Saturday, September 28, 2013

Butternut Squash it!

This is one of my staples during the cool fall months (and into winter…and possibly spring…it’s that good!). Super easy to make, and low in sugar and carbs and it’s vegan friendly. Now, don’t let the “vegan friendly” part scare you off; this is an amazingly filling and calorie-light soup that will get you in a festive-fall mood fast! Plus, butternut squash is super high in vitamin A (you’ll get over 100% of your daily recommended intake). Vitamin A is required for the development of eyes, skin, and immune system. So it’s important. AND it has the super spice turmeric which is believed to aid in digestion, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, heal wounds, ward off cancer, control diabetes, relieve arthritis and a bunch of other awesome things. Makes you kind of want to just eat a whole canister of it, right? Don’t, that would be gross. But DO eat this soup!

What you need (serves 4):

·        1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed* (about 3 cups)

·        1 large onion, chopped

·        1 TBS minced garlic

·        ½ TBS minced ginger

·        1 tsp turmeric

·        1 tsp curry powder

·        3 cups vegetable broth

·        1 cup unsweetened, light coconut milk (I like Trader Joe’s version…it’s the
lightest I’ve found)

·        salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

  1. Chop onion

  2. Peel and cut squash. *Just a
    little note here; for me, squash is incredibly hard to cut, so I’ve found
    that poking it with a fork a few times and then microwaving it for about 5
    minutes, softens it up just enough so that I don’t lose a hand trying to
    cut it up J

  3. Heat 3 TBS broth in medium soup
    pot. Sauté
    onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring
    frequently, until translucent.

  4. Add garlic and ginger, and
    continue to sauté for another minute. Add turmeric and curry powder as
    well as a dash of salt and pepper; mix well. Add squash and broth, and
    mix. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to
    medium-low and simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Place in blender and blend with
    coconut milk. Make sure you blend in batches filling blender only half
    full or it might explode all over your kitchen (don’t ask how I know, I
    just do).

Check out these amazing nutrition

Per HUGE serving of 1 ¾ cup

Calories: 102 calories
Fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 21 grams
Fiber 2 grams

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Eat a muffin, lose the muffin top!


I fed the blueberry muffins (above) to my husband, who love calories, fat, wheat and dairy, and he was shocked that they were low-calorie, low-fat, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Ha, I totally got him! Taste for yourself; they are crazy addictive. my toddler ate six of them behind my back (sneaky buddy!).AND because it's fall and there are pumpkins everywhere, I thought I'd try to makeover a pumpkin muffin recipe as well..success!

Click here for my E.H. Fitness Blueberry Muffin Make-over as well as a workout to get rid of your muffin top (or keep it off!) on the amazing feed me kc site.

E.H. Fitness Perfect Pumpkin Muffins 

Yields 18 regular muffins, 36 mini muffins
(10 min prep, 18 min bake time)

I LOVE baked goods but have a hard time digesting gluten (wheat) and dairy, so when a friend shared this gluten free recipe with me (thanks JF!), I had to try it…with a couple of my own little changes, of course J. Plus, you can make these in 30 minutes flat…

What you need:

  • non-stick cooking spray (or muffin tin liners)
  • 1 cup old fashion oats made into flour (don’t freak out…just put them in your blender/food proccessor/magic bullet/etc for like 10 seconds. Congrats, you just made your own oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup old fashion oats
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, original flavor almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

What to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Combine all dry ingredients (oat flour that you made, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, old fashion oats), then mix in all wet ingredients. Tough, right? Fill your muffin tins ½ full (like ¼ cup for regular sized muffins and about 2 TBSP for mini muffins).  Bake normal sized muffins for 15-18 minutes and mini-muffins for 10-12 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out goop-free. Cool before diving in.

These are crazy-unbelievable nutrition facts…don’t get carried away. The entire batch will still set you back over 1,300 calories. But for one normal sized muffin: 76 calories, 15 carbs, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram fat and 2 grams protein. For the mini ones: 38 calories, 7 carbs, 0.5 grams fiber, 0.5 grams fat and 1 gram protein. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kale and workout timing

There’s still time to harvest that Kale in your garden (or at your grocery store) and make delicious kale chips. Plus, do you know the best time of day to workout? Click here for my newest recipe on feed me kc and a bit about workout timing.

