Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Quickie!

The holidays are here which usually means a busier schedule and heavier foods. With the parties, gift shopping, and travel sneaking in a workout can be difficult. Next time you find yourself in a time crunch try this total body circuit, after your standard warm up:

  1. 1 min jump rope
  2. 12-15 push-ups (modified if needed) 
  3. 12 Anterior Raises (5-10lbs/arm)
  4. 12 Lateral Raises (5-10lbs/arm)
  5. 10 Single Leg Bicep Curls to Overhead Press (10-15lbs/arm)…switch legs
  6. 30 sec elbow plank
  7. 30 sec side elbow plank…switch sides
  8. 30 sec supine elbow plank (chest up)--major glute work
  9. Multi planar lunges- front lunge right, front lunge left, side lunge right, side lunge left, transverse lunge right (45 degree turn behind yourself), transverse lunge left-

Repeat the circuit three times, resting 60 seconds between sets.

No more excuses get your burn on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Hope everyone had a lovely National Eating Day!!! I’m sure you are all still somewhat stuffed, I know I am. So what about getting back on that healthy eating train? I’m sure most of you still have leftover turkey and are probably running out of creative options (if not you can use chicken breast). Try this tasty option Turkey (Chicken) Tortilla Soup.

  • 1 can low sodium corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 3-4 c chopped turkey (2-3 large chicken breasts)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 diced medium red onion
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • 1 jar mild salsa
  • 1 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bag of blue corn chips
  • 1 container of fresh salsa (flavor to your liking)
  1. In a crock pot, add corn, black beans, turkey/chicken, tomatoes, onion, enchilada sauce, basil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salsa, and chicken broth.
  2. Set on high for 3.5 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with fresh cilantro, broken blue corn chips, and fresh salsa!

What’s great about this recipe? It not only satisfies the taste buds, but the high fiber satisfies that growling tummy without a lot of calories or fat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Travelin' Smart

Traveling is probably one of my favorite hobbies. Travel seekers love the experience of new sites, people, and yummy cuisine. What’s the best way to travel without breaking the pocket book or the diet regime?

Find a hotel with a mini-fridge and microwave!

Pack things like:
  • Blue corn chips and fresh salsa
  • Nitrate and hormone free turkey or chicken breast
  • Cereal/Oatmeal
  • Milk
  • Whole grain bread or whole grain tortillas
  • Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Onion (already cleaned and prepared)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Trail mix/Granola
  • Low-fat/non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Peanut butter filled pretzels
  • Deli Mustard/Sandwich Spreads
  • Hummus, Celery, Carrots
  • Trail mix/protein bars (low in sugar and sodium)
  • Water
  • Wine/Beer

Often times when traveling we forget our mid-meals, which causes us to eat much more for breakfast, lunch and dinner…fussing with our metabolism. Packing snacks, breakfast and lunch items not only saves you money but also doesn’t destroy all that hard work you put in for that sexy travel wardrobe. Now go ahead and splurge on that fancy dinner and feel good about savoring that decadent dessert, you are on vacay!

And don’t forget! Prep items:
  • Plastic baggies
  • Knife
  • Spoons
  • Bowls
  • Wine/Beer opener

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinach Whole Wheat Lasgna

One of America’s favorite comfort foods is lasagna. However, the standard lasagna being composed primarily of carbs and fatty cheese makes it a waistline nightmare. Try this new twist, not only is it healthier, but also tastier!

Serves: 10-12

  • 1 box whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa pasta noodles (no need to cook)
  • 3 jars of sauce (Newman’s Own, Trader Joes, Classico…look for low sugar and no preservatives)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c parmasean
  • 3 c shredded low fat mozzarella
  • 1 c reduced fat ricotta
  • 1 c chopped spinach
  • 2 c spinach leaves
  • 4 chicken sausages (look for low fat, low sodium verisions)
  • 1 box sliced mushrooms
  • 1 sliced yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 3 large sliced tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a large fry pan on medium high. Cook sausage thoroughly. Slice when cooked fully.
  3. In a food processor or blender create filling, mix ricotta, chopped spinach, crushed garlic, egg and parmesan.
  4. In a large lasagna dish (I prefer the large foil dishes), layer sauce, noodles, layer of veggies (sliced onion, tomatoes, spinach leaves, mushrooms), mozzarella, sauce, noodles, filling mix, sliced chicken sausage, noodles, layer of veggies (sliced onion, tomatoes, spinach leaves, mushrooms), mozzarella, sauce, noodles, reminder of mozzarella and veggies, and sauce.
  5. Cover with foil.
  6. Cook for 1 hour- 1 ½ hours until noodles completely cooked.
  7. Remove from oven. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Cut and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cleanse. Detox. Reset.

Most of us have done or have heard about these master cleanses; diets that claim to drop weight in just a few days!  Diets such as the Hollywood Master Cleanse, Lemonade Diet, Juice Cleanse, Cabbage Soup Diet, and Tea Diet are quick fixes to many people.  These diet promise to increase energy, drop weight, and rid the body of toxins and chemicals. 

These diets can also result in headaches, irritability, dizziness, fatigue, colon damage, diarrhea, dehydration, and join and muscle pain.  Yes these diets do cleanse the body of toxins and chemicals but also cleanse the body of valuable vitamins and minerals, leaving the immune system weak and you often sick. 

Prolonged use or frequent dependency on these diets can lead to calcium loss and a sharp decrease in metabolism (starvation mode). 

Yes these do result in weight loss.  But that weight is actually your lean muscle breaking down; your body now uses that for fuel!  So all that hard work you have put in at the gym was basically a waste!  Plus many individuals binge eat after the completion of these crazy crash diets; leaving you weighing more than you did before the diet.

Additionally, many of these crazy cleanses require you to purchase special vitamins, juices, or packages of the actual detox; a money maker for them and a waste for you.

So basically detox diets are a waste....well not quite.  Fasting has been apart of human history for centuries and actually does have "cleansing benefits".  But they must be done the correct way and for the correct length of time.  Dr. Oz released his 48 Hour Weekend Cleanse a few weeks ago.  This cleanse focuses not on losing weight but on detoxing the liver, colon, and kidneys.  These organs are vital to our survival and to having an efficient digestive system.  His 48 hour cleanse consists of foods that are primarily detoxifying for those specific organs.  This cleanse also eliminates caffeine, preservatives and sugar; all of which are hard your digestive system.

