Health

Super Kale! To The Rescue!

Kale is a popular superfood – maybe the most popular one around – with its high fiber, iron, vitamin A & K, calcium and antioxidant content. Pound for pound (or gram for gram), kale has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk! Got Kale? It has become a pretty notorious scapegoat for social media mockery:

Haters gonna hate…

If you haven’t grown to love it yet, we’re here to give you a few innovative ideas to give it another try or to shake up your kale standards!

START SIMPLE: Add some kale to your smoothie for a quick nutritious boost! It’s flavor won’t overpower fruit-based smoothies, and it blends well for a leafy vegetable.

SUPER KALE DRESSING: A salad may truly only be as good as its dressing! The somewhat bitter flavor of kale can be curbed by purchasing young/earlier harvested kale from your local Farmers’ Market, OR consider complementing that bitter flavor with some sweet!

– 2 c of your favorite fruit (raspberries are a great choice)
– 2 Tbsp. Dijon or Tahini
– 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
– 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. of a fresh herb like thyme or rosemary.

SUPER KALE CHIPS: Cut the thick stems off your kale and tear into bits. Rinse, then run through a salad spinner to dry thoroughly. Rub olive oil and salt in, spreading the leaves over a cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minute at 350 degrees or until the edges are brown but not burnt. Get creative with different seasonings like Cajun or Chili Powder!

SUPER KALE PESTO: Mix up the flavor profile of your Pesto by swapping the basil out for kale!

– Pour 1 c of olive oil into a food processor
– Add 3 cloves of garlic
– Add 12 cups of chopped kale leaves until blended.
– Stir in 1 cup of pine nuts, 1 cup parmesan, and salt to taste.

**For added veggie goodness, serve over zucchini noodles!

SUPER KALE SOUP: Consider adding roughly chopped kale into soup for texture and flavor! Much like the use of endives in Italian Wedding Soup, Kale is a great complement in broth-based or even cream-based soups! Kale can be purchased in bulk, tossed in a freezer bag, and then simply crumbled into your bowl!

SUPER KALE TACOS: Few social media trends are more prolific than the mockery of healthy eating habits, but the insatiable craze over Tacos may have the upper hand! Hurdle your hesitation on this one and try out this delicious recipe below from Cookie and Kate!

and yes…I know tacos and burritos are not quite the same thing 😉

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/simple-kale-and-black-bean-burritos/

Be Smart this Summer!

The Summer brings many many things, but one thing that is in great supply is SUN!

Now, who doesn’t love the long summer sunshine hours? But it is important to note, that there are some precautions that should be taken with all that sun!

Sunscreen – It’s a hot topic (pun intended!). We need some vitamin D from the sun, but also shouldn’t wait to get burned either. Start with the basics of wearing clothing that shields you from the sun’s UV rays and reducing your burn risk. Seek out shade and plan outings in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at it’s peak. If you plan on soaking up the rays all day and using protection, make sure to investigate your sunscreen (for harsh chemicals, and get rid of those spray sunscreens!) or even consider making your own.
Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Sunglasses – Don’t forget to protect your eyes! Much like skin, lighter eye colors are more susceptible to damage from harmful UV rays! UV overexposure may lead to macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans) and some kinds of cataracts (a clouding of the eye lens). Make sure your sunglasses have 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses can help in very bright conditions to reduce eye strain.

Stay hydrated! – Summer can be filled with a lot of parties and events. Keep in mind that alcoholic and caffeinated beverages pull water FROM the body and promote dehydration. Try consuming 6-12 ounces of fluid every 10-15 minutes that you are outside. If you plan to be active outdoors, try drinking 16-20 ounces of fluid 1-2 hours before your activity.

Get Quality Sleep – During the summer it can be a little more challenging to get a full nights shut eye when the early morning sunrise is calling your name, or the extended daylight keeps you awake later than usual. If you have trouble sleeping, try blinking quickly for one whole minute – tired eyes help you fall asleep! If you’re still having trouble, try stretching for 5 minutes; your muscles will relax and it will be easier to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Aloe Vera Ice Cubes – Forgot to heed the sunscreen warnings above? Rub some relief into your skin! Freeze aloe vera in an ice cube tray for quick grab and go relief!

