Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stuffed Bell Peppers...

1/1/2 cups cooked grain (brown rice, quinoa, millet)
1/3 cup crushed almonds or walnuts
1 lbs cooked ground turkey, beef or pork
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 bell peppers (green, red, or yellow)
2 teaspoons olive oil or ghee
salt to taste

       1.  Sauté onion and garlic with oil for 1 minute.
       2.  Add celery and sauté for 3 minutes.
       3.  Mix with remaining ingredients, except peppers and crushed nuts.
       4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
       5.  Cut off tops of peppers and scoop out insides.
       6.  Steam peppers until slightly tender.
       7.  Fill each with stuffing and top with crushed nuts.
       8.  Place in casserole dish with 1/8 inch water, bake in oven for 30 minutes and serve.

Adapted from Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Tradition and Modern Nutrition, by Paul Pitchford.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Meal Prep

Do you meal prep for the week? Or a couple days at a time? I try to every week because it saves us money and time. It also saves us from over eating or eating food that's less than good for us. My clients often ask what's the easiest way to eat well so I'm going to share what works best at our house.

Butternut Squash sauteed with zucchini, Broccoli, and Tuna
Every weekend I cook a protein source (chicken, turkey, beef or pork mostly) steam veggies and cut up tons of veggies and fruit. Honestly it takes me no more than an hour to do everything. I package up 8 lunches and put all the other stuff (extra protein, veggies, and fruit) in big containers. We use the leftover meat and veggies through out the week to make dinners and the cut up fruit for snacks smoothies.

Our lunches normally look something like this:

Salsa Verde chicken with Quinoa, Broccoli and Pineapple
Salad Toppin's
Throughout the week our dinners consist of quick things like salads topped with protein and veggies with homemade dressing, quesadillas or healthy nachos, Tilapia with veggies with rice, green protein shake smoothies and omelettes. We both work late so our dinners are always quick and easy, but if I didn't meal prep we'd be eating take out (spending lots of $) or oatmeal (boring!) every night!

In my fridge you'll always find a big tub of chopped veggies, cooked and drained beans for salad and more. The best part about prepping is that if you have everything prepared in the fridge there's no reason that you can't eat well and when you're too exhausted to cook there's always something to eat, just throw everything in a bowl and you can create healthy meal like the ones below!

"Pork Fried Rice"

Roasted Veggies with Balsamic and Parm

Too Tired to cook, throw everything in a bowl and top with Siracha

Happy 4th of July! It's a 3 day weekend for most of you so make a little time for meal prep and let me know how it goes!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

3 More Ways to Use Your Shaker Cups...

Do you have a shaker cup or blender bottle? You know those ones that have a little ball shaped whisk that floats around at the bottom? They look remarkably like the Tupperware quick shake my mom had when I was kid, but now they're fancy, colorful and most of all trendy. Even if you're not a protein shake slugging "gym rat" they're a great tool to have on hand. I use mine for slugging protein shakes, but also for a lot of other stuff too..

1. Salad Dressing... Homemade vinaigrette keeps well in the shaker bottle because of the air tight seal and it doesn't need to be to refrigerated so it can just stay in the cabinet until you're ready to shake and serve again, again and again.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

1/2 c Olive Oil
1/2 c Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c Vanilla Balsamic Vinegar (flavor of your choice)
3 Heaping Tbsp Minced dehydrated Garlic
2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 cup Braggs Amino Sauce
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Heaping Tbsp Savory Blend Dehydrated Herbs

Combine everything in a large shaker cup and shake before serving. It taste better the longer the seasonings is soaking in the vinegar and oil.

2. Iced Coffee... After we're done with our brewed coffee in the morning I pour the leftovers into a shaker bottle and put it in the fridge for the next day. The next morning all you have to do is throw in a scoop of your favorite protein powder an you have a flavored, protein filled iced coffee. Chocolate is my favorite way to create a mocha flavor.

3. Fluffy Eggs... When I make eggs I really like them fluffy and the shaker cup is a great way to make your eggs or egg whites fluffy. Rather than whisking your scrambled eggs toss them in to your shaker cup and shake away. You can add your milk, salt and/or pepper to the shaker too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What's for Breakfast?!

If I'm home Sunday's I normally sleep in til 7am, yahoo! Seth likes it when I make him breakfast so I try to make him something a little special when I can. This week I made him one of my favorite things with some extra toppings.

Banana and egg pancakes are super simple and delicious if you like bananas! Here's how to make them:

Seth's Pancake topped w/strawberries, bananas, granola, PB and cinnamon.
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup egg whites
1 ripe banana
Cinnamon to taste
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

Direction (Makes 2 Giant Pancakes):

1. Smash banana with fork in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Crack eggs and pour egg whites in bowl with smashed banana.
3. Whisk in vanilla and cinnamon until bubbly and well mixed.
4. Pour batter in prepared skillet heated to medium/high and cover for 2 minutes.
5. Remove lid and flip pancake, cook uncovered for another 2 minutes
6. Serve and top with anything you like, enjoy!

Can you see mine in the back? I put spinach in it...weird, I know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't be a Bump on a Log...

Do you have a desk job? If so, do you make a conscious effort to get up from your desk and move?

