMER
Getting exercise is not only good for your heart, it produces natural endorphins that leave you feeling happier and calmer. But the calm of a good run can easily be snuffed out by the stress you feel in dodging cars or hearing the jarring sounds of construction. Trail running offers unmatched reprieve for those seeking asylum from the everyday urban sounds.
There's an emotional connection between how we feel and what we eat. Most of us are familiar with the idea. We find it in terms like "comfort food." Food can make us feel better; it can be a reward; and it can be a source of stress relief. But inevitably, letting your mood control your food has some drawbacks. So here are some great ways to recognize the emotional patterns we create around our eating, and to make those patterns a little healthier!
What You Crave: SUGAR
Many of us grew up with sweets being presented as a reward. The very anticipation of a reward triggers the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brain, releasing the ‘feel-good’ chemical, which is very addictive. Can you relate? From a young age, many of us come to associate celebrations with sweets, from cake at birthday parties to being treated with dessert after finishing our veggies. This is part of what makes sugar so comforting.
Change What You Crave: Become aware of the sweets-reward connection from your childhood to understand where this craving comes from, as well as the circumstances surrounding the craving. Establish a new goal or hobby that is healthy that will produce these “feel-good” feelings. Replace sugar as your vehicle to happiness.
What You Crave: DAIRY
Find yourself hankering for a cheesy slice of pizza or a creamy milkshake? Cheese contains the stimulant tyramine and milk contains L-tryptophan — which triggers the release of another “feel-good chemical," serotonin — as well as choline, which has soothing properties. The creamy texture of dairy is also often associated with comfort.
Change What You Crave: Reach for a banana or avocado for the creamy texture, plus a natural energy and mood boost. Then, engage in mood-boosting activities (anything you enjoy!), which will release endorphins and can also be soothing for the body.
What You Crave: CARBS
The urge to eat pasta, bread, and cookies tends to really kick in when we’re stressed or sad. Not only do these “comfort foods” have mood-boosting properties and provide a short-term energy boost, but we often associate them with comfort from an early age. Think: Chocolate chip cookies served up by mom when you had a hard day or the comforting smell of your grandma’s freshly baked bread. When you’re feeling agitated or upset, you may subconsciously be turning to carbs for comfort.
Change What You Crave: Get creative with veggies to recreate the textures you crave. Incorporate whole, unrefined carbs like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and squash into your diet. Notice when stressful situations arise and stop to take a breath and calm down.
I read a book recently called A Tale For The Time Being. First of all, it's great. One of the characters is a 104-year-old buddhist nun, and during the course of the book, she tries to teach her granddaughter how to meditate. In doing so, she tells the girl, she will discover her "SUPAPOWER." Wouldn't that be nice, I thought, to be able to discover your personal superpower?
Except, unlike every Marvel movie, our superpowers aren't shooting webs or flying through the air. No, these superpowers are dealing with stress, feeling happier, and being kinder and more compassionate to the people around us. That's the kind of superpower we need in 2018.
So what is meditation? And what on earth does it have to do with your superpower?
Meditation can be an intimidating term. For years, I thought this activity wasn’t for me. Mostly, I was deterred by the idea that I needed to make my mind blank. “A blank mind?” I thought. It sounded impossible, and when I tried it, I found that I wasn’t too successful. As much as I wanted to, there just wasn’t a strategy that helped me find the off switch.
It wasn’t until a little while later that I made an important discovery: My mind didn’t have to be blank after all. The other myth I busted? I didn’t have to steer clear of my technology to protect my mental health. Sure, if you’re constantly being bombarded by work emails and texts, you should find a way to get some distance from those. But when I was trying to get started with meditation, my smart phone ended up being a great tool.
There were a few apps that I found that helped me get a handle on meditation, but one of the first and best, I think, for those starting out, is Headspace.
Headspace is a free app available for any smartphone. If you want to use it regularly, you can upgrade to the paid version. I’m in no way sponsored by them, by the way, so you’re getting an honest opinion here. Headspace markets itself for people trying meditation for the first time. They emphasize the fact that your mind can still be active, and that you aren't trying to get away from something.
