Friday, February 26, 2010

Keeping your Salad Healthy

So we all seem to think if we order a salad we are being healthy, and while all those vegetables are great for you, what kills it is the dressing! From ceaser to ranch to blue cheese, we drench our vegetables in calories!

Here are a few suggestions to help avoid too many extra calories. One strategy is to order dressing on the side, always do this so that you can monitor how much dressing is being used. Then you can either dip each bite lightly into the dressing or just dip your fork into the dressing before each bite.

The other great way to limit the amount of dressing is to either buy the dressings that are already made up in a mister, or buy your own (Misto) and mix your own dressing! Just balsamic and olive oil make a simple delicious dressing. But play around with different vinegars! Red wine vinegar is another great one, there really are a lot out there and each offer its own unique taste. Staying away from creamy dressings as much as possible is a good idea!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Join a Class!

Yesterday I was up in LA at my sisters, I introduced you to her in one of my first posts, she's the amazing personal trainer! She works at a gym up there, and among other things she teaches a pretty awesome class Wednesday morning. It focuses on the lower body.

Mind you I do PLENTY of lower body stuff on my own, I do lots of lunges both walking and standing, I do squats for minutes at a time, weighted even, and I do all sorts of abs, even going non-stop for 7 minutes when I'm doing my circuit. That all said, this class kicked my butt! There is something to say about class workouts, they always seem to be able to push you harder then you can ever push yourself!

She took it to the point that normally I would probably stop, then kept going to the point where I was ok I'm really being pushed, then kept going till I just really was DONE, and man we don't even realize how much more we have in ourselves sometimes. It was never too much, just so much more than I can get ME to do on my own. And my competitive nature doesn't let me quit in front of groups of people, so they ALL help me push.

This all said I suggest looking around in whatever community that you are a part of and finding some classes that speak to you. Be that jazzersize, kick boxing, karate, dance, pole dancing (this really is a workout class offered some places), some sort of boot camp, whatever YOU like and start letting someone push you to the point you should be at, and have FUN doing it!

Last little note, if you are in the SD area, my sister and I talked about her coming down Saturdays this summer to do a Boot Camp for us, she really is a GREAT inspirational teacher, so let me know if you have any interest! I'll bring it up again a few times closer to the time!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Assess a "Fad" Diet...

Here are some key things to look for in order to avoid bad unhealthy diets....

1. If they draw simple conclusions from complex medical research. Without seeing the entire study or understanding how to read the research, it's impossible to understand the conclusions. It's easy for people to take indivdual components of a study to make it applicable to what they want to promote.

2. If they promise weight loss without exercise. It is possible to lose weight without exercise, but there will be a large loss of muscle, and the research has shown that it is very difficult to maintain the weight loss without exercise.

3. Claim to produce quick weight loss. 1 to 2 pounds a week is what is healthy and recommended.

4. Require the purchase of pills, potions, or other dietary supplements.

5. Eliminate an entire macronutrient (macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water) or drastically limit any food group. (like low carb diets) A balanced diet is the best and safest way to successfully lose weight and ultimately keep it off.

6. Offer testimonials from "health professionals"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Omega-3, Gotta Have It

Salmon is rich in protein, B vitamins, potassium, but most importantly it has an ample supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Why is that important you ask?

Well once upon a time our diets were much more rich in this fatty acid, because we were able to get it from most animals, because most animals were all free-range, but in today's society their diets are rich in omega-6 fatty acid and so they become a source of omega-6 more than omega-3.

Omega-3 fatty acids do a lot for our health, for one thing they help build efficient cell membranes, and a cell membrane that is deficient in omega-3's will function poorly and be at risk for things like strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmia's, some forms of cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, hypertension, hyperactivity disorder, and depression. The long and the short of it is that its important and we aren't getting it as much as we once did. And salmon is still a great source! (I also take supplements of fish oil pills which contain it)

So here's a recipe for you to try.... simply called Salmon in Asian Broth...

What you need... 3 tbl and 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce, 3 tbl dry sherry, 3 tbl water, 1 tbl finely julienned fresh ginger, 2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp Asian sesame oil, 1 bag of baby spinach, 2 salmon fillets, 1 scallion, 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted.

What you do... In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, sherry, water, ginger, and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and keep warm over very low heat. Lightly coat a steamer basket with nonstick cooking spray. Set the basket in a large stockpot with water filled to just below the basket. Add Salmon. Place over medium-high heat, cover, and cook for 6-8 min, or until cooked through. While salmon is cooking, in a skillet over medium-high heat, add sesame oil. Saute the spinach until bright green and wilted. Divide spinach in two large soup bowls. If necessary, remove skin. Place fish on top of spinach. Pour soy broth over fish and sprinkle with scallions, sesame seeds, and additional ginger if desired.

