Saturday, May 31, 2008

Eat out...the wholesome way

Eating out is an American pastime that won't soon die out, and who wants it too? Everyone loves an enjoyable meal out with those we love. Unfortunately it's a big part of the obesity epidemic we're facing. In the past it has been hard to eat out and make healthy food choices, but some restaurants are finally catching on!
- California Pizza Kitchen gives you the option of getting your pizza on a whole wheat crust.
- Cafe Rio offers whole wheat tortillas
- Papa John's Pizza offers whole wheat pizza crust
- Cold Stone Creamery offers low fat ice cream choices and "sinless sweet cream" a fat free sugar free option that tastes great!
- Fudruckers has burger choices of whole wheat bun's, and healthier patty options such as turkey burgers, veggie burgers, and grilled chicken.
- Sandwich shops such as Subway and Quiznos offer whole grain breads, lean meats, and lots of veggies.
- Rumbi Grill Offers brown rice
- Pizza Factory offers whole wheat pasta
- Brick oven offers whole wheat spelt pasta, and spinach pasta
- Macaroni Grill offers whole wheat penne pasta
- P.F. Changs offers brown rice
- Also, many restaurants will bring you a lite menu with the healthiest options, or show you on the menu with some sort of symbol. Some I know for certain are; Apple Bee's, Mimi's Cafe, Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Jason's Deli, etc.

Try out these healthy alternatives, and you might be surprised to find they aren't half fact they're usually delicious!

If you know of any other good healthy options feel free to add them!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 31st World No-Tobacco Day

Today is No-Tobacco Day!
All the reasons why you should quit smoking or continue not to do so...

  1. Your Heart - Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
  2. Your Looks - Smoking causes facial wrinkles and dull, dry hair.
  3. Your Lungs - Smoking causes nearly 90 percent of all lung cancers.
  4. Your Reproductive Health - Smoking affects fertility and may be a factor in early menopause.
  5. Your Kids - Secondhand smoke causes children to develop bronchitis and pneumonia. Parents who smoke are poor role models for healthy living.
  6. Your Throat - Smoking, especially paired with heavy alcohol use, raises the risk of mouth and throat cancers.
  7. Your Love Life - Smoking is a habit that turns off many potential partners. It can also cause erectile dysfunction.
  8. Your Stomach, Bladder and Pancreas - Smoking raises the risk of cancer in these organs, especially combined with heavy alcohol use.
  9. Your Pocketbook - On average, a pack of cigarettes costs about $4. It’s a very expensive habit.
  10. Your Smile - Over time, smoking turns teeth yellow and may lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Have a great World No-Tobacco Day!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

One of my FAVORITE healthy recipes (and one of the easiest) is BBQ chicken sandwiches you make in the crock pot. Very high in protein, and low in fat.

1 (4-pound) bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 16 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I hear a lot of people LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 Cup of water
2 dozen rolls (I get fresh wheat rolls and they are very good!)

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot frozen. Cook all day over medium heat. When chicken is cooked through pour off the excess water and fat and shred the chicken in the crock pot with a fork. Pour BBQ sauce of top of chicken and stir. Put on warm until ready to serve. Serve on rolls. Enjoy!

*this is a great meal for leftovers. The chicken can be used on top of salads, with wraps, or even eaten alone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Muscles; more than just an exercise In vanity

I came across this article and I really like it a lot! Give it a read...

