Monday Musings

I’m not sure how this has happened but here we are on another Monday again. Did the week sail by and I missed it or what?

Or… is it true.. the older you get the faster time goes?

And I’m getting older..  but more on that later…

In this weeks news we finally had rain! True it came in on the afternoon of July 4th and probably shut down lots of outdoor celebrations but it’s hard to complain when the grass has been crunching under foot for over a month now.

But then we had rain the next few days too so that’s a total win.

*** And in a side note as I’m preparing to launch this post, it’s been storming here since early morning hours. Am I the only one who loves waking up to the sound of a thunder and rain on the roof?

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Can you go wrong with a pink rainy hoody? I think not.

And rain means getting to break out those rainy day garments that mostly hang out in the closest… for a girl who likes fun clothes and gear… it’s a win/win thing.

Speaking of fun stuff….

I kinda have a birthday later this week. Due to logistics of getting all the fam together we had the big celebration this weekend but I plan to milk the upcoming week for all it’s worth 😉

Hubby surprised me.. totally caught me off guard with his gift….. check out what I got.

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Why yes, that’s a GoPro. Now I gotta figure out all the operations of it.

I’m not sure but he may have been worried about me trying to make a video while holding my phone, flying off a hill on my bike, or the fact I’ve talked about paddle boarding and having my phone out on the open water 😛  I love that he supports my adventurous nature.

Anyway, I feel fairly certain you’ll be hearing more about this in the future…  once I read all the directions 😛

On the topic of reading….

When I’m not flying down the road on foot or bike or flipping furniture or just doing life, I really do like to read.

I’ve always loved words and I’ve always enjoyed reading. One of my favorite things I did during the summer as a kid was go to the library and drag home bags of books to read.

Once I had kids, it was something I enjoyed taking them to do during the summer.

My kids are grown now but I still love going. There is something about walking in and seeing rows and rows of books, and that “library smell” that whisks me back to earlier, simpler days of my life when I could get lost for hours in a book without a care in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still read for hours but gosh, adulting often comes calling and I have to abandon reading till those things are done.

I love all kinds of books but I really love books I can get lost in with a good story line that don’t demand anything from me but that I enjoy them.

Summers really are meant for carefree days spent reading, aren’t they?

Summers are also meant for easy foods right?

I made this new baked bean recipe recently and it was a huge hit. Note it makes a pretty good amount so you can feed a lot of people.

I also experimented on the fam with this dinner recipe last week. It was easy and well liked so it may get used again….

During the summer I’m all about what I can put together easily, what feeds lots of people and is nutritious and tasty too.  The longer days have me involved in projects and I like having meals that don’t take forever to put together.

Oh and on topic of food… if you missed it….  a post over the weekend was on food, eating and guilt.  Something many struggle with and is a part of our dysfunction with food.  If you missed it you can find it here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/

Speaking of projects….

you know I’ve gotta tell you about some of my furniture adventures, right?

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Vintage harp back chairs

So I got this group of 4 chairs yesterday, and how nice, someone has actually sanded them and made new board seats which speeds my work up 😛 I love old chairs to flip, each one is a fun project unto itself. I can hardly wait to see what clever ideas come to mind for them.

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Petite Vintage Vanity

I got this cute little vanity with a stunning mirror about a month ago. I just finished it’s transformation. I love how simple and clean it looks now.

 

 

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There are some pieces I really want to keep…. this is one of them… but hopefully it will be going to a new home soon.

I also got this super ugly, sad piece a few weeks ago… you can see it here in this post….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/25/monday-musings-16/

I’ve been busy at work on it and can hardly wait to show you… it’s going to be so gorgeous! Nothing feels more rewarding than transforming something ghastly into something beautiful and usable again.

Moving along…..

My week ahead will be full with all the usual life stuff and in the mix of that finding time to read, write, and work on my projects that is slowly becoming a fun little side business.

My birthday is actually Wed so I have plans to do things that I love doing and to enjoy the people in my life who make me happy.

I was reading the other day that we all move through our life doing things that we (personally) enjoy and we learn to make room for doing those things that matter to us.

I try and take care of the “necessary” stuff in life ( ugh like cleaning) but get it done quickly so I have more time for the things that make me happy and give me joy. I hope you have time in your days for doing things that bring you simple joy.

