diet

Rock Thanksgiving With These Drinks and Apps!

Well Thanksgiving is nearly here, and if yours is anything like most friends and family will descend upon an agreed upon location, all hauling heavy, over-the-top dishes that almost universally contain extra sweetness and a higher-than-usual volume of carbohydrates!

It’s a celebration meal designed for giving thanks, but instead we often find ourselves crying, “uncle!” at the hands of a feast low in quality nutrition and very high in sugar and calories. Either that, or you find yourself getting inquisitive stares from across the table as they notice your plate isn’t piled high enough to block your view!

BUT NOT THIS YEAR WE SAY! Start planning now to freshen up the variety and the quality of the meal, and most at the table will probably thank you for it!

Appetizers!

Time to get your appetizer vocabulary up to speed! Crudites (kroo-dee-tay) is a French word that means a vegetable that can be cut into sticks, thin slices, or bite size pieces and served with a cold dip. Try this easy, healthy, avocado hummus dip! Blend 2 avocados, 1 can drained chickpeas, ¼ c lemon juice and olive oil, and 1.5 TBSP tahini (optional). Salt/Pepper to taste.

Prep double the veggies and double down on another dip with this excellent version of spinach dip! No Mayo, no cream cheese or sour cream!

Check out the recipe here!

Baked Blooming Onion! Who can resist snagging a piece of a blooming onion?? Try a healthier version by baking and plating with a greek yogurt based dip. Cut the base off an onion, cutting into 12-16 sections (not cutting all the way through) and “flower” the petals, dredge in 2 egg white wash, and coat with ¼ c panko + ¼ c ground almonds + 1/8 c parmesan and spices. Bake 40-45 minutes at 375.
Find the recipe here!

Want a dip with a kick? Combine 8oz plain greek yogurt + 1 tsp sriracha sauce + 1 tbsp parsley.

Drinks!

Add 1 shot of vodka over ice, mix 16 oz water with an “on-the-go” packet of Crystal Light or Similar powder. Pour half the mix over the vodka/ice and add a splash of lemon-lime or ginger ale soda. Toss in a blender for a blended drink! Get creative with your favorite flavors. Only about 110 calories: Cheers!

Combine a packet of Swiss Miss 25 Calorie hot chocolate mix, 3/4 Cup Hot Water and 1 Peppermint Stick. Ready to kick back with something a little more? Add a quick shot of vodka, but keep in mind that will set you back an additional 100 calories. You decide what it’s worth!

Leftovers!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving? This year, buy a BIGGER turkey and rock those leftovers (or snag unwanted leftovers from the host)! Check out these great Ellipse Fitness recipes to use that leftover turkey!

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Diet Myth-Busting!

This week we are busting diet myths! First up, it’s…

EAT LESS, WEIGH LESS.”

While that CAN be true in some cases, usually people don’t want to lose weight – they want to lose fat! So, if you are comfortable depriving your body the nutrients it needs, feeling hungry all the time, and losing muscle, water and bone density – then this is the diet for you! In order to maintain muscle and proper body functioning (especially for people involved in strength training several times a week like our Ellipse members!) you need to eat at least a certain number of calories in the proper ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Now of course if an average person was eating 3,000 calories a day sure, cutting their calorie intake a little will probably help them lose some weight. For most of us however, when we “diet” we tend to cut out entire macronutrient categories (*cough cough* carbohydrates), and slash caloric intake below a baseline level needed to ensure your body doesn’t enter “starvation mode”.

LOW-FAT, LOW-CARB, SUGAR-FREE, DIET, LITE”

These are marketing terms dreamed up in a corporate office to sell cheap (in quality and ingredients, not always in price) products to the incredibly large market of people desperate to lose weight. We’ve discussed the downside to artificial sweeteners in the past, but products with these labels tend to be highly processed, and are often just junk food disguised as a guilt-free indulgence – however, they are anything but. Low or Fat-Free products often have added sugar to make it taste good enough to eat (see the classic example of fat-free frozen yogurt)

EAT SMALLER AMOUNTS FREQUENTLY TO BOOST METABOLISM.”

The truth is the number one way to boost your metabolism is by increasing the amount of muscle you have – that’s about it. Constant digestion has a negligible effect on your metabolism and might even do more harm than good for your teeth and intestines. Eating a healthy snack (think: Veggies and Hummus, Fruit and Greek Yogurt or Peanut Butter, etc) between meals however can help you to stay more satisfied during the day and prevent overeating at meal time.

EATING PROTEIN AND CARBS SEPARATELY AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS.”

