Friday, October 13, 2017

Halloween Candy Horrors!

October is here and that means Halloween. Halloween means candy - and lots of it. When you are on trick-or-treat duty, it's hard to resist dipping in, but those fun-sized bars can add up to hundreds of calories. Here are four tricks to fend off those little treats:

Put empty wrappers on display. A Cornell University study found that people who left these visual reminders ate nearly half as many candies as those who tossed them out.

Don't buy your favorites. Stock a treat that you don't particularly love, so you won't be so tempted to go overboard.

Promise yourself a future treat. In exchange for avoiding the candy you don't really like, promise yourself that you will get to eat a fun-sized version of the treat you REALLY want at another time. And then, keep your promise!

Hide the candy. Use an opaque container with a lid to stow your stash so you won't snag a piece each time you walk by. Make it more difficult to get to the candy so choosing one piece is a conscious choice.
I've posted this blog before but the tips are so good I want to share it with you again this year. You can be successful in conquering your sweet-tooth this Halloween. Identify the cues that lead to nibbling Halloween candy, make a plan and follow through! 
Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Get Ready for the Turkey Trot!



More Americans participate in races on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year! Join the crowd and start your holiday on the right foot by participating in the Burbank Community YMCA Turkey Trot. This family-friendly 5K/10K race is open to runners, walkers, stroller-pushers and pets. Costumes welcome! There is a Pre-Race Expo for all and Kid's Fun Zone for the little ones. In addition, you'll get a commemorative tech T-shirt to wear around town throughout the year. Everyone will know you did the race Thanksgiving morning.

You have seven weeks to prepare and achieve your 5K or 10K goal. There are lots of "Couch to 5K" apps and programs to follow. Click here to try one from the Mayo Clinic. The general idea is to start with a short distance and alternate walking and jogging. Each time you head out for a run, you increase either the jogging time or the distance. Eventually, you can run the entire distance!

The Turkey Trot is a great Burbank community day with people from all areas of city life coming together to move their bodies before sitting down to dinner.  It's fun to see so many friends gathered for the event.  John and I will participate with our family, including a stroller and two dogs, while wearing turkey headwear and Pilgrim hats.  Look for us!

Save $5 by using the code SMILTT5 when you register: Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot


Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food


Friday, September 29, 2017

Dragon Bowl!


With so many people looking for good food made fast, dragon bowls are a one-stop shop.  Also called Super bowls or Buddha bowls, the typical all-in-one meal is packed with healthy, diverse and colorful foods, both raw and cooked. The final touch is a generous drizzle of an addictive dressing that features Asian overtones. The dressing often includes ginger, garlic, and Sriracha. Other flavor choices may be tamari, tahini or wasabi.

Make Prep Fast
Pre-cooking grains and roasting vegetables ahead of time can help you assemble your bowl quickly. Bake tofu or chicken the night before. You can even whirl the dressing together and store in the frig for a week or so.

On the Run
If you're dashing out to a soccer game or packing your lunch for work the next day, place vinaigrette at the bottom of a large container that has a snug seal. Layer on the various ingredients. When you are ready to eat, turn the container over, give it a few shakes and you have a delicious, nutritious meal that will make your appetite come alive.

DRAGON BOWL BASICS

Base of fresh greens: kale, spring mix, spinach

Grains or Noodles: quinoa, brown rice, ramen

Vegetables: cooked or uncooked carrots, squash, onions, cabbage, avocado

Protein: Hard-boiled eggs, legumes (like lentils), tofu, chicken

Toppings: nuts, dried fruits, chia or sesame or sunflower seeds, sprouts, herbs

Dressing: Flavors from Asian cuisine - ginger, soy, peanut sauce, etc.

Try this dressing or check on-line for another recipe that appeals to you.

1/2 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp plum sauce or mango chutney
1/3 cup olive or grapeseed oil

Combine all ingredients except olive or grapeseed oil. Blend well in food
processor. Slowly drizzle oil in a thin stream until all is incorporated and mixture is well blended.

  
Dragon bowls are easy on your budget and help you stay away from the temptations of fast food. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Dragon Bowl

Friday, September 22, 2017

Playground Boot Camp

The kids are back to school, temperatures are cooling off a little bit and you find yourself at the playground with your little ones. Or maybe you want to head over in the morning when the playground is empty except for you and a workout buddy. Try these outdoor boot camp moves!

SWINGS
The swings can sub in for TRX straps and intensify your efforts.


Bulgarian Split Squats
Stand with your back to the swing, about a foot or two away. Place the top of your left foot atop the seat, sole facing up. Bend your right knee 90 degrees to lower into a lunge. (Photo above.) 20 reps.

