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 :).