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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Move of the Day: Dancing Crab

Targets: Arms, Butt, Core

1. Sit on the ground with knees bent and hands on the ground behind you, fingers pointing toward your butt. Straighten arms and raise hips to they're slightly below shoulder and knee height (your body is not in a straight line).

2. Lift left leg and right arm, reaching right hand towards left shin. Return to the starting position and repeat, reaching left hand toward right knee. Repeat for 30 seconds, alternating sides and keeping your hips raised the entire time.

Enjoy! XO


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some Tips on Becoming a Vegetarian

If you would like to become a vegetarian, or even if you don't want to become a vegetarian but would like to reduce your meat intake, here are some suggestions:

1. Find good recipes. You don't need to go out and buy a bunch of cookbooks. There are so many great websites with a plethora of delicious and easy vegetarian recipes. My favorites are here, here and here. Here are some of my favorite recipes: Curried Corn and Coconut Soup, Bright Green SoupQuinoa Tabbouleh and Coconut Chocolate Crunch Mix.

2. Try one recipe a week. If you like it, add it to your collection of staple recipes that you eat on a regular basis. You don't need to turn into a vegetarian overnight, so just gradually start adding some vegetable-based meals to your week.

3. Substitutions. Try your regular recipes that you love but with a meatless substitute. So, if you love spaghetti with meat sauce, try using a ground beef alternative from Boca or Morningstar and cook it just the way you would normally. There are alternatives for just about any kind of meat, and some of them are quite good. You can go on eating what you normally eat, but meatless.

4. Start with red meat. Usually, gradually transitioning into vegetarianism is the best approach as opposed to doing it all at once. Red meat is on the more expensive side and is usually also the unhealthiest, so try cutting it out first.

5. Junk food. You can be a vegetarian and be very unhealthy if you eat junk food. Being a vegetarian is not a license to eat junk food (although you can probably indulge yourself a little more occasionally now that you're not eating meat). Try to stick with fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, soy protein, low-fat dairy and other nutritious foods for the most part.

6. Ethnic food. One of the greatest things about becoming a vegetarian is that often it spurs people to try new and interesting ethnic foods (or reminds them of foods they love but don't eat often). Great vegetarian dishes can be found in all types of cuisines: Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Mexican, South American, and more.

7. Tell friends and family. These are the people you'll be eating out with, whose homes you'll be having dinner at, etc. So, it's important that they know about your new lifestyle and that they be supportive. There's no need to try and convert them to being vegetarians, just explain your choices and leave it at that. You might want to start bringing a vegetarian dish when going to other people's houses for dinner, especially for occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

8. Vegetarian Restaurants. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are tons of vegetarian restaurants as well as regular restaurants with vegetarian menus. Here are some of my favorite spots: The Plant Cafe Organic, Greens, The Loving Hut, Cafe Gratitude, and Gracias Madre. This website is a great tool for finding vegetarian restaurants in your area.

9. Have fun! Notice how good you feel. Many people experience a significant increase in energy, feel lighter, and healthier.

Good luck! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Being a Vegetarian

I have been a vegetarian for about 7 years now. I am a pesco-vegetarian which is just a fancy way of saying that I don't eat any meat except for fish. I have never liked meat and would get in the biggest fights with my parents even when I was a little girl over not wanting to eat their lovingly prepared meals because they had meat in them. My mom and dad told me different stories to get me to eat meat: The chicken was grown on the supermarket shelf! Chickens shed their breasts! I didn't buy it. Not only did I not like the taste of meat  (it seemed overly chewy and I would be horrified to see a vein or tendon), I just couldn't separate the cute fluffy animals I loved from the food in front of me.

So, as soon as it was up to me, I stopped eating meat. At first I didn't even eat fish but after a while realized that I actually do like seafood and fish (yay, sushi!) so incorporated that into my diet. I don't miss meat one bit. People ask me often if it's hard to be a vegetarian. To me, it is the easiest thing in the world.