This one is patently UN-true because in fact the best way to ensure efficient digestion of protein is to pair it with a high-fiber carbohydrate. Many of the healthiest protein options come pre-paired with carbohydrates already like beans, nuts, seeds etc.

EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT!”

This one is very important because many people striving for a healthy diet almost totally abstain from dietary fat, which is to their detriment because many vitamins (A, D, E and K) REQUIRE fat to be absorbed into the body. Also adding small amounts of healthy fat (EVOO, Coconut Oil, etc) to vegetables makes most people much more likely to eat them, and help you feel full! (Think: apple = still hungry vs. apple + peanut butter = energy + satisfaction)

DON’T EAT AFTER 8 PM!”

This might be good advice, but not because late night calories are really any worse than daytime calories. Most of the time late night snacks are our worst ones. High fat, high sugar snacks that don’t actually serve any purpose to sate hunger. Try not to go more than 5 hours without eating during the day to avoid being famished late at night, and try to contain your eating hours roughly within a 12-hour window – that alone might help you save a couple hundred calories per day!

Consider these myths BUSTED

Ad-veggie-venture! (Conquering Mysterious Produce)

Gardens are overflowing and the Farmer’s Markets are full of produce, ready to fill your vitamin and mineral needs! I’m sure we all snagged up the strawberries over the last couple of weeks. Maybe you got some early lettuce or beans…but what about all those mystery fruits and veggies?? We all see unknown produce and simply pass on by without giving it a second thought. The next time you see something unfamiliar, buy it! Make it a mission to learn 1 or 2 ways to use it. You will probably like it, AND you’ll have something new to incorporate into your regular meal/snack rotations to keep it from getting boring. As an added bonus, you will introduce your body to vitamins and minerals that you may not currently be getting! Let’s get started:

Yu Choy (yow – choy)

Go past any Asian stand at a farmer’s market and you’ll likely find Yu Choy. This Chinese green is most identifiable by their yellow flowers, which are edible! Yu Choy (or rapeseed) are primarily grown to produce canola oil, but also have a sweet taste that make it perfect to sautée, stir-fry or add to soups. Yu Choy’s flavor is a sort of cross between spinach and mustard greens. Grab a pound of Yu Choy, stir fry in some oil and garlic and then steam in ¼ cup of chicken broth for about 3-3.5 minutes until the stems are softened. Say Nǐ hǎo to something new!

Kohlrabi (cole – RAW – be)

In German “Kohl” means cabbage and “Rabi” means turnip; this green or purple bulb like vegetable is commonly eaten in German speaking areas and in Vietnam. However, it is slowly becoming more mainstream here in the U.S. The bulb can have the green skin cut off (knife or vegetable peeler) and the inside, sliced or cut into sticks and served alone or with a dip like hummus. It has a nice, crisp taste with a slight cabbage flavor. Some may be surprised to learn that the greens on the top of kohlrabi can be used like kale or collard greens. Look for smaller size bulbs to ensure they are not “woody” as often found in the larger grown vegetable. Use kohlrabi in other ways too, such as pureed in soups, roasted, or steamed. Any time you get a veggie where you can eat the root and the greens you’ve got a bargain!

Golden Beets

You might have noticed we’ve included a few root vegetables in this post, in large part because unless it is a carrot or potato most people tend to steer clear of this category. What a shame! Because the roots are generally the major source of absorption for vitamins and nutrients from the soil, these veggies (beets, rutabagas, ginger, etc) pack a big nutritional punch! Geosmin, a compound produced by microbes in the soil, is what gives beets their earthy taste and seem to polarize so many into beet lovers or beet haters, but even beet haters may be pleasantly surprised by the flavor of golden beets! These golden beauties have been described to taste like sweet corn when cooked, and are well-known for their high fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid. One bonus is they don’t “bleed red” and stain your clothes or teeth. Beets also have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, which is why they can be found in some desserts (like beet brownies!). Beets can be enjoyed roasted, poached, or boiled.

Jicama (HE – ka – ma)

Although you won’t find jicama grown locally as it needs 9 months frost free, you can generally find it in most supermarkets. It’s traditionally grown in Mexico and South America. Also known as a Mexican turnip, Jicama is in the legume family and the brown, bulbous root vegetable we are used to seeing is just that – a tuberous root at the bottom of a large vining plant. Jicama is most commonly enjoyed raw and tastes like a savory apple, a crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet snack. Just cut the skin off (it’s too thick for a vegetable peeler) and cut into sticks or slices. Other ways to enjoy jicama are stir-fry (like water chestnuts), julienned into spring rolls, and even diced into salsa or a coleslaw!

