Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vanilla Ice partners with Zuma for 'Ice Ice Baby' remix

The popularity of Zumba Fitness continues to grow, and in part because the smart folks that lead the movement understand the need for fresh choreography. On August 20, 2012 they released a remix introduced at the recent worldwide conference, during which they teamed up with Vanilla Ice to remake the 1990s hit "Ice Ice Baby" as a Zumba dance song.  Here's the video, and you can download the music on iTunes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Phoebe Schilla's healthy, fast vegetable minestrone

Did you read the post with tips about losing baby weight from Phoebe Schilla, Personal Chef and founder of San Francisco's Studio of Good Living?  

Phoebe actually sent six tips, but I trimmed the first article into five tips and make this one into  a separate article.  It's a great soup for new moms to help them lose baby weight. But it seems equally great for anyone who wants a fast, healthy meal. The notations in parentheses are hers, not mine. 

As a personal note, I make a similar soup at least once or twice a month, more often in summer, and I always start by sauteing onions, garlic and carrots in the pot. It might not do anything for the flavor but the aroma spreads through the house and makes me feel like eating healthy.  Once my taste buds are expecting healthy food, I find the entire meal more satisfying.  Of course, your mileage may vary.

Healthy, fast vegetable minestrone from Phoebe Schilla

One of the healthiest snacks/meals that I can recommend is vegetable minestrone.  Don’t buy the canned high sodium soup please!! 

Just follow this easy recipe:  Pour the contents of one box (4cups) of vegetable broth or chicken stock into a pot.  Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion, a few smashed cloves of garlic, one sprig of rosemary (about 1 tsp. dried) ½ cup of carrots, sliced plus whatever other veggies are lying around the fridge (up to a cup. I like mushrooms, corn, zucchini...). Add 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes and 1 (14oz) can of beans. ( I like the white cannellini beans or chick peas here.)

Simmer until the vegetables are tender.  Voila!   Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!   Super easy, uses leftovers and is FAST.  Plus it’s much healthier than any soup that you could buy at the deli or from a can.  Add left over diced chicken or beef if you would like to add more protein.


Phoebe Schilla's top five tips on how to lose your baby weight

Do you know Phoebe Schilla, Personal Chef and founder of the Studio of Good Living? I didn't, but what a find!

The Studio provides cooking classes, one-on-one instruction, signature experiences and culinary consulting that takes the stress out of day-to-day meal preparation.  In addition, the Studio offers grocery and errand concierge service, wine and sommelier consulting, chef services, cooking parties and dietary and nutrition counseling.

When Phoebe offered to share some of her healthy tips on how to lose baby weight, I jumped at the chance.
A new mom herself, Phoebe recommendations include allowing new moms’ bodies to heal, avoid restrictive diets, make personal time, keep healthy snacks in the house like fresh fruit and whole wheat crackers, and how to balance physical activity with a new baby.

Phoebe Schilla's top five tips on losing your baby weight

1.    Give yourself the gift of time.  Take 4-6 weeks to heal and to get used to the new person in your life!  Pregnancy and childbirth vary for everyone—some people drop the weight immediately, it takes others more time.  The first lesson of motherhood is not to judge.  This includes weight loss as well as breastfeeding. 

2.    Remember, losing the baby weight is not just about restrictive dieting.  As with any weight loss program or diet you need to exercise too.  An overly restrictive diet will leave you feeling hungry, depressed and more likely to binge eat.  So get out the jogging stroller.  Park at the far end of the supermarket parking lot—take the stairs.  When the baby naps sneak in a 20 minute online yoga class at www.yogaglo.com or if you are too tired for that, try a 10 minute meditation class.

3.    Everybody tells you ‘be sure to take time for yourself and your partner’!  That’s great advice.  The other piece that is left out is make time for yourself too.  It is so easy to forget that.   This is a really tough thing for many moms to do.   Both working moms and non working moms feel guilty and selfish when they take the time to do something pleasurable just for themselves—I’m not talking about getting a quickie haircut or going to the grocery store solo.  I’m talking about an hour of unstructured time.  You need to create that space for yourself.  Getting away from the house and being the carefree spirit that you used to be for just an hour can give you more patience and a different perspective.  In short, it can make you a better mom.  If you are less harried, less frustrated and a little less sleep deprived you can then turn around and make better eating choices. 

4.    Keep plenty of healthy snacks around the house.  Fresh fruit, nut butters, rice cakes and whole wheat crackers are all great snacks.  Stay away from high sodium foods which can cause bloating and processed foods which can be a source of empty calories.

5.   If you do have processed foods around the house use the snack sized bags to create single servings.  If you have older kids in the house they can practice their counting skills and bag the snacks for you.  (under supervision of course!)

Read Phoebe's bonus SIXTH TIP in this article

Sunday, August 5, 2012

10 ways to stay motivated

Santa Barbara-based Digifit was the first app developer to bring heart-rate monitoring to the iPhone, and they continue to develop applications  grounded in science and powered by technology. They sent along these tips on motivation - and who doesn't need help staying motivated?

See what you think.  Some of these work for me, but not all of them, which is probably pretty typical. For instance, if I don't have junk food in the house, I feel deprived and crave it. But if it's here, I know I can have it IF I WANT, and it's easier for me to say, "Not right now. I'll see how I feel in 30 minutes."  It may sound goofy, but for me, it works.  What works for you?

