Thursday, September 26, 2013

Get Rid Of The Bricks

By Lisa VanWilliams

Do you know that 5 pounds of fat is equivalent to a stone brick?

If you are not sure what weight range you should exactly be in,  it's all determined by BMI (body mass index) and/or body fat percentages.

The American Council on Exercise gives these recommendations for ideal amounts of body fat:

Percent Body Fat Norms for Men and Women

Description Women Men
Essential Fat 10-13% 2-5%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-24%
Obesity >32% >25%

The CDC also offers a BMI calculator if you prefer a weight range and a BMI average:

Don't carry more bricks than you need, because it's harder to break down a wall than smash a few bricks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Exercise Benefits

By Lisa VanWilliams

Sometimes it is a good reminder to think of all the reasons your out there putting miles on your sneakers and lifting repetitiously at the gym. Making healthy choices in a world where you are surrounded by temptation every day is not an easy task.

The Mayo Clinic did an article where they list 7 benefits of regular physical activity and they included the following:
  1. Exercise controls weight
  2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
  3. Exercise improves mood
  4. Exercise boosts energy
  5. Exercise promotes better sleep
  6. Exercise puts the spark back in your sex life
  7. Exercise can be fun
So there it is, just 30 minutes a day can help start improving so many aspects of your life. Park a few more spaces away than you normally would at the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do an extra lap at Costco. Consciously try to make better decisions every day to improve yourself.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peanuts - Not Just For Elephants

By Lisa VanWilliams

Good ole ball game peanuts.  Peanuts are a great afternoon snack that not only can keep idle hands busy, but they offer protein, nutrients, and they are high in fiber. Peanuts are one of America's basic crops with Georgia being the leader in production for the states.

The traveling circus introduced them to many back in the day when they went cross country by wagon. This nutty tasting snack became popular in America after the Civil War when George Washington Carter played a role in increasing their popularity. Peanuts have been around for over 7,500 years and they are believed to have originated out of South America.

Why are peanuts good for you?
  • lowers risk for cardiovascular disease (resveratrol)
  • lowers cancer risk (resveratrol)
  • fights hunger
  • packed with anti-oxidants
  • lower risk of developing gallstones
  • niacin rich which helps protects against Alzheimer's & it is good for blood flow

Also a few facts from the American Peanut Council:

  1. Peanuts are the #1 snack nut consumed in the U.S., accounting for 2/3 of the snack nut market.
  2. U.S. peanut farmers produce around 1.9 million tons of peanuts annually on approximately 1.44 million acres.
  3. Peanuts and peanut butter are protein powerhouses - providing 15% (7.6 g) of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) level (50 g) of protein per serving (one ounce of peanuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter).

Warning: I feel compelled to warn you that peanut shells will be allllll overrrrrrr your house and/or area of nut cracking. Keep the Dust Buster on hand for anxiety relief.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pineapple - The Tropical Treat

By Lisa VanWilliams

It's not just what Sponge Bob lives in, it is so much more. The main player in the Pina Colada, the top of the Upside-Down cake, sweet topping on your pizza, fruit next to the little umbrella in a tropical drink, grilled or straight up plain PINEAPPLE. Finally something that tastes good and it's healthy.

Pineapples originated in South America and then made their way around the World. They say it resembles a pine cone and that's how it got it's name. Pineapple starts to spoil as soon as they are cut, so back in the early days it was considered a prestigious treat and a rarity because they traveled by ship and it took so long. Hawaii starting planting them in the 1900's and the island pioneered pineapple production with companies like Dole and Del Monte. Today 86 countries produce pineapples with the leaders being the Philippines, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Thailand. 

Why are they good for you?

  • packed with vitamin C and manganese (increases energy)
  • anti-inflammatory
  • digestive benefits
  • anti-oxidant
  • immunity support
  • strengthens bones
  • helps prevents vision loss (macular degeneration)
  • fiber and potassium
  • bromelain packed which is said to have healing powers
Fresh pineapple is the way to go if you want to tantalize your taste buds.  It lasts longer if you store it in the fridge. We even keep some frozen to have on hand for fruit smoothies. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, pineapples offer some great health benefits.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soreness From Exercising

By Lisa & Steve VanWilliams

So, we have been increasing our activity levels and intensity lately and boy am I sore. I feel like an 80 year woman after I sit for a while and try to get my muscles moving again. Why does this happen?

It's called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it happens 24-72 hours after exercise. There is also acute muscle soreness which happens right after the exercise. Your basically contracting and tearing (or rupturing) your muscles and lengthening them causing them to swell. The body is increasing stamina, strength, pain threshold and tolerance levels.  The body is adapting and recovering from the exertion.