Now tell me what adventures you’ve been on this week. Have you got any good reading suggestions for the summer?  Tried any new healthy recipes? What are things you do in your life that bring you a simple joy to do them?

Monday Musings

Hello boys and girls. Monday again. Time to let the random collections outta my head from this past week. I appreciate your encouragement and appreciation of these posts. They are fun for me in the sense I can just literally write on anything and everything. It gives you a little insight into other areas of my life that aren’t “just” health and fitness.

But health and fitness is really important to me

it’s pretty much why I started this blog. I found in my sharing on social media people were uh… hungry… for encouragement and sane, sensible ways to live a healthy lifestyle.  I love sharing my personal athletic shenanigans and  love sharing simple tips that can help and work to get fit and healthy. I also like being able to direct people in ways to get exercise into their lives.

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A morning ride, the road behind me and more miles in front of me

But I was thinking as I often do when I was out on the road the other morning. I was thinking about how grateful I was to be doing what I was doing. You see I never take it for granted or believe that I’m entitled to do it.

It’s a privilege to exercise and use my body.

It kinda makes me sad when people make jokes about not exercising or being lazy or choosing not to do it.  I guess I want them to “get it”. That once they push past a point where they have to make themselves get out, or have to set their alarm earlier (or whatever they need to do) that they will actually begin to look forward to it.

Crave it even.

It becomes a key part of the day. Not only that, it begins to build energy in me and clears and centers me for my day.

I mean really you only have one body. Shouldn’t you do things to take care of it? To keep it strong and healthy?

Exercise has multiple health benefits and yet, is the most unused activity to help our bodies not only physically, but mentally too.

If you don’t do anything yet, at least make a commitment to yourself to begin walking. Everyone can do it, it’s easy, and you don’t have to go anywhere except out your front door.

After exercise, we eat

Ok ideally food is good after a workout. I am sometimes bad about coming in and jumping to my to do list and not getting food ( bad girl I know)

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Most mornings my breakfast starts like this… a healthy dose of spinach

I try and make a breakfast that is really heavy in veggies with a side of fruit to start my day and nourish my body post workout.  Spinach always makes an appearance. If you missed my post on spinach and why you should eat it, find it here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/19/spinach-benefits-and-great-hair/

Starting your day with a good breakfast helps give you energy, keeps your blood sugar levels steady and keeps you from over eating later in the day.

Oh, and it keeps you from being grumpy with people ’cause you are starving 😉

Breakfast is often the most skipped meal because people (mistakenly) think it will help them lose weight by doing so. Yet really it can have the opposite effect. Eating a good breakfast helps fire up your metabolism and will keep you from grabbing a donut in the break room later.

Speaking of sweets….

you may have read my most recent post on adoption and celebrating our daughters 20th birthday. If you missed it, you can read it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/26/the-beauty-of-adoption/

Anyway, we kinda had celebrations through out the week for her with Saturday culminating with one of my delicious 3 layer homemade cakes.

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I have mad cake baking skills

The frosting is so decadent, an entire package of cream cheese and lots of real, creamy butter.

Are you drooling yet ?

Because I’m nice, I’ll give you the recipe here. I have tons of tried and true cake recipes at home. However the day I was out running around and going to store I didn’t have a recipe so I reverted over to my go to place now days, Pinterest.

Ah… it didn’t fail me. I found this great cake which was proclaimed by the fam as “the best one ever” ( they kinda say that about every cake which is nice 😉 )

 

So here you go… the recipe if you wanna whip up something oh so good and earn some points with those you love 😉

In my other obsessions… uh…hobbies..

I’ve been sharing with you some of my adventures in flipping vintage and antique furniture.  I’ve finished two pieces this week and I’ve got a couple getting close.  I find a crazy satisfaction in doing this. The more horrible the piece, the happier I am. Because it means a cool transformation.

Check out this little Drexel side table. Like most of the things I scoop up, it had been someone’s ” better idea” project. They had applied some kind of goop to lift the varnish leaving it thick and bubbly. I took a strong arm and hand to it( having a strong upper body really pays off when you’ve got to hand sand forever!)  knocking all of that crusty finish off to do my own magic….

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This Is what I started with…

 

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And here it is looking fresh in cream and black with a little light distressing.

My other project I finished off I will admit I’m a tad bit obsessed with. I caught the vision for it quick and it was so exciting watching it seamlessly come together. I shared last week some color ideas I had picked up but didn’t tell you how I was using them…

 

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A vintage telephone bench

 

 

 

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I kinda used the colors like this….
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Eek… tell me how cute it is!