New York Times

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Exercising During Pregnancy

I have had several people ask me questions about exercising during pregnancy, so I thought I'd post some info that might be beneficial. Make sure you check with your doctor first and foremost because, of course, every woman is different. But, these are some general guidelines that are pretty standard.
It is safe to exercise during pregnancy. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, can aid in avoiding discomfort, prevent pregnancy fatigue, help you sleep better, and can increase stamina and muscle strength making your labor easier. You want to be careful as to how far you are pushing yourself. If you haven't been exercising prior to your pregnancy it is safe to begin now. In fact, please do! Make sure you start slow. You want to avoid over exerting yourself. If you start slow an build up a little at a time you'll be able to progress at a safe and comfortable tempo. If you have been exercising previous to getting pregnant you should be able to maintain your level of exercise, but it is still important to watch how hard you are pushing yourself. Watching your RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) is the best way to determine this. RPE is a mental scale of how you're feeling while you're exercising based on how hard you are working. You want to keep yourself at a pace that is comfortable. Another way to tell is to give yourself the "talk test". You should be able to carry on a conversation while you're working out. If you aren't able to that means you're working to hard.
Make sure you warm up, take it slow, drink plenty of water, and don't let yourself get overheated and you should be just fine! Exercise is great, and will benefit you and your new little baby so much!
Many people believe that working out the abdomen is off limits during pregnancy, but this isn't true. You should avoid any exercises that require you to lie on your back after your first trimester, but there are exercises that you can do to strengthen your abs and core without lying down. Your core is the center of your body, where your strength stems from. This makes it even MORE important to work your core while you're pregnant. You should note that after month four your balance becomes affected, so you'll want to be careful not to put yourself in danger of falling.
If you were running prior to your pregnancy it is ok to continue to run during your pregnancy as long as you're healthy and having no complications. Again, make sure to keep a mental check on how you feel, and not to push yourself too hard. Walking, low-impact aerobics, swimming and cycling are also great forms of exercise. Cycling and swimming especially due to the fact that they take impact off your joints.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Circuit Training

For those of you who are getting bored of your workout regime I have a solution, or at least a suggestion…circuit training!! Circuit training is a total-body workout that involves performing a series of different exercises in one training session; typically alternating between intervals of strength training and cardiovascular exercise. It is a great way to burn calories, get that heart rate going, and tone your muscles all at the same time. By getting your weights and your cardio in at once, this is a definite time saver, another bonus. I’ve done this workout several times in the past few weeks and I really like it. I’m not much of a sweater, but for some reason by the time I’m done with the circuit I’ve been dripping! So…Grab a jump rope, some dumbbells, and your Ipod…and give it a shot. J

Jump Rope Circuit

So the Key here is you want to keep your heart rate up the whole time, so don’t stop to rest for too long. Try to move from one thing to the next pretty quickly and if you need to breath walk around too keep the HR going. You can use a timer if you’d like for your jump rope sequences, but I just use my Ipod and estimate it by song length.

Round #1
Warm up Jump Rope 1 song (3-4 min)
Pushups 1 set of 15-20
Balancing Bicep Curls with dumbbells (stand on one foot to increase difficulty)
Plyometric Lunges 1 set of 15 (total of 30)
*with these start down in a lunge, and jump up switch legs in the air and land down in a lunge on the other leg. This counts as 1 rep.

Round #2 (Repeating round #1)
Jump Rope 1 song (3-4 min)
Pushups 1 set of 15-20
Balancing Bicep Curls switch legs this time
Plyometric Lunges 1 set of 15 (total of 30)

Round #3 (Repeating round #1)
Jump Rope 1 song (3-4 min)
Pushups 1 set of 15-20
Balancing Bicep Curls switch legs this time (switch legs ½ way through)
Plyometric Lunges 1 set of 15 (total of 30)

Round #4
Jump Rope 1 song (3-4 min)
At the end of the song do 30 straight jumps jumping as high and as fast as you can1
1 set of 3 way lunges w/10 lb dumbbells (alternating front lunge 10, alternating side squat 10, alternating back lunge 10)
Plank for 1:30

Round #5
Jump rope 1 Song (3-4 min)
Again 30 straight jumps as high and fast as you can
1 set of 3 way lunges w/10 lb dumbbells (alternating front lunge 10, alternating side squat 10, alternating back lunge 10)
Plank 1:30
Jump rope finish 1 song (4 min)

AB Circuit
Sit down Hold 10 lb dumbbell, lift your feet up of the ground and twist side to side (15 to each side)
30 regular crunches
30 crunches with elbows to knees
*repeat this as many times as you want
You’re done!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

One Of Mom's Best

This is a trade mark recipe from my mom, and one of my favorites! A heart-healthy main dish with so many delicious fresh ingredients.

