Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Fun Outdoor Summer Activities - Breaking The Old Routine

Summer.  It is one of my favorite seasons of the year.  We get to go outside and enjoy all sorts of different activities and lots of fresh air.  It is also the perfect time to change up our exercise routines and get out of the gym and spice things up a bit.  There are so many different fun summertime activities to choose from, all of which offer some sort of health benefit and workout.  Some of the things listed on this list may even surprise you.  Here are 5 fun and easy ways to stay active and continue to workout all while enjoying the great outdoors:

  • Horseback Riding - While this might not seem like an exercise activity please take into consideration that it takes considerable leg and core strength to ride a horse.  If you have ever gone horseback riding than you will notice that the next day you are sore and your muscles are tight.  That is because you are utilizing muscles that do not normally get used even during the most rigorous exercise routines. A nice afternoon on horseback can burn up to 248 calories and help tighten up that core and those leg muscles all while enjoying fresh air and beautiful scenery.
  • Hiking - Hiking is a great way to get outside but still feel like you hit the gym.  If you enjoy getting on the treadmill and doing a brisk walk or run than hiking may be just what you need.  Check out your local trails and walkways and get outside and enjoy.  It is a great opportunity to discover the area in which you live all while getting a great workout.  A nice hike can easily burn up to 372 calories per hour.  
  • Rollerblading/Rollerskating - There is no doubt that this particular activity is a great workout for your legs and core strength.  It is a low impact aerobic workout that definitely helps maintain all of your hard workouts from the gym.  A good hour of rollerblading can easily burn up to 434 calories.  Just make sure to wear the right protective equipment such as knee pads and a helmet just incase you take a spill.  
  • Beach Volleyball/Volleyball -  The beach part isn't a necessity but can be fun.  This is a great group activity that is fun for all ages.  This particular activity is a good total body workout.  Working both arms and legs and even your core.  A fun afternoon of some volley ball can easily burn 495 calories depending on the intensity of the game.  
  • Kayaking - This activity is not only great for getting you outdoors and into nature but is also great for a fun upper body workout.  A good kayaking adventure can help burn off at least 310 calories all while enjoying all that nature has to offer.  

As you can see there are no shortage of fun activities to do outside during the summer.  I have only listed 5 things but I am sure you can see the potential to get great workouts while doing fun activities that don't make you feel like you are working out.  Exercise doesn't have to be a dirty word or thought of with loathing.  When you just get out and start being more active and just keep your body in motion you are exercising whether you realise it or not.  So get out and enjoy the summer weather while it lasts and enjoy the amazing health benefits of staying active outside of the gym.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Perfect Morning Energy Boost - Beet Juice Recipe

I never thought I would say that I like beet juice but I have to say that this beet juice recipe I am about to share with you has become one of my all time favorite morning starters.  In the past, whenever I would think of beets I would either think of the ones my mom used to try and serve my brother and I straight out of the can when we were kids, which neither one of us could stand or I would think of the beets on top of a greek salad.  Since I never really cared for the beets my mom made or beets on top of my salad it was safe to say that I wasn't a very big beet fan.  To say that I was a bit nervous about trying out a juice recipe that had the main ingredient of beets was a bit of an understatement.  I was sure it was going to be horrible, but in the interest of sound nutrition I thought I would give it a try.  Boy am I glad that I did!  Not only did I enjoy this fabulously pretty pink and purple concoction but it soon became one of my favorites!  It took me a few tries to come up with my perfect combination but now that I have I look at beets in a whole new light.  I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do!

Perfect Morning Energy Boost - Beet Juice Recipe
1 beet cut into quarters
1 lemon peeled
1/2 inch of ginger root 
2 green apples cut into quarters

1. Place all ingredients into juicer in the order listed one at a time and juice.  Pour juice over ice and enjoy!
TIP:  You can combine the lemon and ginger in the juicer at the same time to get a little bit more ginger flavor.

For this recipe I did not peel the beets.  I just washed them really well and cut them up into quarters.  This recipe not only tastes really good but also packs a pretty nutritional punch.  Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains and vulgaxanthin which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support.  In other studies beets have also been shown to help lower blood pressure and also have anti-cancer and fiber-related health benefits.  So, give it a try...you may have just found your perfect morning pick-me-up! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Wonderful World of Beans - How To Prepare This Powerhouse Food

I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

How about you? How well do you know beans?

Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories.
Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

What To Do With Beans
Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? Keep reading:
·      Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
·      Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
·      Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
·      Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
·      Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
·      Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.
·      Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
·      Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
·      After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
·      To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water
·      Cover and simmer for the suggested time.
·      Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
·       Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!).  Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can.

Would you like help learning how to choose and cook healthy foods like beans? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!  Contact me here: New Star Health Solutions

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meal Planning - Make Life a Little Less Stressful!

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a request to join a weekly meal planning group on FaceBook.  I had never heard of such a thing but was curious to see what it was about so I accepted the invitation.  To my surprise, it has become a very useful and engaging tool to make my life a little easier when it comes to the "What's for dinner?' dilemma.  Basically the group members set out to post their weekly dinner menus on the message boards to help eachother get ideas and also actually sit down and plan out the week's meals.  It has become such a great thing in my household.  Not only does it make life easier in the planning department but it also saves me money at the same time.  Now when I go to the store I actually have a list and know what I need to get before hand which causes me not to buy things I won't use.  I am amazed at how much money I was wasting on things that were not getting eaten or forgotten about.  I just love this idea and it is a great way to experiment in the kitchen and try new things.

Implementing a meal planning strategy into your life doesn't have to be a big chore.  You can go as big and elaborate as you want and plan out all your weekly meals or use it as a general guideline.  For my weekly dinner plan I just simply write down the title of seven dinner recipes I want to make for that week. I then write down which cookbook the recipe is located in and the page number it can be found on and thats it.  The day before I want to go shopping I go through my recipes to see what ingredients I need and viola.....I am set for the week.  Super simple...super easy and such a time and money saver.  One of the things I like about being a part of the FaceBook group is that it is a great place to get ideas and new recipes or even share some of your own.  The group is also a great way to help you stay motivated to keep up with meal planning.  It is easy to say you want to start meal planning, maintain it for a couple of weeks and than fall back into old habits.  With the group it makes it fun to stick with the meal plan and constantly have a fresh pool of ideas.

Does dinner time stress you out on a weekly basis?  Give meal planning a try and see how stress free dinner can be! Have any tips or tricks to share?  Leave a comment and let us know!      

Friday, March 21, 2014

Springtime Recipe! Israeli CousCous with Chick Peas, Brussel Sprouts and Asparagus

Spring is finally here and while the weather outside might still be a little frightful, the menu for spring is starting out with a wonderful bang!  Springtime always signifies the arrival of some of my favorite greens and veggies, especially asparagus.  I always get excited when I start seeing this wonderful crop hit the farmers markets in my area.  So to celebrate that spring is finally here and that the weather will start to change very soon I thought it would be a good time to share a wonderful springtime recipe with you all using some of springs best bounties.  I hope you enjoy!

Israeli CousCous with Chick Peas, Brussel Sprouts and Asparagus

Ingredients: 3/4 pound Brussels sprouts 1 medium bunch of asparagus (about 20 spears) 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas rinsed and drained 2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 cup grated Parmesan salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut Brussels sprouts in half, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20-22 minutes. Cook couscous according to package instructions, and chop asparagus and steam. Once the sprouts, couscous, and asparagus are finished, combine in a large bowl with chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir together and serve immediately.

I discovered this recipe in Health Magazine and it was a real hit.  I hope you enjoy it and share.  What are some of your favorite springtime recipes?  Think spring...it is here and the warmer weather is on its way!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter-Proof Your Skin - 3 Ways To Moisturize Your Skin Naturally

Dry skin and winter seem to go hand-in-hand.  Where you find one you will likely find the other.  This time of year can be brutal on your skin and can leave many damaging effects behind if you don't moisturize and protect your skin from the harsh elements of winter.  There are so many different options available to moisturize your skin with these days it can be hard to know what to use and how often to use it.  Plus when you consider some of the harsh chemicals and dyes that are put into most of the mainstream lotions and body butters it is no wonder that our skin goes a little crazy and gets all dried out.  Our skin is the largest organ on our body and it absorbs everything it touches within seconds making what you put on your skin vitally important not only to the health of your skin but to your over all health as well.  So, it only makes sense to put something that will not only nourish your skin but that is also safe, natural and not cause any unhealthy side effects.  Listed below are some natural ways to winter-proof your skin this winter and quite possibly for the rest of your life.  These alternatives are 100% natural, affordable and effective.

