Ways to make your life better: 30 minutes at a time

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Go Nuts Over Nuts: Good for Mind and Body

Hopefully you already know that a handful of almonds is a great way to stave off hunger and fill your growling tummy with some fiber and healthy fats. Did you also know that it may be protecting your memories?

Studies show that the use of olive oils and the consistent eating of walnuts and almonds may help prevent dementia and other memory defecits in the future. 

Exercise, on a regular basis is also proven to keep your brain healthy and sharp as well. 

Check out the findings below.

Nutty finding: Olive oil, nuts can protect your brain

May 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM ET

It might seem against all logic, but adding a little olive oil or a handful of nuts to your diet each day may help keep your mind clear, researchers reported on Monday. It’s the same diet that’s also been shown to reduce deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers found that people who ate these healthy fats were less likely to show the early signs of dementia than those who stuck to a more traditional diet. And this was done in Spain -- where people are already eating a so-called Mediterranean diet.

“Our ļ¬ndings support increasing evidence on the protective effects of the Mediterranean Diet on cognitive function,”Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez of the University of Navarra in Spain and colleagues reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The findings come from a large and well-publicized trial that showed the Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and a little wine can cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent. Martinez and colleagues took a part data on 500 volunteers from their own study center, who were followed for more than six and a half years after starting the diet.

A Mediterranean diet includes lots of salad, fruit, vegetables, nuts, a little fish, a little lean meat, a small amount of cheese and olive oil. Wine is also served at meals. In the main study, 7,400 volunteers got extra counseling, and either a weekly supply of extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts -- walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

The volunteers, aged 55 to 80, were all at high risk of heart disease because of diabetes, a family history of the disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels -- or they were overweight or smokers. They were randomly assigned to either add more extra-virgin olive oil to their daily diets, a daily handful of the mixed nuts, or just a standard diet with advice to cut fat.

Such “randomized” studies are considered more powerful, because people don’t choose which diet to adopt -- and so other outside factors don’t interfere with the results. For instance, people who choose to eat nuts might also dislike meat, or they might like sweets, or they might exercise more or less than people who don’t think much about eating nuts.

Read more here

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by BevKnits

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sneaky "Healthy" Foods That Make You Fat

Don't you hate it when you think you are doing everything right and get on the scale at the end of the week and have gained 2 pounds? How can that be??  When your trainer keeps your workout routine productive and personalized like we do here, the next thing to look at is your diet.

Even if your pantry is stocked with high fiber snacks and organic pastas from the whole food co-op, there is a chance that those "healthy" foods are secret sugar-boosters that throw off your whole metabolism. 

Check out this enlightening article from Shape.com

7 Foods a Nutritionist Would Never Eat

And why you shouldn’t either!
1 of 7
Rice Cakes
They may have been touted as the ultimate diet food during the low-fat/no-fat craze of the late 1980s and 1990s, but don’t be fooled. Rice cakes can have a glycemic index rating as high as 91 (pure glucose has a rating of 100), making it the kind of carbohydrate that will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. This is bad for weight loss and for your health.
Read more here:  http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/7-foods-nutritionist-would-never-eat

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lessons from a Swimmer

Recently Diana Nyad fulfilled a dream she'd been working to achieve for a very long time. She completed a swim 110 miles from cuba to Florida's Key West.  She swam through shark infested waters, through jelly fish, difficult conditions that had stopped her on other previous attempts.

This time, at the age of 64, she made it.

Is she an inspiration. Damn right she is. 

Whether she had completed her goal this time or not, she continued to try, again and again, and in that pursuit, she showed the world the soul of an athelete. She challenged herself and never gave up.  She stubbornly pursued her self-appointed challenge.  This time. As she always knew she would. She succeeded. 

We all have Diana Nyad in us.  I believe this and I believe in each of my clients and bringing out your athletic soul. 

Check out more about Diana Nyad here...


Monday, September 9, 2013

Sugar Free Drinks = Weight Loss for Kids (and Adults!)

It's no secret that soda is bad for you, and your kids, but sugary soda is undeniably part of the obesidy problem and studies have proven it. 

Obesity rates in children have increased by 100 percent since 1980s.  Since then, kids consume an extra 300 calories per day, largely in the form of high sugar soft drinks

A study from the Netherlands found that children given high-sugar soft drinks for 18 months
gained weight while kids given sugar-free drinks didn't.

Replacing high-sugar drinks with calorie-free beverages prevents weight and fat gain in children.
(New England Journal of Medicine, 367: 1397-1406.2012)

Getting your kids started on healthy and deliscious beverages early is key in getting them to make healthy choices life-long.  Here are some great drink ideas to get you and your  kids away from the sugary sodas and into much better habits.

Aqua Frescas:  

These are basically fruit-infused waters that are refreshing and good for you. Easy to make at home, kids will love to make up their own recipes, and you'll love that they are eating and drinking healthy. Here are a few recipes to get you started: 

Citrus Cucumber Water

  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 large lime, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  1. Place all fruits and vegetables in a glass pitcher.
  2. Add water.
  3. Allow to infuse for two hours before serving over ice.
Orange Water

Orange Mint Water

  • 3 large oranges, sliced
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  1. Place mint and orange slices in a pitcher.
  2. Add water.
  3. Infuse for two hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Pour over ice.
  5. Serve garnished with an orange slice and a sprig of mint.

Cucumber Melon Aguas Frescas

  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1/4 cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  1. Place melon and cucumber in a glass pitcher.
  2. Add water.
  3. Allow to rest, refrigerated, for two hours.
  4. Serve over ice.
  5. Garnish with melon balls skewered on a swizzle stick.

Watermelon Basil Aguas Frescas

Watermelon Water
  • 2 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 10 to 12 basil leaves
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  1. Pour water over melon and basil.
  2. Refrigerate for two hours.
  3. Serve over ice.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Citrus Coriander Aguas Frescas

  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 large lime, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  1. Pour water over citrus fruits and cilantro.
  2. Refrigerate for two hours.
  3. Serve over ice.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice and sprig of cilantro    (get more at:  http://gourmet.lovetoknow.com/Fresh_Fruit_Infused_Water  )

Tomato, Cranberry and Orange Juice are also healthy choices that can substitute for sodas.

Attribution Some rights reserved by Daniel Wehner

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Snack and Burn: Guilt -Free Snacking That Boost Your Metabolism

Snacking guilt-free seems like a fantasy, but there are deliscious snack options that taste so good you will avoid your trainers eyes the next day.  Discovering the savory flavors of metabolism-boosting seeds and leguimes makes all the difference.  Check out this undeniably good recipe from Health.com for a taste that is good and good for you.

Sunflower Lentil Spread


  • 1 (15-ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 scallion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 pitas, halved


1. Combine lentils, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender; process until smooth.
2. Stir in sunflower seeds, celery, scallions, and parsley.
3. Microwave pita at HIGH 1 minute. Serve with spread.

Attribution Some rights reserved by oatsy40