If you're not interested in becoming a vegetarian, then skip the rest of this post. But, if you're even just a bit curious, here are some reasons to consider vegetarianism:

1. Cut the fat. While meat provides a lot of protein, it often also provides a lot of fat - especially saturated fat. This means that by cutting out meat, you'll be cutting out a lot of bad fat and replacing it with things that are probably not only lower in fat, but contain some good fats. (Hello, avocado!) This greatly reduces your risk of heart disease, and in fact numerous studies have shown that vegetarians tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, as well as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. Read more here.

2. Less food poisoning. Food poisoning gets millions of people sick each year - and many of them from meat, which is a good breeding ground for harmful bacteria, especially if not stored, prepared, or cooked exactly right. Cut out meat and lower  your risk of food poisoning.

3. Reduce the suffering. You probably don't want to hear about the horrific treatment of animals that are raised for food even before they are slaughtered. But suffice it to say, there are great amounts of suffering involved, and by cutting out meat, you are reducing your involvement in that. Read more here.

4. Help the environment. There are actually numerous ways the meat industry harms the environment: from a waste of our resources (animals raised for food eat enough grain to feed the world!), to waste of fuel, to the pollution caused by their waste matter, and much more. Read more about that here.

5. Help your weight loss. It's possible to be a vegetarian and eat very unhealthy foods including soda, fried foods, pizza, and chips. But it's much more difficult. Studies repeatedly show that vegetarians are slimmer and are less likely to be obese than meat eaters. If you're trying to lose weight, being a vegetarian can be a good part of your program.

6. Get better nutrition. In general (though not necessarily), vegetarians replace meat with more nutritious foods, such as vegetables, beans, whole grains, and so on. When your body gets the nutrients it needs, it shows in your skin and hair, your energy levels, and your mood.

Tomorrow, I will be sharing some tips for becoming a vegetarian and how just a few changes can make a big difference :). XO

Friday, August 26, 2011

Have a Wonderful Weekend.

My lovelies, what are you up to this weekend? Tomorrow we're going to the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts to look for some pretty things to spruce up our apartment. Then we're having a long-overdue date night complete with Delfina and a movie. I can't wait :). Have a wonderful and healthy weekend! XO

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Move of the Day: Calf Raises

Targets: calves, shins, butt and thighs

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without pitching your upper body forward, bend your knees about 45-degrees. Maintain this position as you rise up onto the balls of your feet and lower back down, moving only your ankles. Continue this movement for 30 seconds.

Variations: Angle your knees in or out to really target your inner/outer calf muscles.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let It Be

Have you guys heard of Gabrielle Bernstein? I never had until Mike's amazing sister and my good friend, Megan Hayes, told me about her and I am now completely obsessed. Gabby Bernstein is this motivational speaker/guru who dishes out the most wonderful advice on happiness, love, spirituality, and all the ups and downs of everyday life. I highly recommend checking out some of her videos. What she says makes so much sense and really gives you a different perspective on things.

Here is one of my favorite of her vlogs, where she talks about letting go and just "letting it be":

Have a beautiful Wednesday!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Happy Hour Making Me Fat?

After a long work week or even day, getting a drink with some friends sounds like the perfect way to unwind and be social. But, if you are trying to watch what you eat and keep fit, happy hour can sometimes get in the way. Check out this informative article by Women's Health Base that shows you what happens over the course of a year when you skip the gym and hit up happy hour instead... Definitely makes you think twice before agreeing to head out for a beer after work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Curried Corn and Coconut Soup

This quick and easy soup recipe makes the perfect refreshing, low calorie meal (and is delicious)!

4 ears of corn, shucked
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 13.6 oz. cans of low-fat coconut milk
3 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 lime, juiced

Remove corn from the cob and set aside. Reserve the cobs and slice each one in half vertically. In a large pot, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and let cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder and cook for a minute. Place corn kernels and cobs in pot. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and cover partially, cooking for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and take out the cobs. Let the soup cool for 15 minutes before blending. Puree for 2-3 minutes until well combined adding the lime juice. Run the soup through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract the liquid. You can garnish with some chopped cherry tomatoes, as pictured. Enjoy!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Pilates Giveaway Winner!