This soreness can occur from changing your routine up, increasing intensity or duration, or starting a new exercise. The eccentric portion of weight baring exercises or load baring create the most muscle soreness - which is the lowering phase of an exercise. Some great exercises that you can really concentrate on the eccentric part of the motion include
squats, push-ups, running downhill, lowering weights, and going down stairs. To maximize your workouts your should lower weight slowly, squat slower on the down phase (eccentric) and lift (concentric) a bit faster.

The good news is the more you do it, the less sore your body will be as it adapts. The body recovers in 3-7 days and there are a few things they say that might help alleviate walking like a zombie. Stretch, drink lots of water, progress slowly, and give your body time to repair.

SORE = the most satisfying feeling of knowing you pushed yourself and accomplished something.    

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beef Stew Under Pressure‏

By Lisa VanWilliams

This is a delicious good ole hearty stew fit for a crisp fall night that the whole family will enjoy.  It is bursting with flavor and easy to make in only 20 minutes with only one pot to clean !!  **Pressure cooker required

1 pd beef round cut in chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 large onion chopped in cubes
5 medium carrots sliced or chunked
4 celery sticks chopped
3-4 potato's cubed
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup corn starch with cold water added & mixed

In your pressure cooker add the olive oil, garlic, beef, onions, salt & pepper and cook them on a high heat until they brown up.  Add in the Worcestershire sauce. Now the carrots, celery, and potato's can be added in and stirred up.  Lastly, add the bouillon cubes and water and give it one last stir before you cover it and let simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. After 20 mins, remove the lid and pour in the corn starch while stirring to thicken up the gravy. Sprinkle in parsley and stir.  Simple, easy, filling, and they will be coming back for more.

Carrots - Not Just For Bugs Bunny‏

By Lisa VanWilliams
Steaming carrots is the best way to get the most flavor but some people prefer them as a raw crunchy snack.  It's a quick easy healthy snack that is easily transportable, and they have a longer shelf life than other veggies in the fridge.   This root vegetable has been around for thousands of years and they actually did not start off orange. They come in several colors such as white, purple, yellow, and red with each variety offering different amounts of anti-oxidants. Carrots can be bred to produce different colors.
Carrot consumption and production has more than doubled in the past 30 years. China produces the most carrots, followed by Russia and then the U.S. (with California producing 80%). World War II seems to be the start of the myth that eating carrots will improve your eye sight. Rumors were spread by the Britain's Air Ministry that carrots helped pilots see Nazi bombers at night, in reality, they were just trying to cover up that they now had radar.
Carrots might not give you night vision but they do offer a number of health benefits such as:
  • beta-carotene & anti-oxidants
  • lower your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • falcarinol and falcarindiol inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
  • packed with vitamin A
  • carotenoids are good for eye health
  • good source for immunity support
  • high levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber

So, carrots aren't just for rabbits. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and they can be incorporated into numerous meals. Look out for our beef stew recipe we will be posting soon and be sure to load up on your carrots and try it out.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Plantain Beef Boats

By Lisa VanWilliams

Hop on the boat to flavor town.  I am definitely going to have add this to my repertoire of delicious recipes.  The cinnamon compliments the sweet plantain in a very flavorful way and they go great together. This recipe will yield two boats !

2 plantains peeled (ripe ones yellow and black -looks like over ripe banana)
1/2 pd ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
dash of olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 any color pepper
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2-3 scallions
Some cilantro
Cheese to sprinkle over (I used Mexican blend)

Line the pan with some aluminum and put the plantains on. Split the butter up between the two.
Cook the plantains in 400 degree oven for 15-20 mins on each side until they turn a gold brown caramelized color.  They should look like this.

In the meantime, add the olive oil and garlic to a pan and start cooking your beef.  Salt & pepper the meat and add your peppers. Once the meat is cooked, drain it and add back to the pan. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and tomato sauce and let it simmer for a few mins. When your just about done add in the scallions and cilantro.

Take your plantains and cut them down the middle and push open the plantain with a spoon so you can fill it up. Split the meat between the two, sprinkle with cheese and put them back into the oven until melted.  DELICIOUS !! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Muscles Burn Fat

By Steve VanWilliams

Clients trying to lose weight always use to ask me, “If I only have a 1/2hour to work out should I do cardio or weights”? The answer is always weights! I have always said that muscle BURNS fat, fat does NOT burn fat. You will lose body fat more quickly and KEEP it off longer with more muscle density. Noticed I said muscle DENSITY, not BIGGER muscles. 

Women tend to shy away from lifting with a miscomprehension that their muscles are going to get huge and bulging and they are going to look like a raging roid head, which is simply not true. YOU NEED to lift weights to KEEP your muscles. If not your ratios will change over time. Meaning your body-fat will increase and your muscle mass will decrease.  

So hit the weights and start converting your fat and pumping up your metabolism!
FACT: Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. Faster in women due to lower testosterone levels. So pick the weights up!! and down!! and up!! and down!! ha!