Done well, meditation is about understanding the mind and coming to know our emotions and stressors from a different perspective. It’s about learning how to let thoughts pass without dwelling on them—not about shutting down your brain completely. Most of all, meditation is about freeing yourself up to experience things differently.
When we're all trying to get happier and healthier, it turns out that a few minutes can make the difference. If you're curious, give meditation a shot this month. A little mental care goes a long way toward your physical and emotional health. Plus, it's the way to find your SUPAPOWER!
Starting out on a new fitness goal this 2018? Don't let the winter cold derail you! Most athletes are familiar with the impact winter weather can have on training plans. As the days get colder, it's harder to stay on track with our exercise. The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some simple tips to keep you prepared all winter long.
Outsmarting the Cold
1. Don't Wear Cotton
This fabric holds water and will chill your core.
2. Stop The Wind
Stopping the wind is essential, so opt for products that advertise wind stopping material.
3. Stay Dry
This step is so crucial. Choose fabrics that offer sweat wicking protection or plan to head home early.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Double Up, Even on Your Socks
Adding an extra layer might just be your best option.
5. Get Some Good Gear, Keep It Clean, and Air Dry It
Protect your gear. Good winter weather items are costly, and unless you're planning to spend a fortune, it pays to take extra good care of yours. Let these items air dry, wash them on the recommended setting, and store them well. When next winter rolls around, you'll be ready to get out there again.
When in doubt, keep those 5 basic rules in mind. It's also important to remember that the cold weather brings with it an extra set of challenges. The extreme temps will force your body to work harder, often causing your paces to slow. That's okay. Additionally, there are just some times when it's flat out unsafe to workout outdoors. Be aware of sidewalk and road conditions, and use your best judgement!
The first inklings of an illness can be a warning signal for many of us, an alarm that sends us scurrying through the vitamin section of our local drugstores, all the while downing Emergen-C packets like they’re our morning coffee. While it’s good to take those first steps when you feel your symptoms coming on, it’s even better to avoid those feelings all together. Here are four immune boosting foods to incorporate into your diet so you can fight illness all year long—no icky symptoms required.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, which helps white blood cells fight off illness. With Halloween right around the corner, it may be a good time to repurpose your decorative seasonal vegetables! There are a lot of great recipes for pumpkin seeds, but my personal favorite is to bake them in the oven until crispy with a small amount of olive oil and salt. They make for a tasty, healthy treat!
2. Sweet Potatoes
Can't get enough sweet potatoes this time of year? That's a good thing: Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which fights free radicals that could weaken your immune system. Just remember to hold the brown sugar and marshmallows!
The probiotics, found in yogurt and other naturally fermented foods, such as cold culture sauerkraut, kimchee, and kefir, help your body maintain a healthy and strong immune system. The all contain good bacteria that improves your gut health and will help fight off infections. Pick yogurts that are low in sugar and free of artificial sweeteners.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth has been heralded a superfood thanks to the high concentration of minerals. While there are many health benefits of the broth, the bone marrow has been shown to help strengthen your immune system. A Harvard study even indicated that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving a complete remission. Check out our Bone Broth recipe of the month!
Sometimes all of our best-laid plans aren’t enough, and illness finds us after all. When that happens, it’s time to break out the chicken soup – really! Studies have shown that there are illness fighting properties to this time honored, grandmothers’ favorite.
First off, we should clarify that we’re talking about homemade (read, unprocessed) chicken soup with vegetables. This soup will contain lots of healthy nutrients, increase hydration, and taste good, too! The chicken in this soothing concoction contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. The hot steam from the soup will open up your nasal passageways, and the minerals contained in the broth and veggies will be easy for your body to absorb and process. Chicken soup really may be your ticket to wellness!
