Archive for September 2013

Healthy Recipe: Spiced Popcorn


Popcorn is a widely popular treat; this is a fun twist on traditional tasty popcorn.


12 cups Popcorn, air popped

¼ teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Nutmeg

½ teaspoon Cloves

¼ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup Cherries, dried

½ cup Pumpkin seeds


• In a small bowl combine salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and crushed red pepper flakes.

• Toss popcorn, cherries, pumpkin seeds, and seasonings until evenly combined.


Serves: 12

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 90

Carbohydrates: 11 grams

Sodium: 40 milligrams

Fiber: 2 grams

Protein: 3 grams





When you think of the fall cooking season you think apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, spice, stews and roasts.  Unless those apples and pumpkins are in lattes they are probably not being eaten in the right form…i e pies.    Slow cooking is very traditional during this time of year, but the hard part is that the cuts of meat used for slow cooking, are the fattier cuts.  You can always stew your vegetables and potatoes and then add your cooked lean meats at the end so that you can enjoy your seasonal favorites.  However, it will not be the same.

Look for our spiced apple cider compote recipe to pair up with our roasted pork tenderloin recipe.  Not only is it lean, but it tastes amazing.  How about a butternut squash risotto with brown sushi rice and served with pecan crusted grouper or mahi.  Or better yet try cooking meatless one evening and make pumpkin gnocchi, make a large batch then freeze it for the rest of the winter and use it when you’re not feeling up to cooking.

Cooking for the fall should be fun and exciting and you should apple all the harvest goodies to your meals in some way shape or form, just keep it clean and lean.



Fitness Friday: Strengthen your Hiney to protect your (Hi)-Knee

Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic problems that people face at one point or another in their lives. In 2006 the CDC featured data from a survey done asking the participants about joint pain. Of the people who participated, 30% were experiencing joint pain and 18% of them were experiencing knee pain. Interestingly, in recent years there has been a lot of research which correlates knee pain with weak and inflexible hip muscles. Many of us spend the majority of the day in a seated position. The human body is a magnificent machine which is constantly adapting and shaping itself to what we do most often. Someone who trains as a swimmer develops really strong back muscles and flexible shoulders, someone who trains as a soccer player develops powerful leg muscles and a lot of stamina, and someone who “trains” to sit a lot develops tight hip flexors and a weak gluteus maximus  (AKA: Tush/Hiney). When tight hip flexors teams up with a weak “Hiney”, the pelvic girdle begins to tilt downward in our everyday posture causing the femur to change how it angles into our knee joint as we stand and walk. Overtime, this changed position of the femur causes other muscles surrounding the knee to compensate and tighten up which puts unwanted pressure on the knee and can ultimately lead to an unwanted knee injury. One of the best ways to counter this throughout your day is to stretch the hip flexor and strengthen the gluteus maximus (Hiney). Please enjoy the attached video demonstrating different ways to strengthen the “Hiney”!! =D




Coaches Corner: more TV = more weight

watch tv

I like TV as much as, maybe more than most. In fact as I am writing this blog I am having trouble deciding what to watch tonight. I am torn between the season premieres of Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU. I am already looking forward to watching Clemson beat Wake Forrest this Saturday. I probably watch more TV than I should but I was amazed to find out that according to a Nielson report release in 2012, we are now watching on average 34 hours of TV a week, that’s right 34 hours. In the 65 and older crowd that number reaches 48 hours per week.  In addition we are  watching another 3 -6 hours of taped shows.

Brian Wansink Ph.D, writes in one of my favorite books, Mindless Eating, that “It’s about as close to established fact as things get in the social sciences that people who watch a lot of TV are much more likely to be overweight than people who don’t”. It doesn’t matter how old we are, or what we watch, more TV=more weight. It’s not too hard to figure out why. TV is a double whammy. When  we are watching TV we are not moving (unless you are on a treadmill or exercise bike) and we eat more when we watch TV. In fact Wansink says that when it comes to eating, TV is a triple threat. We tend to eat when we watch TV, when we wouldn’t be eating otherwise. We tend to eat more while watching TV than we would if they were eating but not watching TV. And we tend to eat for longer periods of time while watching TV than we would if we were not watching TV. In other words TV increase the frequency, quantity (intensity) and duration of eating. And because it is the ultimate of mindless eating we have no clue how much we have eaten when we watch TV.