I have this conversation with clients frequently  because even if you're exercising everyday you still need to get up and move throughout the day. Doing 30 minutes, even an hour of exercise before or after work is great, but then often at work we sit for 6-8 hours without moving at all.

The Washington Post just ran a great piece with an info graphic to help explain some of the hazards of prolonged sitting. Some of which include heart disease, colon cancer, brain fog etc. I understand that not everyone can be as active as they wish in their workplace, but there are a couple of really easy ways to move more without breaking a sweat or making your boss angry!

1. Stand up every time you take a drink.

2. Stretch your quadriceps every time you go to the restroom. If you're drinking enough water this should be several times throughout the work day.

3. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

4. Set a timer and try these stretches at your desk every 40 mins.

Implementing some of things may not only reduce your risk for health complications associated with prolonged sitting, but you may also loose some weight! Read here for more info and a fantastic research article.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Using Accountability to Our Advantage

As a trainer we take on many roles in our clients lives. In addition to teaching exercises, anatomy, and programming workouts; we talk about nutrition, water intake, sleeping habits, relationships, work, kids, self esteem, etc, but one of the most important aspects of personal training is accountability. I love what I do and I believe that the quality of each workout matters, but I also recognize that accountability is responsible for a large portion of a clients results!

Even some of the most self motivated individuals could benefit from someone holding them accountable every now and then. Most of us know what we "should" do, (this applies to most choices in life) but often we need someone to hold our feet to the fire. 

How can we use accountability in our lives outside of personal training to help us make the "right" choices?

1. Define your goal. (even if it's simple, I needed someone to hold me accountable to flossing every night, not just most nights, but every night!)

2. Start telling people about it (if you don't feel comfortable sharing it with everyone, write it down).

3. Think about why this "thing" is hard for you to stick with on your own and how someone could possibly support you. Brain storm some strategies.

4. Decide what your schedule is for checking in and if you need someone to be "your person." Talk to them about a plan. (i.e: if I don't bring Seth a piece of floss so that we can floss together by 9pm, he goes and gets one for me).

I know my flossing example is lame, but I want to make it clear that it doesn't have to be big thing. I also want to emphasize that no victory is too small to celebrate. All of these little "wins" like flossing every day, or drinking enough water help us bolster our confidence to take on the bigger challenges in life. Sometimes we weigh ourselves down with self doubt and guilt of past choices, but to improve our odds at achieving the things we find most challenging we must have faith in ourselves, a support system and a PLAN! Go get those dreams using accountability to your advantage!! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Will You Gain 10lbs This Year?

Ever get that sleepy feeling around 3pm? You’re not alone, that’s your body’s circadian rhythm talking.

Most adults circadian rhythm dips and rises at two different times, so adults' strongest sleep drive generally occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and in the afternoon between 1:00-3:00 pm. There is some variation depending on the lifestyle choices of the individual, including sleeping and waking hours as well as eating habits. The sleepiness experienced during these dips may be more or less intense depending on whether they’ve had adequate sleep in previous days.

(The circadian biological clock is controlled by a part of the brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), a group of cells in the hypothalamus that respond to light and dark signals. From the optic nerve of the eye, light travels to the SCN, signaling the internal clock that it is time to be awake. The SCN signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or awake.
In the mornings, with exposure to light, the SCN sends signals to raise body temperature and produce hormones like cortisol. The SCN also responds to light by delaying the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset and is produced when the eyes signal to the SCN that it is dark. Melatonin levels rise in the evening and stay elevated throughout the night, promoting sleep.)[1]

In a perfect world we would sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light, providing our bodies with 8-10 hours of quality sleep per night. Unfortunately, for many people this is quite a challenge because of work, kids, school, etc. Adequate sleep is essential to overall health and that can not be emphasized enough. The impact of not getting enough sleep is no laughing matter.

Based on this study having a disrupted biological clock can promote weight gain of 10 pounds per year due to a decreased metabolic rate and slowed secretion of insulin. Thereby increasing health risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. So the question is how do we avoid the side effects of a sleep deficiency or disrupted sleep cycle?

1. Aim for quality sleep by creating a ritual for yourself. Limit light exposure before bed (no TV, or computer screens) before bed, make sure your room is temperate (somewhere between 65-70 degrees) for optimal sleep.

2. Make your room is DARK and/or invest in a sleep mask. This will also be helpful in taking naps when your body really needs one. The best time to nap is between 1-3pm because of our circadian rhythm.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evenings, when the effect of either wear off  your body will wake you. “Alcohol consumption, in excess or too close to bedtime, diminishes the quality of sleep, often leads to more waking throughout the night, and lessens time spent in REM sleep and slow wave sleep in the later part of the night, the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep.”[2]

4. Exercise during the day to fatigue your body,  most people find that on days they exercise the sleep better!

Life can make it challenging to get enough quality sleep, and if you can’t sleep “normal” hours because of work it can be very difficult to stay motivated to achieve your health and fitness goals. Implementing some of the above strategies can help you to prioritize getting more quality sleep and doing so should help you reach your goals with gusto! If you need more help talking through your sleep strategies let’s talk!