S.A.S.S! Yourself
I’ve been on a serious smoothie kick recently, and I love experimenting with various ingredient combos. Smoothies are a great way to sneak in nutrient-rich extras, from nut or seed butters to chia seeds, oats or quinoa, herbs and spices, green tea, even veggies. Here’s a particularly antioxidant rich concoction, perfect for satisfying a chocolate craving:   Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie ½ cup frozen cherries ½ cup frozen kale 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 1 scoop unsweetened pea protein powder ½ Tbsp chia seeds     For me, the cherries add just enough sweetness (***see note below), and while I can’t detect the flavor of the kale, I love the subtle texture it adds to the smoothie. This anti-inflammatory combo of “good” carbs, heart healthy fat, and lean plant-based protein leaves me feeling full, satisfied, and energized for at least four hours. And, my choc-o-tooth is satisfied! For another way to blend greens with chocolate, check out my vegan spinach brownie recipe, and the video that shows you how easy they are to make!   ***A note on sweetness: I don't like my smoothies too sweet, and when you stop adding sweeteners, your taste buds…
Most of us, myself included, can’t seem to avoid being inactive for a significant part of the day. When the work we do involves being chair-bound, like responding to emails, writing reports, and attending meetings, it’s difficult to avoid sitting on our bums, often for far longer than we’d like. And this “sitting disease” as scientists call it, is bad for our health. Up to 70 percent of us spend six or more hours a day sitting, and our sedentary ways are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, as well as breast and colon cancers. But, there’s a solution - one that requires just minutes a day, and can significantly enhance your health. Researchers in New Zealand assessed a group of 70 normal weight adults, and found that taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes, and performing a brief minute and 40 second…
Can’t seem to squeeze workouts in during the week? According to a recent study from Queen’s University in Canada, active but “infrequent exercisers” who mainly worked out on weekends were just as healthy as those who exercise daily. Researchers studied over 2,000 adults between the ages of 18 to 64 from across Canada, to determine if exercise frequency impacted the risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. To be diagnosed, you must have at least three of these five conditions:   A large waistline  - over 35 inches for women, and over 40 inches for men High blood pressure – a level of 135/85 or higher A high level of triglycerides – 150 or above Low "good" HDL cholesterol - less than 40 for men, or less than 50…
Can’t find time to get to the gym? Slip into your comfy shoes and take a 15 minute stroll after each meal. According to a new study from George Washington University, this habit can help normalize blood sugar levels for up to three hours after eating, and slash the risk of developing type 2 diabetes better than a sustained 45-minute walk. In the study, scientists recruited healthy adults age 60 and older who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to inactivity and high fasting blood sugar levels. Researchers found that three short post-meal walks, at an easy-to-moderate pace, were as effective as one 45 minute walk at regulating blood sugar over a 24 hour period. What's more, the post-meal walks were found to be more effective in normalizing blood sugar after meals - the "riskiest" time, when blood sugar spikes the most. To reap the benefits yourself,…
I’m often asked, “Is all sugar bad, including the sugar in fruit?” The answer is no – as long as you don’t go overboard.Presently, the strictest guidelines about sugar only refer to “added sugar,” which is sugar that's been added to a product by the manufacturer, like sweetened yogurt, baked goods, and candy, or the sugar you add to your own morning cup of Joe, not the kind added by Mother Nature, like the sugar in fruit. The American Heart Association has stated that we should limit our intake of "added sugar" to no more than 100 calories per day for women, and 150 for men, which amounts to 25 and 37.5 grams respectively. To put that in perspective, 25 grams of sugar equals about 6 level teaspoons of granulated sugar and 37.5 equals about 9 teaspoons. Hitting the target is entirely doable, but doing so would be a big change for many Americans, considering that the average intake of added sugar is currently 22 teaspoons daily, an amount that snowballs into 35 two pound boxes per person each year! Here's the tricky part: right now, Nutrition Facts labels don’t distinguish between added sugars (the type that should be limited) and…
Sometimes clients ask me, “If I only have time for one type of exercise, what should I do?” Truth be told, all three components of fitness – aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training - are essential for different reasons, but getting your heart rate up is likely the most effective for weight and fat loss. At least that’s the conclusion of newly released research, funded by the National Institutes of Health.In the study, over 230 previously inactive overweight or obese men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 were randomly assigned to one of three eight-month fitness regimes. The first exercised aerobically at about 70-85% of their maximum heart rate for 45 minutes three days a week. The second performed resistance training three days a week, which included three sets of 8-12 repetitions on eight machines, to target major muscle groups. The third performed both workout routines.Scientists…
Remember the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” Well, new research from scientists at the University of Bristol puts an interesting twist on that saying. In the study, researchers showed volunteers either a small or large portion of soup just before lunch, then altered the quantity of soup the diners actually received, using a pump that secretly refilled or emptied the bowls.Immediately after the meal, the soup slurpers’ self-reported hunger levels paralleled the amounts they had actually consumed, rather than the amounts they were shown. However, two to three hours later, those who had previewed a larger portion reported feeling significantly less hungry. And a full day later, more of the subjects shown the bigger quantity believed that their soup serving was enough to satisfy their hunger.I love this study, because I’ve often seen, for both myself and my clients, that larger portions tend to trigger greater satisfaction. And the good news is, you can fill up without filing out.It’s actually a myth that bigger portions always mean more calories - it just depends on what you’re eating. Within each food group, the portion that corresponds to one serving can vary widely. For example, three cups of popped popcorn,…
As we age we gain wisdom, but each passing birthday also brings a progressive loss of muscle strength, muscle mass, and aerobic capacity. We’ve known for some time that strength training can help preserve, or even rebuild, muscle mass and strength, but now a new study shows that aerobic activities, like walking, swimming or biking, can also help. Canadian scientists recruited over 70 men and women who were either inactive or highly active from three different age groups: 20-39; 40-64; and 65-86. Researchers put each group through a series of tests, and found that compared to the sedentary adults, those who regularly engaged in aerobic exercise performed better on evaluations of grip and muscle strength. The take home message is: just get moving. While this study doesn’t mean strength training isn’t necessary, it does support the old “move it or lose it” principle, and demonstrates that regularly getting your heart…
I have two cats, and I envy their ability to s-t-r-e-t-c-h oh so luxuriously. A good stretch feels wonderful. But it’s also good for your health. Stretching, and other forms of flexibility training, offer numerous wellness benefits, including: Reducing the overall feeling of stiffness in your body Improving the range of motion of your joints, which allows you to perform everyday activities more easily, such as getting in and out of bed, lifting packages, or bending to tie your shoes Opening up your circulation Improving your posture Stress relief, especially because stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles Improving your balance and coordination Reducing your risk of injuries Helping you stay active as you age Stretching essentially involves carefully and gently elongating your muscles in order to make them more pliable. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, stretching or flexibility activities should be performed at least two or three days…
Once you’ve comfortably settled into a cardio program, when it feels like a normal part of your lifestyle, I highly recommend adding a strength training component to your fitness routine.In a nutshell, strength training involves using a muscle, or more than one muscle, to resist or overcome a force of some kind. To create resistance, you can use a number of things, including: free weights (dumbbells or barbells); resistance bands or balls, or your own body weight (push ups, crunches, etc.).The benefits of strength training are numerous. This important piece of the fitness puzzle: Reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes Helps control your blood sugar levels Prevents or manages arthritis Helps control weight by preserving calorie-burning muscle Keeps your bones strong and healthy Reduces low back pain Cuts your chances of falling by improving your strength, balance and coordination Reduces stress Improves sleep better quality Helps you stay…
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