Journey By Foot Walk-a-thon & Silent Auction Fundraiser: Saturday, June 9th

Excited that both a voucher for my next FemmeFit Fatale 6-week BootCamp and a full health assessment with RaChell at TorChell Mind & Body are going to be featured items in this weekend’s “Journey By Foot” walk-a-thon and silent auction fundraiser, benefiting the Noor Clinic! I’m honored to be asked to contribute to such a great organization and cause.

If you are looking for something healthy and active to do outside this weekend, this will be a great event!

JOURNEY BY FOOT Walkathon June 9, 2012 | Noor Foundation

slonoorfoundation.org

Please join on Saturday, June 9th, 2012 for “A Journey by Foot” walk-a-thon and silent auction.
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Super Yum … Pumpkin Seed Pesto “Pasta”

Yet another fantastic raw food find.  If you love pesto, this recipe will not disappoint!

 

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Pumpkin Seed Pesto (recipe below)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 Large Fresh Tomato, Chopped
  • 1/4 C Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • Fresh Basil
  • Pine Nut Parmesan (recipe below)

Run zucchini through spiral cutter to create “noodles”, or cut the zucchini into very thin noodle shapes. Massage the pesto into the noodles. This works best by hand. Once the noodles are coated, mix in sun dried tomatoes. Place on plate and top with fresh chopped tomatoes, pine nut parmesan and fresh basil.

Sun Dried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 C Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1 t Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Salt (optional)
  • 1/2 C Basil Coarsly Chopped
  • 1/3 C Sun Dried Tomatoes Coarsely Chopped

With food processor running, drop in cloves of garlic. Let process until garlic is chopped. Scrap down sides of the processor. Add pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Process until very well combined and you have a pesto consistency. Add chopped basil. Process until well combined. Add Sun Dried Tomatoes and process until combined.

Pine Nut Parmesan

  • 1/2 C Pine Nuts
  • Pinch Salt

Process pine nuts in food processor until a coarse meal is achieved. Be careful to not over process or you will have pine nut butter!


Why Use Agave Instead of Sugar?

Known in Mexico as “aguamiel” or honey water, agave nectar is a natural sweetener made from the blue agave plant.  Most people who managed to survive their early-20’s would probably agree that agave is almost synonymous with tequila, as tequila, too, is made from the same plant.  So, when I first started seeing agave nectar on the shelves of Trader Joe’s, all I could think was “Sweetener made with tequila?  Weird.”  I tried to switch to stevia, but didn’t like the taste.  Assuming agave would be the same, I continued to pass agave nectar over despite it being the newest thing in health foods.  Then a few months ago, I was in New Frontiers, waiting for a shot of freshly juiced wheatgrass, and decided to grab a cup of coffee, too.  My sweetener choices:  raw sugar and agave nectar.  Just for fun, I figured I’d see what this agave business was all about. 

And … it was good!

It was so good, in fact, that I decided to go on a quest to find out what’s so great about agave (besides the taste, of course), and why it should replace sugar.  And here’s what I found:

Agave nectar is made from the “pina” (root) sap of the agave plant.  It is then filtered, and heated at a very low temperature  in order to break the carbohydrates down into sugars (much like our own body does).  Since agave nectar is not heated over 118°, most health food enthusiasts would qualify it as a raw food.  And because it is not processed and does not contain additional preservatives or fillers, it is considered a clean food, as well.

Agave nectar has approximately 15g of sugars per tablespoon. Naturalist physician Dr. Andrew Weil states on his website that even though table sugar, fructose and honey all have around the same amount of sugars per tablespoon, what separates agave nectar from the rest is the glycemic load. Some people might not give the glycemic index much thought, but if for any reason, managing your blood sugar level is important to you (diabetics, athletes, etc), it is important as it’s a way of rating how quickly a food is digested and turns into sugar in the body when consumed. Foods with high glycemic loads turn into sugar quickly and spike blood sugar levels. Foods with low glycemic loads raise blood sugar levels much slower, which is safer for diabetics.  The beauty of agave nectar is it is lower on the glycemic index than all other sweeteners – so not only is it a raw, clean and whole food, it is a great alternative to sugar!  Now I know why the Aztecs prized agave nectar as a gift from the gods – in terms of maintaining good health, it just might be!

Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

Just in time for summer, I’m on a quest to find the most tasty, clean and raw recipes that I can – the perk?