I completed the Dr. Oz cleanse this week and faced a few headaches from the caffeine elimination but overall I slept amazing, my skin look incredible, and my stomach aches vanished.  Moreover, this cleanse has helped me to eliminate late night snacking, sugary cravings, and excessive caffeine.  Basically putting me back on track!  Perfect for after the holidays!  I do recommend you do this on a weekend.  It's fairly a lot of stuff to prepare the first time around and you are tired (lack of caffeine and in the cleansing process your body is finally able to take time to work internally rather than working so hard externally).  So stock up on moves, books, Epsom salts for a warm bath; stay away from Facebook, and minimize the cell phone use.  Make this detox work for not only your body but your mind!

You can find the complete Dr. Oz Cleanse here:

Good luck!  Take care of that body!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking for a sweeter breakfast?

This Greek yogurt parfait is the perfect sweet breakfast, dessert, or mid-day snack!  Give it a try and your taste buds will thank you.  This is also a great substitute for that sugar fro yo splurge.

Serves: 1

  • ½ c non-fat plain Greek yogurt (one serving)
  • ¼ c blueberries
  • ¼ c sliced strawberries
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds; shelled
  1. In a bowl layer ¼ c Greek yogurt, blueberries, flax seeds, ginger, remainder Greek yogurt, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon.
  2. Enjoy! Simple as that!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Food Journaling

Summer is at an end and the clouds are here but that doesn't mean you don't want to keep that summer body.  Fall and winter bring parties and holidays as well as heavy and sweet foods.  What to do??

Take up food journaling!  Eating is a habit and for some individuals a good habit (with good food choices) and others a bad habit (with bad food choices).

Journal contents:
  1. Time of meal/snack/drink
  2. What you are eating and how much (think portion control with nutritionally dense food rather than calories or points)
  3. What you are drinking and how much (this includes water, sweet drinks, caffeine, alcohol and soda)
  4. Amount of exercise
  5. How you feel at the end of the day emotionally and physically
  6. How you would like to improve tomorrow
  7. Amount of restful sleep (continuous sleep; record if you are tossing and turning)
Is food journaling worth the time?:
  • Accountability- this helps you put that extra cookie down; forcing you to really decide if you need it.
  • Unhealthy patterns and habits- many of us eat in front of the TV, force food down while working on the computer, scarf those tortilla chips and salsa over a table with friends without paying attention to what we are doing, EATING.
  • Lack of fluids- sometimes we feel hungry when we truly are dehydrated.  Pay attention to the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume; each one of those removes that much water from your body.
  • Feelings- this part is so important because so many of us are emotional eaters and don't want to admit it.  Journaling will help you see that.  Once you do, start creating a "safety net"- things to do (other than reaching for the chocolate bar or burger) when you feel stressed, upset, sad, alone, or even happy!
  • Sleep- not getting adequate sleep causes most of us to ingest more sugary carbs or caffeine just to keep those eyes open, make the time (no more- I will sleep when I die).  Some of us struggle with sleep because of what we eat before bed- eating too late, too heavy, too many carbohydrates, too much sugar,  too much caffeine?
  • Nutrition that fits for you- journaling will help you find the eating patterns and habits that work best for your body.  Every individual is different externally and internally; some people operate best on a higher complex carbohydrate diet, others higher protein diet.  Weigh yourself once week; same time, same scale, same clothing. 
After a month go through the journal and find the patterns of eating that work best for you; the days you feel best emotionally and physically.  Think of your diet journal as a means of experimentation with recorded results...obviously searching for the strongest results!  Once you find those results you can let go of the journal; but don't be afraid to begin again if you begin to feel of track....remember life happens and sometimes we need those guidelines to keep us on track.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Healthful Tuna Melt

Most diner versions of this sticky treat are loaded in fat and greasy calories. But no worries you can still enjoy this rich meal without all the guilt!

Serves: 1

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (La Tortilla Factory 100 calorie)
  • ¼- ½ c sliced spicy almond cheese
  • 1 can drained albacore tuna
  • ¼ c salsa
  • ¼ c chopped spinach
  • ¼ c chopped baby tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green onion

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stuff a whole wheat tortilla with almond cheese, tuna, salsa, spinach, baby tomatoes, and green onion.
  3. Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  4. Cut. Serve with additional salsa for dipping if desired.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter: natural vs originial

The peanut butter question used to be restricted to Jiff or Skippy??  Yet now with a rise in health and nutrition the shelves are literally littered with varieties of these original childhood staples.

What to look for when on the peanut butter hunt:
  1. no added sugar (found as the second ingredient in our original Jiff and Skippys)
  2. no added salt (we all don't need that extra bloating)
  3. no added oils (the natural peanut oils are enough fat on their own)
  4. no added preservatives (refrigeration should be the only preservation method; the body never needs unnecessary chemicals)
My cheap recommendations: Trader Joe's Crunchy No Salt Added and Walmart's Adam's 100% All Natural Creamy; both are under $3!  Remember health doesn't have to be expensive.

Some great on the go snack ideas:
  • Whole wheat toast with all natural peanut butter and no sugar added apple butter (quick breakfast)
  • Apple with peanut butter (afternoon snack)
  • Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around a banana and peanut butter (perfect post workout snack)
  • Many of my other snack ideas ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rich Chocolate Chewy Brownies

Who doesn’t love a rich chocolate brownie?? But notice how we always feel so guilty after? Now you can enjoy the brownie, hey even two, without the guilt! This recipe contains 3 variations: (1) plain, (2) crunchy, (3) walnuts and coconut dressed.

Servings: 10-12

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), rinsed (removes some sodium)
  • ½ c cocoa powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • ¾ c agave
  • 1 tbsp smart balance
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • **optional- ¼ c walnuts, ¼ c shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with smart balance.
  2. In a food processor combine beans, cocoa powder, egg whites, and whole wheat flour. Blend for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add agave, smart balance, vanilla, and (variation 2 add walnuts and coconut now). Blend 2 minutes.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish (variation 3 top brownie mix with walnuts and coconut). Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, and bake an additional 10 minutes, rotate, finish for 5-8 minutes (until fully cooked).
  5. Remove from oven, allow cool, place in fridge for approximately 2-3 hours or until brownies are set. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Power of Positive

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”- Winston Churchill

Have you ever noticed that people who are successful are often very happy and positive? This isn’t just a coincidence.