Mango Guacamole? Yes, please!

Grilling at the neighbors house?  Graduation party coming up? Need a show stopper for a 4th of July barbecue?  Make this mango guac.  Guaranteed to leave you with an empty dish and requests for the recipe.  Here’s what you need:

2 Fresh Mangos

3 Ripe Avocados

The Juice of 1 Lime

1 Seeded and Ribbed Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper

One Bunch of Fresh Chopped Cilantro (discard the stems of course)

Salt and Garlic to taste

Mix together. Serve chunky with chicken or corn chips. Enjoy!

Hack Your Summer with these Cool Tricks

Are you ready for fun in the sun??

But really, are you ready for all that comes along with that? The beautiful weather lures us out in the heat, but lurking everywhere all Summer long are cold, sugary temptations like ice-cream and popsicles! And spending all that extra time out in the sun is sure to affect your hydration – which as we’ve learned in the past has drastic implications for our health and fitness goals.

But fear not! We have some great tricks you can use this Summer to keep you cool, well hydrated and most importantly satisfied all Summer long without boosting your sugar intake.

Protein-Packed Coconut Popsicles

Few things are more satisfying than an ice cold popsicle on a hot, dry day! Boost your protein and energy with this delicious alternative to popsicles containing all kinds of additives, preservatives etc. It’s super simple!

– Blend 2 Scoops of Bio-Whey with 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
– Pour into popsicle molds and serve frozen

Frozen Grapes

Hands down one of the easiest ways to cool down with a delicious treat is to freeze your grapes! Wash beforehand and pat dry so they don’t all clump together. Put in the freezer and enjoy them straight out of the icebox! Or if you want a slushier texture let them thaw a couple of minutes before eating.

Protein Packed Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is another great way to keep cool, and you can boost the flavor and nutrition by mixing in a scoop of Bio-Whey and 1-2 tsp of water to thin a little. 37 grams of protein come packed into this combo!

Stay Well Hydrated

Like the glue that holds together all of your sound nutrition choices, hydration is essential for ensuring your body is working properly and handling the nutrients you are giving it in an effective way! If the taste of water just doesn’t do it for you, consider flavoring it with some citrus! And if carrying a lemon around with you is not really your thing…maybe try something like True Lemon. True Lemon contains no artificial sweeteners, real fruit flavor, and no preservatives; their new crystallized citrus comes in lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange flavor.

Tired of the ice melting in your water bottle within moments of stepping outside into the hot sun? Fill it half full and freeze your bottle over night lying on it’s side. That way when you fill it up the long, vertical ice cube will keep your water refreshingly cold much longer!

Now, no Summer post would be complete without a suggestion for the grill, so save time and flavor up that boring chicken! Before freezing your chicken, toss in your marinade! As the chicken thaws it will be soaking up the tasty flavors. Try lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger OR a lemon juiced w/ zest, garlic, olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper.
https://www.noshtastic.com/grilled-paleo-lemon-chicken-thyme/

Mighty Micros!

Mighty Mighty Microgreens!

Did you know that Microgreens contain many times the nutrient density of their mature-harvested counterparts? These things pack a nutritional punch! (see USDA article here)

Microgreens are vegetables and herbs harvested when their first set of true leaves sprout. These things pack a lot of flavor, nutrients and vitamins into a small package! Often they are confused with sprouts, so let’s break down the difference:

Microgreens
– Harvested after first true leaves (not cotyledon) sprout – when plants are about 2 inches tall
– Harvest time: 1 – 3 weeks
– Grown in soil and in the sunshine (where plants get most of their nutrients from)

Sprouts
– Harvested during the sprouting phase
– Harvest time: 2 – 3 days
– Grown in water and in the dark

While sprouts are also considered a healthy food source, microgreens are far superior when it comes to nutrient and fiber content. Leafy microgreens for instance are a significant source of beta-carotene, iron and calcium, and dark leafy microgreens (kale, chard, etc) are high in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye disease and cataracts. Microgreens are very easy to grow, so get yourself some seeds and get started!
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No matter what the season, microgreens can be grown near a sunny window year-round. Snow pea shoots, red beets, purple and green basil, pak choi, cilantro, parsley and mesclun mix germinate and grow to microgreen size in about two weeks. (Susan Smith-Durisek/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)

Growing microgreens requires little space and time – unlike a traditional garden. Some good options for seeds to use are: Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chard, Cilantro, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and Spinach!