295 calories per serving

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Need to Clean the Plate

Ok so portion size in America is out of hand, right? Think about the heaping plates of food we get when we go out for food. A great example of this is the Hash House in San Diego, don't get me wrong its tasty, but there plates are made for Giant's to eat off, and I don't know about you but I haven't seen any giant's roaming the streets lately.
So since restaurants aren't going to do it for us, we need to learn to LEAVE FOOD ON THE PLATE. There is no rule that just because it's in front of us that we must eat it. Eat half of your meal and then save the rest for a snack in a few hours, since we should be eating every three hours anyways. And then hopefully we can start learning what a normal portion size should look like and start preparing our own meals correctly instead of fashioning them after the bad example set by restaurants.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spinach Dip, Can I Really Eat That?

Ok so I don't know about you, but I LOVE spinach dip! I love ordering it as an appetizer at restaurants and making it for parties. But it's such a guilty pleasure! Not anymore my friends! Here's a recipe for spinach dip that cuts a lot of calories!

4 oz. Lifetime Fat Free Monterey Jack Cheese (or another fat-free white hard cheese, like Muenster or Mozzarella)
4 tbsp. fat-free sour cream
10 tsp. Kraft Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. shallots, chopped finely
6 tbsp. fat-free mayo
1 oz. light soy milk
1 – 10 oz. pkg. chopped spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz. water chestnuts, chopped

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt your Monterey Jack over a low flame. In a separate pan, saute garlic and shallots with some nonstick cooking spray. Add soy milk to melted cheese, stirring continuously. Next, add mayo, sour cream and Parmesan into your cheese mixture, still stirring over low heat. Add your sauteed garlic and shallots, as well as water chestnuts. Add your well-drained, chopped spinach and mix thoroughly. Spoon your dip into a medium-sized casserole dish and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Voila! Your spinach-y masterpiece is complete. You may add salt and/or pepper if desired. Serves 6-8.

Serving is about 3 heaping tablespoons: 72 Calories, 1 gram of fat, 310mg sodium, 9g carb, 1g
fiber, 4g sugar, 7g protein.

I got this recipe from Hungry Girl, they have some great stuff if you want to check it out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jillian Micheals....Hero or Villain?

Ok one of my favorite people is Jillian Michaels. Yep the "mean" trainer from Biggest Loser. But really she's not mean at all, she cares deeply about people getting healthy! She just knows how much it REALLY matters!

Watching the biggest loser is a great idea, they have soooo many GREAT tips. What they are doing is REAL. And if these people, weighing over 300 lbs can get in the gym and work there asses off, and eat right, why can't WE? It's a great motivator for me, that's for sure.

But more than that, I have a lot of Jillian's books. I have "Making the Cut", which is her 30 day diet and fitness plan to help us drop those last 10-20 lbs. Even if you don't do her diet the way she lays it out, she has a lot of Great info and some great, TUFF workouts to try! I also have her latest, "Mastering your Metabolism" which I really really like. It has really great truths in it, and is really worth reading. And Jillian really allows you to get to know her, and she doesn't hold back, she is an in your face tell it how it is person, and really I respect he hell out of her!I also have almost every Biggest Loser book, including there calorie counter....Some really really good stuff. I'm just saying check this stuff out, it's worth it! I would love to be able to care enough about the people I work with to be hated sometimes....cause sometimes we have to say/hear uncomfortable things in order to ultimately save our lives.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nice Butt!

Ok we all want the great ASS! As my sister says that know that curvy perky ass....well here are a few things to get it there...

Number One... LUNGES!!! You can do them standing or walking, but trust me doing 5 mins of walking lunges, and you ARE gonna feel it!

Squats are also great, add some weight once you get the form down, remember don't let your knees pass your toes or you will hurt your knee! Using an exercise ball against a wall is a great way to perfect your form!

Also standing facing a wall with your hands against the wall and simply raising your leg, one at a time backwards, slowly focusing on using your muscles and not momentum to raise the leg.

Lastly if you get down on all fours and raise one leg, bent at the knee and raise the foot toward the ceiling, do about thirty seconds straight each leg and you WILL feel it!!!!

Now go get the Wa BAM!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shout out to the busy worker...

I know a lot of people who are busy at the office all day, and find it tough to fit in a healthy lifestyle, so here are a few small things that can help =)

Wear a watch and set it for every two hours, and take a ten minute WALKING break. (This is also a good time to have a snack, as you really should try to be eating every two and a half, three hours)

Really focus on using your leg muscles to sit and stand, don't just plop down.

Stand and pace during phone calls

Stand up every time you send an email

Take the stairs

Use hand gestures

Tighten your core muscles while sitting down. (Using an exercise ball as your seat will force you to do this, but it is possible if you just focus on it on a regular chair)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Laughter is Key

So here's a quick one. Laugh Out Loud! Yea that's it. It's good for your heart, studies have shown that laughter may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

No seriously though, try just searching a few funny utube episodes a day, ones that really make you laugh. It can help improve your mood, and your heart =) So go ahead, laugh out loud!!

Here's a dumb joke, most likely won't make you actually laugh out loud, but my Dad used to tell me it when I was a kid....

What's round on both ends and high in the middle?

O-hi-O =)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Alright Cinnamon!!! I know the holidays are over, but this spice is too good for you to only bring out once a year!!