Your personal self-talk contributes directly to your growth, success, and achievements. You are your own radio tower; emitting negative thinking and negative self talk will bring you just that.

With the fall of today’s economy it is even more important for our personal success to own this way of thinking.

Start training your subconscious in a positive light by first taking control of your conscious thoughts. Try these tools:
  1. Make a goal board. Visual images are powerful and become even stronger when they are seen every day; especially those rough days. Make a collage, take pictures, draw, find quotes and place them on a poster board….I know we are all busy but taking the time to do this will lead you to those ultimate goals even sooner.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people. Ever notice how negativity can be contagious?
  3. End your day by writing down at least one good thing that happened. Use your Facebook or Twitter as your forum… spread the positive energy.
  4. Develop a plan of action, “safety net”, for those more difficult days. How are you going to get yourself out of that mind set? a friend, look a fun pictures from the past, use your goal board (keeping the big picture in mind), reading a favorite quote or part of an uplifting book. We also face fallbacks; the ones that get up the fastest are those with a plan of action.
  5. Fill your home, office, car, and bedroom with positive light. Keeping the areas you spend most of your time positive will remind you to keep your positive attitude during illness, injury, arguments…basically when you face anything challenging you have a place of refuge. Use your favorite fabrics, colors, photos, memories to decorate these areas….it should be hard not to smile when you come to your place of refuge.
  6. Read positive books to increase the positive learning transformation….”The Secret”- Rhonda Byrne, “The Power of Positive Thinking”-Norman Peale, “The Power of Self Coaching”-Joseph Luciani, “You Can if You Think You Can”- Norman Peale, “Unlimited Power”-Tony Robbins

Started your positive successful life this evening! Don’t wait any longer! Put the extra training time into the tools now for the next few months and watch your life and happiness change drastically.

Live life well…you only get one!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This perfect tasty combo of healthy fat, protein and carbohydrates leaves the body full of energy, not full and bloated like the typical muffin.

Peanut Butter Cup Ingredients-
  • 4 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tsp vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 3 tsp cocoa nibs)
  • 4 tsp chopped walnuts

Choco-Delite Ingredients-
  • 3 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 3 tbsp whole oats
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp sweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a muffin pan line six slots with paper cups.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix all wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix evenly.
  5. **For Peanut Butter Cup: add semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts to the final mix.
  6. Portion batter into muffin cups. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  7. Remove and place in individual baggies for the perfect snack on the go!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Wheatgrass...we have all seen it at Jamba Juice, Juice It Up, Robecks, and many of our other favorite juice bars.  Grass?  Really?  It truly doesn't taste all that it worth the cost? strange flavor?

Wheatgrass also known as "cereal grass" was discovered by argicultural chemist, Charles Schnabel in Kansas in 1925.  Charles discovered the amazing nutritional benefits stored in this strange form:
  • Colon Detox- the chlorophyll in wheatgrass aids in the breakdown on impacted matter.  Having a clean colon also lowers the risk of colon cancer.
  • Metal Detox-the natural occurring minerals in wheatgrass aid in the detoxifcation process of lead, mercury, and aluminum.
  • Blood Flow- the chlorophyll in wheatgrass mimicks the molecular structure of the body's hemoglobin.  Hemoglobin aids in the transport of oxygen, as does the chlorophyll.
  • Immune Support- the high content of vitamins A, B, and E increases the bodies ability to fight infection.
  • Amino Acid Supplementation- wheatgrass contains 4 non-essential (made by the body) and 8 essential amino acids (the body needs to obtain from food sources).  Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
  • Increased energy- wheatgrass is high in B-12, a supplement many vegetarians utilize to subsitute the natural energy from animal proteins.
Best way to get wheatgrass?  Not too worry you don't have to buy a juicer or make a trip to your local juice store everyday (if you do decide you want the juice verision make sure to ingest right after juicing, it loses its potency upon sitting out).  The most convient way to get your wheatgrass is thru tablets (my fav no strange flavor) or powder form.  Find a brand that contains a pure form of wheatgrass and preferably no preservatives.  For health and energy maintence you want 3.5 grams of wheat grass per day.

A supplement everyone should begin to include!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grilled Tuna Salad

August has been a very toasty month!  How bout makin a delicious salad that's also pretty enough to serve to guests and fast enough to make after a long day at work??  Try this one!

  • 1 fillet of tuna; clean and pat dry
  • 2 c spinach
  • ½ c sliced mushrooms
  • ½ c chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ c chopped cucumber
  • ¼ c crumbled feta
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a fry pan on medium high. Once oil is hot add fish. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness and desired cook temp.
  2. For dressing, in a small dish mix 2 tbsp olive oil, white balsamic, black pepper, juice of lemon and minced garlic.
  3. On a large plate, place spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, feta cheese, pine nuts and finally tuna fillet. Finish with dressing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It's summer and many of us reach for the aloe after long lazy days in the sun to provide relief from the itchy-burn sensation.  The soothing properties are almost magic on the skin, have you ever thought about what else this could do??

Take a drink of this stuff!  Drinking aloe helps to:
  1. Decrease indigestion
  2. Acts as a natural detox/cleanse
  3. Relieves symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  4. Helps to level blood sugar; especially for diabetics
  5. Reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides
  6. Strengthens gums (great if you find aloe in toothpaste)
  7. Minimizes infection in the ears and eyes
  8. Relieves arthritis
There are a variety of aloe drinks available at most health food stores.  Try to find the concentrated version that suggestion a serving of approximately 2 tbsp.  This version doesn't taste the best but is the most potent.  Also, many of the more flavorful "aloe drinks" are full of sugar; best to avoid these!

Have you had your aloe shot today?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lentil Almond Cheese Quesadilla

Quesadillas are on almost everyone's favorite comfort foods list.  Sadly the standard quesadilla really doesn't have much nutrition.  Try this twist on the old quesadilla, not only is it much much better for you (higher in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber) but also a lot more flavorful and safe for us lactose-intolerant folks.

