Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Heart pumping playlist

Finally...it's above freezing! Get outside and get your heart pumping with my newest fav playlist!

Happy American Heart Month!

February is American Heart Month. Why do you care? Well, in the United States, more people die each year of heart disease than of any other disease, accident or other cause of death. In fact, every 25 seconds, an American suffers from a coronary event such as a heart attack and 40 seconds, someone will die from one. That’s scary, right?! And yes, to answer a question that is asked often, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. These statistics are staggering but you don’t have to be a part of the statistics; there are steps every person can take to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.

Heart Healthy Eating:

Eating foods full of saturated fat and cholesterol leads to blockages in the arteries which cause heart disease. So skip the fried foods, full fat dairy, sugary foods and high fat meat and instead protect your heart with whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy and health oils. The fiber found in veggies, fruit and whole grain can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Protein sources such as salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids which lower blood fats and reduce the risk of cardiac sudden death. Heart healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil help decrease your cholesterol.

Heart Healthy Food Choices:

Fruits and Vegetables

  • All fresh fruits and vegetables!

Beware: If your veggies are fried, covered in butter or cheese sauce or your fruit is swimming in sugar, you aren’t doing much good for your heart. Use spices like garlic, pepper, rosemary, etc to make your veggies taste great and remember that fruit is already sweet, there is no need to pile on more sugar (that means no canned fruit in syrup!).

Lean and low-fat protein

  • Skinless poultry
  • Salmon and other fish
  • Lean (93%) ground beef
  • Soy products
  • Fat free or reduced fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Beans/legumes
  • Egg whites

Beware: Even lean protein such as chicken turns into a saturated fat feast when fried, so always opt for grilled or baked protein.

Healthy Fats
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish (like salmon)
  • Nuts
  • Coconut Oil

Beware: Be on the lookout for saturated fats such as those found in butter, some margarine and other oils. These fats can clog arteries which may lead to heart disease. Need a bit of a fat-tutorial? Check out this one from the American Heart Association.

Whole Grains
  • Oatmeal
  • 100% whole grain/whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • High fiber cereal
  • Quinoa

Beware: Just because a package says that something contains whole grains doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Make sure it’s 100% whole grain. When a food mostly contains enriched flour or white rice, that means that fiber, vitamins and minerals that make whole grains regulate blood pressure, are stripped out. So read labels!

Heart Healthy Workout

Eating well is only one half of the equation when it comes to protecting yourself from heart disease. Regular exercise helps reduce and sometimes even eliminate many of the risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity/overweight.

The American Heart Association recommends a person do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise in your target heart rate (THR) on most days of the week to see the reduced risk of heart disease.

Some examples of exercise can include:
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Taking a group fitness class
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Exercising on an elliptical or other cardiovascular machine at your gym
  • Sports that include continuous running such as basketball and soccer

How do you find your target heart rate? It’s actually fairly simple. To find your target heart rate, start by taking 220 minus your age. This number will be your maximum heart rate. Your THR is between 55% and 85% or your maximum heart rate. Therefore, take your maximum heart rate and multiply it by .55 and .85 and there you go...your very own target heart rate!

You can measure your heart rate on most pieces of aerobic equipment or by using a heart rate monitor (ranging from $20-$150 at Target, Wal-mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc).

Do you know how to spot a heart attack? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as arms, back neck, stomach or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea or lightheadedness

The most common symptom of heart attack in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort but women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms.
If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Thai curry peanut chicken

I just made a super yummy and quick dish (thank you to my friend Emily for the idea) that is calorie friendly,  low carb friendly as well as dairy free and gluten free…crazy awesome, right? My boys loved it..WIN!

Thai Curry Peanut Chicken
(serves 4)

What you need:

-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
-Cooking spray
-¼ cup Thai Red Curry Sauce (I use Trader Joe’s)
-1 TBSP Natural Peanut Butter (just peanuts and salt)
-¼ cup light, unsweetened coconut milk (again, I used Trader Joe’s…the kind in the green box)
-4 cups stir fry veggies (you can use fresh or frozen…think carrots, peppers, snap peas, onions, water chestnuts, broccoli, baby corn, etc.)
-Juice of ½ lime

What to do:

  1. Sauté chicken breast pieces in cooking spray until cooked thoroughly
  2. Add in stir fry veggies and continue to sauté until they soften a bit
  3. In a small sauce pan, wisk together Thai Red Curry Sauce, peanut butter and coconut milk over medium heat until blended
  4. Stir sauce into chicken and veggies, squeeze fresh lime over it
  5. EAT!

Each serving is approximately 1 ¼ cup and has 225 calories, 8.5 grams carbs, 27 grams of protein, 8.5 grams fat and 2.5 grams fiber.

If you need some good carbs in there, I would toss it on brown rice

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How many calories does shoveling snow burn?

If you're going to have to shovel, shouldn't you get something in return? You DO! A way to get your car out of your garage AND a big ol' calorie burn! If you manually shovel your drive, deck, sidewalks, etc. you can burn 400 calories* or more! So wait a few more hours and then get out there and exercise while clearing off your driveway!

*400 calories is based on a person weighing 150lbs. If you weigh less, the calories will be a bit less than that and if you weigh more, a bit more. 

Snow Day Workout!

If you didn't get the gym before it started snowing this morning, never fear, I have just the workout for you. I recommend repeating the following moves (30 seconds each) for at least 30 minutes for the most bang for your buck. But feel free to go longer, or heck, break it into pieces through the day and when you get cold or tired or bored-hungry, go through the workout.

Snow Day Workout: 

Do each move for 30 seconds and repeat until you reach your goal time (or until you are warm, energized or not hungry).

LUNGES (30 seconds each leg OR 1 minute walking lunges)