Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vegetarian Lentils - Mmmm Good For You!

My son came home from work sick today.  Even though he is all grown up I still felt the need to take care of him.  He wanted soup but as I looked in the pantry I decided that a nice hot bowl of Vegetarian Lentils would do the trick.  This dish is hearty on it's own and is packed with lots of protein and nutrients! I garnished mine with some roasted Brussels Sprouts!

  • 1 1/2 cups of Lentils
  • 4 cups of Vegetable stock or broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small to medium onion
  • 1/2 can petite diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • Olive Oil (or oil of choice), about 2 - 3 tbs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Rinse lentils to be sure they are free of debris.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan.
  • Saute the onions, garlic & carrots until softened
  • Add vegetable stock, tomatoes & lentils
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Stir to incorporate and bring to a light boil
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes until tender.
So simple and so good.  My son came running when he smelled these lentils cooking and I am happy to report that this dish really perked him up!  Read below to find out just how good this dish is for you!  Enjoy!

Here are 6 health benefits of lentils:

Heart Health
Studies have found that people who eat high fiber legumes like lentils have a much reduced risk of heart disease. The high levels of folate and magnesium in lentils also go a long way in protecting the heart.

Stabilize Blood Sugar
Due to their high fiber content, lentils help in regulating blood sugar by providing steady, slow-burning energy and balancing blood sugar levels.

High in Iron
Lentils are loaded with iron and are a great way to replenish the body's iron stores, especially for people who don't eat red meat like vegans and vegetarians.

B Vitamins
Lentils are a great source of B vitamins, most notably folate and niacin (B3). B vitamins are important for the healthy functioning of the nervous, digestive, and immune systems.

Lower Cholesterol
Lentils are a great cholesterol lowering food due to their high levels of fiber.

Protein Packed
Protein makes up 26% of the calories in lentils and they have the third highest level of protein than any other plant food. It's no wonder that they're a staple in many parts of the world.

Source - Health Diaries

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gluten Free Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Chicken with peppers, onions & pineapples served over brown rice.
Gluten Free & Low Sugar

This is a quick and easy rendition of a Hawaiian style chicken without any added sugar.  If you are not concerned about your sugar intake then by all means, please feel free to add 2 - 3 tbs of brown sugar to the recipe and omit the natural sweeteners.

I also thought it was nice to cut the chicken into strips and toss it together with the rice & vegetables.  It gave it that extra sweetness I like and the saltiness melded into the rice and made a perfectly balanced dish.

  • 4 - 6 Chicken Thighs (washed and patted dry)
  • 1/2 cup Tamari gluten free Soy Sauce (Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water (if you prefer a less salty taste use a bit more water)
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
  • 2 - 4 packets Xylitol Sweetener  (substitute 2 - 3 Tbs sugar, omit the sweeteners)
  • 2 - 4 packets of Stevia Sweetener
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha Sauce (more if you like it spicy, less if you don't like the heat)
  • 1 - 2 Cloves of fresh Garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper - sliced
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper - sliced
  • 1 Large Onion - sliced
  • 1/2 can Pineapple Chunks or Rings broken into pieces
  • Coconut Oil (to cook with)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Mix Tamari Sauce, Water, Pineapple Juice, Sweeteners, Garlic & Sriracha Sauce  in a large ziploc bag.
  • Add Chicken thighs.
  • Seal the bag and toss them inside to coat.
  • Let them marinate for at least 1 hour.  The longer they marinate, the better as they absorb the flavor

  • Add a bit of coconut oil to a large, heated skillet.
  • Add sliced bell peppers & onions and stir fry them until the onions become translucent and the bell peppers start to soften
  • Add  about 1/2 of a can of either pineapple chunks or the rings that have been broken into pieces.
  • Continue cooking until the pineapples start to get a slight color on them and the vegetables are cooked.
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Follow the directions for making your rice.  I used a brown Basmati Rice so it takes a bit longer to cook.  You can start the rice just before you start the vegetables or make it the night before so everything will be ready together.
  • Use an outdoor (or indoor) Grill or a Grill Pan to cook the chicken
  • Heat the Grill/Pan.
  • Gently shake off excess marinade from chicken pieces.
  • Do not crowd them on the grill
  • Leave them alone on a med to med high heat to cook.
Enjoy!  Be sure to adjust the marinade to your taste.  More sweetener if you like it sweeter and less Tamari if you don't like too much salt.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why You Should Walk & Squat Like A Toddler

Good Posture Begins From the Time You Learn To Stand:

Yes, that's right!  We should all aim to stand and walk like a toddler.  It seems that young children are born with naturally decent posture.  When they first learn to walk they may toddle around, hence the term toddler, but have you ever actually watched a young child's posture when they are standing, walking, running or all out moving?  Here you can see a small child squatting.  Look how he naturally rests on his heels, his knees are straight and don't turn in or out.  His chest is lifted and his spine is in a nice neutral position.  Can you do that?
As we age, we develop some bad habits.  Stress & fatigue can cause us to slump over, our spines to curve downward and our shoulders to slump.  Just sitting at a desk all day can cause our hip flexors to tighten up which will affect the whole kinetic chain. 

