Monthly Archives: October 2015

Cookbook Challenge (progress)

October’s Challenges

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The month of October has been full of action.  Have you been working it with the 8 Minute Meltdowns?  I’ve added a few new ones this month to try to keep it fresh for you.  I certainly don’t want anyone getting bored with their workout.

If you recall, at the beginning of the month I challenged myself to try several recipes from each of my cookbooks.  I knew I wouldn’t make it through all of them in one month, but I have officially started the process.  I’m here today to give you a review of one that I have had some success with.

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This cookbook was created as an extension or companion to the documentary Forks Over Knives.  In the documentary they examine our bodies’ ability to recover from disease with proper nutrition.  Namely through plant based eating.

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If the word Vegan gets your gag reflex going, try to open your mind a little bit.  It’s not all beans and tofu (although you’ll get your fair share of that in this book).   If you’re anti-soy or anti-grain you’ll eliminate a fair amount of recipes in this book.  Never fear, there will be plenty left to choose from…But I chose some pretty beanie & tofuie options 😉

Stuffed Mushrooms

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These were so delicious!  I used large portobellos and they were stuffed with tomatoes, peppers and brown rice with a cilantro pesto stirred in.  They were flavorful and delicious.  I added a little avocado on the side (which wasn’t in the recipe).  Mushrooms are a great meat replacement.  The cilantro pesto was easy and smelled so fresh.  Click here for the complete recipe including a list of macronutrients (I made the cilantro pesto, they used basil pesto on this site).

Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes

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I know, my pictures look a lot like mush.  While I am no food photographer, I can assure you the cookbook contains beautiful and encouraging images of what your creations will look like.

These baked potatoes will satisfy your comfort food craving and warm you to your very core.  The filling has a Mexican flare with a little heat that you can adjust as desired.  Click here for the full recipe and a picture of what it’s supposed to look like.

Others Worth Trying

I have always been a dessert person.  While desserts are an indulgence that shouldn’t be overdone, I certainly make it a priority to enjoy one every weekend (at least).  If you’re looking for something seasonal, try these pumpkin pie bars:

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(source and recipe)

As far as desserts go, these are wholesome and hearty.  Take these to your holiday potluck 🙂

Additionally, I love all of the breakfasts in the book.  It offers a variety of options, especially for those with an allergy or aversion to eggs.  If you’re looking to test drive some of the recipes from this chef, check out the website: forksoverknives.com.

Another reason this cookbook was a must try for me: The chef, Del Sroufe, is an Ohioan, born and raised in the 614 :).  I’m a huge fan of supporting local.  Especially when it’s a quality product.  I love developing my own recipes, but I am no chef, so it sure is nice to draw some inspiration from a neighbor with expertise and experience.  Plus, hats off to Chef Del for losing over 240 lbs through better nutrition.

Talk to me?  Which 8MM was your favorite (or least favorite ;)?  Did you branch out and try any new recipes this month?

 

 

 

 

How Fast is Your Metabolism?

Boost Your Metabolism, the StrongCalmSexy Way

We’re always in search for ways to burn more calories with minimal effort.  Much like our wish for finding the Fountain of Youth, we all desire to be able to eat as much as we want without gaining weight.  Unfortunately, there is no “All you can eat cupcakes while binge watching Friends on Netflix” plan, however, there are plenty of enjoyable ways to maximize your caloric burn.

These are easy and (mostly) fun and/or tasty.  Let’s discuss:

  1. Your Swan Barre Workout: Over exaggerated, multi-joint movements are about as efficient as it gets when it comes to burning calories (and continuing to burn them post workout), but this workout takes it one step farther.  Swan Barre continuously focuses on posture training.  With posture training, you aren’t just rolling your shoulders back, your keeping your core positioned properly.  I always mention in the workouts that we’re training our “parts” to stay where we want to them stay even when we aren’t working out.  When you have good posture and proper core positioning throughout the day, you actually burn significantly more calories than you do when you slump or slouch.
  2. IMG_0240Adding Spice to Your Menu (and not just the hot stuff):  There are so many herbs and spices that are notorious for their metabolism boosting effects.  Cayenne pepper gets all of the glory but there are so many others that you should be shaking and partaking in ;).  Cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, kelp powder, garlic, and basically every ingredient that is included in our Sexy Spice blend:

 

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3.    Hydrate!  Pure, clean water is the best!  Drink plenty of it.  Aim for at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.  Other metabolism masters include unsweetened green tea (or really any type of unsweetened tea).  Yerba mate, matcha and oolong are other specific tea varieties that are known to improve caloric burn.   Lemon, lime, mint and/or cucumber can be fun ways to flavor your water while adding even more of a metabolic advantage to this vital beverage.

