Monthly Archives: November 2013

Fierce Workout: Torch the Turkey

I’d like to invite you to take a moment and think about all of the things that you are grateful for today. Think about how far along you have come, how much progress you have made. Be thankful for your body, your strength, your determination. Celebrate your commitment and your success in spite of the busy schedule, family obligation, stress at work, and millions of other things that get in the way.

Now that you have thought about how awesome you are, it is time to proactively burn off that Thanksgiving meal you are going to consume in a few hours.

Here’s the deal: this is short and sweet and to the point HIIT workout. After you do your warm up, do each of the following exercises for 50 seconds without rest between sets, then rest 20 seconds and do the circuit again for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds, etc. until you get to 10 seconds. Your workout should look something like this:

EXAMPLE:
50 seconds Push-ups
50 seconds High Knees
50 seconds Burpees
50 seconds Jumping Jacks

Rest 20 Seconds

40 seconds Push-ups
40 seconds High Knees
ETC.

Do not stop between sets, push hard and dig deep. It will be hard, but you can do it!

After you finish your last circuit, stretch, hydrate, and go eat lots of turkey (white meat, of course).

Quick Warm-up: 10 Toy Soldiers, 10 Knee to Elbow, 10 Toe Touch Kick and Squat, 20 Line Jumps

 torch_the_turkey

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Cabbage Salad

I am a big fan of cabbage which is why I am constantly looking for new, easy, runner diet friendly ways to make my favorite dishes. Blow is my take on a coleslaw salad. For this recipe you can use any cabbage you like. My preference is savoy or white, but red cabbage works well too and adds a nice touch of color.  This salad is a perfect side dish for a nice, juicy turkey burger or veggie burger.

Ingredients:

4 cups Shredded Cabbage Slaw
1 cup Sliced Cucumber
1 Cup Sliced Radish

Dressing:
2 tbsp Fresh Dill (optional)
2 tbsp Light Mayo
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt

Directions:

Combine cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, black pepper, salt, and chopped dill. Mix well and pour over the veggie mixture. Give it a good  toss and enjoy!

Vegetable of the Month: Cabbage

cabbageOrigins:

Cabbage is a leafy green, annual vegetable that is closely related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. There are a number of cabbage plant varieties, the most popular of which is the smooth-leafed, firm, green cabbage. There are two other common varieties of cabbage: red and savoy. Red cabbage is a smooth-leafed, firm, deep purple in color with a strong flavor profile. Savoy cabbage on the other hand has a “ruffled” leaf, yellow-green in color, and has a mild flavor profile and softer texture.

Throughout the centuries, cabbage has been used as food and as medicine. Cabbage plants were introduced into European cuisine around 600 B.C. by migratory Celtic tribes and became a dietary staple shortly thereafter. Currently, Russia is leading the charts with the highest consumption of cabbage per capita with Belgium, Netherlands, and Spain coming in as close seconds.

Cabbage as Medicinal Herb:

Because of its high antioxidant and fiber count, cabbage has been used as medicine by many cultures. The Ancient Greeks recommended the use of cabbage leaves as a laxative, cabbage juice to treat poisonings, and help heal bruising. The Romans and Egyptians used cabbage as an anti-hangover cure and a method to prevent drunkenness.

In the early 20th century, cabbage leaves were used to treat ulcers and abscess. Some scientific evidence suggests that certain properties found in cabbage leaves can reduce the pain of engorged breasts (during lactation), and extend the duration of breast feeding by increasing milk production. Other scientifically unsupported uses of cabbage in medicine include the treatment of rheumatism, sore throat, hoarseness, appendicitis, pneumonia, removal of warts and boils, and treatment of mild depression.

Health Benefits:

Cabbage, much like most of cruciferous vegetables, is a great source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A), vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. However, unlike most cruciferous vegetables, cabbage boasts impressive levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant in the phytonutrient category.

Phytonutrients are organic components of plants. The term itself derives from the word phyto meaning plant. Although these organic components are not necessary for a person to survive, scientists believe that consumption of phytonutrients can prevent certain cancers and help with minimizing the effects of our toxic environment.  Phytonutrients serve as very powerful antioxidants and help enhance immune response, regulate estrogen metabolism, aid in DNA repair caused by exposure to carcinogens, as well as effectively activate a detoxification enzyme (cytochrome P450 and Phase II enzyme system) to remove carcinogenic byproducts of the metabolic process.