What is the Kinetic Chain?
The Kinetic Chain is the relationship, or how your nerves, muscles and bones work together to produce movements.
Once something in our kinetic chain becomes imbalanced we start to overcompensate in some way to avoid the discomfort we may feel and that begins the decline of our posture. As mentioned above, if you sit at a desk all day your muscles in your hips can become tightened due to under use. If your hips feel tight you will tend to lean forward which will in turn cause your shoulders to slump.

Injuries can also cause us to become imbalanced as we compensate the pain we feel with poor posture.

The next time you are out and about take the time to watch some young children playing, it could save your posture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

W.O.D. Workout of the Day - Fat Burning Circuit 10

Blast your fat with this intense circuit workout.  You just need a few simple items.
This is a  pyramid type workout.  You will start with 50 reps of the first exercise and take away 10 reps as you complete each exercise.

You will start and finish this workout with  some Jump Ropes.

  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebell (1 heavier Dumbbell will also work)
  • Jump Rope (you can also jump without the jump rope)
  • Jump Rope - 400 reps
  • Kettlebell High Pull  - 50 reps
  • Feet Elevated Push Ups - 40 reps
  • Dumbbell Step Ups - 30 reps (15 reps each side)
  • Dumbbell Squat to Rotational Press - 20 reps
  • 8 Count Body Builders - 10 reps
  • Jump Rope - 200 reps
Go through this workout as quickly as possible.  Rest only as needed and get right back to it.  You want to keep your heart rate up and power through this workout to blast that fat!

Kettlebell High Pull (You can use 1 Dumbbell and hold each end)

Feet Elevated Push Ups

Dumbbell Step Ups

Dumbbell Squat with Rotation Press

8 Count Body Builders

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are you working out S.M.A.R.T.?

We all want to live a healthy lifestyle. Having goals is key to obtaining what we want. Often times our goals are not met because they are either unclear or we have unrealistic expectations. A good way to overcome this is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

  • S - Specific
  • M - Measurable
  • A - Attainable/Achievable
  • R - Realistic
  • T - Time Based

  • Your goals should be clear
  • well defined
  • Your reason
  • Your purpose
  • Your "Why"
  • Measuring the progress towards your goal
  • How Much, how long, etc.
  • How will this goal be accomplished?
  • Is it within your grasp?
  • Is this goal possible to achieve?
  • Are your sights set too high?
  • Does it fit your "why"?
  • Set a time frame
  • Give yourself enough time
  • Don't give too much time or your goal will never be met

Friday, May 11, 2012

Couch to 5k - Up And Running Again!

I managed to get another run in yesterday.  I was able to go the whole 20 minutes.  I don't know why it has been so hard to get back where I was.  I am just happy that I was able to complete my goal.  I am hoping that I will be able to add those extra 5 minutes back on Saturday.  That will put me back where I was  before my ankle injury.

I wonder how long it takes before running becomes like walking and becomes second nature.  I find myself thinking about the clock.  I long for the time when I can just let my mind go and think about other things in life as I run.  I hope to get there soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

Elegant Moment Graduation Card
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gluten Free Almond & Flax Meal Crust Pizza

Yes, I know, I seem to be obsessed with pizza, right?  The truth of the matter is simply that I love bread and since I am not really eating it anymore (for now), I find myself wanting pizza.  I think it is a great way to feel like you are cheating when you are not.

For those of you following Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure Fast Track, this is perfect and so Belly Good!

I have posted recipes before for another flax crust pizza and also recently a cauliflower crust pizza.  This recipe is sort of a compilation of what I think worked in each of the recipes.  I substituted about 1/4 of the almond meal with flax meal.  I like the texture and crunch that flax meal lends to the crust.  The almond meal keeps it light!  I know the last time I made this pizza I had thought abut using all almond meal but I find that it doesn't tend to get as crunchy or hold up as well and it is rich.  I must say the crust was really good this time.  Nice crunch and not dry.  You won't choke on this like I have heard some have on other recipes, lol.

Here is the recipe:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F

  • 1 1/4 Cups Almond Meal
  • 1/2 cup Flax Meal
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese
Topping it off:
  • 1/4 cup Low Sugar Tomato sauce (your favorite brand)
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Shredded Cheese (your choice of favorites, mix it up)
  • Sliced vegetables: Bell Peppers, Onion, Mushrooms, Jalapenos, Olives, Meats, etc

  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl
  • Press this dough into a lightly oiled cookie sheet
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes until slightly golden
  • Add your low sugar sauce as needed
  • Sprinkle a bit of Granulated Garlic on top of sauce
  • Sprinkle a bit of Grated Parmesan
  • Add Toppings - Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions, Jalapenos, Onion, Meats (if desired)
  • Add Shredded Cheese of your choice
  • Bake again at 375 degrees until cheese is golden and bubbly! About another 13 minutes
Mmm Good! Makes 4 servings -

Couch to 5K Running Program. I am working my way back up!

