Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tasty jicama fries

I just made the most delicious "fries" for a fraction of the calories and fat and a boat load more nutrients. All you need is a jicama, some cooking spray and your favorite veggie seasoning (or just some salt and pepper). 

Never heard of jicama? Well let me introduce you. First of all, the "j" is pronounced as an "h"...just a warning so you don't look like an idiot when raving about your "new fries" (you're welcome!). Jicama is a root vegetable that is full of fiber and vitamin c and lacks calories and fat (yeah!). You can find it an any grocery store in the produce isle. 

What to do:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400
  • Peel the jicama and cut into "fries" or cubes or whatever shape you'd like
  • Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray
  • In one layer, place your cut up jicama on the cookie sheet, and spray with cooking spray
  • Top with favorite seasoning
  • Bake for 30 minute, flipping the "fries" half-way through
  • Turn the oven off and let them stay in there for about 10 more minutes (if you like them extra crispy, like the photo, make it 30 minutes...they were fantastic!)
You can eat an entire small jicama worth of fries for 140 calories, 32 carbs, 18 grams fiber (what?!) and 3 grams of protein.


Run a 5K to celebrate spring!

This winter has been particularly harsh but now it's time to get outside and shed those hibernation pounds. If you are ready to take your walk up to a run, there is no better motivation than to sign yourself up for your very first 5K race and then of course train for it. And right now is the perfect time to start your training...there are like a million races since race season is just starting! All you need is about 10 weeks to train, a great pair of running shoes and some can-do attitude.

A few things to do before you get started:

  • Check with your doctor to see if running is right for you if you have any medical condition or injury...better to be safe than sorry.
  • Get a great pair of running shoes. As avid KC runner Elizabeth says, “Seems to me that anyone can run any distance if they find a reasonable training plan and stick to it. It also seems to me that a lot of beginning runners are picking the wrong shoes - that is, buying according to looks/price - and then they get hurt and quit. I'd recommend starting out at a specialty store and having them analyze your gait. You may drop a few more dollars than you would have otherwise, but you won't feel it quite as much the morning after!” I recommend checking out Gary Gribbles, Smart Feet, Elite Feet or any other running specialty store to get the perfect shoes for you!
  • Set a realistic schedule. The plan calls for 4 days of training a week. Put your days and times that you will run on your calendar and treat those times as untouchable times…like you would a meeting at work, your graduation ceremony, happy hour with your favorite people. You get the picture…write it/type it and then stick to it. Also, if you’re not a morning person, do not plan on training in the morning at 5 a.m…that is a recipe for disaster. Instead, train over lunch or right after work.

The plan:
  • Run 3 days per week (on non-consecutive days)
  • Cross train 1 day per week for 30-45 minutes (weight lifting, biking, swimming, cross fit, etc.)
Remember, this is YOUR training. If you can already run for a 2 minutes at a time, by all means, start at Week 5 and go from there. If you are struggling to make it past a week, stick with that particular workout until you have mastered it before going on. It’s about you and your success. It doesn’t matter how long you take to get there… it’s your attitude and perseverance. Justin, a long time KC runner says this about running: “Running is 90 percent mental - if you think you can do it, you will do it.” If you fall behind, no worries…keep at it and you will reach your goal!

Week 1: Walk 30 minutes.

Week 2: Alternate walking 2 minutes with running 30 seconds for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 3: Alternate walking 1.5 minutes with running 30 seconds for 24 minutes total.

Week 4: Walk 1.5 minutes, run 1 minute for 25 minutes.

Week 5: Run 1.5 minutes, walk 1 minute; run 3 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes for 28 minutes total.

Week 6: Run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes for a total of 30 minutes.

Week 7: Run 6 minutes, walk 2 minutes for a total of 32 minutes.

Week 8: Run 20 minutes.

Week 9: Run 25 minutes.

Week 10: Run 30 minutes the first two days and 32 minutes the last day.

Week 11: 5K RACE!

For upcoming races in your area, click here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Get the best night sleep possible...you'll be glad you did!

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!

Sleep the weight off!

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. Click here for some simple sleeping tips. 

32 Thursday Workout

I hope you love this workout as much as I have…whew! This is the deal: do each exercise 32 times before moving on to the next, then do each exercise 16 times, then 8. You’ll basically be cutting your reps in half each time. To make it harder, don’t take breaks between exercises or sets. To make it a bit less challenging, take a 10-20 second breather between. It should take you about 20-30 minutes to complete. Make sure to stretch afterwards! 

Lunges (32 each leg)
Push Ups
Sit ups
Jump Squats
Hip ups (32 each leg)
Back Extensions
Jumping Jacks

Enjoy! J