There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying  some TV (the National Weight Control Registry, a data base tracking the behaviors of successful weight managers, found that those who are maintaining their weight loss watch on average 10 hours of TV per week) and of course we all have to eat. But if you are really serious about controlling your weight, it would be a good idea to limit how often you do the two of them together.



Wellness Wednesday: Fighting Fat Head


Have you ever had a day, or series of days, when you look in the mirror and find yourself particularly dissatisfied with your body? The positive feelings associated with all the healthy choices you made over the course of the week seem to evaporate right before your eyes as you take in your reflection. Likewise, a pair of pants that you wore confidently last week seems a bit snug or ill-fitting. Yet, despite all this, the scale hasn’t moved. When the mirror doesn’t feel like your friend, but the scale is telling you the same thing it did last week, then it’s likely your perception is off.

I affectionately refer to this phenomenon as having “Fat Head.” Fat Head is the experience of feeling or perceiving yourself as heavier when there has been no actual change in your weight or size. It’s a misperception that is usually associated with other underlying negative emotions that haven’t been addressed. Fat Head consists of temporary dips in self-esteem accompanied by an increase in negative body image.

If you have suffered from this condition then you know its manifestation is usually temporary. However, one of the possible adverse side effects is the desire to eat and give up on exercise. It’s that age old vicious cycle – feeling bad, followed by eating, followed by feeling worse.  So, the next time you are experiencing Fat Head, don’t fall prey to the pitfalls. Here are a few suggestions to help you endure this temporary state while helping you improve your self-confidence.

  • Remind yourself that the scale doesn’t lie. It is telling you with certainty that your body hasn’t changed.
  • See if you can get to some of the underlying emotions that might be contributing to your destructive perception. Try journaling or processing with a friend.
  • Do something nice for your body like schedule a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure. It’s hard to feel bad about your body when you are actively being kind to it.
  • Write ten things you are grateful for about your body on sticky notes and post them on your bathroom mirror.
  • In order to fight the negative perception associated with Fat Head dress nicely and keep yourself well-groomed.


Devin’s Dash Training – week 5 – Stay motivated

Sustain Motivation

1.) Jump Start: Don’t allow yourself to contemplate going out for a run. Just put on your running shoes and get out the door, quick! Once you start your workout its never as hard as you thought it would be.

2.) Stay Accountable: Commit yourself publicly using an online blog, e-mail or in person to stay accountable to other people. Report back to a friend or family member daily will help you stick to your exercise routines. This will help motivate you to do well and to report your success.

3.) Monitor your thoughts:  Spend a few days a week to reflect on your thoughts and recognize the times that you speak negatively to yourself. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this!”. Keep track of your progress in training by keeping a running journal. If you did not achieve the goals you had set, write down new, modified goals for the following weeks.

4.) Read about it: Read a book or blog pertaining to your fitness goals. It is inspiring to hear others stories and will reinvigorate you to achieve your individual goals. This is helpful when you have reached a wall in your training and need an extra boost of motivation.





This week’s recipe is our ABUELITAS CRACKED WHEAT CHILI. It’s a super simple way to cook up the flavors of fall!


2 tsp                Olive oil

6                      Cloves garlic, minced

2 cups             Onion, chopped

2 cups            Water

1 c.                  Green bell pepper, chopped

1 ½ cups        Bulgur wheat

1 cups             Red bell pepper, chopped

16 oz              Kidney beans, drained

1 ½ T.            Chili powder

15 oz              Black beans, drained

1 T.                 Dried oregano

14 ½ oz          Diced tomatoes undrained and no salt added

1 T.                 Unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp.              Ground cumin

14 ½ oz          Vegetable broth or stock

2 pc.                Chipotle chilies, canned in adobo sauce, minced

2 cups              Cheddar cheese, shredded, reduced-fat



•     Pre-heat oven 375°F.

•     Heat oil in saucepot.

•     Add diced onion and the next 7 ingredients.

•     Stir and sauté 5 to 10 minutes.

•     Add water and next 7 ingredients.

•     Bring to a boil.

•     Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.

