Saturday, March 30, 2019

Your New Favorite Granola

Granola can be a healthy addition to the day. Purchasing a prepared product is convenient but making your own ensures that you consume whole foods without unwanted additives. Plus, you can customize the ingredients for a flavor you love. Use this rubric to make your new favorite granola.

Dry Ingredients (choose 1 from each line):
Start with - 2 cups oats
Add healthy fats - 1 cup almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds...
Add fruit for sweetness - 1/3 cup dried cranberries, dried figs, crystallized ginger.....
Add interest with spices - 2 - 3 tsp cinnamon, curry powder, lemon zest, espresso powder....
Include 1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients (choose 1 from each lline):
Sweet - 1/3 cup maple syrup, molasses, honey......
Healthy fat - 1/4 cup coconut oil, olive oil, butter......
Add texture - 1/4 cup mashed banana, pumpkin puree, unsweetened applesauce....
Finishing Flavor - 2 tsp. vanilla, almond extract, soy sauce......

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. In a small pan over low heat, whisk wet ingredients until smooth.

3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, Stir until well combined.

4. Spread mixture in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Make sure not to overcrowd it.

5. Bake until golden-brown - about 30 minutes.

6. Cool granola. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

In the morning, try combining your granola with whole milk Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Maybe you prefer to keep it in the car or your office desk drawer for a healthy snack. You can even use it as a sweet treat in the evening. Experiment with different flavor combinations to find your favorite.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Homemade Granola This Week

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A New Scientific Discovery

I have long touted the benefits of foam rolling and self-myofascial release. These techniques have made a huge difference in my life and I often share the tools and methods with clients. Recently, scientists have discovered more about how foam rolling works in our wonderfully complex bodies.

In early 2018, Scientific Reports published an article reporting that the interstitium is not just a layer of connective tissue, but is also composed of previously unseen fluid-filled spaces that lie just below the skin's surface, as well as around the lungs, digestive system and other organs. Kyle Stull, a NASM trainer, says, "As someone moves, these layers facilitate the sliding and gliding of tissues across each other, allowing for smooth movement."

Foam rolling will create pressure that can help "push" the fluid to move back and forth within these spaces. Stull notes, "Such movement will help to circulate out waste products produced by the cells, which then allows fresh fluid to enter the space. The transfer of fluid helps to revitalize areas of stagnation.... Movement will be reintroduced to this layer, leading to the demonstration of flexibility and improved movement patterns."

My take-away is that there are even more reasons to foam roll regularly! This self-massage therapy not only smooths out fascia and muscle adhesions but also moves interstitial fluid around the cells for healthy function. For more info on foam rolling, read, The Pros of Slow #2 and Workout Recovery and Foam Rolling.

It doesn't take much time or effort to give your body the "love" it deserves. Make foam rolling a priority and reap the benefits of happy, flexible muscles. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Foam Roll This Week

Friday, March 15, 2019

Green for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day and all things green! Today I want to highlight pistachios and share just three benefits of this green nut.

Number One: Brain Health
Researchers at Loma Linda University discovered that regularly eating nuts improves brain waves. Pistachios created the greatest gamma wave response, associated with learning, processing, retention, and other key cognitive functions.

Number Two: Gut Health
Data from two randomized studies showed that both pistachios and almonds could increase the number of potentially beneficial microbiota in the gut - but the effect of pistachios was much greater.

Number Three: Inhibit Cancer Cells
In 2017, scientists at the Institute of Nutrition at Friedrich Schiller University found that both raw and roasted pistachios inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells while bolstering chemopreventive effects.

Pistachios are lower in fat and calories than other nuts. 
One ounce pistachios = 49 nuts = 159 calories. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Pistachios This Week

Friday, March 8, 2019

Pizza, Reimagined

Almost everyone loves pizza. The cheesy, bready salty qualities are hard to resist. But that is, of course, what is problematic about it. The nutritionally void ingredients, low-quality proteins, and additive-packed commercial sauces make it a dietary dud. Try remaking your pizza with high-quality ingredients that deliver nutrients your body will love.

White-flour crust
Refined flour is void of natural vitamins and will rapidly raise blood sugar.

Cauliflower crust is popular right now. You can also try putting your pizza ingredients on a vegetable base like thick slices of eggplant, portobello mushroom caps or large zucchini boats. I compromise with a homemade crust made from whole wheat flour and some unbleached white flour.

Cheese galore
Take-out or delivery pizza usually has an overload of cheese; sometimes it's even in the crust.

Quality over quantity. More flavorful cheese allows you to use less and enjoy more. Select a well-aged cheddar, fresh mozzarella, Gruyere or goat cheese. 

Scarce Veggies
A standard pizza offers a mere sprinkling of veggies.

Broccoli rabe, carmelized onions and well-drained artichoke hearts make great toppers. I lightly roast mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes before sprinkling them over the unbaked crust.  I always top the finished pizza with peppery arugula. 

Incorporating fresh veggies and good-quality protein will not only add flavor and texture to your pizza creation, it will add a new level of nutrition and enjoyment.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Pizza This Week

Friday, March 1, 2019

Women's Heart Health #4

I'm finishing a series on women's cardiac fitness as part of February's Heart Health Month. Heart disease is a woman's No. 1 health risk. The good news is that 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable.

In Your 50's & 60's

Your risk of heart disease goes up during menopause and begins to match that of men's.

Pay Attention to Sleep

Adults who net fewer than six hours of sleep are more at risk than those who rest longer. If night sweats are a problem, keep your bedroom at 68 degrees or lower. If you snore, you might want to be checked for sleep apnea.

Pay Attention to Immunizations

When you're older, having the flu can raise your risk of heart disease because it can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. Consider a flu shot. After 65, discuss getting a pneumonia vaccine with your doctor.

Pay Attention to Vitamin D

More research is pointing to vitamin D deficiency as a factor in heart disease. In addition, older women don't synthesize D as easily. Get your D levels checked annually.

Be aware of your cardiac risks, care for your heart and reap the benefits for a long, healthy life.

 Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food