Clean, healthy, nutrient-rich food AND no cooking!

(Tell me this doesn’t look like the most delicious summer “salad” recipe!)

This is a recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market.

Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

 Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 ripe, but firm, avocados:  halved, peeled and cubed.

3 Tablespoons lime juice: divided.

2 ripe, but firm, mangoes:  peeled and cubed.

1 fresh jalapeño pepper:  stemmed, seeded and finely chopped.

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish.

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon agave nectar

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups black beans (15 oz can no-salt added black beans, rinsed and drained)

Directions:

Gently toss avocado with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice in a medium bowl. Add mango and jalapeño and gently toss to combine. Set aside.

Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, zest, cilantro, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in oil until thoroughly combined to make a thick dressing. Add avocado mixture and black beans and toss gently. Spoon salad onto plates, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Nutrition:

Per serving: 240 calories (130 from fat), 15g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 16g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, ~1g sugar), 5g protein

Beauty Lies In Strength: Love, Without the Handles

This is a great read for anyone who is trying to make big changes in their life.  Remember, being “healthy” begins with you and your goals:

 Beauty lies in strength…: Love, without the handles: Part II

Becoming a vegetarian at a young age has helped me become more flexible when it comes to the eating habits of those around me.  And while I don’t believe that I have been (too) condescending with those that I live with when it comes to what they eat, reading this blog has been a reminder that I need to be conscientious of the feelings of those around me when it comes to diet.  It’s my choice to eat foods that are best for me and my metabolism – and those aren’t necessarily best for others in my family.

In other words, practice the “golden rule”: be mindful of those around you and treat them as you would like to be treated.

It’s Earned ….

It’s been a minute since I posted to my own personal website lately.  New business ventures have demanded all my time and THEN some!  I’m still not sure how I’m functioning.

In my searches for new and exciting workout programs to introduce my boot camp ladies to, I’ve come across some very inspirational women in the fitness industry.  Most of them are low key and low profile, simply sharing their successes (and failures) in health and fitness for others to glean from.  On Saturday night, I found another motivator … Miesha Tate, female MMA fighter.  And although she lost Saturday’s match and her title, I was not only impressed with the fantastic shape she was in (talk about discipline!), but her amazing persistence and endurance to the end.  She never once gave up.  Talk about a true champ.

To get to that level of fitness … and to get to that level of instinctively fighting until the end … you’ve got to work at it every damn day.  Discipline is earned, never given.

Gluteus Magnificus!

There are very few women I know that don’t want a “booty” to die for … and there are even fewer men I know (including my own fiancé) that don’t appreciate a woman with a fine derrière.  Why is this?  Because having a nice rear view is sexy and feminine!  Who wants to cuddle up next to a bony butt at night?  Really!

My own gluteus wanna-be-flat-e-us has the additional challenge of genetics and my love of running to contend with.  I rely on standard squats and lunges to keep my rear view in plain view, instead of disappearing, as it likes to do when I’m in run training mode.  But those get boring and not-so-challenging after awhile.  But my searches for the perfect FEMININE butt-lift exercises paid off when I found this workout.  Yes … I want this booty!  The “Brazil Butt Lift” has nothing on this workout!

Booty-Making Home Workout | Kettlebell and Body Weight Glute Training

Yum! Healthy Snacks Under 100 Calories …

When the munchies hit, they can really test your commitment to a healthy diet!  Some of the keys to sticking with a healthy eating plan include planning and preparing food ahead of time.  If you do this, you will find yourself far less tempted by foods that will sabotage you – and far more motivated to stay healthy!  Try filling your fridge and pantry with some of the items below, and voila! You will have some great, HEALTHY snacks available when the munchies creep up on you!

