Friday, May 28, 2010

Hot Tamale Yoga

Yesterday I tried hot yoga for the first time.

Have you tried it?

If not, are you thinking of an excuse right now why you haven't?
  • I don't like heat
  • I'm not flexible
  • Yoga isn't a good workout
  • Yoga's too hard
  • I don't like to sweat
I think the key to making fitness a part of your life, which YOU NEED TO DO if you haven't already, is to find something you love and do it consistently but remembering to add variety too. You may have to set aside your excuses and branch out to find something that really suits you. And then you have to keep doing it from time to time.

I love to run....well sometimes I do. Sometimes I hate it. But I still do it. I had a lot of excuses I had to work through before I got comfortable enough to run on a treadmill in a crowded gym or down the street in my neighborhood. But now I do both several times a week and love it. But it isn't enough.

I also had to add strength training so I joined a lunch class at work and faced routines I never dreamed I would be able to do. But now I can, at least to some extent. I also added yoga to increase flexibility and for relaxation purposes. Believe me, I'm one of the silliest looking people in the class, but I don't care! It feels great and I know first hand that if I just stick with it I will improve. We all have to start somewhere.

So what have you always thought about trying but were too scared?
Is there a class a friend has invited you to and you've always declined?
Do you want to take a dance class?
Rock climb?
Try yoga or hot tamale yoga?
Workout in the weight room at the gym?
Join a gym?
Run a race?
Take a cycling class or ride a bike?

I am encouraging you to get off your bootie and go try something new. If you are new to exercise, try something easy and seek assistance/advice as necessary. If you are already doing something, add some variety. Either way you have to step outside your comfort zone. Maybe you will hate it. Maybe you will love it. Maybe it will take a few tries and then you'll be hooked. What have you got to lose?

What have you got to lose if you don't?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recipes for Picky Eaters of All Ages

Do you have picky kids who don't want to eat their F & V?

Are you picky and have trouble eating your F & V?

Then try these recipes, provided by My Recipes, which are endorsed by the Cooperative Extension Families, Food and Fitness group.

Highlighted recipes include:
  • Zucchini Oven Chips
  • Grilled Asparagus Rafts
  • Coleslaw Cups
  • Brussell Sprouts and Rice Casserole
  • Light Pimento Cheese and Celery Sticks
  • Zucchini Bread
  • Grilled Rainbow Peppers
And more!

All of the recipes were very popular with kid testers. For instance on a rating system of 1, 2, or 3 stars, the oven-baked veggie chips received scores of "9,000" and "infinity." "I would ask my mom to make it again!" said our pickiest panelist.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Dirty Dozen Of Produce To Buy Organic

Are you interested in buying organic produce but turned off by the price tag?

One solution is to buy some organic produce and then purchase conventionally grown for the rest of your grocery list.

So which foods should you buy organically?

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG), a nonprofit, identifies fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest pesticide residues based on new data from the USDA and FDA on pesticide residues in produce.

The dirty dozen, the 12 fruits and veggies you should buy organically if at all possible are:

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale/Collards
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes

For the complete list of "clean" and "dirty" produce check out the EWG website.

Reader Request: Waffle Recipes

In a comment to a recent post a reader asked for waffle recipes. I don't make waffles and have never really eaten them with any gusto...except when I was in Germany and they were kinda different and when I was in college and thought it was cool to make a waffle with our school mascot on it. Ah, college cafeteria food. But I digress...

In this month's issue of Today's Diet & Nutrition, they have waffle recipes, with the idea that they will be made on Mother's Day. (Random shout out to my mom: Hey Lady! Thanks for being an awesome mom! I appreciate everything you do for me! And thanks for being a loyal blog reader! Happy Mother's Day! Love you!) But I digress....again....

I normally wouldn't post recipes that I haven't tried myself. I also don't want this to just become a recipe sharing site...which is why I always try to include some nutrition insights or food information along with the recipes. BUT, these do look good and they even provided nutritional information for each recipe. And since they were specifically requested, I'm obliged to share. ;)

Raspberry-Hazelnut-Yogurt Waffles
Makes 16 waffles

You will need:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 T confectioner's sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground hazelnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh berries
To make:
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Stir in nuts.
  3. Add milk, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix.
  4. Stir in berries.
  5. Heat waffle maker and bake according the machine directions.
Nutrition (2 waffles):
  • 223 calories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 8 grams protein

Maple-Bacon Waffles
Makes 16 waffles

You will need:
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground rolled oats
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6-8 strips lean turkey bacon, crumbled
  • 3 T pure maple syrup
To make:
  1. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt.
  2. Add milk, oil, vanilla, eggs. Mix.
  3. Stir in bacon and syrup.
  4. Make waffles according to waffle maker.
Nutrition (per 2 waffles):
  • 245 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 1 gram fiber
  • 10 grams protein
If you try either of these, let me know how they turn out. Or if you have other waffles recipes, please share!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Secret To Health

This just in!