1. Set Realistic Goals: It's great to dream big, but smaller goals are easier to reach and manage. Every time you reach a realistic goal, you will feel good about yourself which will ultimately motivate you to keep working forward.

2. Track It: Recording what you eat, how many calories you burn and your weight will help you stay on course to reach your goals. Spending the time to track it all is a whole different story. Luckily, there are tons of great devices and apps that track the exercises for you. Digifit's fitness-tracking and heart-rate monitoring app (for iPhone and Android) measures, monitors and reports key workout stats like caloric burn, distance during more workout activities like walking, hiking, biking, running and even shooting hoops to improve performance and up the fun. The data synchs with a personalized profile at My.Digifit.com where users can analyze their workouts and their progress overtime which will ultimately keep them motivated to keep working hard.

3. Buddy Up: When you have a friend counting on you to go for a run or meet up at the gym, you are less likely to bail on the workout. Set appointments with alerts on your calendar and keep your word to workout.

4. Seek Expert Help: A trainer will push you harder and make you feel accountable for your exercise and food choices. Look for a personal trainer at your gym or sign up for a small group training class which is a more affordable option.

5. Trick Yourself: Mix up your workout routine and pick activities that don't feel like exercise and that are fun to burn calories and get fit. Big calorie burners like hiking, surfing, paddle boarding and kickboxing are great ways to step outside of your regular fitness routine. Pick an activity that you enjoy and it won't feel like work.

6. Make it a Family Affair: Encouraging everyone in your family to workout is a great way to create a support system for those involved. Family members can motivate each other and help detract you from making bad nutrition decisions when gathering for meals and celebrations.

7. Don't Buy It: If you have junk food in your home, you are more likely to cheat and indulge. Once you cheat on your diet and exercise plan, you may feel disappointed in yourself and discouraged to continue on. If you don't buy the junk food in the first place, you will have fewer opportunities to indulge and make poor decisions. So, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and snacks.

8. Reward Yourself: Rewarding yourself when you reach various goals or milestones will help you stay motivated. The reward can be simple, like a day off or a massage at a local spa. You may also reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes or scoop of ice cream.

9. Rest: Your body needs time to recover from stress on muscles, that's why you need to incorporate rest days into your regimen. Don't overdue your exercise routine or you may burn out quickly and feel less motivated to workout.

10. Have a Cheat Day: As important as it is to rest and avoid burning out on your gym or exercise routine, it's equally important to avoid burning out on your diet. Let yourself indulge once in a while. Assign one day per week as a cheat day where you allow yourself to eat whatever you want during one meal that day without feeling guilty. This will help you feel good about your hard work at the gym and in the kitchen.

5 Nutrition Tips for Race Preparation

 The Dana Point Turkey Trot in Orange County, CA is one of the nation's largest turkey trots, and named one of America's best Thanksgiving Day runs by Fitness Magazine. CLIF Bars is a race-day sponsor, and sent along these tips for race preparation, which they gathered by polling the team athletes and nutritionists. I figured that it would be fun to pass along since I know a number of you are already thinking about your end-of-summer, fall, and holiday runs.

1.       Caffeine. Typically given a bad rap, caffeine, taken in moderation, will actually help improve your performance on a run. Caffeine gives you the extra boost, keeps you clear of that “batteries are draining” feeling and helps you enjoy the activity. Moderation for most runners sits between two to three cups of drip coffee per day, but keep in mind that every body is different. Take the time to know your body – ask yourself, where do you feel best and what did you just put in your mouth that made you feel that way? Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Shot Energy Gel for an extra caffeine kick to maintain energy between breaths.
2.       Stay Hydrated. Hydration is the trickiest part of fueling running as every cell in your body thrives on fluid. Your hydration mantra: drink fluids early and often. Water is important, but a mistake is assuming you can get by on just H20, especially when your runtime totals more than an hour. This is where electrolyte drinks come into play. When making your hydration selection, make sure your sports drink has sodium as the main mineral player – this will keep your body and emotional state at full efficiency. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Shot Electrolyte Drink to counteract both electrolyte and fluid loss to help prevent a race day meltdown.
3.       Carb Up. Carbohydrates should make up about 2/3 of each meal. Carbs are the most important source of fuel for your muscles and your brain. Pick and choose carbohydrates that are high in fiber, such as wheat bread, pasta, bran cereals, oatmeal, CLIF Bars, potatoes and popcorn. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: The original CLIF Bar in Oatmeal Raisin Walnut.
4.       Powerful Protein. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild muscle. Approximately 1/3 of each meal should contain this powerful prop. To help counter the wear and tear of training and racing, rebuild with foods like grass fed beef, antibiotic-and-hormone-free chicken, low mercury fish, lentils, cheese and soy. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Builder’s bar packed with 20g of compete protein.
5.       Meal Planning. Eat frequently and eat a variety of foods. Make sure you eat three meals each day and two or three healthy snacks in between. This will help prevent energy highs and lows throughout the day and make you more energized for training runs. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: Try a CLIF CRUNCH granola bar for a snack break - a favorite; Chocolate Peanut Butter.
For more information about the 35th annual Dana Point Turkey Trot, visit http://www.turkeytrot.com. For more information about the best nutrition tips and practices for approaching race day, listen to the entire ClifCast sports nutrition podcast series from CLIF Bar at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/clifcast/id370438300.