Polyphenols are one of the major groups of phytonutrients and are found in a variety of plants such as onion, cranberries, tea, red grapes, grape juice, strawberries, apple, raspberries, blueberries, red wine, cabbage, and nuts. Polyphenols can be divided into two categories: flavonoids and non-flavonoids. Flavonoids are the most extensively studied polyphenols in conjunction with metabolism and cancer prevention.

With that being said, even white cabbage has incredible high amounts of polyphenols (50 milligrams per ½ cup). Red cabbage can arguably be even more effective in terms of delivering a higher concentration of antioxidant and detoxifying nutrients per ½ cup. Red cabbage contains high concentration of flavonoids known as anthocyanins (a very powerful antioxidant that is found in blueberries, Okinawan sweet potatoes, cherries, and other purple colored fruits and vegetables). In addition to having antioxidant qualities, anthocyanins are also an extremely effective anti-inflammatory.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage juice has been used for centuries to treat stomach ulcers. Recent evidence suggests that cabbage can contribute to overall health of intestinal lining and stomach by regulating bacterial population, reducing inflammation, and regulating bowl movement.

Cancer Prevention:

In addition to antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage also contains an impressive concentration of glucosinolates.

Glucosinolates are organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen. Yes, glucosinolates are the reason why your house starts smelling “sulfurey” when you cook your favorite cabbage dishes. Glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanate compounds which in turn can be very effective in prevention of a number of colorectal cancers.

Different varieties of cabbage contain different amounts of glucosinolates. Savoy cabbage, for instance, contains high concentrations of sinigrin, a glucosinolates that has received a lot of attention in recent years as a cancer prevention chemical.

Although the research on cancer prevention is still on going, adding at least one serving of cabbage to your daily consumption of vegetables can prove to be beneficial for your weight loss and overall health.

Choosing the Perfect Head:

When choosing your cabbage, make sure that the head is firm, bruise free, and has bright, crispy, colorful leaves.

Avoid buying precut cabbage. Once the cabbage is cut it begins to lose some of the essential vitamins and minerals. If you have to store some of the cabbage (that you precut) you should try to use it within a couple of days.

Keep your cabbage cold by placing it in the refrigerator or in a cellar. This will help keep your cabbage fresher longer as well as slow down the breakdown of vitamin C.

Green, Red, and White cabbage will usually keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, while Savoy cabbage should be consumed within a week, and Bok Choy within a few days.

Cooking Cabbage:

According to some scientists, steaming the cabbage promotes better release of nutrient. Although that might be true, we find that steaming cabbage turns it into an awful mess and produces less than appetizing aromas. We recommend that you sauté, pickle, of consume your cabbage raw. Additionally, you can add your cabbage to soups and stir fries.

 

Sources:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/aboutus/docs.htm?docid=4142
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/57/14/3026.short
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814697001003
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10075763
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
Kushad MM, Brown AF, Kurilich AC, et al. Variation of glucosinolates in vegetable crops of Brassica oleracea. J Agric Food Chem 1999 Apr;47(4):1541-8. 1999. PMID:13320.

 

 

Fierce Workout: Fit in 400

Chances are you are going to be away from your gym / workout equipment this Holiday season due to travel and family obligations. Does your workout have to suffer because that? No! This week, I have devised a fun, fast paced way for you to burn off the Holiday treats at the track.

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Fierce Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and some of you might be biting your nails trying to figure out how to cut the calories, fats, and sugar out of the traditional meal without sacrificing flavor, color, texture and general appeal of your dishes. Although it is nearly impossible to make every traditional Thanksgiving dish light, here are a few recipes and tips that’ll help you and your family cut the unnecessary decadence without making your dinner bland.

Tips:

I try to cook using as little fat as possible which is why I invested in some incredible nonstick pans. If you don’t have a good nonstick pan, do not worry. The recipes below have measures of olive oil that are labeled “optional”. Those “optional” measures of olive oil are for those who don’t have access to a set of good nonstick pans.

If you are watching your sodium intake, you can cut the salt ratio in half for the dishes that are using lemon juice and lemon zest. Chances are you won’t miss it much. However, I would not alter the turkey brine.

