It’s Time for Celebration! Recipes and Fun Facts About The Holidays

It’s Time for Celebration! Recipes and Fun Facts About The Holidays

Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Years…family in town, travelling, parties, and more! We’ve got you covered this holiday season.

Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is the Jewish festival of lights and commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Army. The celebration which begins today and lasts 8 days is in honor of the one-day supply of oil that miraculously lasted 8 days to light the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Also in commemoration of the oil is eating many foods cooked in oil, but! You can still celebrate with a healthy twist to the traditional latkes (laat-kuhz) with

Cauliflower Latkes: Pulse 2 cups of cauliflower in a food processor to turn it into “rice” (or just buy riced cauliflower). Microwave the “rice” for 2 minutes and squeeze out the extra moisture. Saute onion in a skillet until golden brown. Form patties of the “rice”, onions, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings and pan fry in light oil. Serve with Greek yogurt and applesauce.

Get the complete recipe here!

Christmas!

Frankly, we have given you lots of Christmas recipes, tips and tricks about surviving the holiday, and more. But if you missed your Christmas Day workout, we’ve got you covered with a classic Ellipse at-home workout right here!

Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa starts today and goes through January 1. Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of culture, started in 1966 during the civil rights movement. Each day focuses on a different theme: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The holiday is celebrated with food, candle-lighting, symbols placed around the home, singing, dancing and a traditional meal.

Fun fact: Kwanzaa has two a’s. One is kwanza – a monetary unit.

New Years!

New Year’s Eve and Day are just around the corner. New Year’s is often about the party and celebration of the new year coming in. What does 2020 mean for you? What is your goal for 2020? Muddle through the year just like 2019? Or is there something bigger?

Not sure? How about some of these?

• Commit to learn something new every day/week.
• Have an extra serving of vegetables each day.
• Commit to x number of days at the gym.
• Volunteer at least once a month.

Find a goal that resonates with you but is also achievable with where your life is at. Make 2020 a year to remember!

No matter your reason for celebrating, we hope you are sharing with the ones you love! Have family staying with you this holiday week or just looking to get back to some “normal” eating?

Try this SLOW ROASTED Parfait!

Combine black and red grapes with Stevia, or sweetener of choice and spread on a baking sheet to bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Remove and cool. Then layer grapes on top of some plain Greek yogurt and top with some walnuts and honey. Serving guests? Make it fancy by adding as layers in a glass serving cup. Full recipe is on today’s blog and searchable with the words “breakfast parfait” – or follow this link!

6 Marvelous “Dishes to Pass” this Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a great time with family and traditions, but for many it brings some fear of falling off the fitness and nutrition wagon. Play it safe by bringing a healthy dish to pass that you know is okay to dig into!

Healthier Strawberry Cheesecake

Need to bring a dessert? Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy presentation.healthier strawberry cheesecake! Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy!

Spinach Dip

Going with Greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese over mayonnaise or sour cream adds even more protein punch PLUS nutrients from the spinach! Here’s the rundown: Toss cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, pressed/drained cooked spinach, water chestnuts, plain Greek yogurt, a package of dry veg soup mix, onions, and lemon. Chill for a few hours and serve with vegetables!

The full recipe can be found on the blog by searching Spinach Dip – or follow this link!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Add some nutrients to your dessert! Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit? And a nutrient packed one at that! Add some vitamin A and potassium to your next dessert to pass. Whisk 2 cups pumpkin puree, 2 cup milk (almond milk, etc), 1.5 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, and 1/4 t ginger. Add 1 package (5.1oz) sugar free vanilla pudding. Chill. Top with crumbled graham cracker crumbs and a few sprays of whipped cream to make it beautiful!

Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip

A twist on that classic 7-layer dip adds a healthy flare with plain Greek yogurt, hummus, veggies, and healthy fats!

First, create your yogurt mixture: yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, in an 8×8 dish, layer hummus, yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives. Serve with whole grain pita chips, celery, or cut fresh veggies.