This is one of those pieces I love but it’s meant for someone else. It’s fun transforming bland, tired furniture into something fresh and a bit more modern.

I’m excited over how that 1930’s tea/beverage trolley is turning out. I got that a couple weeks ago for a total steal.  You can see it’s first day home pic here from last weeks post….. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/23/monday-musings-10/

I have so many ideas bouncing in my head with projects. Add to it writing and other creative things…. my head is full of constant busyness…

Tell me I’m not the only one, right??

Ok your turn! Tell me about your week. Do you have any interesting or fun hobbies? More important , do you like chocolate cake? If so, do you need milk or coffee with it? 

Spring And The Great Outdoors

Hello to my 1.5 readers out there. Yes, I’m still over here kicking it.  Thought I should get something out so you don’t start reading the current tabloids or something else as  um…. entertaining.

Ok honestly, I had my little 18 month granddaughter while her mommy and daddy were out of town for three days.

Let me tell you this… I don’t do anything that requires  more focus than a nano second of a gnat when I’ve got her.  This means writing or anything else that requires a level of skill.

Mainly ’cause I’m making sure she isn’t dive bombing off a chair, eating colors, or trying to ride the English Mastiff, just to name a few things.

She is bright and oh so smart, endearingly cute, can do her baby talk like crazy ( once she puts the words together her parents will never have a quiet moment) and is quick to mimic anything you show her. She is very social ( that doesn’t fall far from the family tree with her daddy and her nanny 😉 and loves being outside, which worked well for me ’cause I do too.  We spent plenty of time outside enjoying the sunshine, wind and absolutely perfect temperatures.

It’s pretty hard for me to stay in when conditions are like that. It’s why I’m already tanned too haha

But yeah, writing, it’s hard to sit and get at that. And by the time she’s down for night I just want to chill.

All I can say is I’m glad I have the energy to keep up with her! Not just that but also cart her and her baby stuff to and from the car. Ah the good ‘ol days! That’s really how muscles are built haha

Seriously though, this morning… this is what I was back to doing….

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Happy sunny spring miles

Of course, last week before my baby duties, this is what I was up to…

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According to my watch I was moving….

I glanced down at my watch and of course I’m thinking… why can’t I do this speed up hills?? haha

Seriously, though it’s April. I’ve gotta start getting ready to get back into serious training for the duathlon in November. Nothing like a little dual sports to keep me on my toes 😉

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this is what multi sport training days look like 😛

 

So besides athletic shenanigans, it was also a productive weekend for some new furniture findings. I usually write about these in my Monday Musings posts but due to situations mentioned above, Monday Musings will resume next week

However, you can find one or two of them here if you wanna check it out….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/09/monday-musings-9/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/02/monday-musings-8/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/26/monday-musings-7/

 

But I will share what I found cause I think I got some cool goodies.

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How about an old school telephone bench?

 

 

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this cute little vanity…
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So clean inside the drawers, a nice treat to find.
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Of course, the original hardware is always my favorite part.

So that’s a sneak peak at some of my recent treasures. I got another side table but I’m to lazy to look for pic and load it up here haha

And yes, I know, I keep saying I’m doing an entire post on my adventures and I promise to work on it soon.

The ** not featured** table, I met the lady in a parking lot to make the purchase. I don’t make drug deals… I’m dealing furniture…

Anyway she says “Oh, do you do furniture restoration?”

Me… “oh,  I dabble in it a little” haha not confessing I’ve turned into a little one woman show flipping stuff.

Hubby, when I told him that says… “dabble? a little?”

Maybe a bit more than a little 😉

So spring is in the air…..

It’s hard to keep me inside when the weather is so perfect. I just want to be out in it and of course it is perfect to work on my projects outdoors.

But along with that comes the idea many people get of wanting to start moving more and getting some exercise.

I often get asked what is the best exercise to do.

I will say that anyone, no matter what your fitness level, can walk. If you’re wanting to get out and enjoy the spring weather walking is a wonderful way to clear your mind, get some cardio work ( you gotta move it though!) It requires no special equipment ( some decent shoes help) and you can pace yourself at a level you can handle at your own physical abilities. You can pick up the speed as you get stronger and you can increase distance gradually to let your body adapt.