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla or corn tortilla (La Tortilla Factory 100 calorie whole wheat)
  • 1/4 c cooked lentils (Trader Joe's pre-cooked; available in the pre-made salad section)
  • 1/4 c finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1/4 c chopped spinach
  • 1/4 c sliced or grated pepper jack almond cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh salsa
  • 2 tbsp chopped black olives
  1. Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees.  You can also bake the quesadilla in a standard oven or microwave.
  2. Stuff whole wheat tortilla with lentils, tomatoes, green onions, spinach, almond cheese, salsa and black olives.
  3. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  4. Top with additional salsa if desired.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snackie snacks...

We all love to do it...whether we are watching TV, browsing the net, gossiping with friends...there is something so fun about munching away.  Yet that consistent snacking can quickly pack on the pounds.  The goal is to snack smart...check these guidelines out...

Purchasing Snacks:
  • Low sodium (less than 200mg)
  • No added/refined sugars
  • Low in fat; steer clear the trans fats, lean more towards unsaturated fats (still containing some fat- this will help your mind know you are full)
  • Contains protein (3 or more grams of protein- another way to get full and fuel the body)
  • Fiber is a plus- why? good for the intestinal health and the bulking will also fill you up
  • Around 200 calories for a serving
  • Skip the preservatives if you can; shoot for whole foods: fruits, veggies, nuts, non fat yogurt, fresh air popped corn

Snacking Art:
  • Snack slow, paying attention to that full signal
  • Avoiding snacking as a multi-tasking activity
  • Portion out your snacks.  Try to find small dishes so that it doesn't seem like the bowl isn't full :)
  • Before going back to a second serving really make sure it's your tummy hungry and not the mind taking over.
  • Make sure to get a balance between carbs, protein, and fats to fill up....carbs only will leaving you feeling unsatisfied.
Now go ahead and snack.  Snacks keep the metabolism running and are a great addition to the day. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fresh Cool and Yummy

Summer is here and so is the heat.  Most of us crave something cool and refreshing.  What's better than a flavorful cool salad?  Salad, low in calories and fat perfect for the summer diet; however the added dressing can pack on the calories, salt, sugar, preservatives and fat.

Take control of your salads with the following yummy easy to make dressings....

Garlic Zesty Mustard Dressing:
  • juice and pulp of two small lemons
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c white balsamic
  • 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
Raspberry Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tbsp no sugar added raspberry jam
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c white balsamic
Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette:
  • juice of 1 fresh squeezed lime
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 c chipped cilantro
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • black pepper to taste
Citrus-Basil Vinaigrette:
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/8 c finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • lemon zest
Each recipe produces approximately four servings.  Experiment and make your own with some fresh chopped herbs, citrusy fruits, and high quality olive oil.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 411 on Ground Beef

Yes ground lean turkey or chicken are usually the better choices but let's face it sometimes we just want the real thing.  That juicy taste of beef.

What's the healthiest choice?
  1. The Grind: 80/20 or 90/10.  What does this even refer to?  This is the proportion of fat and protein in the grind not the actual calories.  1 gram of fat contains more than twice the calories as 1 gram of protein.  So converting that factor into the percentage, if you are going for the 80/20 version 20% fat by weight actually is 72% of the total calories.  A single serving of the 80/20 is about 250 calories and 180 calories from fat.  Answer 90/10 version.
  2. The Feed: Cows were designed to eat grass not corn!  Corn fed beef is often where we have found various types of food poisoning.  Try the movie Food, Inc. for even more info.  Answer grass fed. 
  3. Hormones?: Are they all that harmful?  Well would you take hormones directly by choice (if not directed by a doctor)?  Probably not.  If the cow is injected with hormones to increase growth and you are eating that cow then you are eating them.  Answer hormone free.
After you have chosen the correct ground beef be sure to either skip the bun or stick with whole multi grain, pack on the veggies, keep the cheese to reduced fat, and try to skip on the may or switch to vegannaise.

It's summer and everyone deserves to enjoy the occasional burger ;).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled Artichokes

Summer is here and many of us are returning to our favorite backyard grill! Now the grill is not just for meat but also a great way to cook or finish off some of our favorite veggies. One of my favs, the grilled artichoke!

Artichokes are low in fat and calories, yet high in vitamins and minerals. One medium sized artichoke contains 72 mg magnesium, 425 mg of potassium, 6 ½ g fiber, folate, carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin; yet only weigh in at around 60 calories. These spiky veggies are great for liver detoxification with their high source of silymarin, provide relief from ingestion, and the extract has even been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Often times these healthy and light treats are destroyed with heavy butter, mayo, and overcooking!

Try this:

  • 2 medium artichokes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • crushed black pepper
  1. In a large pot, fill with 3/4 filter water.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Boil cleaned artichokes for 15-20 minutes, until al dente (almost done but not quite).
  3. Remove from water. Strain.  Cut artichokes in half. 
  4. Remove spikes with a melon baller or small knife.
  5. Place artichoke halves in a gallon size zip loc with olive oil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, and crushed black pepper.  Seal. Move artichokes around to season evenly.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Place artichokes on the grill on medium high 5-10 minutes per side.
  7. Let cool and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fueling Before a Workout

You're ready to hit the gym...debating about that pre-gym snack...should I save on the calories and skip it?  Skimping on the calories before the gym means an even greater burn right?

Well think of it this way....would you attempt to drive you car on empty or almost empty??  Risk putting stress on the engine and embarrassingly breaking down in the middle of the road having to fork over the dough for a tow...not so much!

Well think of your body the same way.  Your body works so much more efficiently, just like a car, when it is properly fueled.  That pre-workout snack gives you the energy to really push thru that workout, making the most of your time, rather than just dragging through each exercise.

You want to aim for a 100-200 calorie snack that is easily digested.  Try to aim for foods lower in fiber and quick in gastric emptying a good 30 minutes prior to your sweat sess.  Search for easily digested foods so that your body has already digested them when it comes workout time; those workout tummy aches result when the body is still in the digestion process and you start pushing it to get active.