DAY 1! Let's get started on this fun December challenge together! Invite your friends, family, even your co-workers to do this with you! Bodies in motion keep us healthy, happy, and motivated. Remember that no matter when you get started, you can join in on this challenge. All that's required is that you do the moves consistently for 7 days. You choose what day you begin. Looking forward to a week of fitness with you all. It's going to one full Santa's hat worth of fun. Let's go!
Recipe for 16 tortillas (approx. 4” in diameter)
1.5 Cups Natural Cassava Flour (Anthony’s Premium or Otto’s preferred)
½ tsp Fine Sea Salt
Mix together in a medium size bowl, using a fork.
Add 4 Tbsp. of Olive Oil to the bowl, and mix lightly with the fork
Measure 2/3 C. Warm Water, add gradually to the flour/oil mixture.
Turning the bowl while gently mixing in with the fork. The dough should begin to stick together, and all of the dry flour mixture should be easily combining into the dough. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add up to 1/3 C. more of warm water, adding a little at a time.
When dough begins to clump together, remove the fork, and finish mixing with your hands. Make sure the dry flour gets mixed in well to the dough. Form a Ball and let rest in the bowl.
Lightly coat the inside of large cast iron skillet or griddle with olive oil, wiping out excess with a paper towel. Heat the skillet or griddle to medium heat level, just before the oil would begin to smoke. If it gets to smoking, turn the temperature down just a bit.
When the skillet is hot, form a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball, flatten slightly between your palms. Place between two 8” pieces of parchment paper. Roll out to a 4 inch circle, rotating the paper so that you always roll from the center out to the edge. Strive for fairly even thickness throughout the tortilla.
Place the flattened circle in the hot skillet, and move on to making another tortilla. Usually the first is ready to flip when you have the second one done, (~1.5-2 minutes) if the skillet is hot enough. The underside should get lightly browned in spots, and the top will look a little puffy when it is ready to flip.
Nutrition: 1/16 of recipe = 1 tortilla = approx. 70 calories total, with 30 calories of fat (3.4 gm) and 40 calories of carbohydrate (10 gm). Each tortilla is approx. 1 gm of fiber and 5% of your iron rda.
There's still time over the next few weeks to make a visit to your local Farmer's Market. I've been kicking off the fall season with a bounty of fresh vegetables! Last week I returned home with my little re-usable tote bag stocked with baby bok choy, green beans, and red and white radishes.
I had an incredible time turning these fall veggie staples into a delicious dinner for me and my family. Of course, step one was laying these beauties out on the cutting board...
Step two was diving into the actual prep. As a kid, I used to spend time in the kitchen with my mom, helping her prepare dinner for my dad and my six siblings. We grew green beans in our garden each year, and they were a staple of many of my mother's dishes. I have a lot of memories of snapping beans while she handled the more major tasks. So, while we have a slightly smaller crowd to cook for, I asked my youngest son to help me out by snapping the ends off of the green beans and slicing up a few of the radishes. Making our dinners a family affair makes the prep go quicker and turns a necessary activity into a chance for us to spend time together. Plus, the kids get to learn valuable skills along the way!
Deciding what to cook was a cinch, because I knew I wanted to incorporate all the veggies we'd picked up, and to have a little protein and fresh fruit in there to boot!
After we had everything chopped and ready to go, we got to work. For me, fall is the season of skillet cooking! I started off by taking my baby bok choy and placing them in a hot skillet sprayed with sesame seed oil. The sesame seed oil gives veggies a rich, nutty flavor, without adding a lot of sodium or extra calories. I quickly pan seared my bok choy, and then placed them, along with the green beans I'd just finished steaming, together on a baking sheet. I put the oven at 375 degrees and roasted both vegetables until they were crispy and tender.
The final piece of the puzzle was my fresh fruit! To add some extra sweetness and tang to this dish, I grabbed a bag of frozen mango.
Frozen mango is like a cook's secret weapon. It's delicious on any dish, and catapults your meal to the next level. To complete this dish, I pan cooked the mango, sautéing the frozen cubes with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. This trick brings out the flavor of the mango, and creates a delicious sauce that you can drizzle over the rest of the meal for an added zing.