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If you run through the beverage aisle at a health food market, you’ll see lots of trendy bottled beverages promising to speed your metabolism in an instant.  Make sure you read the ingredient list.  Many of them are loaded with sugar (and I promise you that isn’t going to help the cause).  Also, check with your Doc (especially if you’re taking medication).  Some herbs and spices may react poorly with prescription meds.

4. Prioritize Rest.  Getting enough sleep is probably the most commonly neglected factor when it comes to mastering your metabolism.  Not only does lack of significant, quality sleep affect metabolism, but being tired also causes food cravings (and not the healthy kind). When you’re sluggish, you’ll reach for anything that seems like it will give you quick energy.  Usually low-fiber, highly processed carbohydrates.  These foods have the opposite effect you want them to, slowing your metabolism and offering only a very short lived spike in energy.  This causes you to feel sluggish and gross soon after.   However, a good night’s sleep allows your cells to repair and/or be replaced with fresh, healthy, new ones.  Additionally, your endocrine system can work more efficiently when you’re well rested.  Doing a few minutes of yoga or gentle stretching before bed can help you get into a restful state allowing you to sleep more soundly,  Also try lighting a lavender candle, diffuse calming oils or take a warm bath with a wash that includes chamomile.  I love this one:

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Let’s Recap:

Over the next 4 weeks try to practice each one of these techniques, one at a time.  You could be one month away to being a healthier, more energized, calorie torching machine 🙂

Week 1: Complete a Swan Barre workout 3 times

Week 2: Complete a Swan Barre workout 3 times and add some herbs and spices to your “real food” meals.

Week 3:  Complete 3 Swan Barre workouts.  Add some herbs and spices to your meals.  Increase your water intake.

Week 4: Complete 3 Swan Barre workouts.  Add some herbs and spices to your meals.  Increase your clean water intake.  Add calming rituals to your evening routine.

Here are some additional articles that support many of these ideas (in case you think I cuckoo):

http://naturalsociety.com/11-ways-naturally-boost-metabolism-weight-management/

http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Karine_Spiegel/publication/24429270_Effects_of_poor_and_short_sleep_on_glucose_metabolism_and_obesity_risk/links/00463528dcf42a28d4000000.pdf

http://www.livescience.com/26496-endocrine-system.html

 

Have You Hit the Wall?

Good Afternoon!

Do you ever experience that afternoon slump that makes you want to take a nap or insert an IV tap of Starbucks?

NO WORRIES!  I’ve got you covered!  If you’ve hit the wall this afternoon, clock out for an 8 minute break.  Here is your 8 Minute Meltdown of the day:

Then grab an iced green tea and get back to business 🙂

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If that doesn’t work, just change your point of view 😉

Oh My Thighs

Did you accept the challenge?

If you’ve been practicing this months challenge, you’ve probably been through most, if not all of the 8 Minute Meltdowns on the list.  Never fear!  I’ve got you covered.  Your new 8 Minute Meltdown is included in this post.  It’s a perfect sequel to the “Oh My Tri’s” triceps meltdown.

You can adjust the level of difficultly by using a higher or lower step, chair, bench, etc.  You just need one sturdy object for support.

I love hearing from you!  Find me on Facebook.com/strongcalmsexy and Instagram & Twitter @omnoshedidnt

Post Meltdown Cool Off

When you’re done with your meltdown, cook off with this smoothie bowl:

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1 whole, peeled lime

2/3 cup blackberries

1 cup pineapple

1/2 cup coconut water

1 scoop grass fed whey protein

Top it off with:

1 TBSP milled flaxseed

1 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes

1 TBSP raw cacao

Enjoy!

 

Sparkling Your Way To a Better Body

SPARKLING YOUR WAY TO A BETTER BODY”

By: Mike Mayhew CSCSIMG_2395

(image source)

 

There has been a resurgence of sparkling water in the media. Is sparkling water just as good as regular water?  Is it better?  I have been a fan of sparkling water since childhood as my grandma Mastronunzio used to always have it in her fridge when we visited her. There are several reasons that sparkling water should be a staple in your fridge if you’re trying to stay/get healthy and fit.