I got back out and ran this morning.  I did a 20 minute run on the Westchester Parkway again.  Well actually it was 16 minutes with a 5 minute brisk walk and then 5 minutes running with another 5 minute cool down walk.  I really thought I could go the whole 20 minutes and I was a bit disappointed that I had to stop 4 minutes short.  I will nail it on Thursday for sure.  It was a tough run for me as I still feel deconditioned.  I warmed up longer than usual and did a nice long cool down and stretch as well.  I was super careful not to let my ankle get out from under me.  I guess I am babying it a bit, but I am so afraid of causing another injury.

I am really enjoying my new Asics Gel Neo33 Running Shoes.  They have really nice support and cushion.  I can feel the difference.  I am hoping to work back up to the 25 minutes I was running and finally get to 30 minutes.  I know it will come, I need to run everyday, but right now I can only run 3 - 4 times per week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Am Back To Running Again - Couch To 5K

I am happy to report that I am back to running.  I took a few weeks off from it to let my ankle/foot heal and it seems to have worked.

I ran on Saturday on the Westchester Parkway.  I felt a bit cautious and de-conditioned but overall my ankle and foot was fine.  I did have some pain in both knees for a bit and then it lingered in  my right knee a little longer (the side that I injured my foot on). 

I back tracked to week 6, day 1 just to see how running would feel. 

Anyway, I got a chance to try out my new Reebok RealFlex running shoes.  I like the way they felt, they were nice and flexible and super light.  These shoes are so nice and thin and feel like a part of your foot.  I love them.

Over the weekend I got another pair of running shoes in the mail.  Asics Neo33. I will be posting about them soon.

I ran again this morning.  I just ran Week 6, Day 1 of the program again.  It was easier this time and I tried to be very aware of my surroundings, especially the crummy sidewalks in my neighborhood.  I want to run in the street but I am sure someone will try to run me over, sigh!

The 5 Hour Workout?

I thought that would get your attention, lol.
(The real W.O.D. is posted below)

I did in fact have a 5 hour day of workouts with my Personal Fitness Trainer class yesterday.  Our teacher asked us if we wanted to give our special populations presentations or workout for 5 hours.  Only 4 of us were present in class at that moment and the the other 3 all said yes!   WHAT?  Seriously?  I had already worked out earlier that morning before class, so I was out-numbered, and had to go along with this crazy plan.

We started the morning with one of us leading the class in stretches.  That was all good.  Then the "fun" began!  Our instructor had us doing circuit workouts all morning.   If I can get photos from one of my classmates I will post them, lol.  Some of the "fun" stuff we did was a re-lay where we had to get in a prone (push up) position with our hands holding the edges of a tri-fold floor mat while we ran in this position for 12 rounds across the classroom floor.  My quads, glutes and hamstrings were on fire.  One of the other "fun" exercises that really stuck in my mind is where we had to push the squat/bench rack (in the same position) back and forth across the room 3 times as quickly as possible!  Geez!  This is a heavy piece of equipment!

Anyway here is the W.O.D. that I did before the "5 hour" workout!

  • Push Ups x 10 - 12
  • Squats x 10 - 15
  • Spiderman Climbs x 15 - 20
  • Jumping Jacks x 20 - 30

This is a Ladder Style workout meaning that each round you add more reps.  It is the opposite of a pyramid where you srart with higher reps and work your way down.


Jump Squats
Squat Thrust
Push Ups
Step Jumps
Walking Lunges

Looks easy, right?  Here's what to do. 
Start with just 1 rep of each exercise, then do 2 reps, then 3 reps, etc.  Keep adding 1 rep to each exercise as you go.  rest only as needed.  Do as many rounbds as possible in 20 minutes.

Sprint for 1/4 mile at the end of the 20 minutes. 

Here are some images!  Enjoy!

Jump Squats

Squat Thrusts

Push Ups

Step Jumps (Box Jumps)

Walking Lunges

W.O.D. Workout of the Day!

Workout of the Day -

This is a fat burning interval!

I have been so behind on my posting here.  My apologies.  That doesn't mean I haven't been eating right and working out!  I did take it a bit easier while my ankle was recovering, but I didn't stop working out entirely.  Here is a great workout that will work your legs and core!

You will need 1 Kettlebell or a dumbbell if you don't have one.

This workout is a circuit of 4 exercises mixed in with some sprinting.  Not just any sprinting.  You will be running with a weight.  This can be a Dumbbell, Kettlebell, Medicine Ball, whatever you have.  Since we will be using a kettlebell for one of the exercises, it will be easier to just use that for your weight sprint.  Fun stuff, let's get started!

  • Push Ups x 10 - 12
  • Squats x 10 - 15
  • Spiderman Climbs x 15 - 20
  • Jumping Jacks x 20 - 30

  • 5 Squat Thrusts
  • 10 KB Swings
  • 15 In/Outs
  • 20 Squat Jumps
  • Run 200 meters (1/8th mile) with 15 lb weight (I used a 15 lb kettlebell)
Go as quickly as you can through each exercise, rest only if you absolutely need to.  This is a timed workout.

20 minutes as many reps. as you can!

Cooldown and stretch it out!