When this step was done, I put everything together in a bowl with some baked chicken. It was easy, fun, and absolutely delicious. Because my family is crazy for radishes, we sliced those up and munched on them raw with our meal. But, if you're a little less eccentric, those can be cooked right alongside everything else.
The whole cooking process, from tote-bag to dinner table, took about half an hour.
I hope you'll all take advantage of this seasonal chance to spice up your cooking, and add a whole bunch of fresh, locally grown vegetables. Nothing beats cooking healthy with the people you care about. Happy Fall!
Staying Hydrated. What's at Stake:
Your hydration affects almost every aspect of your body's functions. Comprising a whopping 60 percent of your body weight, water helps transport oxygen, fat and glucose to your working muscles, regulates your body temperature, digests food and eliminates toxins. Besides water, certain fruits and vegetables also fulfill your fluid requirements, in addition to providing healthful nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Studies have proven that people who are consistently well-hydrated throughout their life live longer - YEARS longer - than their less water savvy counterparts.
Watermelon contains about 92 percent water per volume. Researchers have found that eating a serving of watermelon after a workout may help you hydrate twice as effectively as a glass of water. This is because the water-rich fruit also packs natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins that are lost in exercise.
Grapefruit boasts a remarkable 91 percent water per volume, making it about as effective as watermelon in the rehydration department. A serving of this fruit has been shown to hydrate you more effectively than water or sports drinks, replenishing your body without all the artificial colors and flavors commonly found in sports drinks.
Peaches hit the scale with about 88 percent water per volume, and they have the added benefit of being exceedingly portable. It's not hard to throw a peach in with your lunch and much on it at the office. Just be sure to bring a napkin! Peaches pack many of the same benefits as watermelon and grapefruit. Their high water content makes them low in calories but high in terms of the "feeling of fullness" that they provide. Even better, peaches are chock full of vitamin C and nutrients that promote healthy skin and reduce anxiety. In fact, peaches are often known as "the fruit of calmness."
TIPS: Looking for a few more water-packed options? Check out strawberries and cantaloupe!
Cucumbers hold an impressive 96 percent water per volume. If you're really looking to bump up your hydration, consider putting this vegetable together with a high-water content fruit. Cucumbers and watermelon make the ultimate hydration power couple.
Celery is the often touted veggie when it comes to minimal calories, but it might be more appropriately known as the rehydrator. Celery is composed of roughly 95 percent water, filling you up without weighing you down. A serving of celery (bonus: you can pretty much eat as much as you want here) can get your body's water systems moving again. Not a fan of celery? You can swap this veggie out for zucchini instead. Both have equal water contents, and their own unique health benefits.
Radishes also bring an impressive 95 percent water per volume to the table. On top of that, these veggies boost the immune system, support the health of connective tissue, blood vessels, and teeth, and protect against cancer. If you're worried about the spiciness of radishes, fear not. All you need to do is place these beauties on the grill, roast them in the oven, or add them to a soup. Cooking radishes brings out the texture and the nuttiness of the vegetable. Check out our recipe from this week here!
TIPS: Still not seeing something that wows? Go for lettuce, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach, or broccoli. All of these veggies are high in water and filled with good-for-you nutrients.
When I'm grilling vegetables, I like to keep it simple. You'll see a lot of recipes out there that favor heavy spices or lots of oil, but by the time you've applied all that, you've almost completely lost the flavor of the original produce. To add a little zing to my meal, I add a splash of balsamic vinaigrette, and a bit of salt and pepper sprinkled over the top. Sometimes less really is more. Here are a few extra tips to get you going in the grilled-veggie department.
1. Grilled Asparagus
Look for fat spears to put on the grill—their meatiness works well with grilling and they're easier to manage on the grate (and less likely to fall through!). Grill until tender with grill marks, 8 to 10 minutes total.
