International Waffle Day = More Protein

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Why would a personal fitness trainer talk about waffles? Let’s start with some background.

Today is celebrated as Waffle Day. This is also celebrated on August 24th in honor of the first waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout in 1869. Waffles originated in Greece around the 13th century. Waffle celebrations coincide as a welcoming of Spring.

Waffle calorie counts can range from 82 per ounce to over 400 per waffle. The majority of the macro-nutrients in a waffle are carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are a beneficial fuel source, but for some they are restricted in their diet. If not monitored, carbs quickly become sugar and an ensuing ‘crash’ occurs.

This is where more protein can come into play. Pairing protein with carbohydrates, helps to slow the absorption of sugar from the stomach into the bloodstream. This will help keep blood sugar from spiking, which can lead to future cravings.

Adding more protein to your diet will help you burn more calories due to the thermic effect of food. That is the energy required to digest it.

In short, enjoy that waffle today, be modest with the toppings, add some protein to the meal, then do some exercise.

In fitness, Bob

Heart Disease in Women

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Can you believe that at the age of 30, physical inactivity begins to play it’s largest role in a woman’s risk of developing heart disease? This is according to Australian researchers, as posted in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (May 2014)

Physical inactivity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. In 2008 according to the World Health Organization; globally, 31% of adults age 15 and over were insufficiently active. Of those, 28% were men and 34% were women.

From the age of 31 and beyond, inactivity raises the risk of heart disease more than smoking, being overweight or having high blood pressure.

Changing diet habits and walking thirty minutes a day or for an hour three times a week, will make a drastic change in your risk. Blood flow to the heart and the ability to pump normally can be changed in as little as a  month.

Exercise is only a fraction of the equation though. Stress management and a strict, healthy diet are crucial lifestyle changes that need to be adhered to. Following up with regular visits to your doctor, staying at a healthy weight and not smoking will greatly reduce your chance of developing heart disease as well.

It is never too early or too late, to begin a healthy lifestyle change. Find a support group, join a walking club or just ask your medical professional for advice and help. Some insurance companies will offer a discount on proactive health services. Search social media or join a discussion forum. My Fitness Pal is just one of the apps that has many group discussions, recipes, food logging tips and support opportunities.

Whatever method you choose to better yourself, just stick with it. You will develop a sense of pride and accomplishment, and just may be a role model for someone else.

In fitness, Bob

Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Tilapia

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IMG_20150304_212057_118     This amazingly simple, healthy and nutritious dish was originally put together as a dipping salsa. However, when it came time for dinner, it was warmed and served as a bed for grilled tilapia.

The ingredients were 1 can black beans (rinsed), 1 can corn (drained), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1/4 Lg onion diced, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, and a dash or two of lime juice.

I threw all of this together and let it chill in the fridge. It definitely was not one of my most thought inspired dishes but it turned out very nice.

In fitness, Bob

Banana Peanut Butter Snack

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IMG_20150219_121116_012   I was chatting with fellow blogger Tony, (One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Longer), about the uses of peanut butter and coconut oil this morning and I came up with this.

IMG_20150219_114114_055    I sliced one banana into 1/2 ” rounds, mixed 1 Tablespoon coconut oil with 2 Tablespoons PB2 and spread it onto the banana rounds. I then dipped them into cacao powder.

IMG_20150219_115831_542    These make for a quick, healthy, and nutritious energy snack. You could easily substitute a cacao nib for the powder. This was not as quick as slathering peanut butter on a banana but it kept my portions in check.

In fitness, Bob

Stuffed Kabocha squash

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I threw together a meal yesterday that I was sure my wife and I would enjoy. Filling, healthy, nutritious and well balanced, all in one dish.
The Kabocha squash, has a sweet, nutty flavor, much like a chestnut. It is rich in beta carotene, with iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin c, folic acid and B vitamins.

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I began by precooking some rice. I prefer Thai Red Cargo rice for the nutty flavor and texture. Next I made my stuffing mixture. One small apple, finely diced, 1 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and lightly seasoned it with allspice, ground ginger and cinnamon. I halved the squash, scooped out the seeds, and filled it with my stuffing mixture.

