Archive for February, 2013

So called “Healthy” snacks, bad for you?

A bite sized clementine: My favorite snack!

A bite sized clementine: My favorite snack!

I arrived at Yahoo this morning to check an often forgotten email account and saw this headline:

 

 Are Those “Healthy” Snacks Actually Bad for You?

 

Sounds scary, right? Like all this time you’ve been haphazardly snacking on poison! Oh the horror.

Here’s a list of the snack foods Yahoo’s experts said to avoid, plus my commentary:

#1 Rice cakes. Their take, the rice cake “has a mere 35 calories, but consists of high-glycemic, puffed-up white rice with a low nutritional profile.”

My plan: Rice cakes aren’t on it. If my blood sugar’s gonna sky rocket, I want to actually enjoy it while it happens. Enter a piece of dark chocolate. Or better yet, grab an apple or handful of berries for fiber and antioxidants.

#2 Kale chips. I’m new to Kale so I’ve never actually had these, but without a lot of oil and salt, they sound gross! Yahoo claims that “some veggie chips contain more additives than you’d think” and goes on to explain that many bags contain mostly dehydrated potatoes.  If only potatoes were as good for us as Kale!

My Plan: Here I’ll take Yahoo’s advice to make my own (someday when I’m feeling brave). Or I’ll do the next best thing and actually read labels. If the chips I’m buying have more than a few ingredients and contain chemicals I can’t pronounce and understand, I’ll play it safe and reach for a handful of raw nuts or a piece of fruit.

#3 Sweet potato chips. They’re so darn good, aren’t they? Almost as good as sweet potato fries (just because they’re “bad” for you doesn’t mean they’re not disgustingly delicious!). Yahoo’s expert explains that “sweet potatoes contain more fiber and vitamins A and C” than their white counterparts.

My Plan: These crunchy little suckers pack a nutrient dense punch. As long as the ingredient list contains only sweet potatoes, veggie oil, and salt, I’m in! Still, these babies are higher on the carb side so if you’re watching your glycemic load have just a few.

#4 Protein bars. Or should we say glorified candy bars? Just read the ingredients. Low sugar alternatives, like ThinkThin bars may be an option if you’re seeking sweet satiety, but they’re still loaded with wacky chemicals like malititolan ingredient that can cause gastrointestinal upset . I think the air I breathe in Los Angeles is toxic enough, don’t you?

My Plan: I’ll take a protein smoothy with almond milk and berries over a protein bar any day!

#5 Baked chips and crackers. The term “baked” is mostly a marketing ploy and only saves you a few grams of fat, but not the high fructose corn syrup, high-glycemic inflammatory wheat flour, and other mile long, hard to pronounce ingredients.

My Plan: No backed chips and crackers for this body. Unless they’re Flackers, my newest gluten-free, flax seed cracker obsession, I’m not interested.

Other items on Yahoo’s list include Popchips and Rice Crackers, two other starchy, processed foods. And that’s the thing that every item listed has in common: it was born on a conveyor belt. I will always prefer a handful of nuts, a few mandarin oranges, or even a bag of pumpkin seeds (dried seeds + salt = Yum)! Real food is always a part of this girl’s plan.

 

 

My favorite gluten-free cracker: Flackers!

Low carb + high fiber + minimally processed = Delicious!

Low carb + high fiber + minimally processed = Healthy & Delicious!

My Week Without Wheat has now lasted over a month and I’ve never felt better! Throughout the process of purging my cabinets of bread, pasta, and crackers I discovered Flackers. This flax seed cracker contains only organic flax seeds, organic apple cider vinegar, bragg liquid aminos, organic rosemary, and organic sage. AND we’re talking 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving!

I’ve discovered all sorts of amazing ways to eat these crunchy little flax crackers. For example, I’ve paired them with hummus, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes for the ultimate snack. This low carb, high fiber, and absolutely delectable gluten-free option has a place in my grocery cart every trip. But note, I’ve only been able to find them at WholeFoods. If you’ve seen them at other stores do let me know in the comments!

Flackers Snack_2

Spaghetti Squash: your Gluten-Free pasta

Sphagetti Squash

When I worked at Red Bull, my svelte forty something boss used to lament the wonders of the Spaghetti Squash. Back then the thought of it scared me. Squash that you can substitute for pasta? Gross. I was happy in my wheat induced haze. I was happy eating crazy carb loads at every meal.  But no more. Being gluten-free means getting creative with meals, means braving new vegetables like the squash pictured above. Combined with a thrown together meat sauce (sugar-free pasta sauce with organic turkey and fresh mushrooms), this has become my husband’s favorite new gluten-free meal.

