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Monday, October 31, 2011

Move of the Day: Double Ballerina Leg Lift

Targets: Abs (especially obliques), Legs

1. Sit on mat, with legs extended, thighs together, toes pointed, and abs engaged.
2. Lean back, placing forearms on mat, palms flat, fingers forward.
3. Leaving left forearm on mat, raise right arm overhead.
4. As you twist torso to left, lift both legs 45 degrees.
5. Return to center, then lower and repeat to right.

Do 20 alternating reps; 3 sets.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan "Almond Joy" Bars

This recipe is insanely simple, completely decadent, and it's vegan! Happy Halloween Weekend!

1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)
1 tsp coconut milk
1 tsp maple syrup
pinch salt

Coconut filling:
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance)

1/3 cup roasted/salted almonds

1. In a saute pan, add the coconut to dry pan. Toast and stir around over high heat for a minute.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add in maple syrup, brown sugar, vegan butter. Stir around to melt butter.

3. Add the coconut milk and continue stirring until coconut browns a bit and absorbs all the liquid. Do a taste test and add another splash of maple syrup if you like a sweeter filling. Turn off heat and set aside.

4. Line a baking pan with wax paper. I used a dish about 4" x 8".

5. Add all chocolate ingredients to mug. Microwave for 25 seconds. Remove mug and stir briskly until all the chips melt. Heat for another few seconds if needed. You can also use a double broiler if you'd prefer.

6. Spread a very thin layer of chocolate on the bottom of wax paper. Add the coconut over that and spread to about 3/4" thick layer. Dot in the almonds. Spread a thicker layer of chocolate. Do this carefully so as not to mess up the coconut layer. Swirl to smooth.

7. Coat a butter knife with olive oil and slice the filling into bars - this will make then easier to slice after frozen.

8. Freeze for about 20-30 minutes or overnight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Have you heard of spaghetti squash? This amazing vegetable acts and looks like a pasta! The best part? All you have to do is stick it in the microwave for 10 minutes. Read on for this delicious and healthy recipe...

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 block tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T shallot, minced
1 T parsley, chopped
1.4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp liquid smoke
1/3 C lentils (pre-cooked)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oevn to 350

2. Cut the squash in half (can soften in microwave first). Remove the seeds. Place in a glass baking dish, cut side down, in about 1 inch of water. Microwave for 7-8 minutes, or until shell is tender when pierced with a fork. (You can also do this in the oven at 350 for about 45 mins. I thought the microwave worked great.) Remove the flesh with a fork and place in serving bowl.

3. Meanwhile, crumble tofu into food processor or Magic Bullet. Add garlic, shallots, parsley, red pepper flakes, and smoke. Blend until just combined - you don't want to make a paste, just to be able to form a ball. Add lentils and stir by hand to combine.

4. Form 1-2 T size balls and place on foil or parchment paper. Place in oven and bake around 20 minutes, until balls begin to brown.

5. Serve with spaghetti squash and your favorite sauce and devour!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Treat Without the Guilt

Treat your trick or treaters (or yourself) with a halloween snack you can be proud of. The limited edition Full Moon Brownie ZBar by Clif Kid is a delicious fudge brownie with vegan white chocolate, 8g of whole grains, 12 essential vitamins and minerals, and 95% of the ingredients are certified organic. This cute little bar contains no preservatives, trans-fat, or artificial flavors and colors.

I bought one yesterday at the store to try out and they are scrumptious. Almost resembling a no-bake cookie, this bar was sweet, satisfying, and carried only a tiny bit of guilt: 130 calories and 11 grams of sugar. Not bad for a yummy halloween treat :).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get the Most Out of Your Elliptical Workout

The elliptical is definitely a joint-friendly machine, but it can get a bit monotonous. This workout is pretty straightforward, but it's full of quick speed changes to beat cardio boredom. Plus, intervals are great for burning extra calories and boosting metabolism.

*SPM = Strides Per Minute
If you have trouble slowing down in the recovery periods after sprinting, try going hands free. It will force you to slow down and challenge your core. Choose an incline and resistance that feels challenging but doable. Have fun! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Move of the Day: Crab Dip

Targets: Shoulders and triceps

1. Sip on the floor and place your hands on the floor on either side of your hips, fingers forward; position your feet hip-width apart in front of you, knees bent 90 degrees, feet flexed, heels on the floor.