The best pre-workout snacks are higher on the carb side and about 25% protein.  Think a piece of whole wheat toast and almond or peanut butter, a small apple and half a string cheese, single serving Greek yogurt, apple and nut butter, half whole grain bagel and jam, cereal with reduced fat milk or almond milk, a banana, Kashi bar.... Find the best snack for you.  Everyone's body works differently.

 And no worries if you are serious about your workout you will burn thru this in the early stages of the workout. 

Remember to fuel that engine.  You only get one!  Take care of it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saucy Chicken Burrito

Chipotle burrito craze has hit us hard!  I mean truly who can turn down a tasty burrito.  Seems like everything tastes better wrapped in a blanket.  Yet those seemingly healthy concoctions are actually very high in sodium, fat and calories.  So when summer hits does that mean give up the burritos??  Well that would suck! 

The answer lies in the cooking!  Get the fry pan sizzling and try this recipe!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 diced habanero
  • 2 chopped chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tsp shiracha (depending on desired heat)
  • 1 thin chopped white onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 c chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of Trader Joes cuban beans
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • Carb Cutting Sonoma Tortillas (this is where often times most of our burrito calories can be found)
  1. In a large fry pan heat olive oil and garlic for 1-2 minutes on high.
  2. Reduce to medium high, add habanero and cilantro.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken breast and shiracha.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chopped onion heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add sliced bell pepper, tomatoes, and mushrooms for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Add the can of Trader Joes mix and spinach.  Cover and cook anther 5-7 minutes until spinach has wilted.
  7. Mix evenly and let rest on low.  Heat up tortillas individually on stove top.
  8. Stuff the burritos and enjoy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nutritionally Dense?

We've all had that time where we have sat in front of the TV with a bag of chips mindlessly munching until the thing was gone when we only meant to eat a few.  We are left feeling bloated and full but yet still hungry.  Still hungry having just ate almost 700 calories??  Why??

Our bodies needs various vitamins and minerals to operate efficiently.  Even if we consume well beyond our calorie requirement the body will signal hunger until it gets those vital nutrients.

Looking back at the bag of chips example; most of us have to consciously say "No More, Step away from the chips!"  Chips and most salty snacks provide the body with barely any nutrition; so the body still in search of that nutrition boost signals the brain to keep on munching.  Try the same thing with bananas.  A medium banana is around 110 calories.  Try eating 6 of those (similar to the calorie consumption of the chips).  Not happening right?  But why aren't all calories equal??  I can easily eat 700 calories of chips why not 660 calories of a banana.

The banana is nutritionally dense!  The body gets many vitamins and minerals from this quick snack.  The body is satisfied when it gets what it needs!

Watching your waist line?  Sick of starving yourself on diet after diet, yo-yoing back in forth??  Stick with a variety of tasty nutrient dense foods (more bang for your calorie count) and  you will satisfy mouth and tummy!  Look to those foods straight from the earth for the purest-dense foods.  Make your diet pretty with lots of color; color signifies a certain vitamin or mineral.  More colors = more vitamins and minerals.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Salsa Chicken Bites

This is a great appetizer on its own or can also be used to top salad, pizza or a healthy grain.

  • 3-4 chicken breast fillets, chopped
  • 1 – 16 oz jar of chunky salsa, such as Newman’s Own (opt for low sodium)
  • ¼ c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a medium fry pan heat olive oil on medium high.
  2. Toss chopped chicken in curry powder.
  3. Add seasoned chicken to heated olive oil.
  4. Add salsa and parsley, stir evenly. Reduce to medium. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sugar, Sugar….what’s it doing to our bodies?

Sugar consumption has increased over the last 20 years from 26 lbs per person per year to 135 lbs per person per year!!!! Could this be the answer to our ever increasing waistline???

Yes, sugar consumption upsets the body’s blood sugar balance and triggers the release of insulin. Insulin, a hormone, stores the sugar as fat! This also causes a drop in blood sugar levels (now that the sugar is stored) causing you to crave what???....more sugar! An evil cycle!

Blood sugar fluctuations are caused by eating simple, refined carbohydrates. There are four classes of simple sugars: sucrose, fructose, honey and malts! Yes honey is a natural sweetener but has the same blood sugar affect as the processed refined stuff.

READ THE INGREDIENTS! So you stay away from adding sugar to your coffees and teas, skip the sweet pastries, sodas, and packaged candies….are we safe?? Nope! Sugar comes in so much of our packaged items its amazing! Read the labels on your bread, cereals, snack bars, frozen dinners, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, marinades, concentrated juices, dried fruit….and much more!!

Try to stick with agave as a sweetener (low on the GI index), eating fresh juicy fruit when those sugar cravings hit, and consuming complex carbohydrates! Stick with a diet low in the glycemic index and your body will thank you….step off the sugar rollercoaster :)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Protein Power Bites

Looking for that cool tasty treat that's also beneficial for the body!?  Try these


  • 1/2 c all natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder...try my favorite from Usana (
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Mix peanut butter, flax seeds, and protein powder thoroughly in a bowl.
  2. Form into individual balls.  Roll in dried coconut flakes
  3. Place in freezer to solidify.  Enjoy frozen or remove from freezer to defrost for 30 minutes before enjoying.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sodium....the addiction

The more we eat of something the more our bodies become addicted to having the substance daily.  Sodium is highly used the the American diet through all of our packaged and preserved foods, frozen dinners, canned foods, cured and salted meats, our "pop", and as a flavor enhancer (often before we even take a bite). 

A high sodium diet not only leads to water weight retention but various health problems.  These problems include high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney problems.  

Now I'm not saying complete eliminate sodium from your diet it does have essential biological functions.  Salt is needed to maintain proper fluid balance, transmit nerve impulses, and help in muscle contraction and relaxation.  So what to do?  Limit your sodium levels to 2,300mg/day or less and 1,500mg/day or less if you are over 50.