The winner of a private Pilates Reformer class at Le Petit Atelier Pilates is Lauren Williams! 
Congrats, Lauren! Thank you to all who entered. Keep a lookout for more fun giveaways to come :).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pilates Trivia

1. Celebrities Swear by Pilates
Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kim Kardashian, Molly Sims and many other fit celebrities all rely on Pilates to keep their trim and toned physiques.

2. Pilates Original Name: Contrology
Joseph Pilates, the inventor of the Pilates Method, intended it to be about the art of control, an exercise method where you control your body, mind, and muscles. The moves he designed focus on core muscles in the "powerhouse" (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.

3. One Hour of Pilates Burns Calories All Day Long
Resistance training, the essence of Pilates, is scientifically proven to create lean muscle and rev up your metabolism to burn calories all day long. Cardio is very important to keep a healthy heart and to keep your body fat down but the second you hop off the treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you're done, you start burning calories.

4. Every Pilates Move Works the Entire Body
Every exercise such as the Hundred, Roll Up, Single Leg Circles, Teaser, works all the muscles in your body - including your brain! Pilates takes a lot of coordination to execute correctly, requiring you to focus and concentrate on your body. So, Pilates keeps you young in body and mind!

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win a free private reformer class! Leave a comment and you will be automatically entered into the draw :).


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Move of the Day: Clamshell with Mini Band

Targets: thighs, hips, butt

1. Lie on your side in fetal position and rest on your elbow. Wrap the band above your knees.

2. Open and close your knees as if you were a talking clamshell. Keep your heels together at all times and make sure your feet are in line with your butt.

3. Squeeze your butt and hold for a sec when knees are apart to maximize the workout.

Try 30 each side for a crazy clamshell burn. If you don't have a mini band, perform them without, but do higher reps. Have fun!

Source: Self Magazine August 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dancer vs. Ballerina

Good morning, my darlings. Here's a little video I find so inspirational. Both of these dancers are so beautiful in their own ways, don't you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Move of the Day: Hot Body Pop

Targets: shoulders, back, abs, butt and thighs

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Crouch down, placing hands on ground under shoulders. With hands planted, jump feet behind you (as pictured), landing in a plank. Hop feet back to hands, then quickly return to standing for one rep.

Try 20 reps. Do it quickly for a great cardio blast.

From Vanessa Minillo's Bikini Ready Workout with SELF magazine

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have an active weekend!

My lovelies, what are your plans for the weekend? Mike and I are flying back home this evening. I can't believe how fast the week has flown by. I am a bit sad our vacation is over but I must admit I can't wait to see our dog Zoey!

Have a healthy and happy weekend! XO

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pilates Giveaway!

My darlings, I am so very excited to announce a new giveaway.  Le Petit Atelier Pilates is giving away a one-hour private Reformer Pilates session! The session will include  a workout tailored to your specific needs as well as some exercises you can do on your own to help further your progress.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment either on this blog post (by logging into Blogger) or on Le Petit Atelier's Facebook page. A winner will be selected at random and announced next week. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nutritional Value of Fruits

Ever wondered how many calories are in your apple? Here's a little chart I found. Pretty interesting, isn't it? I never knew that raisins had so many calories... How about you, my darlings? Do you count calories? Or just stick with eating as much as you want of healthy foods... Or who cares? I tend to think that as long as you're eating healthy foods, the calories don't matter that much, but this chart is pretty eye-opening. 

P.S. If you click on the image you can view it in a bigger format... I know it's teeny-tiny here :).

P.P.S. Come back tomorrow for an exciting announcement... I can't wait to share! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Squat Test

A few months ago I bought a new pair of workout pants at Lululemon (pictured above). I loved them so much because they were made out of a material that didn't attract every piece of lint in the room (including Zoey's dog hair), were super comfortable, and were great for Pilates, running, and Yoga. I was mortified to find out after about a month of wearing them all the time that they were actually see-through! The moment I would bend just a little I could see my underwear through the pants!! Those pants should come with a warning tag. Lesson of the day: do the squat test before you buy.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Did You Know??

I was on the Livestrong website when I came across this morsel of information: Apparently you must reduce your body fat to about 8 percent for a man and 14 percent for a woman in order to reveal your abdominal muscles. Isn't that interesting? I never knew it had to be that low. To read more, visit the Livestrong website.