Fennel (FEN – null)

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet – closely related to parsley, carrots, and dill. It is fully edible, from its bulb to the leaves, and has high concentrations of phytonutrients which make it an antioxidant powerhouse. Fennel has been repeatedly studied for its ability to reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Many associate the taste to black licorice, however if black licorice isn’t your thing, when the bulb is chopped and sautéed (many like it sautéed with onion) or braised, that licorice-type taste almost fully dissolves into a complementary side dish primarily for fish or other seafood. The stalks can be used in soup and the leaves can be used as an herb. Search pinterest or google some recipes and give it a shot!

Venture into the Farmers’ Market or grocery store with a little extra confidence this week, and proudly request some new produce with the correct pronunciation and a sense of accomplishment! When it comes to diet, one particular principles with regards to exercise is extremely applicable: if you are bored, you won’t stick with it very long. Explore new fruits and veggies to boost your vitamins and minerals, make your meals more enjoyable, and wow your friends and family!

Until next time…Happy Harvesting!

Please stop dieting!

Please stop dieting!

Everyone needs muscle. You need it to keep your metabolism as high as possible so you maximize fat burning.

Older folks, like our grandparents, need muscle for daily activities (from walking to gardening or even bike rides). It’s also important to be able to bend, stoop and move freely.

Young folks, like you and I, need muscle to look sexy. Because that’s what we do. We just sit around all day looking sexy, right? Tough life, I know. But hey, we’re good at it!

—Anyway, there are a few factors in avoiding muscle loss.

First, you must lift weights with the right amount of intensity and volume.

Another factor, dieting, is where most people go wrong (unless they are doing too much steady state cardio – that’s the big exercise no-no, of course).

So what’s the best diet to use?

One where you cut your calories every day? Or one that allows you to eat healthfully seven days per week?
Does the best diet demand that you eat obsessively and compulsively? Or can you just eat like a normal human being?

The good news is that you can eat normal healthy foods and just pay some extra attention to your protein intake and you can keep your metabolism rev’d up 24/7!

Questions? Give us a call or send an email – www.ellipsefitness.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Are You Skinny-Fatter?

It’s Your Worst Nightmare!  You lose weight, look in the mirror, and see a skinny-fat version of yourself.

You look no better than when you started.  Maybe even worse. That’s because most people do things the wrong way, starving themselves daily and doing long, slow, boring cardio.

Even if those hardworking, well-meaning folks lift weights, they generally don’t do it right…using light weights that don’t send a signal to muscle that “we need you!”

So the low-calorie diet, lack of protein, and no “lift signal” to the muscles leads to a loss of muscle mass.  The loss of lean mass is the #1 factor that can slow your metabolism.

And when your metabolism slows your body stops burning fat. You plateau. And that causes you to diet harder and do more cardio and get skinny-fatter. Yes, that’s right, skinny-fatter.

It’s a terrible look and a vicious cycle.

Only by stopping muscle loss can you avoid that fate.

Everyone needs muscle. You need it to keep your metabolism as high as possible so you maximize fat burning – especially if you’re post-menopausal!

A recent study http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/205701571.html  from Mayo Clinic states that increased belly fat is one of the biggest complaints of post-menopausal women, but it isn’t a definite sentence.  Women need to control their protein intake, limit eating grainy and starchy carbs and weight train to maintain muscle.

Lisa Welko Keynote Speaker at Oshkosh Money Conference

Lisa Welko Keynote Speaker at Oshkosh Money Conference Shares Money Saving Tips

  Appleton, WI. – Ellipse Fitness President Lisa Welko was the keynote speaker for the first ever Oshkosh Money Conference on April 20, 2013.  The Conference was sponsored by Asset Builders in cooperation with many area partners.   The goal of the Conference was to teach participants how to improve their finances.

Welko’s presentation helped conference attendees understand how to start the process of change along with sharing tips on preparing healthy meals and snacks on a tight budget.  Those tips include:

Money saving tips for the Most Important Muscle Building Block – Protein!

  • Chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and is cheaper than sirloin.
  • Buy meat in large bulk packages to save money.  Freeze portions you might not use right away to prevent spoiling.
  • Ultra-pasteurized milk has a longer expiration date and won’t spoil as fast.

Groups interested in booking Welko as a guest speaker should contact Ellipse Fitness at info@ellipsefitness.com or call (920) 882-9450 for more information.