  • Read food and drink labels and avoid those high in sodium.  Don't forget to check those jarred sauces, cheese, bread, yogurt, milk and dressings.
  • Look for labels that advertise low sodium.
  • Steer clear of the frozen dinners and packaged meals. 
  • Avoid the cured meats; bacon and cold cuts.
  • Avoid the high salt chips.
  • Stick with the low sodium soy sauce or none at all.  Often there is enough in the fish.
  • Remove the table salt.  Guarantee you get enough sodium from the packaged foods and going out to eat.  When you have control of your meals use flavorful seasonings instead of salt and keep the salt off the table. 
So what happens when you OD- on salt?
  1. Drink lots of water.
  2. Work up a sweat.
  3. Sauna.
  4. Chamomile Tea.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Juicy Chicken Sandwhich

This sandwich is a great take on those messy Carls Jr commercials…truly finger licking good!  Pull this one out for the next family lunch.  Quick, healthy, and delicious!

Serves: 2

  • 2 whole wheat skinny bagels
  • 2 large sliced cleaned chicken breasts
  • ½ c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ c chopped onion
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 2 slices of reduced fat cheese; your choice (pepper jack is awesome for those spicy fans)
  • 1 c chopped spinach
  • Jalapenos; to tasters preference
  • Balsamic vinegar
  1. In a large fry pan heat olive oil, onions and garlic on high for approximately 2 minutes; mixing frequently.
  2. Add mushrooms to fry pan, stir in thoroughly reduce to medium high for 3 minutes.
  3. Add sliced chicken, stirring occasionally to get a good golden color; about 5-10minutes.
  4. Toast bagels in a toaster.
  5. Once bagels are done put cheese on one side and balsamic on the other. Followed by the spinach, tomato slices and jalapeno on the balsamic side.
  6. Once the chicken is fully cooked, place the chicken, onion, mushrooms and garlic on the cheese side (for full melting).
  7. Close sandwich and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Think you need to spend hours at the gym to get that bikini body?

Tabata training is the most time efficient way to fat loss! All you need is 4 minutes and a good blast of energy. This type of training is perfect for metabolic confusion; hence “fat loss”. Tabata training utilizes the concept of negative rest periods; the body rests a shorter period than it works.

Research has shown Tabata training to improve aerobic capacity much greater than the standard continuous pace cardio workout in much less time. Furthermore, this tabata training also leads to an increase in anaerobic capacity; something not evident in steady state cardio.

Here’s how:
  1. Push hard for 20 seconds
  2. Rest for 10 seconds
  3. Repeat 8 times
It should be 4 minutes of torture! If it isn’t you are not pushing hard enough and are just wasting your time.

Some great exercises to use:
  • burpees
  • mountain climbers
  • jumps squats
  • push-ups….progressing to clap push-ups
  • jacks
  • butt kicks (runs in place)
  • high knee runs

Tabata Protocol can also be followed on the elyptical or bike. Start with a 3-5 minute warm up. Find a fairly challenging resistance. Push for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times.

So no more boring hours spent on that treadmill, elyptical, or bike. Be creative and challenge yourself with Tabata Training for some real results!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Hefty Healthy Carrot Cake!

Yes I said healthy and carrot cake in the same title!  Amazing I know!  With Mother's Day festivities right around the corner why not make something tasty and nutritious for the family to nosh on??

This cake is full of vitamins, minerals, and lots of fiber. And it is hefty weighing in at a good eight pounds. One slice will keep you satiated. This cake is free from added flours, preservatives, and refined sugar!

Servings: 12-14


  • 2 c soaked raw almonds (soak nuts for at least a few hours; best for a day)
  • 2 c chopped dates (either buy them moist and plump or soak the drier ones)
  • 2c fresh carrot pulp (from juicing the fresh carrots)
  • 1 ½ c fresh carrot juice
  • 2 c coconut flakes
  • 2 c soaked dates; chopped
  • 2 c chopped walnuts
  • ¾ c chopped figs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp – 2 tsp ginger; to taste
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • ½ c fresh orange juice
  • 2 c soaked chopped cashews
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Orange zest
  1. Be sure to soak nuts and dates a few hours or a day before beginning.
  2. In a food processor combine the crust ingredients; roughly chopped. Mix. Place into a pie pan.
  3. In the food processor combine coconut flakes, soaked dates, ginger and half the carrot juice. Mix.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine food processor contents, carrot pulp, chopped walnuts, chopped figs, cinnamon, cardamom, and all spice; mix and slowly add the rest of the carrot juice.
  5. Place the filling in the crust.
  6. In food processor combine orange juice, chopped cashews, and maple syrup; mix. Use to top the filling of the pie. Follow with sprinkles of orange zest.
  7. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Green Tea Revealed

What’s so good about this stuff?

By word of mouth I’ve always heard that green tea was some sort of miracle substance; but never really sure why. I conducted some research and here’s what I found:

  • Cancer Fighting and Immune System Support:
Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins; a strong antioxidants. Catechins inhibit the growth and reproduction of certain cancerous cells. Studies have shown green tea to help prevent: bladder, colon, esophagus, pancreas, rectum and stomach cancers. These polyphenols also help protect our cells from daily oxidative stress; increasing the strength of our immune system.

  • Lowers the Risk of Strokes and Blood Clots:
Green tea helps to decrease the development of fibrinogen in the body. Overproduction of fibrinogen in the arties leads to strokes and blood clots; blood clots disrupt efficient blood circulation in the body; leading to tingling numbness or loss of strength.

  • Stimulates the Metabolism:
Green tea helps the body detoxify the liver; increasing the body’s efficiency in protein synthesis. Green tea also helps to stabilize the body’s blood sugar levels; resulting in a more stabilized metabolism. The more stabilized the metabolism, the more efficient and quickly it works!

  • Feel Good:
Green tea contains theanine. Theanine triggers the release of dopamine in the body. Dopamine is the body’s feel good hormone! Yes, tea is caffeine but it will not leave you with the post coffee jitters; instead a calm feel good energy.

Who knew one little tea leaf could contain so much?! I don’t know about you but I am definitely adding it to my daily diet.

**Resource: “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” – Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sick of salads for lunch???

Salads are consistently pushed as a diet food...but sometimes that can get so boring and all we want is some crunch...some texture!  Try this quick and yummy pita pizza salad!

Looking for a quick and healthy lunch at home? Try this tasty low cal pita salad pizza!