Photo: Shape Magazine

Friday, August 5, 2011

Have a wonderful weekend.

My lovelies, what are your plans for the weekend? This afternoon, Mike and I will be flying to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a much needed vacation. We'll be staying at Casa del Mar (pictured above) for a week and could not be more excited. While I'm away, there will still be new posts every day, so do come by and check to see what's new. I have some extra special posts lined up so stay tuned :). Have a wonderful and healthy weekend!

Photos: Zoetry Resorts

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Black Swan Workout

Ever wondered how ballet dancers get their long and lean look? Here are some exercises that will help you to sculpt your muscles in the same way that dancers do:

1. The Bridge
Lie on your back with your stomach pulled in, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Straighten your right leg, toes pointed up toward the ceiling. Keep your stomach pulled in tight as you lift your hips off the floor, trying to keep your knees together. Lower your hips until you're not quite touching the floor and then lift again. Complete 30 reps with one leg then repeat on the other side. Make it harder: rise up on your toes with the standing leg while you perform the whole exercise

2. Butt-Blaster
Start on all-fours, making sure that you have plenty of cushion beneath your knees (use a yoga mat or towel). Bring one knee into your chest and then extend the leg straight back into arabesque, keeping the knee very straight. Pull in through your stomach and lift your leg high towards the ceiling. Repeat 30 times, and then change legs.

3. Abs Exercise
Lay on your back with the arms open wide in second position, knees slightly bent. Pull your stomach as you lift your upper body, bringing your arms overhead to first position (making a large circle around your head). Focus on keeping the stomach pulled in as your lower and lift again. Repeat 30 times.

4. Arm Toner
Sit on the mat with your legs extended straight out in front of you and hands just behind your hips, fingers facing out. Lift your hips up off the mat as your stretch the elbows, keeping the chest open and the neck long. Lower and lift your hips by bending and stretching the elbows, keeping the stomach strong and hips elevated the entire time. Repeat 30 times. Make it harder: rather than allow your hips to drop, see if you can keep your body in a plank so that it moves as a whole as you bend and straighten your elbows.

5. Essential Stretch
Lay on your back and lift one leg straight up. Use your hands to pull the ankle gently toward your head. Work toward stretching your knee all the way over time. Repeat on the other leg.

Enjoy! XO


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New iPhone App: Meal Snap

Have you heard of this crazy new iPhone app? It lets you take pictures of the food you eat then magically tells you all the ingredients in your food, as well as how many calories you are about to consume. Sounds pretty awesome/terrifying, don't you think? Would you use the Meal Snap app?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How To Reach Your Fitness Goals: Cartoon Style

I came across this funny little cartoon this morning. Isn't it great? This guy does all of the drawings himself and there are tons of them on his website. Have a healthy Tuesday! XO


Monday, August 1, 2011

What Body Type Are You?

Have you ever heard things like, "Oh, I'm a pear" and been confused? Well, I found this website that explains it all:

Banana Body Description:
- Generally has an athletic body with toned arms
- Rectangular shaped body
- Waist is less than 9 inches smaller than hip or bust measurements
- Upper body is proportionate to lower body
- Smaller bust size
- Not much curve to waist
- Usually has great legs

Apple Body Description:
- Inverted triangular shaped body
- The bust measurement is larger than the hip measurement
- Large chest and bust for frame
- Carries most weight around midsection
- Usually has slim legs, hips, and bottom

Pear Body Description:
- Triangular shaped body
- Hip measurement is larger than bust
- Wide hips and bottom
- Carries most weight on hips, thighs, and bottom
- Usually has slender neck and shoulders
- Often has flat stomach

Hour Glass Body Description:
- Classic hourglass shape
- The bust measurement is roughly the same as the hip measurement
- Waist is about 10 inches smaller than bust and hips
- Body looks proportionately curvy.

What do you think about all this? I'm not sure how much I like being categorized... I think I'm a pear if I had to choose. I tend to lean towards the idea that we are all unique in our own bodies and can't be categorized, but some people swear by this method and adopt certain diet and exercise plans accordingly. If you had to choose, what fruit do you think you would be?


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