I’ve shared before, walking is where my athletic beginnings have root. You never know where those evening walks may lead you 😉

Spring days… who feels like cooking

One thing about longer days and more opportunities to be outdoors means I sometimes don’t want to be in the kitchen. This is where I fall back on using my trusty crock pot or utilizing some of my tasty, yet healthy, one pan dishes. You can find all my one pan recipes on my Pinterest page, Sassyfitnesschick, under one pan dinnersI’ll share one with you I made last night.

So tasty and so easy!

 

this tasty Mexican inspired meal was also a success. This is easy to make ahead and pop in oven closer to meal time.

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a busy week for me and the rest of it promises the same.

Tell me do you have an tried and true simple recipes that are healthy, quick and get you out of the kitchen ? What are some of your favorite spring time activities?

Spotlight On Broccoli

Food day boys and girls. Yeah, that makes me happy too. Todays spotlight is on one of my most favorite veggies that show’s up a whole lot for meals at my house.

Broccoli.

Now stop turning your nose up at it. It’s not my fault your mom used to steam it till it was mush and then make you eat it with threats of withholding dessert if you didn’t suck it down.

Broccoli is good. Trust me. AND it really good for you.

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Broccoli fresh or frozen offers the same benefits

 

So what’s the lowdown on it?

I know you want the 411 on this tasty green stuff so here we go. When it comes to great tasting nutrition broccoli is an all star food with many health benefits. Low in calories ( about 45 calories per stalk) broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and minerals in addition to loads of good fiber.

Broccoli belongs to a family of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables and its close relatives include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

A cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is a good source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc too. It also provides fiber and is low in calories.

Broccoli has some great nutrients….

Vitamin K – essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting

Vitamin C – builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.

Fiber – diets high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol.

Potassium – a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction.

Folate – is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body

Do you know how you cook it can affect the nutritional quality of broccoli?  Boiling can leach out up to 90% of it’s important nutrients.

So not only did your mom make you eat green mush, she made you eat green mush with no nutrients 😉

Better cooking options are steaming, roasting, stir flying and microwaving.

Roasting it with a little olive oil, sea salt, and parmesan cheese is pretty amazing.

A weird bit of broccoli history….

Broccoli was developed from wild cabbage during Roman times, and was enjoyed immensely by the Romans. Broccoli was introduced to the United States during colonial times, but did not gain popularity until the 1920’s.

Did you know…

Broccoli gets its name from the Italian word “broccolo”, which means “cabbage sprout”.

You think those “detox” things sound cool ? ( for the record… don’t. Just don’t ok??) Phytocheimcals glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin compose a terrific trio in broccoli. Together, they aid all steps of the body’s detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants.

You wanna detox? Eat your broccoli.

One hundred grams of broccoli has three grams of protein, which is pretty good for a vegetable.

In fact, the structure of broccoli’s protein is similar to that of animal protein, without the punch of cholesterol.

Apart from its rich amount of vitamins and minerals, you should include broccoli in your everyday diet thanks to its high content of antioxidants and plant compounds, some of which promote good heart health and even prevent cancer

Broccoli has a number of science-proven health benefits, including cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol levels, improving eye and gut health, and many others.

Seriously. Eat your broccoli.

Enough of the science stuff…. how do we make it tasty?

Alright, I’m gonna toss some tasty little recipes at you. Of course you can’t ever go wrong just nibbling on the raw stuff… just stay away from all those creamy dips…. well unless you do what I do.

Make a creamy dip with non fat greek yogurt… protein, no fat and tasty. I get the Ranch dip mix, add yogurt. No one knows.

Win/win

Roasting, I’ve said before, is the bomb for most veggies. I can eat my body weight in roasted veggies, which is a lot 😉

Find a roasted recipe below

 

and one of my favorite things to make…

I love to make a salad with broccoli, apples, craisins, some red onion, some bacon bits ( because well, bacon.) and sometimes some crushed walnuts.

Here’s the deal breaker for me on so many of these types of salad, the dressings are mainly mayo based therefore driving up calories on an otherwise healthy salad. I found a dressing locally by a company called Kens and the flavor was Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s pretty low in calories, so I mix enough of that in to kinda lightly coat stuff. It gives it the sweet, lightly creamy taste and texture of the mayo/sugar dressings but definitely less calories and fat.

Oh my gosh. So good.

