Archive for January, 2016

NIKE WAS RIGHT……JUST DO IT!

There are certain habits that we do every day. For example, most of us, when we wake Nike-JustDoIt-560up, drink coffee. (I don’t know how you non-coffee drinkers do it!) For some of us, coffee drinking is  an instigation habit—it is triggered by a cue. The cue might be hearing your alarm or seeing the coffee pot on the kitchen counter. The point is, you do not debate or deliberate whether or not to have coffee—you just do it.

I just read a study on exercise adherence and sure enough, researchers found that the most consistent exercisers were those who turned it into habit. But not just any habit—a habit that is triggered by a cue. For example, the alarm goes off and right after the coffee, you head to the gym without even thinking about it. (No deliberation or debate.)

What type of exercise should you be doing? In the beginning, it doesn’t make much difference, since you are trying to establish a routine. For example, you can go for a walk around your neighborhood for 10 minutes. This 10 minute walk is non-negotiable, just like coffee drinking. Once you’ve established the habit, you will be able to more easily tweak the exercise duration and/or type, simply because you’re used to doing it.

Boy, Nike was right when they said JUST DO IT.

 

 

 

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GREEK CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ARTICHOKES AND OLIVES

I know this seems awfully strange but this was my first time cooking with artichokes. Delicious! I love the combination of the artichokes and olives. A must-try, easy recipe!

ingredients

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8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1⁄2 pounds)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon granulated garlic

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 can (15 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained

4 ounces mixed, pitted Greek olives

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried oregano)

1 large lemon, sliced into thin rounds

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (optional)

directions

Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.

Cut the onion in half through the root end. Peel, then lay the onion flat on a cutting board and slice crosswise into thin half-moons.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, wide-mouthed pan (3- to 4-quart braiser or sauté pan with a lid) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan to a plate or rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

To the same pan, add the onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, broth, remaining olive oil, and oregano. Add the chicken thighs back into the pan and top the chicken with the lemon slices.

Bring the mixture to a strong simmer, put the lid on, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer over low heat for 12 to 13 minutes or until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 165°F when measured with a digital thermometer.

To serve, place the chicken thighs in shallow bowls and pour the vegetables and juice over the top. If you prefer thicker gravy, whisk together 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch and 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and stir the arrowroot mixture into the juices and stir. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the juices thicken into gravy.

(Adapted from a recipe found on drhyman.com)

 

 

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ARE CARBS DERAILING YOU?

If you have tried to lose weight, through calorie counting, and haven’t been successful, it’s time to take a different approach. It might not be how much you’re eating, it could be WHAT you’re eating.

I’ve been a huge fan of healthy carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) for a long time and I believe that we all need include these in our diets. However, some people have a carb-intolerance. A carb intolerance can mean several things:

  • After eating things like cereals, bread, pasta, and baked goods, you feel bloated, gassy or simply “off”. This could mean you might have gluten sensitivity, which causes inflammation. This will most definitely affect your weight loss success. If this is the case, you might want to consider trying a gluten-free diet for a few weeks to see if you feel better.
  • We know that eating carbs like candy, cake and pretzels (all high on the glycemic index) can affect blood sugar. Carbohydrates break down into glucose. With a surge of glucose in the bloodstream, too much insulin might be secreted leading to (in some people) a drop in blood sugar, signaling hunger. Given this physiological response, we can understand the cycle: eating certain carbs leads to wanting to eat even more. However, for someone people, even the healthier carbs (like brown rice, quinoa, and potatoes) can cause this cycle.
  • There is a mental component when it comes to certain carbohydrates. For  5431304634badCheese_Pizzaexample, many of my clients find pizza to be a trigger. Eating pizza leads to eating other things like ice-cream, brownies and M&M’s.   I’ve never heard a client complain that eating chicken did the same thing. I also never heard anyone say that too much pork tenderloin made them feel hungover or foggy. Yes, it’s too much carbs that do it!