Ellipse Fitness Promotes “Muffins and Protein” for Valentine’s Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ellipse Fitness Promotes “Muffins and Protein” for Valentine’s Day

Appleton, WI. – February 13, 2013 – What a great way to start your Valentine’s Day with a heart-healthy recipe that is packed with fast releasing protein powder, natural carbohydrates, and fruit, all wrapped in one beautiful muffin wrapper!  Finding a nutritious baked good is hard to come by in a world filled with fast food drive-thrus and sugar packed Danishes!  Whip these Muscle Muffins up for your family or friends and help them take care of their heart!

The protein powder used in these muffins is a low calorie alternative to wheat and flour.  Plus it provides an excellent protein source to help keep you full and rev your metabolism!

  • The unsweetened almond milk has a fraction of the sugar content than regular milk!
  • The Pumpkin Puree and Bananas are low-fat alternatives to keep the muffins moist vs. using unhealthy fats and oils.
  • Chia seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids and help stabilize your blood sugar!

Valentine’s Day Protein Muffins

 

Muffin Ingredients: 1 Small Apple – 1 Cup of Vanilla Ellipse Protein Powder – 1 Medium Banana – 1 Can of Pumpkin Puree – 1/2 Cup of Oats – 1/8 Cup Chia Seeds – 1/4 Cup Almond Milk – 1/4 Cup of Pistachios

 

Frosting Ingredients: Frosting: 1/2 Cup Chocolate or Strawberry Ellipse Protein Powder – 3/4 Cup Milk

 

Directions for Muffins:  Preheat oven to 340 degrees.  Blend all ingredients.  Pour batter into nine silicone muffin cases.  Bake for about 40 minutes.

 

Directions For Frosting: Mix protein powder and milk.  Pour mixture into piping bag.  Frost!  If desired, top with extra chia seeds, a sprinkle of organic cocoa powder, or a candy heart!

 

Serves:  Makes 9 Muffins (1 Muffin/serving)                   Exchanges:  1 Milk, 1 Carb, 3 Extra Lean Protein

 

For more information on Ellipse Fitness, visit http://www.ellipsefitness.com

 

About Ellipse Fitness®:  Founded in 2002, Ellipse Fitness is a classes-only fitness and nutrition franchise specializing in providing regularly scheduled exercise classes and nutrition programs for our members.  Our proprietary workout programs are set in a group exercise format and emphasize functional movement, cardiovascular training, building core strength and adding lean muscle mass.  For information on programs and locations please visit ellipsefitness.com.  For information about owning an Ellipse Fitness franchise please visit ellipsefitnessfranchise.com.

 

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Contact:

Todd Weiss

Ellipse Fitness®

866 934 7167

todd@ellipsefitness.com

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For the chicken:
24 Oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 Celery stalk
1/2 Onion, diced
1 Clove Garlic
16 Oz. Fat-free Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Hot sauce (i.e. Frank’s Hot Sauce)

For the wraps:
6 Large Lettuce Leaves, Bibb or Iceberg
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Carrots
2 Large Celery Stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

Directions:
In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn’t enough). Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from pot, reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.

To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 4 Extra Lean Protein, 1 Vegetable

Skinny Turkey-Vegetable Soup

Skinny Turkey –Vegetable Soup

2 Medium Onions, chopped
2 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Celery Ribs, chopped
½ Cup Chopped Sweet Red Pepper
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Cups Water
1 Can (10 oz) Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
½ Cup Frozen Peas
1 Bay Leaf
4 Tsp. Sodium-free Chicken Bouillon Granules
½ Tsp. Dried Basil
½ Tsp. Dried Thyme
¼ Tsp. Ground Cumin
¼ Tsp. Pepper
¼ to ½ Tsp. Hot Sauce (optional)
½ Cup Uncooked Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta
2 Cups Cubed Cooked Turkey Meat
1 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Cilantro

Directions: In a large saucepan, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in water, tomatoes, peas, bay leaf, bouillon, basil, thyme, cumin, pepper, and pepper sauce if desired. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Stir orzo and turkey into soup; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 2 Lean Protein, 1 Carb, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat

Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip
1 12 oz. Carton of Low-fat Cottage Cheese
1 10 oz. Package of Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
1 8 oz. Can Water Chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 Cup FF Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 Packet of Dry Vegetable Soup Mix
1/4 Cup of Chopped Onion
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice

Directions: Add cottage cheese to a food Processor and process until smooth. Transfer cottage cheese to a bowl. Meanwhile, drain spinach and press between paper towels until barely moist. Add spinach, water chestnuts, and all remaining ingredients to cottage cheese, stir well. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with Melba rounds or fresh vegetables.

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 1 Carb, 2 Protein, 1 Fat