Even my pickier veggie eaters ask for it now.

So that’s a wrap on our eat your veggies spotlight.

Tell me about your broccoli adventures. Do you like it? How do you eat it? Any favorite recipes?

Your Happy Healthy Heart

So it’s a cold, grey day in my part of the world. After a busy morning getting a strong training session in and some always necessary house work, and then working on some of my other fun projects (  revamping old furniture) I decided I deserved some coffee and writing time.

My training though, it’s hard to take myself outside to the building I use on cold mornings ’cause like, it has no heat.

This can work in my favor in several ways. Usually, it means I get out there and get moving with some cardio to get my blood stirring so I warm up fast.

Today I decided some time spent  boxing should do the trick to get me warmed up.  It always works….

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Boxing. It not only gets your heart rate up, it warms you up fast too.

Toss some angry music in my ear, add my well worn pink gloves, 20 minutes later I’m in a full sweat, cold air and all.

Oh. Wait.

What cold?

So the boxing warmed me up for 45 minutes of strength training, i.e. muscle building time. I might mention though, all those solid metal weights, not much warms them up when you first grab hold of them!

Overall, a nice strong training session.

That boxing though, it’s a form of cardio that I love for a variety of reasons. Like, I can punch something as hard as I want and not get in trouble haha. It can be very, very good therapy.

But lets not forget its great upper body and core workout too, but it also has great benefits for getting the heart working hard. We can forget that those internal muscles of our heart and lungs need strong training as much as our arms and legs, well, actually they need it more.

That’s what I wanna talk about today… our heart and exercise and some other stuff too.

Here in the states, February is heart month.

However, I’m thinking if you’re reading this you’re alive, which means you have a beating heart, and it needs proper care so wherever you are in this world, you can read this too.

Let’s look at some facts….

Yeah, yeah, you know I’m gonna offer up some facts here, don’t you? Maybe you’ve seen “facts” in your own family if you have loved ones who’ve suffered or do suffer with heart disease.

But do you know, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. ?

And do you also know that it’s preventable ? Making heart healthy choices, knowing your family history, knowing risk factors you have, and having regular check ups are all a part of proactively caring for your heart.

Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually

In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.

Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

Women and heart disease….

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

Every minute, approximately one woman dies from heart disease.

Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat

An estimated 6.6 million women alive today in the U.S. have coronary heart disease.

90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke. This stat is sobering for yours truly sitting here writing this. As a woman who feels she leads a healthy lifestyle, eats well, exercises often and has a low family history, the idea of being in the 10% of no risk is perhaps slim.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men and are often misunderstood.

Men and women are not the same when it comes to heart disease.

Well gosh, thanks for all this good news….

Remember earlier, I said this was a preventable disease? Unfortunately, our lifestyles can be one of the biggest problems for developing heart disease. A high fat, processed diet lacking good quality heart healthy foods and inactivity are often the culprits to heart problems.

Those things, we can make changes on in our lives. We can begin to exchange foods that aren’t so great for heart health for ones that are. We can put on shoes and start walking each day. Almost everyone has the ability to walk. Start there, but just start moving.  Do it at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

You get a gold star if you do more 😉

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running Past
exercise does your heart good

Failure to exercise (walking or doing other moderate activities for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week) can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes and, in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

Find some posts I’ve done on exercise here if you need some more reading material…https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/08/03/so-you-hate-exercise/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/05/25/does-exercise-have-benefits/

Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.)  I don’t talk about specific “diets” but I did a review comparing two, one I can endorse as practical, livable and good for you. Find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/21/keto-and-dash-diet-review/

Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment

Avoid smoking and recreational drug use

Have no more than ½ to 1 alcoholic beverage per day.

Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician. Your physician may recommend medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Know and understand your family history. Next to your personal care of yourself, this will help you assess any potential problems that are out of your control.

People who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; influences blood pressure, cholesterol and levels of other blood fats – including triglycerides; and increases the risk of developing diabetes. 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.

If you have diabetes be aware that the condition seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even if glucose levels are under control. More than 80% of diabetes sufferers die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

With all that being said

By maintaining a heart healthy diet, doing active vigorous exercise, knowing your family history and having regular checkups you can be sure to keep your heart in the best shape you can.

So when you’re out there exercising and your heart is beating strongly in your chest, appreciate all it does for you and continue to show it love back by doing things to keep it healthy and well.

