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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yummy (Healthy) Recipes For Summer

Summertime is a busy time for a lot of us.  Baseball games, vacations, kid's camps, pool/lake outings...the list is endless in the summer.  The last thing you want to worry about is what to cook for meals for you and your family.  Well, we are about to make your life a little easier with some yummy, healthy recipes you can try this summer.  Enjoy!!

Zucchini and Red Pepper Frittata
(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. sea salt
6 large eggs, lightly whisked
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (2 ounces)

Preparation:
  1. Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, pepper, and onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  2. Add basil and salt; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the moisture has evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Add eggs and goat cheese to vegetable mixture; stir until combined. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the bottom is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. As it cooks, lift the edges and tilt the pan so uncooked egg will flow to the edges.
  4. Reduce heat to low; cover and continue cooking for 15 to 18 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories:  230
Fat:  15g
Saturated Fat:  6g
Cholesterol:  290mg
Sodium:  336mg
Carbs:  9g
Fiber:  2g
Sugar:  6g
Protein:  15g


Recipe: Balsamic Pork and Apple Skewers
(Makes 2 servings, 2 skewers each)

Total Time: 27 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 12 min.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. all-natural tomato paste
2 Tbsp. all-fruit plum preserves (or apricot preserves)
10 oz. raw pork loin, cut into 12 cubes
1 medium apple (like Braeburn), peeled, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 tsp. olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
  1. Preheat grill or broiler to medium-high.
  2. Combine vinegar, tomato paste, and preserves in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
  3. Place a piece of pork, a wedge of apple, and a wedge of onion onto a skewer. Repeat, and add an additional piece of pork. Each skewer will have three pieces of pork, two pieces of apple, and two pieces of onion. Repeat with three remaining skewers.
  4. Brush skewers with oil; season with salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Grill or broil skewers for 5 to 6 minutes, turning every 2 minutes.
  6. Brush with vinegar mixture; cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, and brushing occasionally with vinegar mixture, until pork is no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories:  293
Fat:  7g
Saturated Fat:  2g
Cholesterol:  69mg
Sodium:  492mg
Carbs:  29g
Fiber:  5g
Sugar:  20g
Protein:  30mg


Recipe: Baja Black Beans and Rice
(Makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa if you're feeling fancy)
3/4 cup cooked black beans (you can also use canned rinsed black beans)
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. crumbled fresh cheese (queso fresco)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preparation:
  1. Combine rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin in medium saucepan; mix well.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese and cilantro (if desired).

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories:  387
Fat:  4g
Saturated Fat:  1g
Cholesterol:  5mg
Sodium:  338mg
Carbs:  70g
Fiber:  16g
Sugar:  4g
Protein:  18g



Recipe: Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola
(Makes 16 servings, 1/4 cup each)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup raw honey (or 100% pure maple syrup)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped, dried, unsweetened apples
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts

Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat honey and oil in small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until oil has melted. Add extract; set aside.
  4. Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
  5. Combine oat mixture and honey mixture, stirring until oats are evenly coated with honey.
  6. Place on prepared baking pan, spreading in a thin, even layer.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is light golden brown and crunchy.
  8. Cool granola completely (it will get crunchier as it cools).
  9. Add apples, raisins, and walnuts; mix well.
Tips: Other healthy additions include unsweetened shredded coconut, sulfate-free dried apricots, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried unsweetened berries, hemp seeds, etc. You can store cold granola in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories:  81
Fat:  5g
Saturated Fat:  3g
Cholesterol:  0mg
Sodium:  38mg
Carbs:  10g
Fiber:  1g
Sugar  7g
Protein: 1g

Enjoy these recipes.  Stay tuned for more yummy ideas from PROMATx Health Club!  You can always go to our website and check out more recipes.  Click here!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Food Cliches...Are You Guilty?

I just read a really good article in the Huffington Post entitled "8 Things Nutrition Experts Wish You Would Stop Saying About Food".  (Click on the link to check it out).  It was very informative and I found myself questioning how I look at food.  I was guilty of a few of those "8 things".   So take a moment and click on the link above and read the article.  I am just going to summarize the article and give my two cents in today's blog.

The author of the article is correct when she said that nutrition "rules" change on a moment's notice.  What you thought was good and healthy, now turns out to be bad and forbidden.  It's the same in the fitness world.  But you have to remember, play it smart when it comes to nutrition (and exercise).  There is no "magic pill" or "magic rule".  Just use your common sense and choose wisely.

One of the 8 things listed in this article that I find myself guilty of is using the term "clean eating".  Now I know what clean eating means to me...it means to cut out the processed/fried/fatty foods and choose more organic, healthy foods.  Clean eating to me may mean something different to someone else.  I try to choose locally-grown foods, non-GMO foods, and fresh-from-my-garden foods, but I cannot get all of my nutrients and ingredients in this manner.  I have to go the grocery store and purchase items from the inner-aisles.  The author of this article quoted a couple of Registered Dietitians and here are a few statements from both of them.  Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, states that "...many athletes refer to 'clean' as eating natural, wholesome, real foods and fewer processed options. I think that makes sense, but I don't know why we need to call it 'clean' instead of healthy eating".  Then Elizabeth M. Ward, RD, states "...but I have a hard time with the clean-eating label because it makes me think that if you're not eating 'clean' then you're eating 'dirty.' Also, clean eating doesn't necessarily equal a balanced diet. As much as I've tried to embrace the clean eating term, I sense some shame in it. For example, people may feel bad that they can't 'eat clean,' because the cost is prohibitive or it's inconvenient".   So true!  Why place a stigma against clean eating?  Let's drop that label and just continue to eat healthy with fewer processed foods!