1. Poke a few holes in the bottom of a plastic tub for drainage (see: spinach or mushroom container for instance).

2. Fill the container with 1 – 2 inches of light seedling soil and smooth it out to be even – but not compacted. (Being that we are growing microgreens for a nutrient rich food source, be sure of the quality and safety of your soil! Choose high-quality, organic soil whenever possible)

3. Sprinkle seeds so they almost cover the soil for a dense planting, and then sprinkle a light covering of soil over the seeds and pat gently

4. Water with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging seeds (a plastic cover can help keep moisture in)

5. Keep in a dark, warm area of the house until seeds start to sprout and then transfer to a sunny windowsill until ready to harvest

It really is that easy! Try it out and see for yourself!

Running: Do’s & Don’ts!

Running (and walking) is an incredibly functional movement; your body is literally built for it! The cross-body movement pattern of driving the opposite arm and leg forward in unison helps improve our coordination and stability by nurturing the relationship our disparate muscles share via the muscle fascia.

What is Fascia?

Basically, Fascia is connective tissue superficial to the muscles that helps connect them to other parts of the body. It’s been described as big rubber bands that help us transfer energy during certain movement (such as the see-saw/back-and-forth type movement involved in running….left, right, left, right). But this fascia can get stuck and lose some elasticity when we don’t move it to keep it loose! Then we are stuck with this rigid strap limiting our movement, instead of a supple rubber band which allows us to move and then “snap” back in place.

For more reading and understanding of fascia check out this link below to see how unhealthy fascia can lead to low back pain
http://traineradvice.blogspot.com/2013/01/thoracolumbar-fascia-forgotten-culprit.html
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RUNNING TIPS:

DO

– Your Research! Shoes are a major factor contributing to an effective running program, especially if you’re intending to run on asphalt and/or concrete surfaces.

– Your Homework! If you’ve set your sights on an upcoming run be it a 5k, 10k, marathon or more you need to give yourself adequate time to prepare if you want to finish without injury! There are “proper” running mechanics that will help you not only land a better time, but protect your body from the repetitive stress of running. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and pump them along with the opposite leg during stride, engage your core muscles for stability to avoid excess strain on your low back throughout the run, Relax the shoulders down onto the back and don’t over-stretch your stride length – keep it comfortable and you will be able to hold a steadier pace for a longer period of time. Seek the advice of a professional for help analyzing your gait and setting up an appropriate training program to prepare for your big run.

– Prepare! Be aware of your environment! Don’t decide at the last minute to go for a run at night, through a neighborhood with no sidewalks in all black! It sounds funny, but be aware that it is VERY difficult to see runners! Wear bright colored clothing – even reflective material if running at night. Also, be mindful of WHERE you are running. If you’re trying to achieve a multiple mile run you might easily find yourself in an area of the city that is not runner friendly or safe for that matter. Run with a buddy if possible or plan and drive your route ahead of time.

– Hydrate!

DON’T

– Be a Hero! Running is one of those things people seem to think they can just pick up at any time and go-go-go! While we applaud your motivation, it’s important to approach it just like any other physical activity and ease into it to avoid injury. According to Runner’s World up to 66% of runners suffer an injury every year!!

– ALWAYS Run as FAR as you can! the 80/20 principal is widely used by many top endurance athletes. This means that 80% of their training is in the “low intensity” range (<77% max HR or breathing comfortably through the nose) and only 20% is at the moderate or higher intensity. For instance if you run 100 minutes per week, 80 of those should be in the low range, maybe 15 at moderate intensity (77 to 92% max HR, able to speak in short sentences) and 5 at high intensity (over 92% max HR and breathing as hard as you can after just a couple minutes). HAPPY TRAILS

Building Blocks: 2 Ingredient Recipes

Hey Fit Family!