2. Press through the palms of your hands to lift your hips about 4 inches off the floor, balancing your body between your hands and feet.

3. Bend your elbows and lower your hips toward the floor until your butt barely touches, then straighten your arms to return to start. Do 15 reps. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweat It Out With Your Furry Friend

Confession: there are days (especially when it's cold and foggy) when I'm just dragging and don't feel like working out. It's days like these that my puggle Zoey reminds me that working out should be fun. Zoey's energy is so contagious, it makes me look forward to our time together at the park. She gets so excited right before we leave and practically skips down the sidewalk all the way to the park. If only I felt that way every time I was about to work out! Here are some reasons why you should get active with your furry friend.

It's Fun
Dogs love to run and play, so it's no surprise I always enjoy my time out with Zoey. On the days when I'm not in the mood to work out, knowing how happy it will make Zoey and how fun it always turns out to be gets me out of the house no matter how tired I am.

You Can't Make Excuses
When Zoey is itching to get outside, it's impossible to say no to that adorable puggle face. There is no end to the whining until we go outside and run around a bit, so rarely a day goes by where I don't get some kind of physical activity.

The Stats Don't Matter
Usually when I'm working out I count the reps, how long I have been going at it for, and if I'm running, how far I went and how fast. When I'm playing with Zoey, all that stuff doesn't matter. How good of a workout I get is measured by how big the smile on her smushy face is :).

A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog
On days when Zoey gets plenty of exercise, she's much more relaxed and well-behaved. After a good romp around the park, she usually passes out on the couch and stays out of trouble (like being a dirty sock thief :).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Raisin Flax Muffins

Are you as obsessed with pumpkin as I am? These adorable little pumpkin muffins are packed with B vitamins, omega-3s, fiber, and the goodness of coconut oil! They are delicious, nutritious, and perfect for fall. Here's the recipe for you to try out; make sure to use organic ingredients whenever possible.

* = good source of fiber

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour *
1/2 cup ground flaxseed *
1 1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree *
1 large egg
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raisins *
1/2 cup walnuts *

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, flax, baking powder, spices, and maple syrup in a medium-sized bowl.
1. In another medium-sized bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, milk, water, vanilla, and coconut oil, and beat with a whisk until smooth.
3. Slowly pour pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all mixed. Add raisins and walnuts.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups greased with virgin coconut oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
5. Eat and be happy!

Calories: 235


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Move of the Day: Quadruped Booty Toner

Targets: Shoulders, arms, abs, and butt

1. Start on all fours, hands under shoulders and back flat

2. Step left foot forward on floor by left hand, left knee bent 90 degrees

3. Extend left leg behind you, raising it as high as you can, toes pointed

4. Quickly return left foot to floor by left hand.

5. Do 15-30 reps. Switch sides and repeat. De 2 sets.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy Raw Tacos Recipe

Interested in incorporating more raw foods into your diet? Here is a delicious raw tacos recipe to try.

Walnut Taco Mix
1 cup raw walnuts
1 Tbsp. nama shoyu (raw, unpasteurized soy sauce)
1.8 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (or more if you like it spicy like me!)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse just to mix. Don't over-blend, or you will end up with walnut butter!

Cashew "Sour Cream"
1/2 cup raw cashews
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp. water (approx.)

Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for thinner sauce, use more.

Finished Taco
Romaine lettuce leaves
Walnut Taco Mix (above)
Cashew "Sour Cream) (above)

Place the walnut taco mix into the lettuce cups, drizzle with cashew "sour cream," and devour!


Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Breathe When Running

This weekend, 20,000 women hit the streets of San Francisco to take part in the annual Nike Women's Marathon. The race is going on its eight year, with benefits going toward the Lukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This got me thinking about running... Ever wonder why some days you feel like you could run forever while on others your legs feel like lead and every minute just seems to crawl by? Certainly the amount of sleep you got the night before, stress levels, and diet play a role in how you perform during your runs, but how you regulate your breath also plays a major role in your energy levels during your runs. Here's how to power your muscles with fresh oxygen on each stride.