Get this classic Ellipse recipe here!

Healthier Brushetta

Try a healthier twist on bruschetta! Start by using toasted Ezekial Bread, cut in half, as your base.

Combine 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 T fresh chopped basil (or use fresh you may have frozen in cubes from the summer!), 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (tons of great ones at local olive oil shops!), and 1 clove minced garlic. Top your toast with the mixture and top with some mozzarella.

TIPS: Have extra time? Let your tomato mixture marinate in the fridge for a couple hours. Need more protein? Add cooked, cubed chicken, to your tomato mixture.

3-Layer Mexican Dip

Layer 1: Mashed black beans with seasoning and Greek yogurt
Layer 2: Avocado mixed with yogurt and seasoning
Layer 3: Round it out with salsa!

Protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs ready to serve with vegetables or chips. Find the full recipe on the blog by searching 3-Layer Mexican Dip – or follow this link!

Menopause: What Are You In For?

Menopause is one of the most common things members ask us about, so we decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to it! As a member once put it…”let’s talk about the miracle of menopause!” (she may have said it with a little sarcasm)

So, whether you’re already there, or just want to know what to expect – let’s look forward!

What Comes First?

Perimenopause is when menopause symptoms begin appearing but is not formally menopause (defined as not having a period for 12 months in a row) and generally happens in the 40s. Menopause can happen really any time between the 40s and 60s and begins at different times for different people.

What Can I Expect?

Menopause has a laundry list of potential symptoms: bladder control/infections, body composition changes, brain fog, change in breast health, changes in digestion, vertigo…and more.

Symptoms like these and hot flashes can lead to poor sleep, which compounds all sorts of issues. If you are not sleeping well, take your exercise intensity down until you are sleeping well so you can recover properly from your workouts. During menopause and in the ageing process, with a lack of sleep, the body likely doesn’t have enough growth hormone or testosterone available to grow muscle. The problem that happens is that until this age, many women find they know how much exercise and intensity their body needs without realizing their needs are changing as they age. Be open to trying new regimens!

Why Is Exercise Important?

As part of aging and post menopause, women are also more at risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis. Exercise, including strength training and high/low impact weight bearing exercises, can help ward off bone loss that happens and reduce the risk for fractures and breaks during a fall.

Aim for 30-minutes per day, 5 days per week, of moderate cardio, strength training, plus deep breathing/yoga exercises to reduce stress and other menopausal symptoms. Too much high intensity work could lead to an increase in cortisol and insulin disruption due to the hormonal changes during menopause. Consider taking a day off here and there (just adjust your calorie intake accordingly).

Flashback to about a month ago when we talked about the different types of strength training. Middle-aged women need a balance of hypertrophy, strength, and power training to offset the muscle loss and fat gain. Women generally gain around 1.5 pounds per year in their 50s and 60s from the disruption of leptin and ghrelin, our hunger hormones, thanks to a reduction in estrogen during menopause. You may need to cut around 200 calories per day to ward off fat gain because of the natural metabolic decline.

What About Diet?

A 2018 study indicated that menopausal women who ate more fruits and vegetables had less menopause symptoms (like hot flashes and night sweats) than those who ate a higher fat and higher sugar diet. The increased vitamins, nutrients, and fiber can aid in preventing the weight increase that is associated with menopause. Keep in mind that this is new territory, with a new hormonal environment. What once worked pre-menopause may not work for you anymore. Be open to guess and check strategies to see what the new normal is for your body, sleep, exercise, nutrition, and weight management.

In summary, help reduce the effects of aging and menopause with quality nutrition, exercise, balancing stress, being mindful of alcohol consumption, and getting enough sleep. Heading into menopause with a healthy body composition and healthy eating habits will help ease the inflammation and hormone imbalance that accompanies menopause, so it is not too early to start preparing for the future!