This spice is a great glucose moderator, which really helps people with type II diabetes!!! So if you have that, start making a special effort to increase your cinnamon consumption.

Other great benefits are that it is recognized as an antibacterial, it is effective at fighting the E. Coli bacteria, and even just smelling it has shown to be some what of a "brain boost"!!!!

So as you know I work at a coffee cart, and after reading up on a few things I created what I call my super drink, just cause it's made up of a whole bunch of "super" ingredients. Here's what it is, it's green tea AND peppermint tea (which helps calm the belly) with 2/3 hot water and 1/3 soy milk, soy has been proven to be very beneficial to the body and should be incorporated into everyones diet, and of course to top it off CINNAMON!!! It's my new go to drink, and I love it!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Circuit Up

So for losing weight an important thing that a lot of woman don't realize is that you must have a combination of cardio AND strength training. A lot of us just want to lose weight so we think cardio is the way to go. But the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you're burning just sitting there. So start incorporating some strength training into your workout!

I'm not saying you need to sit down and try to bench press 15o pounds like our male friends try to do. I'm suggesting working in a circuit. Here's the one I like to's a timed circuit, so do the exercises non stop for the allotted time, no need to count reps.

Push Ups- 1 min
Squats- 1 min
Shoulder Press- 1 min
Squats- 1 min
Bicep curls- 1 min

Walking Lunges- 5 mins

Chair Dips- 1 min
Rows- 1 min
Standing Lunges- 1 min

Sit Ups- 7 mins

Once you go through it once or twice...start doing it through two times. Also my sister and I started playing with the exercises, making sure to still work out the designated areas. For instance instead of shoulder press, we do cleans. And instead of the standing lunges (cause come on you just did 5 mins of them!) we do dead lifts. You can play with the sit-ups and do a few different types in the 7 mins, as long as you keep going without stopping.

This circuit is really effective, but by no means the only option....pick a few exercises that work different parts of your body and either pick a rep amount or a time, and try to do at least two sets, three if you can. Maybe one day focus on lower body, calves, quads, hamstring, ass, and abs. Then another day do upper, back, chest, arms and abs again.

Just make sure to do strength training And cardio!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away.

Apples have great health benefits, as I'm sure you've heard, being great weapons against cancer, heart disease, asthma and type II diabetes.

Apples are also filled with super-antioxidants, the amount in one apple is equivalent to about 1500 mg of vitamin C, even though the actual amount of vitamin C in one apple is only about 5.7 mg.

*Apples with the peel on have a far greater antioxidant capacity.

So here's a sweet treat to try using apples....

Wash and core an apple, then brush with a little honey, a sprinkle of walnuts, and a dusting of cinnamon. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. It's a yummy little treat =)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I need my Coffee!!

So I'm sure we've all heard it, too much caffeine is bad. And it is. But most of us aren't about to give up our morning coffee. I'm sure not!

On the up side, caffeine stimulates the brain, aids concentration, and fights fatigue. And it even helps some people with asthma, which I have so I appreciate that fact!!

The other side, caffeine can affect bone strength, as it increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. But if you add milk to your coffee it helps counteract the loss of calcium!! So go ahead and add a little nonfat milk to your coffee.

There are a few more negative affects of too much caffeine....esp since it is addictive. So just try and keep your coffee consumption to a minimum (and other caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, and chocolate)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quick Chicken

So one of my favorite meals is actually really quick!

It's just grilled chicken, brown rice, and some mixed frozen veggies.

My trick is the grilled chicken, actually my brother is the one who taught me it. Just take a chicken breast and pound it out flat, or butterfly cut it, just so its evenly thin. Then rub it with olive oil on each side and sprinkle with pepper and garlic salt. Heat up your pan and when its hot put the chicken in and cook it five minutes on each side.

I cut up the chicken and put the brown rice, veggies, and chicken all together. I also add chili sauce, sriracha, cause I like the kick. =) But it's quick and it's only about 330 calories!

But trust me on the chicken, it really makes delicious moist chicken!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Check your Multivitamin!

Alright first things first if you aren't taking a multivitamin START NOW!

Here's a breakdown of what you want in your multivitamin

Biotin: 30 mcg
Folic Acid: 400 mcg
Niacin: 20mg
Pantothenic Acid: 5mg
Riboflavin: 1.7mg
Thiamine: 1.5mg
Vitamin A: 2500 IU
Vitamin B6: 2mg
Copper: 900mcg
Iron: 18mg
Magnesium: 320mg (woman) 420mg (men)
Vitamin B12: 30mcg
Vitamin C: 400mg
Vitamin D: 2000IU
Vitamin E: 200IU
Vitamin K: 10-20mcg
Zinc: 15mg
Selenium: 70mcg
Chromium: 60-120mcg
Potassium: 4.7g
Calcium: 1000-1200mg
EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids: 1g

So take a look at your multivitamin and see how it shapes up. Like I have said before, I take One a Days for woman, it holds up pretty well against these numbers. But I add a calcium supplement and take fish oil for the Omega-3 fatty acids.