Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Healthy Holidays

"My three biggest pieces of advice for surviving the holiday season are to avoid skipping meals, wear real pants and, if you want dessert, put it on a real plate and enjoy it thoroughly." 

Shira Lenchewski, RD, author of The Food Therapist

Avoid Skipping Meals
Make sure you eat a filling breakfast and lunch before a dinner engagement or cocktail party. Include protein and whole-grain carbs at each meal, adding in a few more servings of veggies than you normally do. This strategy will leave you satisfied so that you don't arrive at the event ravenous. Eating regularly will keep you full enough to make conscious choices that let you enjoy the delicious holiday food without gluttony.

Wear Real Pants
Yoga pants are for yoga. Don't fall into the trap of wearing them all day long for shopping, errands, etc. The stretchy fabric can hide holiday weight-gain and leave you feeling uncomfortable in January. Let your clothes be a helpful guide to tell you if it is time to leave that extra cookie on the plate and slip in another gym class for the week.

Enjoy Dessert
Spend your calories on the treat you enjoy most. When you get a chance to have a special Christmas bread or cookie, sit down with a plate (yes, a plate), making a conscious choice to eat dessert, and savor every bite. Spend time noticing the flavors and textures from your memories. Give yourself the gift of time to enjoy it.

Use these three strategies to survive the holiday season and 
welcome January with energy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Holiday Running Streak

The holiday season is a perfect time to ditch your workouts with excuses of too little time, lack of energy, and no motivation. That doesn't have to be you! More and more people are turning toward a “running streak” to stay motivated, running at least one mile every single day, from Thanksgiving until the New Year

But isn't running every single day bad for you? Running hard and long every single day will certainly lead to burnout or injury. However, you only need to run one mile every day to keep this streak alive, and that mile can be as slow and easy as you want it to be. 

I did this running streak last year and I really felt good about my fitness during the holidays. If I had done a tough workout that day or it was late in the day when I was tired, my mile might be a stroll. On the other hand, if I felt energized, I jogged the whole mile. My dog, Sadie Mae, benefited by getting in an extra mile walk or jog during the holidays, too.

You might like to print out a calendar or make a list of days and check off the date when you accomplish your daily goal. That little gold star can still be motivating even as an adult! And, at the end of the holidays, you will have a record of your amazing running streak and your achievement.

Your health and wellness should be the most important goal above and beyond your streak. If illness strikes, runners can continue through above-the-chest symptoms like a headache, sinus congestion or a runny nose. If there’s a fever, then it’s best to focus on recovery and rest for a few days.
Start with the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and 
keep moving until New Year's Day. 
Begin 2018 with energy!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cop An Attitude

What would you say if I told you there was an exercise that could help you feel happier and healthier, all without breaking a sweat? My guess is that, if you're like most people, you'd be all in. This ancient exercise traces it's roots back to Socrates and Plato. Namely adopting an "attitude of gratitude".

Gratitude is one of the most rigorously studied emotions in our human repertoire, and multiple peer-reviewed academic studies have found it to have surprising benefits.

Expressing our appreciation for all that we have (and all that we've been spared from) is a powerful remedy for psychological ailments like the vague, free-floating sense of discontentment we sometimes experience. Researchers have found that cultivating this skill by focusing daily on what we're grateful for is one of the most reliable methods for increasing positive feelings.

What's more, developing an attitude of gratitude can have physiological upsides, including lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, and minimizing everyday aches and pains. Focusing on your blessings has even been shown to help people sleep more soundly and awake feeling more rested.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I suspect many of you will be thinking of, maybe even articulating, some of the things you're grateful for in the days to come. Which raises the question, why limit these expressions of appreciation to just this one holiday when they can make such a difference in our everyday lives?

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Express Gratitude This Week
(And Maybe Every Week)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Beyond the Pie

Pumpkin can be used for more than baked goods and sweets. This economical winter vegetable is a great source of vitamin A and fiber. Don't feel bad about choosing the convenience of canned over freshly boiled and mashed. Canned pumpkin offers more fiber, protein, vitamin A, calcium and iron than fresh, boiled pumpkin and it's less time consuming. (Make sure you use canned pumpkin puree not a can of pumpkin pie mix.)

Pumpkin Oatmeal - 
Stir a few spoonfuls of pumpkin into hot oatmeal. Top with toasted pecans, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. If you're feeling creative, add shredded carrots and coconut milk.

Pumpkin Smoothie -
Combine pumpkin puree, plain Greek yogurt, a banana and milk in the blender. Pump up the protein by adding chia seeds. Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pasta - 
Swap your standard marinara sauce for a pumpkin sage sauce. In a medium saucepan, thin pumpkin puree with a little milk. Stir in thinly sliced fresh sage, salt, pepper and a pat of butter. Toss with warm, freshly cooked whole wheat pasta. Top with Parmesan and toasted walnuts.

Pumpkin Hummus - 
In a food processor, blend chickpeas or white beans with pumpkin, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Pumpkin!