Another point brought out in this article was about eating "Gluten Free".  I previously wrote a blog on "Who Really Needs to Eat 'Gluten-Free".   Go back and check out that blog.  There have been few, if any, studies proving that people who do not have celiac disease will benefit from eating a gluten-free diet.

The final "thing" I will comment on from this article is about the word "detox".  I am guilty of doing this.  There are times when my nutrition habits are sub-par.  It happens to everyone...I don't care who you are or what your background is.  During those times, I think to myself, "I need to do a detox".  Usually the next words in my train of thought are "clean eating".  See a pattern here?!  Well, truth-be-told, all I am doing is getting back to a healthier way of eating.  Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, was quoted in this article as saying "the best way to help your body get the toxins out is to put fewer in."  Duh!  (Did you hear the forehead slap I just did?)  It couldn't be any more simple than that!!

So my final thoughts...Choose your food wisely.  Know where it comes from and how it was grown and processed.  Take action in your community to allow everyone access to fresh fruits, vegetable, and meats grown from local farmers.  Join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) group to take advantage of the yummy stuff your local farmers grow and harvest.  Most importantly, get rid of the labels of "good vs bad" food and "clean eating".  Keep it simple and healthy and your body will reward you tri-fold! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Fitness Bucket List

Today's blog is courtesy of our trainer, April Crosby.  Check out what is on her "fitness bucket list"!!

Almost everyone has a bucket list, right?  Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, sail around the world, have dinner with [enter a famous person's name]....etc.  Do you have a "fitness" bucket list?  You should!  We all have dreams and aspirations of completing something fantastic, even if it is only fantastic in our own eyes.  I have a fitness bucket list and I would like to share with you 5 of my current list items.  Now remember, this list is not all inclusive and some of you may find these silly or crazy but remember...this is MY list!!

1.  Perform 10 unassisted pull-ups with proper form.
Those of you who know me or see me working out in the gym, know that this is a nemesis of mine.  I am able to do a couple pull-ups but that's it.  I consider myself to be somewhat strong in my upper body, so my big question (to myself) is, "Why can't I do 10 pull-ups?!?!?".  To me it is very frustrating and it is the number one item on my fitness bucket list.  Some day it will happen!!

2.  Do a handstand (without the help of the wall).
Aside from the fact that handstands make my sinuses and head hurt, I love the feel of my upper body strength holding me up during a wall-assisted handstand.  A friend of mine walks on his hands across the room with very little difficulty.  I have to say, I am so jealous.  This may seem like a weird thing to put on a bucket list but, darn it, I want to be able to do that!  I am tired of taking two or three tries, near a wall, to get my feet up and perform a handstand.  Once I'm up there I'm OK...it's just getting to that point that is tough.

3.  Complete a 2nd Tough Mudder event...IN NORMAL WEATHER.
If you live in Kentucky, as do I, and you were around a couple years ago when the Tough Mudder event was held near Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in September, you probably heard at least one or two people talk about that event held on Saturday.  Let me give you a little background in case you aren't familiar with what happened.  It was mid-September and the weather was beautiful...until Saturday, the day of the event.  I think the temperature dropped from the 80s to the 40s overnight.  It was EXTREMELY cold and we had to cover 12+ miles at an ATV park/course.  Let me tell you, jumping in a dumpster of ice water when it's barely 40 degrees is NOT FUN!  I know, I signed up for the race so "suck it up, April", right?  Well I did and I completed the Tough Mudder...body cramping and all!  A lot of participants were carried off on stretchers, not because of the obstacles but because of the extreme temperature.  Needless to say, I WILL do another Tough Mudder but I will choose the climate/state carefully!!

4.  Set a new PR (personal record) in a half-marathon.
I have run 6 half marathons...some good, some not-so-good.  I set a PR on a course here in Kentucky that is beautiful, yet challenging.  Oh, did I mention I never trained for the race AND I signed up for the race the night before when my friend was picking up her race packet??  That was not bragging, OK well maybe a little!  I was so proud of my time that I thought, hmmm, what if I had actually trained for that course??  It will happen because it's on my bucket list.

5.  Improve my back bends in yoga.
I have 3 herniated discs in my low back (check out my previous blog about it HERE) that limits my activity.  Yoga has been a huge help for me but I am still lacking the flexibility in my low back to comfortably perform back bends.  Now, I am not talking about rolling myself into a ball, bending backwards.  Some days, just a little extension in my low back (i.e., back bend) is painful.  So on my bucket list, I want to be able to perform some back bends pain-free.  I will accomplish this one, even if it's only a small back bend, but I am determined to make this happen.

Well, there you have it, 5 of my "Fitness Bucket List" items.  I love checking things off of lists so you can be these will be checked off at some point.  Hopefully at least one of these will be checked off in 2014!  So what's on your bucket list??