Hot off the press!

Results are in!

This is the solution you've been waiting for!

Are you ready to learn about the one thing that can improve your health?

Want to lose weight?

Lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease?

Then listen carefully.....

Are you sitting down, because here it is, the secret quick fix:

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

I'm sorry, maybe I should speak up.

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

Did you get that? Did you write it down?

That is the ONE thing you can do right now, today, to make vast improvements in your health. Even if you don't change anything else about your diet or lifestyle, do this and you will likely see results.

Try it. What do you have to lose? You stand to lose far more if you DON'T do it.

So what do I mean?

Am I suggesting taking a supplement? No.

Am I suggesting you by an expensive juicer or other fancy equipment?
No. (But more on this in another post.)

Am I saying you need to shop at whole foods or buy organic?
No. (But we can talk about that later.)

All I'm asking you to do is eat more servings of fresh, unadulterated produce each day. Don't be concerned about a number of servings or a specific type of vegetation. Get something you like or try something new. Add fruit to your breakfast, even if the rest of your meal is complete nutritional crap. Eat a small salad (without a ton of dressing) before your dinner. Snack on carrots in the afternoon. Have fruit for dessert. Put some veggies in your pasta sauce. Add extra lettuce and tomato to your burger. The more, the better. The more variety the better. But even if all you do is eat an apple today that you would not have eaten otherwise, you are doing something good for yourself.

But don't just do it today and forget about. Do it everyday. Start small but be consistent. And keep adding and adjusting as time goes on. The more veggies and fruit you eat, the better you will feel. If you do it, you WILL see results. No pills, surgery, doctors, special foods, supplements, health gurus endorsed by Oprah, or time required.


F & V, baby, F & V!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coo Coo For Cous Cous

Cous cous.

It's a strange name for a food, but fun to say, right? It's even more fun to cook and eat!

I began eating cous cous in high school during my early vegetarian days. It was an easy component for quick meals. Even a teenager with zero cooking skills couldn't mess it up.

So what is it?

It's actually made from pasta but is cooked and served like rice. It is light and fluffy and can be combined with numerous ingredients and flavors. Unlike rice, it cooks in five minutes or less. You simply bring the specificed amount of water to a boil, add the cous cous, stir, take off the heat, cover the pot, allow to sit for a few minutes, and then fluff with a fork. (Many recipes will tell you to add oil, but this is really not needed unless you really prefer it.)

Cous cous can be found in nearly all grocery stores in the rice aisle. It's typically available in a box, with a variety of flavor choices including parmesan, broccoli and cheese, curry, herb, garlic, lentil, tomato, and more. If you are new to cous cous I recommend you pick up one of these boxes, whichever flavor you prefer, and give it a try. There are instructions on the box, which will mimic what I outlined above. Serve it with veggies and any type of meat. Or, serve it with a stew on top.

Now that I have been making cous cous for 15 years or so, I rarely buy the boxed variety. If it's on sale, I might get a box or two for the pantry for back-up, quick meal options. But I prefer to buy it plain and in bulk. It's much cheaper this way and allows me to use it whatever way I like. I buy it at Whole Foods but it can also be found plain in larger containers at most regular grocery stores.

I follow the same steps to prepare the cous cous. Then I add whatever I want. My favorite use I found by accident. I had leftover citrus and fennel salad (kinda like a tangy salsa) and needed to use it up. So I thought I would make up some cous cous and toss it together. It was awesome! I tried this method again last week with a different "salsa" recipe. I chopped up a pineapple and cut about a cup into small pieces. I also chopped some celery that was about to go bad and added it for crunch. Then I added a little vinegar and some fresh herbs from the garden. Next I cooked the cous cous and toss it with the salsa. I served this along with tuna from the grill.

It was light, fruity, tangy, sweet and healthy. It was perfect for a meal on a warm spring day.

You can also try making it sweet by mixing in cinnamon, sugar and dried or fresh fruit.

Give it a try and lemme know what you think. Or, if you have tried it, share your favorite flavor or preparation.