Reverse Crunch
Facing away from swing, start in plank with the tops of your feet resting in swing. Pull knees to chest, extend legs. 20 reps


BENCH
Use any sturdy platform - bench, bleachers, etc. - for these total body moves.


Squats
Stand facing away from bench. Lower into squat, tapping seat with your tush. Stand, lifting right knee. Repeat, this time lifting left knee. 20 reps.

Incline pushups
Face bench and place palms on seat. Lower into pushup while lifting alternate leg. 20 reps.

Step Ups
Face bench, place right foot on seat. Push through right heel to stand, bringing left knee toward chest. Repeat, this time stepping with left foot. 20 reps.

Tricep Dips
Sit on edge of bench, palms flat. Walk feet forward and scoot tush off bench. Bend elbows to dip. 20 reps.


MONKEY BARS
Going from bar to bar is great, but try this serious ab move, too.

Hanging Abs
Grasp bar with both hands, hang down. Bring feet off ground and curl bent knees to chest. Hold for one count and slowly lower knees, without letting them touch the ground. 10 - 20 reps


Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 15, 2017

Kayaking

My husband and I bought kayaks and recently had the opportunity to try them out. Kayaking is great exercise and gives you a low-to-the-water view that really immerses you in the experience. Here are more health benefits from kayaking:

Reduces stress: Watching your boat move through the water by your own effort, spending a few hours under the sky, on the water, watching the colors of the blues, the greens, the grays, and the browns, this is all a relaxing and enjoyable experience. It taps into the Blue Mind that I discussed in this blog.

Upper body workout: Placing the paddle in the water and executing a good stroke is going to incorporate every muscle in the upper body. This means that in one hour at 3 mph you are going to do about 1,500 repetitions of low impact upper body movements, which no matter what your fitness goals are, are going to tone up almost every muscle in your upper body.

Core strengthening: The core, made up of the upper and lower abdominal muscles, is strengthened in the sport through the control and balance part of participation. Turning the kayak relies on the shifting and turning of the core area of the body. Each turn of the kayak results in the use of these muscles and, over time, builds this area. 


Tones legs: Pressure applied by the legs assists in turning and balancing the kayak. The tightening of the muscles in the legs for this purpose acts as an isometric exercise. The constant squeezing over time increases the strength of your leg muscles.

Improves heart health: The brisk movements involved in the sport are another benefit of kayaking as exercise. The continuous movement raises the heart rate and increases cardiovascular health.

Get out and explore. Try something new! Kayak.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 8, 2017

Golden Goodness

Look out green juice, golden milk is becoming the healthy drink of choice around the West

Made with fresh turmeric, a root that's now more widely available in supermarkets, the creamy sip has an earthy-sweet flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits. I blogged about some of the benefits of the active compound in turmeric, curcumin, last week. This recipe comes from Emanne Desouky, co-owner of Super Juiced in Oakland, CA.

I made it for my family as a dessert and served it with gingersnaps. You might like to use it as post-workout fuel or a mid-afternoon boost. We thought it had an Indian flavor to it, influenced by the turmeric and the cardamom.

Super Juiced Golden Milk

2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup coconut cream or milk
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 or 2 pitted Medjool dates
1 inch piece each of fresh ginger and turmeric, peeled
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, vanilla extract and sea salt
1/4 tsp. cardamom
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Whirl ingredients in blender until frothy on top, 30 seconds. Strain and discard pulp. Chill until cold. Sprinkle with cinnamon.



Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 1, 2017

Three Ways Turmeric Protects You

You've heard that turmeric is a ‘miracle herb’. What makes this herb so miraculous? Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. Bioactive ingredients found in this herb are pleiotropic in nature- the same mol*-+ecule can bind to a variety of enzymes and other molecular targets in the body. Here are just a few of turmeric's benefits:

Cucurmin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributor to many common Western diseases. Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases. The anti-inflammatory effect is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some pharmaceutical drugs.

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own due to it's chemical structure. Additionally, it stimulates the body's own antioxidant enzymes, delivering a double dose of anti-aging benefits.

Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain. Alzheimer's and depression are both linked to decreased BDNF levels in the brain so the curcumin can have a protective effect.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with turmeric.  The pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. (That's not a typo.) Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to ingest it with a fatty meal.

Both of those factors are deliciously taken into account with the Golden Milk recipe in next week's post. The recipe includes fat from the coconut cream and a bit of black pepper.

Be on the lookout for the recipe next week.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food