1. Learn how to breathe deeply: Your lungs are just a bit smaller than your ribcage, but we all tend to use just the top third of the lung. One reason being that, like all muscles, the intercostals, which run between the ribs, can get tight and inflexible, limiting the expansiveness of your lungs. When you take a deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm, and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. Learning to breathe deeply helps you take in lots of oxygen while running, preventing dizziness and nausea. With a little training and some stretching you can breathe to your full potential to increase endurance. Cross-training with workouts like Pilates and yoga can also help you learn to use your entire lungs when breathing.

2. Match your breathing to your steps: For an easy-paced run, inhale for three to four steps then exhale for the same amount. Count the steps in your head while you adjust to breathing on tempo. If you are running more intensely, your breathing tempo will increase to support your increased energy output and become faster - a breath in for one to two steps and out for one to two steps. If you can't match your steps to your breathing tempo then you are trying to run too fast; slow down, and get back into your rhythm. Rhythm is key!

3. Breathing in the cooler temps: It's important to breathe through your nose while running in chillier weather because cold air is dry and breathing through your mouth increases the dryness while decreasing  the temperature of the air. Since your lungs do not like dry air, you can experience asthma-like symptoms, like wheezing and coughing, when breathing cold air in through your mouth. Breathing through your nose not only filters out air impurities, but also warms cool air to body temperature, creating less shock for the lungs and decreasing those asthma-like symptoms.

4. How to breathe through your nose: If nose breathing is difficult for you, start experimenting with the technique now before the temperature drops drastically. Breathing through the nose helps you breathe more deeply and efficiently, which will ultimately help your running no matter what the temperature is. If you plan to run in cold temps and have yet to master nose breathing, you can try wearing a bandana (or a shirt that can be pulled up far) over your nose and mouth to help trap the moisture of your breath and humidify the air before it reaches your lungs.


Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Stay Healthy When You Feel Lazy

We all have those days where we feel more sluggish than usual, a little less motivated, and all we want to do is lay around eating something indulgent. Here are some easy ways to stay on track when the laziness bullet hits you:

1. Make drinking water a habit. Many of us have a hard time remembering to drink water, especially when we're on the go. Before you get too dehydrated and start to feel crabby and tired, start training yourself to make drinking water a priority no matter where you are. Get into the habit of having a water bottle close by whether you are running errands or relaxing on the couch.

2. Food needs some thought. There's nothing in the fridge, you forgot to eat breakfast, and now you're ravenous. On your free days, don't throw your diet plans out the window. Keep with your normal routine; eating that bowl of oatmeal in the morning will get you on the right start and make your free day that much more productive.

3. Set a limit to your vegging. You deserve a rest, especially if you've had a long week. But that doesn't mean you have to spend hours on the couch. Since it can be hard to motivate yourself to get moving if you are sitting comfy, schedule something fun that you know you have to get to - dinner or a leisurely walk with a friend, or a movie date. You'll look forward to your plans and you'll be happy to get out of the house.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Low-Fat Diets: Grossly Misrepresented

Have you heard of Kris Carr? She's the incredible and inspiring author of Crazy Sexy Cancer and Crazy Sexy Life. In this recent article, she talks about the myths surrounding a plant-based, low-fat diet. It's fascinating and I couldn't agree more! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What To Eat Now

How much calcium should I get? What about Vitamin B9?? If you are curious about what you should be eating to get your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals, this chart tells you your RDI and what you need to eat in order to get it. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 10 Fastest Fat Burners


1. Catch the running bug. You'll continue to burn fat after you jog. People who run for at least four hours a week melt more calories than non-runners, even when they're not running, a Yale University School of Medicine study reports.

2. Crank it up early. Working out harder during the first half of your workout and taking it easier in the second burns up to 23 percent more fat than doing the opposite, according to a study from The College of New Jersey.

3. Speed up, slow down. Alternating bouts of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio has been shown to torch pounds.

4. Download Rihanna, not Brahms. Listening to up-tempo songs actually makes you run faster and harder than listening to slower-paced music, British scientists say.


5. Get more protein. Eating a protein-packed breakfast and lunch helps you burn more post-meal fat than if you eat lower-protein meals, according to Australian research.

6. Stay above 1,200 calories. "The average person's body goes into starvation mode if she eats fewer than 1,200 calories a day," says Eric Berg, author of "The 7 Principles of Fat Burning." "That's stress, and stress creates more belly fat."

7. Graze. Women who go without eating for long periods are more likely to have higher body-fat percentages than women who nosh more regularly, one study notes.