If you can relate to any of these scenarios, tweak your diet. You don’t have to make a major change, you just need to reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your protein and healthy fats. Eat lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish, seafood and tofu. Add healthy fats like nuts, nut butters, avocados, and olive oil. If you’ve been eating fat free dairy, like Greek yogurt, try eating low-fat dairy. All of these changes might make you feel less hungry and therefore, less likely to reach for the pretzels.

I recently did this. My diet needed more protein and so I decreased my carbohydrates and added protein and healthy fats. Initially, it felt difficult. But once I got used to it, I have to admit………I feel better. Give it a try!

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MUSTARD ROASTED SALMON

This salmon recipe has FIVE ingredients! Super easy and great flavors!

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1 ¼ pound wild salmon, skin removed, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of ½ a lemon

directions

Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Place salmon pieces on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper; roast for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, maple syrup, garlic and lemon juice. After the 10 minutes of cooking, brush salmon with mixture and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through.

 (Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.foodnetwork.com)

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THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS…….

LOVE THESE!

Diets do NOT work!20ca0ce4ce8a7cfe9d86b9daf47e3b21HOW COOL IS MUSCLE?????coolpic13Here is why I LOVE the plank!!plank

Sorry exercise fans…….this is SO true!you-cant-out-exercise-a-bad-diet2My FAVORITE saying of all time!

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Boy, is this ever true…..

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FARRO AND BEAN SOUP

I usually like to post simply recipes that don’t take up much time. This is NOT the case with this soup. I saw it in the New York Times and had to try it. It is worth the time and effort! I “tweaked” it a bit by adding more veggies and reducing the starch. AMAZING!! If you have some time, give this a try!

23MARTHA-articleLargeingredients

1½ cups red beans, kidney beans, pintos or borlottis, rinsed and picked over for stones

½ cup farro, rinsed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

¼ cup diced pancetta (optional)

1 large onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced (more to taste)

1 bouquet garni with a few sprigs each of parsley and thyme, a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned and sliced thin

Salt

6 sage leaves, chopped, plus more for serving

1, 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

directions

Combine beans and farro in a bowl and cover with 1 ½ quarts water. Soak for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or casserole over medium heat and add half the pancetta, if using, and half the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, and stir in half the garlic. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add beans and farro, along with the soaking water. Add another 1 ½ quarts water and bouquet garni and bring to a gentle boil. Skim foam, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy skillet and add pancetta. (If not using pancetta, add the remaining onion and the carrot, celery and leeks now.) Cook, stirring often, until pancetta releases some of its fat. Add the remaining onion, and carrot, celery and leeks. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the remaining garlic and the sage. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, add the tomatoes and juice, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes have cooked down slightly and the mixture is very fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir into the beans and farro and mix well.

Add the tomato paste and salt to taste. (You will need a generous amount.) Continue to simmer 30 to 45 minutes, or until beans and farro are very tender and the soup thick, almost creamy. Add pepper, taste and adjust salt. Remove bouquet garni.

Stir in the parsley and additional chopped sage if desired. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan over each bowl.

(Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe found in the New York Times, 12/23,15)

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DIET AND EXERCISE? 3 QUICK TIPS

Happy 2016! Since it’s a new year, we will see a plethora of articles, in Diet-Exercise-Resourcesnewspapers, magazines and blogs, giving advice on how to get into shape and lose weight. I suppose I am no different, as I have a few things to say. However, I will keep this short and sweet and stick to just 3 quick tips.

  1. If you’re feeling overwhelmed because you need to start exercising AND change your diet, start with the exercise. Exercise will make you feel better immediately. Armed with this sense of well-being, you will able to focus, more easily, on eating healthier.
  1. If you want to lose weight, exercise alone will never be enough. For those of you who like to exercise, this is disappointing. However, the bottom line is that you can never exercise away a bad diet. If you want to lose weight, you have to watch what you eat.
  1. If you’ve tried to make changes in the past and have not been successful, don’t try the same plan again. (This is similar to re-booting your computer over and over with the same result.) Be a problem solver. Create a different plan or try something totally different. Either way, you must be flexible along the way.  Focus on what is working and fix the things that are not. If you view weight loss/exercise as a process instead of a goal, it might make things easier.

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