The road to Health is paved with good intentions…

The best way to develop clean eating habits for the long term is to start with BASIC ingredients that you recognize!
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Love Pizza?
Don’t deny yourself the things you love! Try this simple recipe that cuts out loads of unsavory ingredients in take out pizza:

1 C of Plain Greek Yogurt
1.5 C of Self-Rising Flour

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Create your pizza shape and top with choice ingredients. Bake at 500 degrees 10-12 minutes.
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Pudding the right way?

Soak 2 TBSP of Chia Seeds in 1 C Almond Milk for at least 10 minutes. Make it smooth by blending or sweeter by adding a little honey. An Omega-3 and Protein rich snack!
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Banancakes!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 2 eggs until slightly frothy. Batter will be thin. Play around with toppings or roll them up with Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

and let’s be honest, pancakes are awesome – so here’s another recipe to try!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 1 C of Oats for thicker, more filling pancakes.
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Chicken + Salsa

Layer 3 – 4 Chicken Breasts in a slow cooker with a jar of salsa on top. Cook on low for 4+ hours and you’ve got ready to serve chicken for tacos or over rice, Mexican chicken salad, or get creative with your own idea!
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Homemade Snack Bars

In a food processor (an essential kitchen tool to make clean eating easier!) pulse together 1 part Dates and 1 part Oats. Combine until they are the consistency of jam (add just a little bit of hot water if too dry). Press the mixture into a 1/2″ deep pan and freeze for 1 – 2 hours.

Cut it into bars for a super-quick whole food snack for energy on the go!
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Until next time, remember to keep it simple at first! Nothing derails your best-laid intentions faster than jumping into the deep end before you know how to swim! Build up your repertoire one simple recipe at a time.

It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Today we are going to highlight ONE ingredient recipes!
wait is that a recipe or just food..?

Food…in a different way!

Hard-Boiled Eggs are one nearly essential source of simplicity for anyone interested in building healthy eating habits. Protein at breakfast is sometimes a challenge. Cereal? Nope. Bagels? Not really… Even oatmeal? Only about 6g of protein per 27g of carbs!
Enter: Hard-Boiled Eggs. 7g of protein; 5g of fat; ZERO carbs. Worried about the fat? Egg whites contain over half the protein of the egg, and NO fat nor carbs. Adding these into your diet is an easy way to boost your protein (which is essential for those cutting it close on calorie intake), and help you make better choices the easy way.

Chickpeas – Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain chickpeas and blot with a paper towel to dry, then toss in olive oil and a little salt (or cayenne/paprika if you like it spicier!). Bake about 35-40 minutes until browned and crunchy! Delicious

Grab a Date! No, not that kind…The sugar addiction is very real, and when you get hit with that craving it is hard to ignore. Dates – unlike processed sugar – are a natural, whole sweetener complete with fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium (all major sources of “craving” feelings). Snack on a date to satisfy your sweet tooth, add sweetness to a protein shake, or re-fuel during an endurance activity (running/cycling)!

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Now, into the freezer!

Banana “Nice” Cream they call it: Take your ripe/over-ripe bananas and freeze them overnight. Peel and cut into 1″ chunks for the food processor or blender, and blend about 1 minute or until they become a smooth, creamy, frozen dessert! Top with blueberries, a little cocoa powder or even peanut butter! Whatever floats your boat.

Or perhaps you prefer sorbet? Watermelon when frozen and pureed makes a delicious, scoopable delight. Freeze on a baking pan to avoid them clumping together and puree them in batches. Pack the puree into a bread loaf pan or other container for storage.

Grapes make an excellent frozen treat as well! Flash freeze about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet (so they do not all clump together when you transfer to freezer bag). The texture and taste is fresh and pleasing, especially on a hotter day.

That’s all for now!
Look out next week for TWO Ingredient recipes!

Mind Over Matter

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Henry Ford

Mindset is often hard to grasp. It’s so abstract and subjective. Regardless of what your goals are, the reality is that the proper mindset is backed by science and proven to positively influence outcomes. Have faith in yourself!

How many times have you found yourself saying, “Can this day get any worse??” only to find later in the day that – yes…yes it can. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a person who is constantly telling themselves, “I can do this. I will be better. I am strong enough to achieve what I have set out to.” is MUCH more likely to achieve their goals than someone who keeps beating themselves up, “Why did I even try? This is impossible. I should just give up.”