What do you do to keep your heart strong and healthy?

Benefits Of Elderberries

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One of the things I enjoy about writing is the freedom to write not only on health and fitness, but also on a wide variety of topics as well. I talk a lot about healthy foods and what they can do for your body but today I wanna talk about a supplement.

I know, I know. A supplement. It’s not my usual style for sure but this one I think bears examining a little.

Here in the states, the flu right now is extremely serious. You can’t see the news without more awful stories coming out about  people dying, many are children.

This supplement kept coming to me in a variety of ways so I figured I needed to investigate it further. I will always encourage real, whole food sources over supplements, but I believe this supplement is most likely easier for people to get their hands on, thus receiving the benefits.

I’ve been reading about  elderberries, and how they can actually help slow the virus or cut the duration shorter.

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, more commonly referred to as elder or elderflower.

You will mainly find elderberries in the Northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, although some southern species are grown in Australia. The berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, sweet flavor that makes them highly preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies, spreads, and as the base for various cocktails and drinks.

Since most of the berries in the genus Sambucus are toxic, caution is suggested and cooking the elderberries before consuming is always a wise choice. The branches, leaves, and twigs of all species contain trace elements of cyanide, which can build up in your body and eventually kill you, so be careful! ( how’s that for a fun and random fact??) if you decide to buy elderberries make sure you get them in a licensed reputable store. Don’t pick and eat wild berries as not all are safe to eat.

However, despite the implicit risks of elderberries, they are packed with beneficial nutrients, so they have been a part of  traditional medicine for hundreds of years and some health benefits have become more commonly acknowledged. We’ll look at some of those below.

  Elderberry actually has a very long history of medicinal use. Most historians typically trace it’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the father of medicine  and who described the plant as his “medicine chest” due to the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure.

Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Do I have your attention now? It certainly grabbed mine when I started reading about it.

Health benefits of the elder plant

It naturally improves colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, allergies, chronic fatigue, and constipation.

Get this… studies have shown when used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract has actually been found to reduce the duration of the flu with symptoms being relieved on average 4 days sooner.

During the ’95 flu epidemic the government actually employed the use of elderberry to fight the flu.

Elderberry has been the subject of numerous studies that shows it can actually decrease the duration and symptoms of the influenza virus. The high levels of antioxidants present in the extract are able to interfere with the activity of the virus itself.

Wait.. there’s more….

when it comes to antioxidants power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries!

Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost effective treatment for colds and flu.

With elderberries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it naturally helps clear and heal sinus issues.

Other ways it has been used and has benefits include:

It can help lower blood sugar, it’s a natural diuretic and laxative, and with it’s antioxidants and flavonoids as well as its high Vitamin A content, it makes it excellent for skin health.

The high levels of essential minerals help promote bone strength and development of new bone tissue.

Where do I get this super power food/supplement ?

As mentioned above, if you buy the berries, make sure they are from a reliable source. They offer many health benefits, including a high dose of daily fiber.

However, you can buy supplements that come in the forms of syrups, lozenges, and capsules. Dosing varies for each so it’s important you follow the directions on the package. These products can be found at local health and wellness stores or purchased online. These supplements as mentioned when taken accordingly can help with colds and flu.

Of course, if you feel like doing it, you can always make your own syrups from the berries.

Are there any side effects?

As with any herbal remedy it’s important to be aware of anything unusual you may experience. Signs of reactions could be a rash or difficulty breathing. Both should have immediate medical care. As mentioned it’s a diuretic so if you have kidney problems you may need to stay away from it.

In summary

This post is not meant as medical treatment or to suggest not using all available healthcare to keep you and your family well. It was intended to inform and educate to help alongside your health care choices. There is enough research to support elderberry helping with colds and flu that I thought it was relevant enough in this time to share with you.

Share with me. Have you tried this? If so, what has been your experience?

 

Simple Nutrition

Yeah, hello, I’m still alive out here.  No, the duathlon didn’t leave me laying on the side of the road 😛  I promise, I am doing a recap but…well… they keep teasing us with all our free race photos and course I wanna toss one or two of those in as well… so hopefully sometime this week you can find it here so stay tuned. I had fun and I did ok so check back. 😉

However a busy Thanksgiving week and all my well intended plans to scratch something out for you seemed to sail out the window.

So much tasty food for Thanksgiving. Some new dishes shared as well as the traditional favorites everyone enjoys.