2. Grilled Beets
Yes, you can grill beets! The hot fire of the grill brings out the earthy sweetness of beets with an added hint of smoky flavor and an almost candied coating. Slice the beets. In general, creating more surface area will help speed along the grilling process. Leave over heat until tender.
3. Grilled Cabbage
Cabbage is delicious grilled! The sweetness of the vegetable is drawn out, and the crispy, blackened edges give your meal a soft, crunchy texture. Cut the cabbage into wedges and either place them on skewers, or just directly on top of the grill. Cook for 10 to 15 min.
What can't you grill, really? Some of my other favorites include tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, spring onions, and certainly peppers! Any veggie you can imagine, it's probably delicious fresh off the grill. Just follow a few simple tips:
Otherwise, load up the grill with confidence, and when the veggies come off, just enjoy!
This delicious recipe includes one of our favorite, hydrating veggies. Not only do these pink-tinted beauties pack a zing, they fight free-radicals, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. You couldn't ask for much more from a dinner. Roast, eat, enjoy!
· 1 ½ pounds radishes, trimmed, scrubbed, and halved
· 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
· 1-2 Tbsp Fresh Lime juice
· 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
· ½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
· ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
· Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl toss radishes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the radishes in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan or a pre-heated cast iron skillet. Roast, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring once.
2. For chive vinaigrette, in a screw-top jar combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the wine vinegar, chives, mustard, pepper, and salt. Drizzle vinaigrette over radishes; toss to coat.
A breakthrough is an incredible thing. For your health, it means discovering something new about yourself, finding a habit that works, or making some startling realization about how you interact with nutrition and fitness in your daily life. A breakthrough signals a change for the better. Now, let’s talk about how you get there, because it’s not just a matter of time; it’s a matter of effort.
1. Work Small
The first step to finding your breakthrough is realizing that it doesn’t have to be big. In fact, a breakthrough can be a small thing that only matters to you – Cut out your nightly glass of wine. Kick your addiction to diet soda. Get in the habit of using online grocery ordering and pick up in time management. Find a little change that works for you and be proud of it. Before long, those little changes start to add up into one big one, and that's a phenomenal feeling.
2. Embrace the Uncomfortable
To find your breakthrough, before anything else, you have to be in the market, and that means getting out of your comfort zone. If you’re in your comfort zone, you’re not going to have a breakthrough. Breakthroughs happen when you change your habits, try something new, or push your personal boundaries. If you're looking for a breakthrough, start by making a change.
3. Be Willing to Fail
In order to succeed, it helps to be willing to fail. As with any attempt worth making, you have to push through the hard to get to the good. I spent hundreds of hours in the water, painstakingly trying out new techniques to make the time pass before I ever found a strategy that worked for me. So in addition to being willing to be uncomfortable, be willing to fail. Try new things until you get it right, and eventually, you WILL get it right.
4. Be Persistent
Last, and most importantly, don't give up. You'll be uncomfortable; you will fail, but it you keep going, you'll succeed. You really will find your breakthrough. Keep swimming; keep running; keep looking for new ways to improve your eating habits. A breakthrough may feel like a moment, but it's days, weeks, even years in the making. Work for it, and never give up.
For Deanna Duplanti, getting to your breakthrough is all about looking outside the box, and doing something different:
“I’ve experienced many breakthroughs in my health and fitness, but one of the biggest had to do with my nutrition. I learned that I could train, I could go all day long, but unless I had the proper nutrition, I wasn’t going to improve like I wanted to, and I wasn’t going to feel very good.
They say in a marathon you’re going to hit a wall at mile 20. The thing is, I don’t believe that wall exists. What I have found is that you just have to make a decision, ‘I’m going to give it all I’ve got.’ What you’ll often find is that you could do it, and you did.
Look outside the box. Do something different. Even with food, things that I said ‘oh my gosh, I would never like that,’ those foods often turned out to be the tastiest thing ever. High in fat foods taint your palate. Now, I find healthy foods taste wonderful, fresh and clean. That’s a breakthrough.