FACT: You will increase bone density. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

FACT: Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won't fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.

FACT: Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Berry Morning Bramble

By Lisa VanWilliams

This is a good one. Try it out. Easy breezy.

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
a few strawberries
1/2 or 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon blue agave
2 tablespoons fat free ricotta cheese
1 English muffin split in half

Put all the berries in a pan and simmer them down in the butter on medium heat for like 10 mins. Add the agave.  Toast the muffin a little..spread the ricotta on each side.  Pour the berry mixture over the muffins and put them in the oven on broil under they get all bubbly...5 mins or so.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Plantains...A Sweet Fix

By Lisa VanWilliams

Craving something sweet? Try a plantain and you'll feel like you should be sitting on the beach under your straw cabana enjoying this tropical always reminds me of the Caribbean Islands where it is commonly served as a side dish.

It is a staple food for many countries and it can be used as a starch or a fruit depending on the ripeness. When it's very green it's more comparable to a starchy potato, as it ripens and turns from yellow to blackish the pulp gets sweeter than a banana. You can fry them, boil them, bake them, grill them, mash them, and you can eat them raw when they are really ripe. 

Why are they good for you?

  • high in fiber & potassium
  • vitamin A & C
  • a healthy carb
  • boosts metabolism & burns fat
  • natural sugar that is easier for body to digest
  • low in sodium
  • good source of starch and energy

Plantains are an inexpensive option and they offer some great health benefits. Plantain lasagna, ripe plantain boats filled with minced meat and cheese, serve them with eggs at breakfast time, or make some plantain foster for dessert. Search for a recipe and experiment!

I am going to try to bake some plantain chips up shortly, and I will let you know how they come out.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Obesity In Children

By Lisa VanWilliams

Between television, games, and processed foods, we have to monitor our children to make sure they don't get to caught up and that they are getting their 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Gym at school does not count.

The CDC states that over 12.5 million children ages 2-19 are obese in the U.S. and the trend is going up instead of down.  Genetics, family environment, & psychological factors are some things that can all have an influence.

Try to keep healthy food choices readily available for your children. Most kids are not getting the daily recommended amounts of fruits and veggies. Fresh fruit sliced, petite carrots, broccoli, grapes and berries are just a few examples of what to have on hand. I just brought home a carton of strawberries yesterday and between last night and this morning my daughter almost ate all of them. Try to limit the sugar intake (this is easier to do when Grandma is not sneaking them cookies), and encourage water instead of sugar laden drinks.  Skip the whole milk and go for the 2%.

Hopscotch, jump rope, kick ball, fly a kite, roller skate, relive your childhood and get out there and play.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baked Apple Slices

By Lisa VanWilliams

My husband is going to do a veggie/fruit detox for 30 days starting next week and I need a snack item for him. This is also a healthy snack alternative for your kids besides the over processed fast and easy fixes. I just added some cinnamon but you can experiment and find what flavors you like paired with your baked apple chips.

Cut the apples in thin slices, cut out the core and seeds. Line them up and bake for a few hours at 200 degrees. Flip them half way through. Simple, fast, easy, no fuss healthy whole food that can be packed easily for school or work. The house smells incredible daughter came running in and wanted to know, "What's that smell?".

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Run For Your Life - Sprints

By Lisa VanWilliams

When was the last time you ran all out as fast as you could?   It's good for you for a number of reasons and you should try it once in a while....challenge yourself. 

The definition of sprinting is to move rapidly at a top speed for a brief period, as in running or swimming.*

There's no specified amount of time you need to run, it depends on the individual. You should do it only when your warmed up and stretched out -make it the way you end your workout.  Why might you want to try it?

  • burns calories and speeds up metabolism
  • increases bone strength & density
  • great cardio 
  • builds muscle
  • burns fat quicker
  • increases your endurance
  • improves insulin health
  • better lung function

It's not going to be easy and it does not feel good while your doing it, but after all the huffing and puffing you will feel the difference. Pick a distance to accomplish and try increasing it every time. Pushing yourself helps build confidence in all aspects of your life.  So run like the dickens, use your legs, raise your heart rate in a good way, and flush out those lungs.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Portion Control...Pull Over

By Lisa VanWilliams

If portion control had a police division, I would be getting pulled over and ticketed more times than I would like to admit.  Did you ever have something so good you had to go back for seconds?  It's a daily battle and something I need to be more aware of for my own health and especially with the children watching everything we do.

Portion control is understanding how much a serving size of food is and how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains.*

Experts state that a 2.5 ounce piece of chicken (protein) should measure about the size of the palm of your hand, or the size of a deck of cards. Try to use visual comparisons, it's suppose to help remind you of appropriate serving sizes. Slow down when you eat your food and let your stomach catch up to your brain. Sometimes if you wait a few minutes you will realize your fuller than you thought and maybe you'll be less tempted to back for seconds.