Thursday, October 16, 2014

(The Best Ever) Sweet Potato Salad

Ok babes, this sweet potato salad is seriously the bomb dot com. Loaded with healthy fats and vegetarian, it's my new favorite go-to meal or snack. It's one of those throw it all together, can't really go wrong kinda salads, so I'm not giving any measurements. Here ya go...  make now and thank me later.


Ingredients:
Baked Sweet Potato
Cooked Red or Tri-Color Quinoa
Organic Mixed Greens
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Pine Nuts
Avocado
Herbs de Provence
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

To Make:

Heat oven to 400. Wash sweet potatoes and use a fork to pierce them several times. Coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.*  While the sweet potatoes bake, bring two cups of water and one cup quinoa to a boil, then let simmer until all of the water has dissolved. Once cooled, cut the sweet potato into bite sized pieces. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix and drizzle with olive oil. Yum!

*If you want to save some time, you can microwave sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes (or until tender)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

4 Tips to Avoid Knee Pain


Knee pain is one of the most common complaints among women and men. Women in particular are susceptible to knee injury. The knee is the first joint in the body between ourselves and the ground. It's continually absorbing all of our weight when we walk, jump, or do any other kind of movement. Suffering from knee pain can be debilitating not only in your workouts, but in your daily life. Here are four tips to avoid knee pain...

  • Tracking: If you've ever taken one of my classes you've heard me say "knees over the toes." Whichever direction your feet are pointing, your knee needs to be heading in the same direction. For instance if your feet are facing forward, make sure that your knee isn't turning inward or outward. Additionally, we want to keep the knee stacked over the ankle and not move forward over the toes as we bend. 
  • Land Softly: Whether running, jumping or walking it's important to land with a bent knee. We do this naturally when we walk but it can be easily forgotten when we jump or run. Keeping a slight bend in the knee when we touch the ground keeps the joint from getting compressed....Just make sure that bend is tracking over the toes (wink, wink).
  • Balanced, Strong Muscles:  It's important to strengthen the muscles surrounding our knees because they support the joint and protect the knee from injury. However, we must maintain balance in these muscles so that one muscle group isn't pulling against another. Therefore, when you do a lot of thigh/quad work, make sure you're also doing a lot of hamstring and glute work. Same thing goes for the inner and outer thighs. We don't want any one muscle group pulling our knee joint forward or backward, left or right. Balance is key. 
  • Myofascial Release:  When we work our muscles through exercise, we develop adhesions in our soft tissue (aka the myofascia). These "knots" can pull on our joints. It's important to release the tissue surrounding these joints using trigger point therapy or myofascial release. My favorite way to do this is by (duh) getting a massage, but since I can't always afford for someone else to massage me, there are a few other ways of applying trigger point therapy. In fact, my very first video (here) demonstrates how to foam roll and you can also read this post that explains how to use tennis balls to achieve the same results. In 95% of people I talk to who complain of knee pain, after a little bit of foam rolling, voila! The pain is gone. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Healthy Breakfast on The Go: Pumpkin Apple Harvest Muffins!

Ok babes. I gotta say I'm pretty proud of these protein pumpkin muffins with apples and pecans. Most of my recipes are an adaptation of another recipe that I find either online or from a friend but these bad boys are all my own. They are loaded with fiber and protein which is a great combo for a quick breakfast on the go or a post-workout snack. Here's my recipe...


Ingredients:

1 Can Organic Pumpkin (16 oz.)
1 Cup Diced Organic Apple (about two small apples)
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup Cocoa Nibs
1/2 Cup Diced Pecans
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour (or flour of your choice)
1/3 Cup Apple Sauce
2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder (I use this one)
2 T Maple Syrup
1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
1/2 t Baking Powder

To Make:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and distribute evenly into a greased muffin tin (or you can use liners). Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and let cool for 10 minutes. Makes a bakers dozen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Flu" Is not a Season


Last I checked, there are four seasons in a year and "flu" is not one of them. Regardless, many of us now refer to Fall as "flu season" and it does seem that most people get sick around this time of year. And no, it's not because the weather is colder.

During the fall, our bodies must learn to adapt to a different lifestyle. The Fall is a busy time of year... back to school, back to work, back to reality. We are also faced with the holidays and with them come holiday treats. Even I am a victim of succumbing to the delicious flavors of fall. Pumpkin spiced latt├ęs, Halloween candy, thicker stews and heavier dishes to "store up for winter."

Furthermore, as we pack away our summer bikinis, our motivation to workout seems to diminish as well. We no longer find ourselves basking in the summer sun, meeting our friends for a healthy game of tennis, but instead meet at the bar for a glass of wine or to bake some cookies. To top it off, our favorite TV shows have returned and we are staying up wayyy past our summer bedtime (Scandal, anyone?).

It seems to me that "flu season" is merely an inability to adapt due to decreased activity, sun exposure (adios vitamin D) and sleep, and increased sugar intake and stress. No wonder so many of us find ourselves sick this time of the year!

So what can we do to stay healthy this time of year? Aaaahemmm... I'm so glad you asked :)
  • Hit the gym: Don't skimp on your workout just because summer is over. Remember the Beach Babe motto "Not just skinny for summer, but fit for life!"
  • Ditch the Desserts: I'm such a sucker when it comes to sweets. They introduced some new chocolates at Trader Joe's this week and sure enough, I've been eating them everyday since. Ahhh! That's it, I'm throwing them away and I'm only giving myself one cheat day a week. 
  • Juice and Eat your Greens: Remember that you are what you eat so make sure that you give your body the nutrients it needs. Have a large salad loaded with raw veggies or make a fresh green juice every. single. day. Now is also a great time for a cleanse!
  • Get Your ZZzzs: Take advantage of online viewing and save your favorite TV shows for a more reasonable hour. Turn off the TV and go to sleep! You'll be so much happier, healthier and well rested.
Three cheers for the Fall season and staying flu free all year round! 

PS. I do not recommend the flu shot... ever... period. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Motivation Monday: Why You Should Workout Today


Besides "to look better naked," here are five reasons why you should workout that have nothing to do with looks! 
  1. Sleep: no matter what time you workout, it's been proven that exercise helps you sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time. 
  2. Health: Exercise reduces inflammation, helps to prevent cancer and heart disease, lowers blood pressure, balances hormones... the list goes on and on when it comes to how exercise can improve your health.
  3. Attitude: Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins = happy pills. 
  4. Sex Drive: Anaerobic (high intensity) exercise increases testosterone levels, which will result in a higher libido. 
  5. Memory: A recent study showed that just one aerobic exercise can increase the hormones that help you remember. 
Bottom line, it's important to exercise even if you don't want to lose weight. There are SO many reasons why you should workout today (and tomorrow too!). xx

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