Sunday, March 31, 2013

Recipe of the Week-Hot and Sweet Chicken and Peppers

Happy Easter!
I hope you all had a great weekend. I did myself. My Easter plans ended up allowing me to not have to cook, however I did find an old recipe that I really like that I wanted to share with you.

Hot and Sweet Chicken and Peppers
How I "mandi-tized" this: I use chicken breasts. Of course gluten free flour and low sodium chicken broth. Leave the bread out. Instead serve with nice salad and a veggie. You could serve over brown rice if you preferred.

This can be a bit spicy, but it has a really interesting flavor. I hope you give it a try.

My next topic is going to be discussing health benefits of Coconut oil as I have recently come across this. So I will talk to you soon. I hope with the weather turning somewhat nice and the longer day light you are getting out and about and getting some exercise!

Talk to you soon....
Stay Active

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Low Sodium Cooking Website

This is just a quick blurb, but as you know I am big for following a low sodium diet, I found this website this week when helping a co-worker try to find a low sodium potato dish to make for her father who has Heart Failure for Easter. We found three recipes on this site that looked great!

After doing a Google search, I found:

It has a ton of recipes, tips on following low sodium diet, newletters, and a blog. It is a great source for low sodium cooking. The recipes look great!

Check it out :)

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Healthy Snack Ideas


I do realize it has been a week since I posted, and I failed to post a recipe last Sunday. I was out of town so I didn't get to cook anything Sunday...but I will have something this weekend!

I did want to share some ideas for healthy snacking that I have found. Snacking is an easy way to over consume unnecessary calories, so you want to be sure you are snacking smartly. The biggest thing is to stay away from junk. Get rid of the chips, cookies, crackers, candy, etc for these are just empty calories that pile on the pounds. You want to focus more on fruit, vegetables, fiber, protein. You can get really creative in your snacks and keep it interesting if you know the right things to try.

I found a really great list of some non-boring (is that a word??) snacks that I really love from WebMD. I think this list is great, because it has some unique ideas that are super easy!!!

25 Super Snacks With 100 Calories or Less

I also came across a nice list in my Good Housekeeping Magazine:

Some of my favorite easy go to snacks are generally veggies with 2 tbs of hummus, a handful of grapes and clementines.  I always keep a bag of almonds at my desk. So experiment with some healthy things rather than the junk food. You can also do a google search for more ideas.

Have fun snacking!
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tabata Workout: What is it?

As you know I am a huge fan of shorter, high intensity interval training routines, rather than droning on and on a the gym on a treadmill, doing some sort of work out for an hour, etc. And I am a huge fan because I have had amazing results. I am talking my whole body shape has changed. I am wearing smaller sizes than I have in a very long time due to my increased muscle tone. I am honestly almost to my high school figure.  (I have already explained HIIT workouts in another blog post so check that out!)

There is a variation of HIIT exercises called Tabata. "Tabata" was created in Japan for training Olympians. The routine consists of doing one exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 and repeating this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Now I know that this sounds easy and really, who can get a good exercise benefit in 4 minutes...but it's true. Four minutes of Tabata actually has more benefits than 60 minutes of moderate exercise on a treadmill.Your resting metabolic rate increases greatly. Meaning you will burn more calories at rest between the first 24-48 hours than you will with 60 minutes of the treadmill. Now you of course can do multiple 4 minute rounds to include different exercises for different parts of your body. What I like about this is you can create your own routine. Say you want to do push ups, jump squats and reverse crunches. Do a four minute round of each exercise and you have a 12 minute almost full body work out in which you are burning massive calories. It is recommended to rest for a full minute between each 4 minute round to help lesson fatigue. The benefits to Tabata is that it increases aerobic and anaerobic rate, increases your endurance, creates leaner muscle tone, and increases your body fat loss percentage much more than what you can get from moderate cardio. It is important to keep in mind that this exercise style does push you to the point of exhaustion so it is not advised to do it everyday, but adding it in a few times per week will add great benefit to your physical health. They can also be very monotonous to do so you have to have will power to finish.

I found a great website that explains Tabata in much more depth:

You can research for Tabata exercises on google and youtube and you will find all sorts of things. Or get creative and create your own! I challenge you to give this a try, especially if you are in a rut or plateau. This is a sure way to push your body and see changes.