Prepare for success

My next couple of weeks are all out craziness…and it would be really easy to just put my workouts aside and grab food on the go. But I know that those two things aren’t in line with my health goals. So what’s a crazy person to do? Plan and prepare EFFICIENTLY. I love efficiency even when I’m not running around with my head cut off. I might love it a bit too much and don’t take the time to smell the roses when I should, but for these next couple of weeks, my productivity-obsession will serve me well. Here are a few of the things I’m doing to make sure that even on the run, I am healthy and working towards my goals and not stalling out or even backsliding:

Chop-chop! You know I’m a huge fan of veggies, so now when I cut something up, I cut up a lot of things at once and put them in ready to go containers. I already have the cutting board out and am working on my cutting motion, so why not add a few more veggies in there, it takes like 2 minutes. Today, for example, I was making an omelet with stupid amounts of veggies, so I just cut up all of the onion, pepper, a couple more zucchini and spinach and threw some into some containers to use as salad toppers and future omelets. I also cut up strips of carrots, peppers and celery and put them in snack sacks for on the go munching.

On the double! Double your favorite healthy, go-to recipe and then have it for leftovers instead of stopping to grab dinner on the way home because you don’t have time to cook. No excuses…it’s already cooked. Cooking chicken breast or some other lean protein? Make a ton of it and keep it in the fridge for meals, snacks, etc. so you don’t have to take the time to cook it when you don’t have time. Same goes with eggs…hard boil a dozen, throw them in your fridge and viola, a protein packed snack on the go.

Hop to it! If getting in an hour workout just doesn’t seem remotely possible, do 10 minutes at a time or go for the more intense workouts like plyometrics (jumping movements). Here’s a 15-minute one that is a calorie torcher and stress buster!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The playground workout

FINALLY, it’s starting to feel less like the middle of summer and more like the beginning of autumn…hurray! That means that you can take your workout to the outdoors without fear of heat exhaustion or stroke. If you want something different than basic body weight exercises when you work out, play around…on a playground! That’s right, you can use all sorts of super fun playthings to inflict a good hurt on your muscles. My husband and I took turns pushing our 2-year-old son in the swing while using the playground equipment ourselves on Sunday. Here’s a sample workout to build lean muscle while playing with your kids or crashing a playground party.
·         Jog to and/or around the park for a warm up
·         Decline pushups on a swing (can you say BURN…the instability of the swing forces you to use your core and legs like nobody’s business while working your upper body to the max)
·         Pull Ups…yep…the real deal. If you can’t do a full out pull up, grab a lower monkey bar and help with your legs just as much as you need to in order to get your chin above the bar
·         Dips off the slide. Get your elbows to 90 degrees before straightening them back up
·         Bench Step Ups…it’s like a more intense lunge…just step up onto a bench and then down again. Make sure your heel is completely on the bench and press through it to protect your knees
·         Incline sit ups or crunches on the slide…feet are going up the slide…hard, right?
·         Jog home and/or around the park for a cardio cool down
·         Stretch.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Only have 15 minutes to workout...make it count!

If you overindulged this last three day weekend, here’s a simple (but super tough) quickie workout to burn some of it off. Do each move for 30 seconds before moving on to the next one. Repeat the list of moves 5 times (without breaks it should take you a sweaty 15 minutes to complete).
•Sprint (or run in place if you’re in a confined space)
•Tricep Dips
•Jumping Jacks
•Lunges (30 seconds right, 30 seconds left)

Is lack of sleep making you fat?

For many, it is common sense that to stay healthy and fit you need to have balance and nutritious eating habits as well as an active lifestyle. I think what many of us forget though, is that even if we are the most healthy eaters ever and exercise every day, we can be ruining our hard work and putting our bodies at risk if we don’t get enough sleep.