  • Mini PB&F: One fig Newton with 1 teaspoon peanut butter.
  • Chocolate Banana: Half a frozen banana [this size] dipped in two squares of melted dark chocolate.
  • Frozen grapes (any color): 1 cup (about 28 grapes), stuck in the freezer for 2+ hours.
  • Honeyed Yogurt: ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey.
  • Spiced Orange: One orange— about the size of a tennis ball— sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Grilled Pineapple: 2 ¼-inch thick pineapple rounds (about 1 cup), grilled (or sautéed) for two minutes or until golden.
  • Berries n’ Cream: 1 cup blueberries with 2 tablespoons whipped topping.
  • Stuffed Figs: Two small dried figs with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat ricotta stuffed inside. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Oats n’ Berries:  ⅓ cup rolled oats (cooked with water), topped with cinnamon and ¼ cup freshberries.
  • Dark Chocolate: One block, or three squares.
  • Nut-Stuffed Date: One Medjool Date filled with one teaspoon natural unsalted almond butter.
  • Chocolate Milk: 6 ounces skim milk mixed with 2 teaspoons chocolate syrup.
  • Cinnamon Applesauce: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (like Motts). Or, try this homemade version!
  • Citrus-Berry Salad: 1 cup mixed berry salad (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries) tossed with one tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice.
  • Maple-Pumpkin Yogurt: ½ cup non-fat regular yogurt (go Greek for extra protein!) with 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon maple syrup… like this!
  • Chocolate Pudding: One 4oz package. Try a fat/sugar free version or a homemade one!
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Five strawberries dipped in two squares melted dark chocolate.
  • Tropical Juice Smoothie: ¼ cup pineapple juice, orange juice, and apple juice, blended with ice.
  • Vanilla and Banana Smoothie: ½ cup sliced banana, ¼ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, and a handful of ice blended until smooth.
  • MYO Banana Chips: One sliced banana dipped in lemon juice and baked.
  • Baked Apple: One tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender.
  • Fruity Waffles: One 7-grain frozen waffle toasted and topped with ¼ cup fresh mixed berries.
  • Skinny S’more: Two graham crackers with one roasted marshmallow and one small square dark chocolate.
  • Cinnamon Graham Crackers & Peanut butter: Two graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Cereal and Milk: ½ cup rice krispies with ½ cup skim milk.
  • Milk n’ Cookies: Five animal crackers with ½ cup skim milk.
  • Warm Spiced Cider: 6 ounces apple cider with sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg, warmed.
  • Citrus Sherbet: ½ cup lime sherbet (about one standard-sized ice-cream scoop) with ½ sliced kiwi.
  • Café Latte: 8 ounces steamed skim milk with 1 shot espresso.
  • Marshmallow Pear: ½ pear diced and topped with 1 tablespoon marshmallow fluff.
  • Protein Shake: One scoop protein powder with 8 ounces water (choose from tasty powder flavors like cookies n’ cream and chocolate peanut butter!).
  • M.Y.O. Popsicle: 8 ounces lemonade frozen in an ice pop mold, or use a small paper cup as a mold.
  • Apple Chips: Munch on ¾ cup of kinds like these, or use this recipe!
  • Carrots n’ Hummus
  • : About 10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus.
  • Pistachios: A couple handfuls— about 25 nuts (Crackin’ them open will take more time and avoid grabbing 25 more).
  • Cheese n’ Crackers: Five Kashi 7-grain crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese.
  • Dippy Egg: One over easy egg with ½ slice whole-wheat toast, sliced (to dip in yolk!).
  • Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes: Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Curried Sweet Potato: One medium sweet potato (about 5 inches long) cooked for six minutes in the microwave and mashed with 1 teaspoon curry, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • “Cheesy” Popcorn: 2 cups air-popped popcorn with 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast— it’ll taste like real cheese!
  •  Guacamole stuffed Egg Whites: Halve a hardboiled egg, remove yolk, and stuff the empty space with 2 tablespoons guacamole (avocado, lime, cilantro and salt).
  • Grilled Spinach and Feta Polenta: 3 oz polenta (about the size of a deck of cards) cooked with 1 ½ cups water and topped with 1 teaspoon feta cheese and a handful spinach.
  • Soy Edamame: ¼ cup boiled Edamame with 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
  • Dijon Pretzels: Two pretzel rods with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
  • Crunchy Curried Tuna Salad: ½ cup canned tuna with 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 tablespoon chopped red onion, and two ribs celery (chopped).
  • Greek Tomatoes: One tomato (about the size of a tennis ball) chopped and mixed with 1 tablespoon feta and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Shrimp Cocktail: Eight medium sized shrimp boiled and served with 2 tablespoons classic cocktail sauce.