1.) The fizz (CO2) is a great appetite suppressant.  When I get home from work and I am starving, I always pop open a bottle of sparkling water while I prepare my dinner. It prevents me from snacking on food while I’m cooking.

2.)The higher mineral content, especially the calcium and magnesium is great for your bones and muscles.

3.) Sometimes plain ole water is just boring.  Drinking bubbly water adds a little luxury to your beverage. It is the wine of the fitness & nutrition world.

All water is not created equally. I tested 3 different brands of sparkling water and judged them based on Mineral Content, Flavor & Fizz:

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Pellegrino

I love the glass bottle design. However with this glass bottle if you don’t finish the bottle it gets flat quickly.  Higher mineral content is great. Fizz is medium.  This one is unflavored, which I often prefer.

 

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Perrier 

High mineral content and naturally CO2 derived from the source. Fizz level is very strong and they offer a variety of different flavors.  This is perfect if you dislike plain water and don’t want added calories or artificial junk (like aspartame or that scary pink stuff).

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Ice Mountain Sparkling Water

Good variety of flavors that are all natural and no calories. No minerals added as this is spring water with added CO2. Fizz is medium.

 

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The bubbles last.  The flavors available are subtle and fresh.  The mineral content makes it a nutritional asset to someone who lives an active lifestyle.

Now that you’re hydrated, go workout!

8 Minutes of abs to keep things tight under your Fall sweaters!

 

You Need Chocolate…Right NOW!

Why Chocolate is the Best Pre-Workout

Proper nutrition comes in more than one form.  There are plenty of ways to fine tune your body and keep your energy levels at their peak.  However, there are even more ways to wreak havoc on your insides.  Packaged bars with a long list of ingredients, fillers and mysterious alternatives to sugar are often tempting for quick pre-workout fuel.  Most “power bars” that you buy in the “health food” aisle of the grocery store are going to leave you feeling gassy, bloated, crampy and sick.  The better alternative might surprise you.

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(source)

Chocolate: Nuff Said

I’m caught snacking on this at the gym on the regular.  I’m called out on it too, by trainers and clients.  I get the classic “You’re eating chocolate!?”  First of all, don’t give a gal a hard time for eating chocolate.  You might get smacked, or at least a verbal tongue lashing.  I respond with a “You’re darn right I’m eating chocolate.  You got a problem with it?”  But you lovelies, I’ll explain why.

A quality chocolate bar is only going to contain a few simple ingredients:

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This is my current favorite.  The ingredient list contains the following: Organic Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Cocoa, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract.

All real food and only 5 ingredients.

Additionally, as a pre workout snack, it contains a heart healthy, plant based fat.  This will help with your endurance.  The serving size I recommend (1/2 of the recommended serving size on the package), will also give you about 7-8 carbohydrates, and a few grams or protein and fiber.  Ultimately, cocoa provides a mega dose of antioxidants (flavanols and polyphenols).  These help cells renew more perfectly, where as a lack of antioxidants in the body can allow free radicals to damage cells causing you to age more rapidly.

Check out this link for more details on the antioxidants found in dark chocolate.

The 1/2 serving size that I recommend is roughly 125 satisfying calories.  In addition to the chocolate, it makes sense to add some fresh berries or an apple to your pre-workout snack.  This will add even more of the goodness (fiber, antioxidants and energizing carbohydrates) to allow your body to perform (brain included) and muscles to recover properly.

You’re also less likely to crave sugar later in the day if you snack on a small portion of dark chocolate.

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Avoiding situations like this 😉

My “Next-Level” Chocolate Recipe:

Want to take the power of your chocolate to the next level?  Try making it yourself.

Using organic cacao nibs, coconut oil and organic maple syrup, melt them together in a double boiler and pour them into candy molds.  Freeze or refrigerate them (and keep them there until time to eat.

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(Best Value)

I use the following measurements.  1 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup cacao (powder works too), 1/8 cup maple syrup.  This makes about 24 (yes TWENTY-FOUR) servings.  If you can’t eat chocolate due to an allergy, aversion or other reason, (first of all, bless your heart) you can use carob powder instead.  It’s also delicious!

Now that you’re fueled up: 8MM

Your next suggested 8 Minute Meltdown for this month’s challenge:

Tag me when you’re done!!