  • 2 tbsp fresh hummus
  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • ¼ c chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • ¼ c sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ sliced cucumbers
  • ½ c sliced carrots
  • 1 c chopped spinach
  • 1 tbsp feta cheese
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. In a toaster oven or regular oven, toast pita bread on 450degrees for about 5 minutes; or until pita is crispy.
  2. Top warmed pita with hummus, followed by chopped veggies, feta cheese, dash of pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crunches the Right Way!

Spring is here which means many of us are prepping for that beach body! When it comes to crunches its important to remember quality over quantity…quality being proper form. If you experience any neck or back pain during your core workouts you are most likely doing them incorrectly.

Proper crunch form (for standard crunches, reverse crunches, twisting crunches, rotational crunches, half Vs or V-ups):
  1. Chin off the chest: visualize holding a tennis ball under your chin, focus should be directed at the ceiling
  2. Chest open: if hands are behind the head be sure to keep elbows directly out, don’t let them cave in
  3. Spine neutral: pull belly button in to spine, spine should be straight and neutral, not arched or rounded
  4. Stay flexed: don’t let the shoulders rest on the ground in between reps or on the back round over the ball

If you are looking for that flat tummy or 6 pack abs remember they start in the kitchen! Eating an unhealthy diet or too heavy cannot be corrected by doing extra crunches. Keep your diet low in salt, fat, refined carbs and preservatives!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Ever So Scrumptious Vegan Coconut Cranberry Cookies!

So most of us are on the go in the morning and often times grab that quick granola bar or nothing at all.  These are one of my favorite grab and go snacks or breakfasts.  They are so yummy they will leave you craving more but also very nutritious!

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c whole oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4-1/2 c all natural granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 2 tsp cinammon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 c no sugar added applesauce
  • 2 tbsp of safflower oil
  • 1/4-1/2 c of shredded or toasted coconut
  • 1/4-1/2 c cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, evenly mix whole wheat flour, whole oats, baking powder, baking soda, natural granulated sugar, ground flaxseeds, cinammon, and all spice.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add applesauce and safflower oil in well.  Mix evenly.
  4. Add coconut and cranberries.
  5. Place wax paper on cookie sheet (if you don't have wax paper coat sheets with safflower oil).  Make 1/2" diameter balls with the cookie dough; cookie dough will be sticky, if you have a small cookie scoop use that!
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until cookies are golden brown and are cooked thru the middle.  Makes 12-16 cookies, depending on size of cookie.
  7. To keep the cookies most, once cooled enclose in a plastic bag.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Calorie Counting Confusion

Calories, calories, calories…how many should we eat? Which calculator should be utilized??

There are so many different calorie tracker devices on our smart phones and various websites to make our life of calorie tracking a little easier. Often times these calculators can also calculate the calories we burn in a specific exercise and don’t forget the helpful calorie counter on that treadmill or elyptical. So it should be as easy as calories consumed minus calories used to get our weight down; correct?

Sadly the answer is no. Life just is not that simple. :( . First of all not all calories are created equal. Food that has been ultra processed or is full of a variety of chemicals and preservatives do not break down as quickly as the wholesome natural food (our body is not a synthesized machine and enjoys breaking down resources that are familiar; remember the old chemistry term “like dissolves like”). So in theory we can consume a lot more calories of the all natural stuff then the convenient packaged foods.

Exercise calculators available online and on cardio equipment, are these viable sources of information? No, not really. These calculators forget to take into consideration the details of the person using them; such as rate of metabolism, highly controlled by amount of muscle mass and efficiency of the thyroid gland.

Yes, it would be nice if life was such a simple calculator but as we all know it gets a lot more complicated.

So when weight loss or maintenance is the goal; what should we do? Follow these steps:
  1. Keep a food journal: monitor what you are eating, when you are eating it, how much water you are drinking, and how you feel at the end of the day. Every individual metabolizes food differently; it is best to find what works personally works for you. Keeping a detailed journal will give you the answers to what works best for you.
  2. Eat as wholesome as possible: read nutrition labels; if you don’t know what the ingredients are don’t eat it. Stock your pantry and fridge with fruits, vegetables, and lots of whole grains.
  3. Eat balanced meals: protein, carbohydrates, and fats with each meal.
  4. Add raw fruits and vegetables to your diet: these contain natural enzymes; which help your body in the digestion process.
  5. Plenty of water: helps in the digestion and to keep you feeling full (sometimes that hungry feeling doesn’t actually mean you need food, you are actually thirsty)
  6. Exercise at least 4-5 days a week: 20-30 minutes of cardio and 20-30 minutes of strength training. The more muscle on your body; the faster the metabolism. Make your workouts challenging or ask a personal trainer to get you on an individualized program. Implement cross training and muscle confusion.
  7. Get plenty of rest: when we are sleeping is when the body begins to repair and restore, as well as absorb nutrients from the food we ingested during the day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

High Fiber Protein Salad!

Spring time is around the corner; a great time to get the family out for a picnic or a nice BBQ!

I love this salad because it can be used as a healthy BBQ side dish or a yummy wholesome lunch! So flavorful and so incredibly healthy! I recommend making it a day ahead of time so the flavors can really meld together.


  • 1 can marinated Trader Joe’s Bean Salad
  • 1 can whole sweet corn, no salt added
  • ½ (12 oz jar) marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 6-7 chopped green onions
  • 1 c chopped spinach
  • 1 c chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix bean salad, corn, artichokes, onions, spinach, and tomatoes. Stir evenly.
  2. Add all seasonings to mixture. Mix evenly. Refrigerate for three hours. Serve.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vibrams, Five Fingers, and Barefoot Running…

I am sure at least a handful of you have seen people out running or in the gym with these peculiar looking alien shoes! Why? Are these a statement of fashion? Are Vibrams a new way for a shoe company to make some extra $$? Or do they truly have a purpose?

I first came across the idea of barefoot running in a book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This book details the effects supportive shoes have had on natural human biomechanics. Think about it….we once functioned without shoes and without many strange leg and hip injuries. This book follows a tribe in Mexico that wears simple flat leather sandals and can efficiently run mile after mile injury free. The author of this book details his own barefoot running transformation and the positive effects it has on his running. Def a great book to pick up!

Our foot is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of tendons, ligaments, and sensory receptors. These muscles, tendons, and ligaments need just as much conditioning as all the muscles we focus on at the gym. Our feet are so small in size compared to the rest of the body, and are responsible for so much!