  • Smoked Beef Jerky: About 1 ounce— look for low sodium versions!
  • Cheddar and Tomato Soup: ½ cup tomato soup with 1 tablespoon shredded low-fat cheddar cheese.
  • Kale Chips: ½ cup raw kale— stems removed— baked with 1 teaspoon olive oil at 400° until crisp.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: One light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes.
  •  Cucumber Sandwich: ½ English muffin with 2 tablespoons cottage cheese and three slices of cucumber.
  • Turkey Roll-Ups: Four slices smoked turkey rolled up and dipped in 2 teaspoons honey mustard.
  • Mixed Olives: About 8 olives.
  • Antipasto Plate: One Pepperocini, a ½ inch cube of cheddar cheese, one slice pepperoni, and one olive.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Choco-Soy Nuts: 3 tablespoons soy nuts with 1 teaspoon cocoa nibs.
  • Wasabi Peas: About  ⅓ cup of these green treats.
  • Balsamic Veggies: 3 cups raw peppers (any color!) dipped in 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction.
  • Cheesy Roasted Asparagus: Four spears (spritzed with olive-oil spray) and topped with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, baked for 10 minutes at 400°.
  • Cucumber salad: One large cucumber (sliced) with 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar.
  • Spinach and Feta Egg-White Scramble: Three egg whites scrambled and mixed with ½ cup rawspinach and 1 tbsp feta cheese. Cook in frying pan or zap in microwave until egg whites are no longer runny (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Crunchy Kale Salad: 1 cup kale leaves chopped with 1 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  • Chick Pea Salad: ¼ chickpeas with 1 tablespoon sliced scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and ¼ cup diced tomatoes.
  • Grilled Garlic Corn on the Cob: One small-sized ear brushed with 1 teaspoon sautéed minced garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil, grilled until tender.
  • Pretzels & Cream Cheese: 15 mini pretzel sticks with 2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese.
  •  Bacon Brussels Salad: Seven brussel spouts thinly sliced and mixed with one piece lean bacon, chopped.
  • Rosemary Potatoes:  ⅓ cup thinly sliced potato tossed with 1 teaspoons olive oil and a teaspoon of chopped rosemary.
  • Spicy Black Beans: ¼ cup black beans with 1 tablespoon salsa and 1 tablespoon non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Caprese Salad: 1 ounce (hockey puck sized) of fresh mozzarella with ½ cup cherry tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
  • Goldfish: About 40 fishies…try the cheddar kind!
  • Chips n’ Salsa: 10 baked tortilla chips with ¼ cup salsa.
  • Mini Ham Sandwich: Two slices honey-baked ham with 2 teaspoons honey mustard rolled in a lettuce leaf.
  • Lox Bagel: ½ whole-wheat mini bagel with two thin slices of lox.
  • Chocolate Trail Mix:
  • Eight almonds, four chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon raisins.
  • Apples and Cheese: 1 non-fat mozzarella cheese stick with half of a baseball-sized apple (any variety), sliced.
  • PB & Celery: 1 medium celery stalk with 1 tablespoon peanut butter.
  • Cottage Cheese Melon Boat: 1 cup melon balls with ½ cup non-fat cottage cheese.
  • Carrot and Raisin Salad: 1 cup shaved carrots with 2 tablespoons raisins and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  • Tropical Cottage Cheese: ½ cup non-fat cottage cheese with ½ cup fresh mango and pineapple, chopped.
  • Blue-Cheese Stuffed Apricots: Three dried apricots with 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese.
  • Rice Cake and Almond Butter: One rice cake (try brown rice!) with 2 teaspoons almond butter.
  • Sweet n’ Spicy Pecans: Five pecans roasted with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Apples n’ Peanut Butter: ½ an apple, sliced and dipped in 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Crackers: Four wheat thins dipped in 1 teaspoon Nutella (or other hazelnut spread).
  • Strawberry Salad: 1 cup raw spinach with ½ cup sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon balsamic.
  • Cacao-Roasted Almonds: Pop in eight almonds like these!

*The* Sassy Water Recipe

     This is from the Flat Belly Diet and it is delicious!! The cucumber and lemon are natural diurectics. The ginger and spearmint help relieve bloating. Regardless, a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy your 8 glasses a day … especially if drinking that much water doesn’t appeal to you.  Make the night before and fill up your water bottle for the day.  Or, you can do what I do and fill a mason jar with ice, “sassy water”, and garnish with a lemon – there’s something about drinking fresh water out of a mason jar that brings images of a summer country vacation.  🙂

Ingredients

8 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 medium cucumbers, sliced thin
1 medium lemons, sliced thin
12 leaves spearmint

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher.
Refrigerate overnight.
Strain water.