Get out of your comfort zone. Goodness knows I had never done a polar plunge, but the first time I did, I loved it. Be creative. You can be disciplined, but don’t let those boundaries mean too much. Lastly, remember that there’s no time limitation on a breakthrough. Every day is a new day, so start out fresh each morning.”
Remember. You have to be in the market.
This easy, delicious recipe is done in a flash and serves four hungry breakfast eaters!
10 oz bag of shredded red cabbage (approx. 3 cups packed full)
1 C. chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
Large non-stick skillet with snug fitting lid
2 T. Water
2-4 Tbsp Basalmic Vinegar
4 Large or Medium fresh eggs (the older an egg gets the more likely the white will be watery and the yolk will break)
Heat the water in the skillet over med-high heat, then add the bag of cabbage and greens if you are adding. Sprinkle the top of the cabbage with 2-4 Tbsp of flavored balsamic vinegar. I love white balsamic with pear or raspberry! Place the lid on and let steam 2-3 minutes while you get the eggs.
Turn the heat down to low, remove the lid, and carefully crack and place 4 eggs on top of the cabbage. You are trying to keep them from spreading out too much, so keep the shell close to the surface and slide the egg out. Leave some space between the eggs, and the edge of the pan.
Put the lid back on and let the eggs steam poach for 4- 8 minutes depending on how firm you like your egg yolks. The whites need to get fully cooked though before you turn the heat off.
Remove from the heat, let the steam dissipate by taking the lid off. Serves 4 portions of cabbage and 1 egg each, or you can double up on the eggs and cabbage depending on your needs and hunger.
Makes for a complete meal if you plate with some greek yogurt and fruit of choice.
This spaghetti squash boat is delicious and saves the dishes! Give it a try the next time you're cooking a healthy dinner for two!
Ingredients for 2-3 Servings
· 1 small spaghetti squash (approx. 5-6” long)
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (celery is a sub for the onions)
· 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
· 1 tablespoon minced garlic or mince a fresh pepper or ginger
· 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
· 1 cup sliced mushrooms
· 1 cup broccoli florets
· 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
· 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or sub in fresh cubed avocado
· Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut spaghetti squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out seeds and place flesh side down in large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 7-8 minutes; allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in cast iron skillet and sauté onions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms together until softened. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings.
Stir in broccoli and cook for a few minutes to brighten green in color.
Stir in black beans; remove from heat.
Once spaghetti squash is cool enough to touch, carefully use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash
strands and transfer to a bowl.
Toss spaghetti squash with cooked veggies and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
Pour spaghetti squash mixture into spaghetti squash skins and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until cheese melts.
Serving Size: 1 boat
Calories: 370; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 395mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 19g
Potassium: 994mg; Iron: 20%; Vitamin A: 16%; Vitamin C: 130%;
The holiday season is here! I've been spending a lot of time in my kitchen lately, working with one of my favorite foods-cranberries! These delicious berries are packed with antioxidants and actively work to promote a healthy digestive system, immune system, and reduce inflammation. Check out a couple of my favorite holiday cranberry recipes below!
Wishing you and all your loved ones a happy, healthy Thanksgiving. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life and the many exciting experiences we bring to each other each year. This is a wonderful time to appreciate our health, friends, abilities, the abundance and variety of good, clean food, and the privilege to make choices in our daily life. Now, more than ever, striving to be positive and inclusive can help you to feel healthy of body and spirit. Make the most of this fun season!