8. Get Vitamin C and D. Vitamin C can help you burn more fat, and Vitamin D may help you lose fat. Aim for 400 to 500 mg of Vitamin C, and 800 mg of Vitamin D a day.

9. Eat a smaller dinner. Your body may not digest food (and burn fat) as efficiently if you down a huge meal right before bedtime, especially because your metabolism is slower while you sleep.

10. Jump-start your morning. Wake up your metabolism (and get fat-burning started) by doing some sort of exercise within the first few hours of being awake.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello Plate

Remember the old Food Pyramid? Well, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has come out with a new icon to help us plan our meals. One half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein on the other half. Low-fat dairy on the side, such as a cup of skim milk or yogurt, is also suggested.

What do you think of these new guidelines? Much simpler than the pyramid we all learned about in school, don't you think? In case you want to take a look, here's the old food pyramid:

In my opinion, this new plate icon seems to encourage a much healthier diet: more fruits and vegetables and less carbohydrates and dairy. I'm pretty thrilled this is what kids will be learning about at school from now on :). If you want to read more, CNN has a great article about the new "Plate," which you can find here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Have a relaxing weekend.

My darlings, what are your plans for the weekend? Do you have Columbus Day off of work? Does anyone get that day off work anymore? Here in San Francisco it's Fleet Week - which is so thrilling for us but also scares poor little Zoey. Luckily, we just got her a brand new, extra squishy bed (after the last one got chewed up ;) so she should be all cozy while the planes zip by. This year, Mike and I won't be watching the air show as we are attending the wedding of our friends, Matt and Liz - I can't wait! Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! XO

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Playlist: The Best Workout Songs for October 2011

Woohoo! just released their top 10 songs for October! Here they are. Enjoy!

1. We Found Love, Rihanna & Calvin Harris, 128 BPM Give Me Everything - null
2. In The Dark, Dev, 125 BPM Super Bass - null
3. Take Over Control, Afrojack & Eva Simons, 128 BPM Dark Horses
4. Sexy and I know It, LMFAO, 129 BPM Stereo Hearts
5. Beautiful People, Chris Brown & Benny Benassi, 129 BPM Edge Of Glory
6. Friday Night SPecial, Shortee & Faust, 133 BPM Rain Over Me
7. Motivation (Rebel Rock Remix), Kelly Rowland & Lil Wayne, 130 BPM Pressure
8. I Wanna Go (Oliver Remix), Britney Spears, 129 BPM We Don't Get Down Like Y'all
9. My Body, Young The Giant, 130 BPM Party Rock Anthem
10. Without You, David Guetta & Usher, 128 BPM Mr. Saxobeat<

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegetable Split Pea Feel Better Soup

There seem to be lots of bugs going around these last couple of weeks. I, for one, recently came down with a nasty cold that wiped me out for a couple of days. Here's a delicious and cozy soup recipe to make you feel better. If chicken noodle soup had a vegetarian cousin, this would be it.

8 cups of water
4 teaspoons vegetable broth base (i.e. better than bouillon)
2 Cups of Split Peas, rinsed & picked through

3 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped into dice-sized chunks

1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon summer savory
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

A generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Phase One:
Combine water, broth base, & split peas
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer
Loosely cover to allow steam to escape
Cook for 45 minutes & stir on occasion

Phase Two:
Add the rest of the ingredients
Bring back to a simmer
Loosely cover
Cook for 30 more minutes, stirring on occasion

Phase Three:
Remove from heat
The peas should be creamy & the vegetables soft
Allow pot to sit for 15 minutes before consuming

Phase Four:
Feel better :)

Serves 4. 
316 calories per serving

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Greek Yogurt

Did you know that Greek yogurt has almost twice the protein as regular yogurt? Greek yogurt makes for a perfect and satisfying breakfast or snack. Just pop in a few berries, drizzle a little raw honey, and enjoy! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Move of the Day: Shake Your Booty Side Plank

This is a great bottom-toning exercise, and it also tones up the arms and abs.

Hold side plank position on the left side, right arm extended toward ceiling and right knee bent with foot on floor 12 inches in front of left thigh (as shown). Pushing into the heel of the right foot, lift and lower hips. Do 10-12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

Works: butt, thighs, abs, shoulders
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