But we all do it. Things get tougher than we thought and we doubt our ability, or worse yet we get fixated on how far away we are from our goal instead of focusing on how far we have come! Luckily, there are concrete, simple steps you can take to greatly increase your chance of success:


Write it Down!
When you write down your goal and actions you can take to reach it, everything becomes more real. But don’t write it down and throw it away! Out of sight; out of mind. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it. Edit and rewrite along your path towards the end goal to keep yourself motivated and continue to keep your mind in the right place.


Share Your Success!
Not everything must be as public as sharing on Facebook. Choose a confidant and keep them updated on your specific achievements, and make sure they are keen to why you are sharing with them! One study in particular (link below) showed that people who wrote down their goals and actions, rated them by difficulty, and sent a weekly progress report to a friend were far more likely than any other group to achieve their goals. In this study, 73% of that group were marked as successful as compared with only 43% for those who did none of the above.


Stay in the Present!
Build a ritual: Wake up every morning and identify ONE thing you can do TODAY that will bring you closer to your goal. It can be as small as “Go workout!” or “Drink a glass of warm lemon water”. Or go big! Change careers to offer your life more flexibility if you find you just never have time to commit to the life-changes you want to achieve.


Trust the Process!
We all can be impatient, we get it. 10 days into your new routine and you step on the scale…UP 2 POUNDS?!?! WTH? First off, it is important to note that it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a professional when it comes to making nutritional changes and engaging in high intensity exercise, but if you are eating right, exercising regularly, and keep your stress in check it WILL happen. Sometimes success isn’t measured in numbers and doesn’t occur at the speed at which you think it should. Trust the process of change. Stay the course, and don’t let life derail you! One bad weekend over the holiday? So what! Get back to work on your goals the next morning.

And last, but certainly not least…

Don’t Be A Crab!
If you watch crabs in a bucket, you’ll eventually see that when one tries to climb out that the others will pull it back to its eventual doom. Rather than everyone getting out individually, they collectively pull each other back in and die together. It almost sounds morosely poetic in some kind of darkly romantic way…

Not for the one getting pulled back! If you surround yourself with people that do not support your goals – perhaps your new “fit” lifestyle – you need to change your environment. First, discuss with those people close to you that it is important that they support you, and if they don’t? Find people that will lift you up and share in your decisions and successes, not tear you down or temp you to fall back into the habits you have spent so much effort breaking.

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”
– Alexander the Great

http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-highlights-strategies-for-achieving-goals

Make Your Life Easier With These Baking Soda Life-Hacks!

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is a chemical salt – a crystal actually – that occurs in its natural form as the mineral nahcolite and neutralizes the PH of both alkaline and acidic substances.  There are deposits of pure nahcolite which occur naturally in the Green River Formation, which spans a few states in the Central US that has enough to supply the entire world with baking soda for many hundreds of years! This gently abrasive, neutralizing substance can save you lots of money and make your life easier!

Boxing gloves less than fresh?  Put some baking soda in an old sock and store inside your gloves or sprinkle baking soda directly in the glove.  It will not harm your skin and will absorb the moisture that causes the odor!

Do you have a Glass Stovetop? Stop buying over-priced, chemical-laden cleaners to keep your stovetop sparkling! Drop spots of dish soap on, sprinkle top with baking soda, then pour on some hydrogen peroxide.  Scrub with a soft sponge.  Wait a few minutes before washing it off. and voila! Now you can toss all those expensive commercial cleaners.

Ice Tea or Coffee stains on your plastic and ceramic?? Storage containers and mugs can take a beating and develop a permanent brown look…or not?!  Pour some baking soda on the stains and scrub it right off!  Really, that easy!

Buildup from Hair Products can really weigh down your hair! Add 1 TBSP of baking soda to your normal amount of shampoo you use for a single wash. Wash and condition as normal. You might be amazed at the difference!  You can also clean your hairbrushes and combs by soaking them in a small container with 1 tsp baking soda.  Rinse them off and air dry.

 

Try making your own simple Toothpaste and Air Fresheners naturally with Baking Soda:

Toothpaste:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark essential oil
A few drops tap water

Air Freshener:
1TBSP baking soda
5-6 drops (your favorite) essential oil
Distilled water to fill a spray bottle.
Shake and spritz away!