  • Butters.   Butters are generally found in solid form, are plant based and commonly consist of mango butter, cocoa butter, avocado butter and shea butter.  Butters offer a high degree of protection and moisturizing effect as they are slower to absorb into your skin.  When searching to purchase an all natural moisturizing butter make sure to get it from a reputable source to be sure that no additives or other chemicals are put into the butter.
  • Oils.  Over the years oils have become a very popular way to keep skin moisturized.  Some examples of skin moisturizing oils are; olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, castor oil and avocado oil.  When looking for the perfect moisturizing oil to use on your skin make sure to look for 100% organic oils to ensure you aren't putting any highly chemicalized oils on your skin.  Oils are slightly easier for the skin to absorb than butters and offer great moisturizing effects and are extremely affordable as a little bit goes a long way.
  • Combination of Oils and Butters.  This is a great option for anyone that wants to get a little creative and tailor the recipe to suit your skin type.  It will slowly absorb into your skin and leave it feeling so soft and protected.  If using coconut oil, the addition of butter helps to stabilize the consistency of the oil making it more durable for warmer temperatures.  A blend to try out is: 12 tablespoons of Shea Butter, 4 tablespoons Plant Oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil or any plant oil of your choice.  5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice.  With a high speed mixer blend the shea butter and plant oil together until you reach desired consistency.  This will take several minutes.  Once desired consistency is achieved add essential oils to mixtures and put mixture into an airtight container.  Label accordingly and enjoy!

Finding the right natural moisturizer that works best for you may take some trial and error but the efforts are well worth it.  Your skin will feel amazing and your immune system will thank you for nourishing it without all sorts of chemicals and dyes.  Have fun with the combinations and enjoy your soft winterized skin.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Winter Fitness: Getting a Great Workout Outside During The Winter Months

Winter time.  It's cold outside, constantly snowing and the wind can be to much to handle at times.  When I think of winter I think of hot cocoa, warm fires, good books and staying inside where it is nice and warm.  I know I am not alone in this thinking.  There are days where I find it very difficult to bundle myself up in dozens of layers to go outside and enjoy what this time of year has to offer, but I must admit that I am always very thankful I took the time to do these activities once I am there and in the midst of doing them.  There is something about the crisp fresh air and beauty of the snow that is quite refreshing.  It breaks up the monotony of the winter months and has some great healthy fitness benefits too.  Listed below are a few great outdoor activities that are not only a lot of fun to do but also offer up a great workout as well.

  1. Ice Skating - Ice skating is all about balance, balance and more balance.  Much like a ballet dancer has to practice for hours en pointe to learn how to balance, an ice skater must learn the fine art of balancing their entire body on two tiny blades and some how look gracefully and stay upright.  This outdoor activity can be a great group or family activity to do during the winter and can offer up a pretty good work out.  Ice skating at a steady pace for one hour can give you a great leg work out as well as work on your core.  It can also burn up approximately 460 calories per hour!  Not bad for playing on the ice.
  2. Sledding - It might not seem like sledding would offer up a very good work out but consider this.  While you are sledding down the hill you are using your core muscles for balance and steering and climbing back up the hill is comparable to a hard core stair climber workout or squat workout.  Trekking up and down the hill for an hour can really target your glutes and legs and burn up approximately 362 calories per hour.
  3. Cross-Country Skiing - If you want a full body workout that targets your arms, legs and core this outdoor activity will deliver.  Cross-Country Skiing not only serves up a great cardio workout but is also very calming and serene.  This outdoor activity will burn enough calories in one hour (approximately 572 per hour) for you to be able to enjoy a nice hot cocoa when you make it back home!
  4. Snowshoeing - Of all the activities listed on this list this one not only burns the most calories in one hour but is also one of the simplest to learn.  If you know how to walk you are well on your way to knowing how to snowshoe.  This particular activity offers up an excellent cardio workout and can burn up to approximately 650-700 calories per hour going at a moderate pace.  

It is easy to see that these winter time activities can have some high impact on your cardio workout goals as well as being a lot of fun.  As far as weight loss and fitness goals are concerned there are few workouts that compare to the overall workout you can get from outdoor activities during the winter.  It is a great change of pace from just going to the gym and the fresh air is wonderful for your lungs and immune system.  So even though it is tempting to want to stay inside and hibernate during the winter I encourage you to instead get bundled up and get outside and try a few of these activities out.  Not only will your body thank you but it just might make winter more enjoyable and fun.

New Star Health Solutions is now offering a 11-Day Winter Detox Program that would go great with these outdoor activities.  It would be a great way to start off 2014 in the right direction.  Check it out and see what it can do for you!  Make this winter work for you so you are ready to rock in the summer!