CRANBERRY ORANGE PUMPKIN MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
2 large, very ripe bananas
½ cup orange juice plus zest of one orange
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup Date Paste
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon alcohol-free Vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened or fruit juice sweetened
3 cups gluten free oats
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
When pumpkin is plentiful, I like to make pumpkin spice oatmeal in the morning. One day I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to eat it and I wondered how it would taste baked into a muffin. The result was pure pumpkin perfection! These little beauties are moist and delicious.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process bananas and OJ until smooth. Add pumpkin, date paste, extract, zest, flax seeds and spice and continue processing until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the oats and dried cranberries. Spoon an equal amount of batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners or silicone baking cups. You need to fill each muffin liner with about ½ cup of batter as these do not rise. A retractable ice cream scoop works well. In a separate bowl, mix the nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly into each of the 12 muffin liners. A cheese grater or nut grinder works well for grinding the nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Mavie’s Fresh Cranberry Salsa
1 bag fresh cranberries
1/4 C sugar or 1/8 C. sugar, 2 T. orange juice concentrate if you like orange
1/4 c minced green onions
1/2 c minced cilantro
2 medium jalapeños (or to desired heat)
2 Tbs lemon juice + lemon zest
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger (Freezing makes it easier to grate) or use minced jarred ginger
Place cranberries in food processor with jalapeños (de-seeded & de-veined). Put mixture in bowl and add remaining ingredients. Chill for 4 hrs before serving. Serve over cream cheese if desired.
I have also placed cranberries, japs, cilantro, and green onions in the food processor rather than mincing the latter two. Seems to work well!
Enjoy these fun recipes and time with your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving, from my kitchen to yours!
When I first met Keith Sams in Fall of 2012, he was 45 pounds heavier than he is now, but had already lost a great deal of weight. He came into our meeting with all of his exercise stats from the past 6 months totaled, which included exactly 3325 miles of cycling and 450 miles of running. He described himself as obese, told me how much weight he had already lost, how much more he wanted to lose, how much faster he wanted to get, and all the reasons why. He also said he didn’t “want to wear the scarlet letter of obesity” anymore, and wanted to be Keith LITE! He then detailed all of the things he had already changed in his diet, and that he would be a dedicated client and work really hard to accomplish anything that he needed to do to accomplish his goals of losing weight, being healthier, and getting faster on the bike. Running was something that he enjoyed, but cycling was his biggest goal. He and his wife Cara were soon to be “empty nesters” and he wanted them to be healthy and active and go on fun trips.
Wow, I must say I was a bit overwhelmed by the intensity of this guy! He talked fast, and abundantly, smiled most of the time, and surprisingly, when he stopped talking, was a fairly attentive listener. We set out on the task of accomplishing his goals. By February of 2013 he was at his goal weight, feeling great, running and riding faster, and about to explode with excitement about all the events he wanted to take on as the “new and improved, lean and healthy Keith!” You could hardly keep this guy’s feet on the ground he was so high on how good he felt! During 2014, Keith and I worked together on some of his athletic goals, including multi-day cycling events, multiple half marathons, a couple of marathons, the list goes on. Keith could tell you every single one, and all of his stats on them, in great detail! We learned a great deal about working together, he learned to ask and clarify, he learned that rest, recovery, flexibility, fueling, and hydration were all part of the training formula, not just doing the miles or the hours. We talked often about respecting your body’s work, and giving it time to heal, replenish and recover. Even if Keith didn’t get the execution right on something, you could count on him putting forth a Herculean effort. This turned out to be a very important thing to learn about working with Keith. If for some reason he got off on a sidebar, or didn’t clearly understand the path, he’d be so dug in and busy trying to accomplish what he perceived as the goal, you could hardly rein him in to re-direct or reset! This ability to put his head down and accomplish the task at hand is one of his greatest assets, and little did he or anyone else know, it would be put to the test in a very real, and serious manner.
In 2015, Keith snagged a lottery spot for the NY Marathon. This was a bucket list goal, and he wanted to be in prime condition to have his best marathon ever. He and Cara would make a fun trip out of the event, and the wheels were already turning in his mind. Keith asked me if I would help him prepare for the marathon, and we discussed all of his goals, what was realistic, and I agreed to be his coach. Following his early summer conclusion of distance cycling events, Keith was ready to start his training for the NY Marathon which was in Nov. of 2015. Right up through late August training was going well.