If you absolutely have to use something sweet in one of your recipes, try honey or agave syrup. If your recipes call for candied nuts, try substituting toasted nuts lightly coated in honey instead or omit the honey all together. 🙂

Succulent Turkey Breast:

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the star of every dinner—the turkey. Here is my fabulously simple recipe for the most delicious and moist turkey you’ll ever eat! I have to put a disclaimer here, give yourself at least 24 hours after the turkey is fully defrosted to properly prepare and treat the bird.

Ingredients:TG_Turkey

6lb turkey breast
60ml Water
15g of Salt
3 Lemons (juiced)
¼ cup Soy Sauce
1tsp Chili Powder
1 Tangerine Orange
1 Bunch of Lemon Thyme
2 Rosemary Sprigs

Directions:

Wash and clean the turkey breast. Take care not to cut or puncture the skin. Set the bird on a wire rack of a regular roasting pan to drain. In the meantime, combine water, salt, and lemon juice and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Fill a marinade injector with the brine. Find a few places on the breast that do not have skin and inject the brine. Usually, one 30 ml injector full of brine is enough for a 6 lb. turkey breast. Discard the leftover brine.

Combine soy sauce and chili powder. Mix well. Using a basting brush, brush the soy sauce mixture on your turkey. Set the turkey in the refrigerator, uncovered for 12-24 hours.

After the turkey spent at least 12 hours in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 325 °F.  Stuff the cavity of your turkey with rosemary sprigs, thyme, and a halved tangerine. Cook your turkey uncovered for 2.5 hours or until the meat thermometer reads 170 degrees. You shouldn’t have to baste or treat your bird in any other way. The skin is going to be golden brown and the inside extremely juicy. After the turkey is done, cover the bird with foil and let it rest for 10-20 minutes before serving.

 Healthy Stuffing

 Ingredients:TG_Stuffing

12 slices of Whole Wheat Bread
1 tbsp olive oil + ½ tbsp. for cooking the veggies (optional)
½ tsp of salt
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
½ tsp Sage
½ Sweet Onion (diced)
3 Celery sticks (diced)
½ cup Fresh Cranberries (whole)
2 cups Baby Bella Mushrooms (diced)
¼ cup Dried Cranberries
2 cups of Chicken Broth

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Cut the bread into ½ inch squares and set aside. In a large bowl combine olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, sage, and the bread. With your hands, gently toss the bread in the mixture until all cubes are evenly coated. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the croutons are crispy. Allow to cool, pulse in a blender or a kitchen processor until the bread is about pea sized.

In a nonstick pan combine diced onion, celery and mushrooms. Cook until the mixture has reduced by about a quarter or until the mushrooms are gold and onions are lightly caramelized. Add the Chicken Broth and bring it to a gentle boil, add in the cranberries, wait until the broth mixture is boiling again and add in the bread. Stir gently to incorporate all of the ingredients, turn of the heat and let the mixture rest for a minute or two before serving.

Green Beans

Ingredients: TG_Green_Beans

1 lb. of Green Beans (cleaned)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
½ tsp olive oil (optional)
Freshly ground pepper

 Directions:

Combine green beans, lemon juice, pepper (optional), salt (optional), and minced garlic. Cook stirring occasionally until green beans are tender. Garnish with lemon zest and serve.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients:TG_Acorn_Squash

1 Acorn Squash (cleaned and cut into wedges)
1 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp rosemary (minced)
1tbsp Chives (minced)
Zest of ½ Lemon
Sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Wash, clean, and cut the squash into wedges. In a small bowl combine the oil, rosemary, chives, and lemon zest. Arrange your squash wedges  in a baking dish and brush them with the herb mixture, add salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.

Fierce Workout: The Sky Is The Limit

Since the Holiday season is almost here, I figured I’d start posting some travel friendly workouts. This week we will explorer an AMRAP workout. AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible in a given amount of time. For this workout, you’ll need to complete as many reps as possible for 20 minutes of the exercises listed on the workout graphic. You may stop as needed, but remember, you only have 20 minutes to complete this. The shorter the breaks the more reps you’ll be able to squeeze in.

The_sky-is-the-limit

Surviving the Holidays: Staying Fit While Traveling

holiday-fitnessHoliday season is right around the corner and with it comes a heavy travel schedule, stress, joy, pies, cookies, candy, guilt, and mounds of delicious, fattening food. So, how do you maintain all the progress you have made in the last few weeks and still enjoy your time with your family and friends?