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I placed the stuffed squash halves on a foil lined sheet, gave them a comfy foil tent to keep them moist, and put them in the preheated oven for 45 minutes at 400°.
I sprinkled a little, (1/2t), brown sugar over each half and served them. These turned out wonderful! The skin of the Kabocha is edible as well. Next time I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.

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In fitness, Bob

Seaweeds and Eggs

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IMG_20150210_093412_110   Seaweed is actually a sea vegetable. It has been used for thousands of years for it’s ability to prevent disease, prolong life, and for overall health and beauty. In biology and myth, it is the sea that all things begin and return to. We begin life in the womb in a saline solution.

Seaweeds are classed by color. Their particular color depends on the depth at which they grow, the tide, temperature, light exposure and region. They contain up to twenty times more mineral content than land plants, and are a source of vitamins and fiber. Each seaweed has it’s own nutrient profile as well.

Seaweeds are used for lowering cholesterol, reducing fat in the blood, and in weight-loss programs. Other uses include the reduction of inflammation, as a diuretic, and the treatment of cancer and fibroid tumors.

I received Paul Pitchford’s book; Healing with Whole Foods, as a gift from my wife this past Christmas. It is a vast resource of information such as presented here, along with uses and recipes as an addition to whole body health.

Due to the high salt content of seaweed, you may need to rinse or soak, before using it. I have been using the roasted, shredded Nori as an addition to soups and eggs, and enjoy the flavor as a hot tea. Mixed with a little garlic, ginger and cayenne, it is helpful in treating congestion, (Head cold). Nori has the highest protein content and is the most easily digested of the seaweeds.

IMG_20150210_074319_434  I am not sure how the thought popped into my ever wandering mind, but I added some Nori and garlic to scrambled eggs. The flavor was what I would describe as a seafood omelette. Not that it tasted fishy, but the sea salt, roasted flavor was good. An exotic twist to a spinach omelette if you will. Additions to this could easily be any variety of mushroom, chilies, onion, whatever you choose.

IMG_20150210_075230   For one serving, I used 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 t minced garlic, and whisked it together along with approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoon crushed, shredded Nori. The Nori is easily crushed in the palm of your hand, as it is already dried. I only did this step so I did not have longer strands.

I poured the mixture into a skillet with olive oil, and cooked as I normally do my eggs.

IMG_20150209_073234    This was served with fresh tomato and was very good! As I mentioned, you could add many different ingredients and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Try adding some seaweed to an Asian style salad, stir-fry, soup, casserole or recipe of your choice.

In fitness, Bob

Be a Star, or, you are what you eat

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IMG_20150120_103442_794  The Starfruit, or carambola, is an interesting looking fruit, that when sliced, reveals a star shaped cross section. This is a fruit that I had never tried for whatever reason. My wife picked up a couple the other day, so I did what came natural, I googled it.

Starfruit grows on the Averrhoa carambola tree and is native to Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. It is also cultivated in Latin America, Carribean and parts of the United States.

The fruit is usually 2-6 inches long, yellow when ripe, and the entire fruit is edible. The seeds can be discarded, however I found them to have quite a nutty flavor. When serving, the brown ridges may be trimmed, but it is more for presentation. The top, or end that grew from the tree, is also trimmed off.

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It is at this point that you can slice the starfruit into either thin or thick slices for serving. The entire fruit can be used for juice as well. Children will love the shape of this snack as a finger food, or you can serve it atop a salad, suspended in jello, pudding, relishes or jellies.

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Apple, pear, grape and citrus would be the best description of flavor for the starfruit. There are sour varieties that are generally the smaller fruit, but typically the sweeter variety are found at the grocers. These will ripen after picked, but the sugar content will not increase.

Starfruit are rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties exist as well. Like the grapefruit, check with your doctor or druggist, to see if there are any contraindications with prescription medicines. If you have kidney problems, the oxalic acid content may be an issue as well.

IMG_20150120_105111_366 No matter how you choose to use it, this is a must try. Be a star!