How do we condition our feet? This is a simple exercise: sitting upright on the floor legs straight in front of you point and flex your feet, as shown below. Repeat this 15 times each foot 3 complete sets. Make sure to roll thru the entire foot.

To further your foot strength, running barefoot (such as on the beach or grass) are great! To really protect those feet from stepping on any dangerous sharp objects I suggest Vibrams! I have a pair and love them. And I do feel the difference not only in my legs and feet, but also in my posture.

Walking/running barefoot helps to strengthen the feet and lower legs. Going barefoot increases the range of motion in the ankles, feet and toes (because they feet are no longer constricted by a shoe). Furthermore, barefoot techniques allow the foot to move naturally and feel the surface below improving balance and agility. Finally, leaving the shoes at home and throwing on some Vibrams lowers your heel to the same level as the rest of your foot evenly distributing your weight, helping spine alignment and posture.

Barefoot training is a great addition to your training regime. Now with everything slow is the way to go! Our feet have become dependent on the structural support of our oh-so comfy shoes. Go slow starting with half a mile and progress as your feet allow. Jumping right into this type of training leads to muscle and tendon strains and tears; trust me on this one, I’ve done it, not fun.

If you like the idea of barefoot training grab some Vibrams either online or at your nearest sporting goods store. I recommend hitting up the store so you can really get the feel and get the proper fitting. Warning if you haven’t worn toe socks (most guys) they do feel strange.

Even if running isn’t for you, still remember to take care of and strengthen your feet! Go with the exercise given above.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry!

The Thai food craze has swept California.  And it seems to be pretty healthy right?  Veggies, chicken, flavorful herbs and rice...perfect combination of healthy ingredients!  Well as with most authentic food, the commercialized versions are doused with salt and heavy oils.  I know, I know....but it's soooo good!  Not to worry this can be fixed by creating it at home.  Here is one of my new fav flavor rush recipes :). Enjoy.

  • 1 lb chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice 
  1. Season chopped chicken with black pepper, cumin, and basil.  Begin to boil the water for the brown rice.
  2. Heat olive oil, garlic, curry, and onion in a large skillet on medium high for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add seasoned chicken to skillet.  Reduce to medium high.  Cook for 7-10 minutes.  Begin rice.
  4. Add bell pepper, cauliflower, 1/4 chopped parsley and chili powder to skillet. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Pour in light coconut milk, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes.  Stir thoroughly.  Cover cook on medium for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Plate with rice, followed by coconut chicken curry, and finally fresh chopped parsley.
With a little creativity and fresh ingredients, our favorite dishes can still be enjoyed guilt free!  With probably more flavor :).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brown Rice vs. White Rice....who wins this match?

Brown Rice.....White there really a difference??? Is brown rice worth the twice as long cooking time?

When rice is harvested the seeds are run through a rice huller/husker to remove the hard inedible outer shell. The end product is brown rice. White rice takes a few extra steps. The germ and bran (inner husk) are removed and the grain is polished with glucose or talc; creating the white shinny end product.

The extra processing involved in white rice production removes many of the all natural nutrients. White rice is lower in Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Niacin, Folacin, Potassium, Iron and many others. Often times these vitamins are added back to white rice with the use of synthetic chemicals; bad for the environment and the consumer.

Furthermore, white rice has 25% of the fiber that brown rice contains. Fiber from natural sources is essential for digestive health; why eat something that is robbed of its full fiber potential?

Additionally, with all the extra processing and chemical additives involved with white rice we see a negative impact on the environment. More processing = more energy...usually from some pollution producing plant. More chemicals = more environmentally harmful bi-products released into the atmosphere, sewers, and even ground water.

Lastly, brown rice has a much lower glycemic index (GI) than white (brown rice= 50 (low GI) and white rice= 69 (medium to high GI)). Eating foods high in the glycemic index causes a raise in the body's insulin response, which leads to sugar spikes and food cravings. Consuming a high GI diet also increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

So is brown rice worth the extra cooking time....most definitely! Plus many stores make it easier for us by selling already prepared brown rice, usually available in the freezer section and takes about 3 minutes in the microwave! No more excuses :).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pizza....Dieters Nightmare??

I can't think of one person I personally know that does not drool at the word PIZZA.  Not sure what it is but this stuff is incredible.  Yet for a lot of us trying to keep those waist lines small; this food can be our enemy.  Most pizzas can be loaded with saturated fat and very high in calories, especially that it is hard to eat just one slice.

Yes pizza is usually the American go to fast food for delivery or straight from the freezer.  But why not make a pizza?  I guarantee it tastes much better than those quick versions!  Plus this can actually be a really fun activity for families and couples.

The key to making a healthy pizza:
  • keep the meat chicken breast or turkey (sausage or pepperoni)
  • keep the cheese low fat and light; loading cheese on your pizza will stick to you...promise
  • use fresh veggies; either put these on raw or grill or saute before
  • keep the sauce to a healthy olive oil based pesto or a traditional marinara (stay away from the dairy based sauces)
  • try to use whole wheat dough; available at Trader Joe's for around $2
  • make it creative! the more flavors the better your pizza will be
Buy a pizza stone! This will change your life, promise!  Plus you can use it for so many other things you cook.  Here's the one I have (make sure you get the stone and the paddle!):

Here's my most recent creation (Vegie Whole Wheat Pizza):

  • Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 jar of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 c- 1 c Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 c spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 c olives, chopped
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 c crumbled herbed goat cheese
  • 1/4 c onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of corn meal
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  1. Preheat the oven (pizza stone inside) to 420 degrees.
  2. Chop all ingredients, ready to top pizza.
  3. Once oven is pre-heated, toss pizza dough in flour, either roll our dough or hand toss; attempting to get it into a rounded shape.
  4. Coat pizza paddle with corn meal, place rolled out dough on paddle.
  5. Roll up dough around edges to create the Crust.  Stuff rolled crust with sauce, if desired.
  6. Spread pizza dough with marinara sauce, all the way to crust.
  7. Top with chopped veggies and crumbled herbed goat cheese.
  8. Place in the oven for 20 -25 minutes or until crispy crust and cheese mostly melted.
  9. Serve with warmed marinara sauce.