Here’s a link to this great pasta substitute’s nutrition info. In summary, the spaghetti squash has 42 calories per 155 grams (which equates to over a cup!). Compare that to around 174 calories in 1 cup of whole wheat pasta. Even if you’re not ready to go gluten-free your waist line will appreciate this recipe. It only has 10 carbs per serving too, compared to around 36 carbohydrates in the aforementioned pasta, which makes it the prefect treat for those leaning toward a lower carb lifestyle.

Here’s now to make this low-glycemic index, gluten-free, and positively delicious food:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 (ovens vary so adjust as needed).
  2. Wash the outside of your squash with soap and water thoroughly.
  3. Carefully slice the squash down the middle into two halves. Scoop out the seeds.
  4. Fill a 2 inch baking dish with an inch of water.
  5. Place both halves of the squash face down in the pan.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven (30 minutes is prefect in mine).
  7. Remove squash, allow to cool in fridge for 10-20 minutes (I’m impatient so I wait about 5-minutes, honestly).
  8. Grab a plate or bowl. Then run a fork over the inside of the squash in a scooping motion so that strands separate into your bowl.
  9. Season, butter, or oil to taste.
  10. Finish with the meat or vegetarian sauce of your choice!

Enjoy! :)

 

17 Healthy Ways to SHOW Your Love!

When it comes to love: Show don't tell!

When it comes to love: Show don’t tell!

I have a confession: I didn’t plan anything for Valentine’s Day. And neither did my hubby. We’re the annoying couple that exclaims, “We celebrate love 365 days a year!” But it’s true. For us it’s about the little gestures, the everyday actions that we use to SHOW one another, in healthy ways, what love means. And this goes for friends and other family members too. There’s no need to reserve your affection for a significant other. Because you can’t use love up! There’s plenty of it to go around. With that said, here are 17 healthy ways to show your love for the fitness and health enthusiast in your life.

1. Peel a cutie.

Why does a mandarin orange taste so much better when someone ELSE has peeled it? Add this to life’s great mysteries.

Cutie Heart

2. Slice an apple.

And pair it with a dollop of almond butter. Your love with be impressed by this healthy snack!

3. Pick out the _____ from a veggie medley.

My hubby abhors water chestnut so I take a few extra minutes to pick them out of any Asian style vegetable medley I’m preparing. With a big smile on his face, he notices it every time.

4. Get up a little extra early to make a protein smoothy (love yourself too and make enough for both of you!).

5. Make Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oat Meal Cookies.

Wrap up a bunch, then hide them in your love’s briefcase, backpack, or computer bag.

6. Make a Joy Jar.

Fill  a container (I typically use a glass jar) with folded up notes of the things you appreciate about them. Don’t be afraid to get graphic! Who doesn’t like to be praised for that booty they work so hard on. Intersperse inspiring and motivational quotes so that they can pull from the jar anytime they’re not in the mood to go to the gym, go for a run, or pop in a workout DVD.

7. Rub the heck out of some feet.

Those feet are what push them higher at the barre and faster on the treadmill. Try Skin Owl’s Argan Infusion to soften tough dry skin. BUT unless you’re a skilled masseuse by trade or have a touchy feely relationship with your buddy, this might not fly with the platonic lovers in your life. Key word: might. I will gladly accept a foot rub from any willing foot rubber.

8. Pick up a pack of new ankle athletic socks as a surprise gift.

Next time you’re at any department store (even Target!), mosey on over to the hosiery aisle. Find some bright, silly, and fun socks that will make your love smile every time they pull’em on. There’s nothing like fresh new socks for hard working feet. Years ago one of my best friends bought me a pair of fancy Nike socks… to this day I think of her every time I wear them!

color cheetah

9. Buy that local deal.

Groupon, Living Social, and Bloomspot are overflowing with awesome fitness deals. Snag that one for the nearby yoga or barre studio you KNOW they’ve been dying to try. Print out the coupon, roll it into a scroll, and tie it with a ribbon or string.

10. Go grocery shopping.

Bring a bag of organic farmer’s market produce home and cook up a healthy feast. Even if you’re not the world’s best cook, they’ll appreciate the effort. Trust me.

11. Offer to join them at their favorite barre studio.

Pay for that day’s class (hint hint hubby). Should he read this post and like to attend a class with me, there’s a spot in tomorrow’s Dailey Method Class with his name on it! Ladies if your man is a Cross Fit fanatic, join him. Gents if your woman is into cycling, saddle up. Working out with a partner is your fitness kitty’s catnip.

12. Make a dance cardio playlist.

Because Tracy Anderson’s music can motivate a person for only so long.