First of all, I encourage everyone to take a look at the calendar. How many days are there between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year? 26! Even if you ate until you feel like popping on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, there are still 26 other days to stay on plan! Make it a point to stick to your diet and workout schedule during those 26 days. You will feel significantly better about yourself if are actually following through with a program that you have set for yourself. You might even feel more empowered by the progress that you are making despite the odds.

Travel

Some of us can’t have consistent access to the gym during the holidays due to travel and family obligations. Not to worry, you can still get a great workout that will burn calories even if you didn’t splurge on a fancy hotel that has a private gym.  Here’s how:

 TRX

TRX is a suspension system that will change your life. It is compact, fits in most carryon, and can be fastened to a door, a pull-up bar or any number of other surfaces. TRX allows you to perform a variety of moves that encompass practically every part of your body with just your body weight and angle variation.

 Take it outside

Even if you don’t have time for a full run, grab a few of your relatives and get outside. Be a kid again and play some football, tag, or even hide and seek. Think about it this way: your kids will be happy and worn out before the day ends and you’ll feel better because you had some cardio!

Go for a hike, or grab all the pets that need walking and go for a long walk. The pets will thank you and you will thank you! Seriously, no need to sit inside and be tempted by all the food. Go get some air, do something fun, be a kid again!

 Tension Bands

Much like the TRX, Tension Bands are a space saving travel must have! Tension bands can replace dumbbells for most exercises and are fun and easy to use. I find that they are best used together with a TRX.

 High Rep, High Intensity Exercises

Forgot to pack your TRX and your Tension Bands? No problem, a high rep, high intensity routine will get your heart rate high and your muscles working. Try exercises such as air squats, squat jumps, high knees, butt kicks, push-ups (of all varieties), crunches, triceps dips, and box jumps (you can use a park bench for these). There are endless possibilities and the amount of calories that you can burn is insane!

For more “no gym required” workouts, visit our workout page or our Facebook page!

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Eating While Traveling

Keeping a good diet is always difficult when you are traveling. Even if you usually pack your own food, traveling with it might present an issue. Believe it or not, if you are taking a road trip this holiday season, you’ll have an easier time staying on plan than those with long layovers. Most airports won’t let you go through security with a drink larger than three ounces and you can forget about bringing food! So what is one to do when stuck on a long flight or have a long layover? Here are some tips:

 Be Smart

Airports will usually have a number of restaurants that offer lighter dishes. If you are eating at the restaurant, go for a salad with a grilled protein, get your dressing on the side, and make sure to steer clear of anything that is candied, breaded, or contains large quantities of fat.

Not ready for a meal but would like a snack? Airport newsstands and coffee shops frequently carry nuts and occasionally some fresh fruit. If you can find some skim milk and a banana, you are basically set for a nice snack.

Some Starbucks locations still offer protein powder as an addition to their drinks. If you go for a nonfat, sugar free, nothing bad protein latter, you just might make it to your destination without deviating from your diet.

However, if you slip up, panic and make the wrong choice, don’t beat yourself up. One bad meal isn’t going to make you fat, a few bad meals might.

If you are traveling by car and wondering how to stay on plan, you are in for a treat! I LOVE road trips and at this point I am somewhat of a pro at making them nice, relaxing, and fun. Even before I began my fitness journey I would pack food for long trips. I found that it saved me money and helped me get to where I was going faster. What can I say, I hate stopping and LOVE driving! Here’s what I pack:

Get a large cooler and a bunch of ice or ice packs, fill it with the following:

 Short Trips (3-4 hr):

Protein Powder / Protein Drinks
Water
Nuts
Fruit or veggies (green apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cut and cleaned green peppers, radishes, celery sticks, grapes, pears)

Long Trips (5+ hr):

Water
Meal Replacement Shakes
Protein Drinks / Protein Powder
Salad (lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers) precut in a large Tupperware container
Lean protein (precut grilled chicken or individual packets of tuna)
Fruit and Veggies
Almond Butter
Nuts

 

I also find it useful to have a cooler with me at the hotel room. That way I can stop by the local grocery store and get everything I need for a healthy snack or mid-day meal. What can I say, the small fridges just don’t cut it for me anymore!

If you have any questions about keeping your progress through the Holidays, visit our Facebook page, send me an email, or comment below. I’m sure you can come up with a plan for you!