•     Spoon half of bean mixture into the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.

•     Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese.

•     Top with remaining bean mixture.

•     Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 375°F.

•     Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

•     Bake an additional 10 minutes.


Serve with baked tortilla chips or one 6” corn tortilla (60 calories, 0 grams fat)


Number of servings:         12

Serving size:                        1 ½ cups

Calories per serving:         214

Fat grams per serving:     3.3



Nutrition: The benefits of Coconut

The Swiss Army Knife of the Jungle: Coconut and Your Health

Enjoy watching the video where Karla and I explain the coconut.  I focus on the health and nutrition side while Karla shares her culinary tips.  In our kitchen, we use different parts of the coconut in the following recipes:  Apple Muesli with Dried Cranberries, Coconut Ice Cream, Coconut Rice (a personal favorite), Coconut Macaroons, and our Coconut Panko Encrusted Tilapia (or any other white fish).  Hopefully this video can help answer questions about the coconut—whether you’ve been wondering if you should start using it or how you can incorporate it into your meal plan.



Fitness Friday: Cardio Blast!

A class you can do at home: Try Cardio Blast with Danielle!



Coaching Corner: Cardio vs Strength Training


FACT or FICTION:  Cardio is better for weight loss than Strength Training?

Have you been spending hour after hour every week on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike and not seeing the budge you were hoping for on the scale?  This is a common complaint from exercisers!  Far too many people forsake any other type of training because they believe that cardio is the best, or even the ‘only’ way to lose weight.  The fact is… that’s simply not true.

Steady state aerobic workouts (keeping the same pace for at least 20 minutes) will burn a decent amount of calories in the moment (given there is some level of intensity applied), however, will not significantly improve metabolism afterwards.  If you are new to exercise, or just have been away from it for a while, aerobic workouts are the best way to start back in.  They help you burn calories, strengthen muscle, improve your balance and improve your lung capacity.  Exercises such as walking, biking and elliptical machines are a low-impact, body-friendly way to start.  When you’re ready for more variety, you can progress to anaerobic workouts.  These types of workouts include intervals or circuits, and because they involve training at a higher intensity level, you will experience an increased metabolism for a period following the workout (also, known as ‘after burn’).  Although circuit or H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are safe for most people, they often involve more impact on the joints, so they do carry an increased risk of injury and may not be safe for some individuals.

In addition to burning calories, there are many other benefits associated with cardio training.  It will help you to build lean muscle mass, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve heart and lung function, increase bone density, and improve cholesterol levels.

Strength training provides a whole other level of benefits for your body.  Strength training helps you build muscle, and muscle helps you burn more calories 24 hours a day, even while you are at rest.  A pound of muscle burns 7-10 calories per hour.  A pound of fat, on the other hand, burns only 2-3 calories every hour.  This may not seem like a significant number, but over time this can nicely enhance the weight loss process.  The more muscle you build, the more calories you expend consistently throughout the day.

Ladies, if you’re worried about ‘bulking up’, relax!  Women simply don’t have as much testosterone as men (only about 1/10) making it almost impossible to get bulky without some type of supplement.  What you will get are muscles that are long, lean and nicely toned.

Weight and resistance training not only strengthens muscle fibers, but has the added benefits of strengthening tendons, ligaments and bones, decreasing joint pain and improving balance.

As we age (starting at age 20) you will begin to lose lean muscle mass – as much as ½ pound each year if you are inactive.  This rate doubles after the age of 60.  Additionally, when you lose weight you will lose some lean muscle mass along with the fat.  It can be up to 30% of your weight loss.  You can reduce this number to 2-3% with strength training.  I have heard far too many people say that they are going to skip all strength classes and focus on as much cardio as possible thinking they will get the weight off quicker.  It’s often hard to get past the mindset that ‘Cardio is King’.  However, it is a recognized fact that for long-term fat loss, weight training is a critical part of your fitness program.

The best plan is to incorporate both types of training into your fitness program.  Aim for 30-60 minutes of cardio on most days of the week, and strength training for 30-60 minutes at least 3 times a week.  They each have unique benefits and combining them will give you the best possible results.  Both will make you look better and feel better, boost your mood, your self-confidence, and your self-esteem.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?



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