We need sleep to survive…much like food and water. Sleep expert and President and Medical Director of somniTech, Inc., Dr. Steven Hull, says every person is different in their sleep needs, but the average person should get between 7 and 8 hours at their best. The benefits of sleep are vast and necessary for survival.

Benefits of Sleep:
  • Sleep repairs the body
  • Improves our memory
  • Keeps your heart healthy
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps with your weight loss goals
When we do not get enough sleep (at the very minimum, 6 hours a night) can be tragic to our health.

Consequences of not sleeping enough:
· Loss of memory
· Decreased alertness
· Increased cholesterol
· Raised blood pressure
· Increased risk of getting sick due to a weakened immune system
· Decrease of important of leptin (the hormone that tells us we are full) and an increase of ghrelin (the hormone that tells us we are hungry)

According to National Geographic, when compared to the person who gets the average recommended amount of sleep (7-8 hours per night), the risk of obesity increases 23% when a person gets just 6 hours of sleep up to a whopping 73% when a person only gets 4 hours of sleep per night.

So what can a person do if they have problems falling asleep or staying asleep like some 50 to 70 million Americans do? Incorporating a few simple changes into your life (especially around bed time) can make a big difference in how easily you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Sleeping Don’ts:

#1 Say good night to caffeine
  • Even if you don’t think that caffeine is effecting your sleep, if you have sleeping problems, try to limit your caffeine to morning times only and Dr. Hull says it is a good rule for everyone to stop any kind of caffeine intake at 2 p.m.
#2 Skip the nightcap
  • Though alcoholic beverages might make us sleepy and some people may doze off after a glass of wine, alcohol interferes with our natural sleep cycle and cause disturbances. So abstain from drinking to for a better night’s sleep.
#3 Don’t exercise to wear yourself out
  • Exercise is a fantastic way to be more energetic and alert not so much to put us to bed. When we exercise is done too close to our bedtime, our bodies will not be ready to slow down, we’ve revved them up and we’ll be up for a few more hours. A great rule of thumb is to make sure that you have at least 4-5 hours before you plan on going to bed.
#4 Turn off the TV and Computers
  • Falling asleep in front of the TV or heading to bed after updating your Facebook page or finishing a presentation for the next day can deter any real attempt at good quality sleep. The lights from computers signal our brains to become alert and late night television is anything but relaxing (think sobering news programs or sit-coms).
#5 Quit midnight snacking
  • Not only does midnight snacking pack on the pounds, but eating refined carbs (bread, cake, cookies, cereal, etc.) or sugary foods put your body into a hormonal rollercoaster keeping you from sleeping through the night. If you have to eat before you go to bed, focus on protein (a few slices of turkey, a small handful of almonds, etc.)
Sleeping Do’s

#1 Relax
  • Relax both physically and mentally. Stress can be one of the major causes of insomnia and disordered sleeping. Try for just a few minutes before you go to be to do some easy breathing exercises or light yoga and stretching.
#2 Make your bedroom a sleep-haven
  • The only two activities that you should do in the bed room are sleep and sex. This will promote a sleeping environment instead of a room that is used for work, TV watching, doing crafts, etc. Being in your bedroom will signal your body that it is time to rest.
#3 Lights out!
  • Making your bedroom dark when you sleep is important. Our bodies are made to sleep when it is dark outside. So if you have a spouse that likes to read late into the night with the light on, or if you work the night shift and have to sleep during the daylight, get yourself a sleep mask to cover the eyes.
#4 Have a bed-time routine
  • Just like you might have a morning routine where you get up, brush your teeth, go to the gym, eat breakfast, take a shower, etc., have a bed-time schedule as well. Maybe have a cup of herbal tea (it’s caffeine free) while reading a book for a few minutes, then brush your teeth, do some light stretching and turn off the lights and close your eyes. All of those things, when you do them every day, will signal your body that it’s time for sleep.
#5 Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • That’s right, every day. Yep, even the weekends. Having a set schedule for when you go to sleep and when you wake up will get your body and mind into a routine so that your internal clock knows when it’s time to go to bed and more importantly, when it is time to wake up (instead of waking up randomly in the middle of the night.

Follow these tips and get a better night’s sleep…your body will thank you!