In Late August, while in Atlanta for business, Keith participated in a Half Marathon event and suffered a stroke. His physicians believe the stroke occurred during the early miles of the half marathon, but in his finish the workout mindset, Keith endured all 13.1 miles, and finished. He then went back to his hotel and proceeded to collapse. It wasn’t until much later that he called anyone for help. He assumed he was just tired, dehydrated and disoriented from the heat during the run and didn’t fully grasp the serious nature of his problem. Thankfully his friend and his wife convinced him to get to go to the hospital. There his road to discovery and recovery began.
This is an excerpt from the email I got from Keith less than two weeks after his stroke:
To some extent he’s treating my recovery as you would for a post-concussion recovery. Because of that and some lingering vertigo-like symptoms (knocking things off the counter, bumping into things), he did put in place several restrictions for the next 30 days:
· No driving
· No running (walking is approved with no restrictions to speed or intensity).
· Restricted core. I can do core, but I have to avoid the specific exercises that put pressure on the head (pushups).
· He did approve swimming and cycling on the trainer! Thus I have a number of options to maintain my fitness and help me prep for a full-time training after the 30 days.
· He did approve light yardwork (really all yardwork but said to use common sense on those).
· Additionally, he said that I would not get medical clearance for any marathons for 90 days. This will officially end my NY Marathon aspirations, but does not rule out Disney in January 2016!
I have never met a person more determined to recover and conquer again, and exercise was going to be his way to do it. Think what you like, but he grabbed onto these goals and held on for dear life! Frankly, I was a little worried that he was going to push himself too far, too soon, or go against his doctor’s advice. He did none of that. He walked, he was patient, he started strengthening the weakened side of his body. He slowly returned to running and cycling, he took breaks often and as needed. He ate healthfully to help his body heal, he listened to his wife when she said he needed to take a break. In short, he was humble but determined.
Fast forward to November 7, 2016, just a little over a year later, and Keith Sams is finally getting to run his NY Marathon! Please join me in wishing Keith a great adventure with his wife, and a wonderful experience in the marathon. He is trained and ready, and has a fabulous plan to smile the whole way, while still striving to accomplish some personal goals. This guy has put in the blood, sweat and tears. He has completed every workout, taken every rest day, and earned a big accomplishment already.
Best of Luck Keith! Thanks for the opportunity to be on your team. I am humbled, and impressed by you. Have a blast in NY with Cara!
Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients. This super root packs antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and detoxification support. Unlike many veggies, you can actually see all the good stuff. Beets get their gorgeous color from betalain, which can only be found in a few other foods, like the stems of chard or rhubarb. The concentration of betalains in the peel and flesh of beets make this veggie the best way to snag those health benefits!
Step 1: Prep These Ugly Bettys!
Beets may not look enticing at first, but with a quick scrub and a bit of slicing, they're ready to liven up any plate.
Step 2: Add Beets to Your Favorite Meal or Salad
Try this fun recipe to get you started!
What I am loving lately: This is a chopped salad, marinated in fresh lime juice. It just gets better as it sits in the fridge.
Start with a base of shredded red cabbage or broccoli slaw, buy it in the bag for quick and easy. Add any variety of chopped vegetables. I added zucchini, seedless cucumber, red onion, tomato, mixed color bell peppers, and a little chopped carrot. Toss with 2-4 Tbsp of lime juice, a dash of sea salt and black pepper. No oils needed. Eat it right away, and save the rest in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Serve out of it for any meal. I had some the next morning for breakfast, topped with a poached egg, and some avocado on the side. Delicious! Be creative with your veggies. Broccoli, cauliflower, chopped brussel sprouts, cilantro, celery, some spicy peppers, napa cabbage - they all work great!
Blueberries and cherries are the latest fruits to come into season this month. Together these two create an energy boosting, anti inflammatory, heart healthy super pack! Cherries are blueberries help fight health problems like Arthritis, cancer cells, insomnia and headaches. They're great for fueling your toughest workouts and for helping your recover afterwards. Here are all the reasons this fruity power duo should be topping your grocery list this July!