It goes without saying that eating comes pretty naturally for all of us. Where we differ is how we choose to eat and the foods that we put into our bodies.

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Every time we eat, we have the power to make choices.

Obviously, how I feed my body is important to how well I can potentially do my training sessions and also have energy for the rest of my day. I’ve learned that cutting back on food or not eaingt pre work out is the equivalent of taking off on a long trip with your gas tank sitting on or close to the empty mark.

In todays busy world food sometimes seems complicated and it shouldn’t be. I don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over food .. unless it’s 4:30 and the dinner hour is breathing down my neck, everything is frozen, and I’m completely clueless what to feed the crew.

THEN I might start obsessing a little.

Having healthy snacks or easy balanced and nutritious meals shouldn’t have to stress you out. I’ve personally found if I have healthy foods in my ‘fridge with easy access to them I’m always more likely to grab them.

No, I don’t meal prep or have 50 containers of the exact food waiting for me day after day. There are foods that I can easily grab or assemble as a snack if I feel like I’m famished ( and some days after long training sessions those moments can come on quickly) Maybe you haven’t done a long training session but maybe you’ve put in a long day at work and dinner is still in the process of coming together.

Taking a little time to prepare some things to keep on hand will help you make healthier snacks choices.

Consider things like:

Hard boiled eggs

Cheese sticks or cheese cubes

A variety of precut, prepared veggies you can grab

Ranch dip, made with non-fat Greek yogurt

Fresh fruit

Peanut butter ( in moderation)

Grilled or baked chicken ( works for so many different things)

Greek yogurt ( toss in some berries or raw almonds)

Raw nuts like almonds or walnuts

Homemade smoothies with your choice of fruit, milk etc. (be really mindful of buying smoothies when you’re on the go as they are often high in sugar and loaded with tons of calories. )

I also like to keep whole grain crackers around. I will put together a small plate with some cheese and fruit to carry me over till I can eat my next meal.

Or try this tasty little healthy snack:

Apple slice cookies:

Red delicious apple ( you need a nice firm apple for slicing) , peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, mini chocolate chips, chopped walnuts.

Core apple, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Lay out on cookie sheet and press with a paper towel to absorb excess water ( this will help peanut butter stay in place) spread a  thin layer of peanut butter then add coconut, walnuts and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy 🙂

The more prepared you are the more likely you are to make good choices.

But back to that dinner thing….

I know I’m not the only one who sometimes bangs their head against the wall thinking of something clever for dinner. Personally, I could eat meat and veggies of some sort all the time but the rest of the crew.. well they have different ideas at times 😉

Mind you.. I have like… 5 thousand cook books so it’s not like I lack a place for ideas.  It’s just that they aren’t always with me if I’m out running around an realize I need food ideas.

Enter Pinterest

Who doesn’t always have their phone with them? And if you haven’t checked out Pinterest, will you should. All I have to do is open that app and search up some dinner recipes. Although now I actually have a board started with all kinds of tasty dinner recipes to choose from so I can be in the store, get the ingredients if I don’t have them and still put something new and delicious together.

( Click on my Pinterest link to follow me there and find a lot of my fav dinner ideas.. oh… and do I have some desserts for you too 😉 )

My favorite  new thing is one sheet dinners. I’m telling you… your life will never be the same again…ever.

All of the tasty goodness is cooked on one pan. Easy clean up. Nutritious. And there is a huge variety of ideas.

Simple nutrition my friends, simple.

Some of my favorites:

https://pin.it/4nqwlidnygrmkg  ( Greek Chicken with Green Beans And Feta Cheese)

https://pin.it/o5yrbbd2v3vx2l  ( Sheet Pan BBQ Dinner)

https://pin.it/mwxp5oounhzkdt  ( Roasted Garlic & Herb Sausage and Potatoes)

https://pin.it/2qaxgmnxitv3k6 ( Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken)

Sheet-Pan-Shrimp-Fajitas-Pin
I’ve made this too. It was a huge hit, and totally delicious

 

 

Not only are these meals easy to prepare with minimal work and clean up they offer a good variety from many food groups. Some are stand alone meals, some I might add a salad or bread depending on what it is.

Eating healthy with a focus on good food doesn’t need to be complicated. It may take a little time for you to get into the routine and find what works for you but once you adapt you will find it easier than ever to make healthy meals and snacks that will keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.