Chicken Scampi

1/8-1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 T minced garlic
the juice from one lemon
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
3-6 fresh chopped tomatoes
Pasta of choice boiled and drained (we usually use bowtie or penne)

In a skillet heat together butter, olive oil, green onions and garlic. Add lemon juice, chicken, salt, pepper and parsley. Continue cooking and stirring until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cook and heat through.
Serve over pasta.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Gym Necessities

Here are a few of my favorite things at the gym. I am always looking for things to help make the workouts more effective, mix up the routine, and get the best results possible!

1. medicine balls are AWESOME. I absolutely love these! Most balls range in weight from 4-12 lbs, and they can be purchased at any sporting goods stores. They are great to increase your resistance on your everyday exercises, and there is a variety of new things you can do with them as well.

2.The Jump Rope. Remember these from 4th grade?? Well they are back, or they should be at least. They are a GREAT cardio workout. On average you can burn 110-200 calories in 10 min. I really like to incorporate my jump rope into a circuit training routine alternating resistance exercises with jump roping, trying to keep my heart rate up the whole time.

3. Sports Beans. These are great for your long endurance runs. I have a really hard time with the GU because i don't like the texture. These on the other hand, are made by Jelly Belly and are delicious! They aren't hard to chew while running either! These are available at any sports store, running specialty store, and i've found them at target.

4. Nike weight lifting gloves. So, make fun of me if you must, BUT after I started getting really bad calluses I decided to try out the gloves, and i've been won over! I really like them! They make the weights easier to hold, and they save your poor little hands! I found mine at Sports Authority for $10.00. Well worth the money!

5. If these were in numerical order I would have to put this item first. These Nike Drifit capris are AMAZING. I have converted many people to loving them as well. They are so comfortable, they hold their shape, they are made of a special material that wicks away sweat, they wash really well, and they just basically rock. You can find them at Nordstrom, Sports Authority, or Nike outlets.

6. My sweet little Ipod Nano. Blessed little thing. This little gem has kept me going on many a long run. I love its tiny little size. I love the stopwatch feature for timing isometric exercises, or recovery times. Its just great all the way around.

7. Skull Candy headphones. As much as I LOVE my Ipod. I detest the Ipod earbuds. They don't stay in, they aren't loud enough, they are just a pain. My Skull Candy headphones on the other hand are GREAT. They stay in, they block out all of the outside noise so your I pod doesn't have to be up so loud. They have a lot of different styles and prices, but I've seen them at Target for $15.00.

8. The Bosu Ball. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this guy. If you haven't worked out with one I recommend you give it a try. It is a great way to work your core while working whatever other muscle groups you're focusing on. I'm all about the multi tasking. The best place to find these is online.

9. My Asics. I have been running in these for the past little while. They are great! Mainly I'd just say get a pair of shoes that fits your feet and your running style. It makes a huge difference!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Spring = The Return of Fruits and Veggies!!

One reason (of many) that I couldn’t be happier about the return of warm weather is that we also start to enjoy the return of fresh fruits and vegetables! Not that they haven’t been around during the dreary winter, but they have made their presence known with their attached high prices! Fresh produce is hard enough to manage, as far as eating before it goes bad is concerned, BUT when it was expensive in the first place it makes it that much easier to decide against buying yourself a cartful of fresh fruits and veggies. I have always got my reliable, apple, banana, bagged baby carrots combo, BUT I’m as excited as ever to introduce some new additions to the menu.
I’ve discovered yet another amazing website that is going to make shopping for the best fresh fruits and vegetables easier than ever. The website is on it you can go and look at the fruits and veggies that are currently in season (and because of that will be less expensive.) It also links you to some great recipes so you can utilize them! There are so many great fruits and vegetables that are out there that you’ve probably never even tried. Set a goal to try a new one every week or every month. You’ll be surprised to find how many you actually like. It will make cooking a lot more exciting when you’ve expanded your menu choices!!