In fitness, Bob

Obligations

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Are you obligated to accept food when someone offers it to you? How do you handle the situation if someone says, “Just have one”.

Adhering to a specific nutrition plan or diet, can be difficult in itself. Holiday parties, family gatherings and even pressure from coworkers can make sticking to a program almost impossible.

The pressure can feel like sabotage, even when the intent is innocent. “You can have a little”, “One won’t hurt you”, “It’ll be our little secret”, these sayings and others can be difficult to deal with.

Remember that everyone struggles with change to some degree. In dealing with clients that are going through multiple changes, they may have friends that are afraid to see them change. They may think that they could lose that friend due to different likes or priorities. I make it part of my responsibility to have a game plan in place in case these instances arise.

Be prepared to answer questions such as, “Why are you on a diet” or, “How much damage can one do”?                    It is acceptable to politely decline and say that “I won’t stop at just one” or, “I’m trying to better myself”.

Remember that you are in charge of the route you choose to take. Take control of yourself, your future, and your health.

In fitness, Bob

What’s In It For Me?

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Where to begin?

This is a question that was posed to me by a fellow blogger, in regards to getting back on track, becoming more active, losing holiday weight gain and where to begin.

Most of us already know “What’s in it for me”? The payout is immense! Better mood, improved sleep, ability to fight off colds and disease, longer life, the list is long.

So now lets look at where to begin . Do you open a savings account with all the money you want to have in it, or do you put in a little at a time? I know for me, it takes time. Money and health can be looked at the same way. They share an investment approach. Hear me out, I’m not preaching about how to get rich, unless you want to take stock in your health and fitness.

“I don’t have enough time”, is often heard.  Schedule that time for yourself. Start with one minute in the morning and one minute in the afternoon. Not so bad, right? Now double that on day two. Seriously, you have two minutes. Is it necessary to lean on the sink while you brush your teeth? That’s right, step in place while brushing. “But Bob, I gotta watch the traffic and weather before I go to work”. Awesome, I see about three more minutes of opportunity right there! Work your way up in time spent moving. Sometimes we struggle with the word exercise, so call it movement.

Do you find yourself spending a few minutes in the kitchen while the coffee is brewing or while you savor that first cup? Rest your hands on the counter edge,  put your feet back a little, and do some push ups against the counter. They do not have to be done lying down. Just make sure your feet are secure and not going to slide. Calf raises are an easy exercise as well. Up on your tip toes and back down.

Packing lunches or making breakfast? Grab that milk or juice jug and lift it a few times. Sound silly? Maybe to the person that doesn’t take the opportunity to try or utilize their time.  Save those rubber bands that are wrapped around packages or produce. Keep one at your desk, in your purse, in that catch all drawer and use it as a hand exerciser. Loop it around the ends of your fingers and spread them apart. This will increase your grip and tone up your forearms.

The key to all of this is beginning. Set an alarm or an appointment reminder, whatever it takes for you to reserve that time for yourself. By the way, it took you about 1 minute and 45 seconds to read this far. (wink)

Now to the nutrition part of this. Exercise, or movement, is only about 20% of the equation. We put on that holiday weight because of all the temptingly delicious offerings that are around every corner. Trust me, I know. I enjoy food too. Okay, so we enjoyed ourselves a little too much with all the extras that were so tempting. Get back on track. If you racked up debt from holiday spending, it’s time to start saving again. Same thing with the diet, or food intake if you will. Cut back on the sugars, carbs, gravies, sauces, (Yeah, I know..), and begin eating sensibly again. More vegetables, lean protein, fresh fruit, you know the drill, whole grains.

We bombard our bodies with these changes in poor diet choices, and in turn we spend more time sitting around chatting with friends and family. All we need to do is reverse this. More time moving and less time making unhealthy food choices. Just by moving more, you increase the metabolism needed to effectively burn the fuel you take in.

Do you need more motivation? Contact me at bob@guidancefitnesspt.com

The first step was taken when you chose to read this. Now get up and move 😉

In fitness, Bob