13. Create an in-home gym, even if just for an hour.

Move all the furniture out of the way, have their favorite barre DVD qued up, then get the dogs or kids out of their hair. Providing an entire hour of chaos free fitness at home is a priceless gift for your fitness prince or princess.

14. Show the workout of YOUR choice.

They’ll be thrilled that you are trying to  love fitness almost as much as they do. They’ll be thrilled that you’re taking your health seriously!

15. Get a subscription to ANY fitness magazine.

Shape. Women’s Health. Self. These are just a few of the many awesome fitness mag’s they’d LOVE to have delivered to their mail box.

16. Run a bath full of Epsom salt.

Soar muscles after some brutal circuit training, for example, can benefit from a hot bath full of Epsom salt. Athletes and dancers do it. FitnessWhore’s definitely do it. Tell’em that you appreciate how hard they work, with a fresh, hot tub just for them! But like the foot rub above, this one might best be reserved for romantic partners. Friends of mine reading this, don’t be shy. I’d love to have a gossip sesh from my bathtub.

17. Send any and all cool health and fitness related articles you find while browsing the internet.

They’ll know you’re on their mind. They’ll know you pay attention to what matters to them. They’ll be glad you associate them with healthy and fit living. It takes mere seconds to “share” a blog, blurb, or article, but the goodwill lasts much longer.

The ways to show a FitnessWhore that they’re appreciated go far beyond this simple list. I know you’re dying to share your ideas with me! How do your actions speak louder than words in showing the love?

 

What Doing It Dailey has done for me.

The Dailey Method Venice

Today marks the end of The Dailey Method Venice’s new year challenge. Though I didn’t meet me goal of 30 classes in 30 days, I’m proud to say that I did do over 20. Here’s how I’m feeling after a month of TDM classes and here are the benefits I’m convinced you too can experience if you make TDM a part of your routine.

1. Goodbye back pain! For months I’ve noticed an overall stiffness in my backs and hips. My doctor advised me to eliminate wheat to reduce inflammation, which I have done now for almost three weeks, but I wondered if there was anything else I could do. After just a few classes at TDM Venice which coincided with my new wheat free lifestyle, my back pain is COMPLETELY GONE. No joke. I swear it’s the method’s focus on spine and hip alignment that has made all the difference. Or maybe it’s  the new wheat-free me. Regardless, I’ve found a prescription that works and I’m sticking to it (wheat free + TDM = less body aches!).

2. I’ve lost weight! You may remember the embarrassing post wherein my booty was featured as the main picture. That pic showcases where I tend to gain weight most – my lower half. Well… I’m proud to announce that I’ve lost 6 lbs in the last month! And my booty has never felt and looked better (just ask my hubby). My seat is lifted. I have less cellulite.  I even found myself prancing around in itsy bitsy teeny weenie pajama shorts with the shades open (hello bums in the alley, feast your eyes on this!). Hitting up TDM Venice almost 5 days a week, plus a healthier diet, is certainly to blame for my firm and fabulous derriere. This morning I weighed in 142.4 lbs. At 5’9 I don’t quite look like a supermodel, but I’m certainly feeling like one!

4. Cardio is easier! Not only is 2013 the year of the butt, but it’s also the year I’ve decided to improve my cardiovascular fitness. I want to be and look like a runner. I want to be able to run for an hour straight without stopping. I want to feel like I could out run a pack of wolves if I had too (because you know West LA is just one giant wolves’ den, right?). So today, after weighing myself and getting totally pumped by what my scale had to say, I hopped on the treadmill with a vengeance. While 45 minutes of intervals (run 5.0 – 6.0 for 3 – 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes at 3.8) was still a challenging feat, I felt prepared. I felt strong. I noticed that my posture was upright, my rib cage lifted, and my lung capacity ready to rise to the challenge having not done any real cardio for weeks. TDM Venice’s classes have successfully built my ab and arm strength, muscle groups that facilitate greater cardio capacity and proper form.  In addition, hamstrings and other leg muscles are worked in each class to support knee and ankle joints. No wonder my college runner friend is totally hooked on TDM!

5. I’ve found a schedule I can stick to. Now that the TDM Venice’s new year challenge is over you might wonder what my plan is. Will I throw aside this barre for the next hottest thing? While this FitnessWhore is open to anything, TDM Venice will certainly be a part of my repertoire for years to come.  Once an early afternoon worker outer, I now embrace morning work outs. Cruising down Abbot Kinney as Venice fog burns off  is just such a nice way to mentally prepare to have your ass kicked. I love starting the day at The Dailey Method Venice and plan to keep starting it that way forever if I can (at least three days a week hehe).

Want to learn more about The Dailey Method Venice? Click here.