Have a great night!
Stay Active

Apparently a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and a Warrior Dash.. oh and publicly announcing that by the end of 2013, I'll be able to do at least 10 pull ups.. Lord help me!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Irish food!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I do have some Irish blood in me thanks to my mother's side of the family. Plus today is my Grandmother's Birthday (happy birthday grandma!!), so I thought it would be fun to make some Irish themed food for today. After much searching, I found three great recipes:

Beef and Guinness Stew
How I "mandi-tized" it:
I of course used low sodium beef broth. And you can always add in some flour (gluten free in my      case) or corn starch to thicken it up, as the recipe calls for "thick beef stock". And I didn't use parsnips. I just am not a big fan of parsnips. You could use potatoes in place, however I am making mashed potatoes to go along with it so I just left them out.

Red Potato Colcannon
This is an Irish style mashed potato. It is traditionally made with bacon and regular potatoes, but this is a healthier version that leaves out the bacon and uses red potatoes with the skins to give you more of a nutritional value.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
I grew up eating cabbage rolls that my Grandma made. So in a tribute to her, I found a recipe that is also a healthier version. I used just one pound of ground turkey because I had it on hand, however I am sure the ground turkey sausage would have been good too.

And I made some Irish Carbomb Cupcakes which were to die for!

Hope you have a great and safe St. Patrick's Day

Stay Active

So true!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Insanity-Does it really work? A real before and after.

My little brother, Kyle, did the 60 day Insanity workout program. So I am here to report his results. Here is a little background on Kyle: (sorry bro, I am laying it all out there!)

Kyle is 24 years old. He has been overweight for the last few years. He was leading a not so healthy life...not eating right and not exercising. Even had high blood pressure.  Last fall Kyle, Brian and I ran a 5 k. It was Kyle's first 5k. We did train for about 2 months for it. He was very proud of himself, but I could tell that he was frustrated with his endurance level. His job does a Biggest Loser challenge every year and he decided he was going participate and try to win. Brian had done Insanity part way a few summers ago and Kyle decided he was going to borrow it and give it a try.

When did you start and end? January 3rd to March 6th.

How long were the workouts? It was 6 days per week. The first month about 45 minutes, the second month an hour or so.

What were the workout styles? Plyometrics, cardio, body weight, stretching

Did you change your diet? Yes, but I did not follow a "diet". I simply starting making healthy choices such as egg whites for breakfast, protein and something green for lunch and dinner. I snacked on things such as almonds and apples.

How did you feel in the beginning? Sore, worn out and tired.

How did you feel in the end? I was not as sore, my endurance level was improved. I felt lighter, healthier. I noticed that I no longer get out of breath by walking up stairs.

The commercials show a lot of muscular people, did you gain muscle? No I did not gain muscle tone. The benefit I got from these workouts was purely cardio and weight loss.

Did you want to quit? Yes, it was pretty intense. However I didn't quit because of the results I was seeing and the Facebook motivation page that you can join. It did take a lot of will power and motivation, but you can do the exercises at your own pace. You may not be able to keep up with the people on the DVD, but you just do your best.

Have you gotten your Insanity T-shirt? No.
                         (get your T-shirt, man!!)

How much weight did you lose? I started at 242lbs and now weight 210 lbs.

What do you plan to do now? I plan to follow High Intensity Interval Training as suggested by my sister.
Now ready for some amazing before and after pictures???

That's it! Obviously Insanity is not a realistic, permanent solution but it is a good way to kick start yourself into a good regimen of weight loss if you are looking for drastic results. It does take a lot time and will power, but it can be done. The most important thing is to create a long term solution with your workout regimen and diet once something like this is done.  And it can easily be done and that is where I come in. :)

Hope you enjoyed seeing this!

Stay Active

 I think I have posted this pic before, but I still love it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recipe of the Week-A Day Late But Worth It

Yesterday I wanted to try a new crock pot recipe, as when it's cold, I am a sucker for crock pot comfort food. We thumbed through a Betty Crocker Slow Cooker cookbook we forgot we had and found a hearty soup rich in fiber, protein and some good spice!

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Smoky Chipotle Cassoulet
1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinless cubed
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (buy canned in the hispanic section of the grocery store)
1 medium onion, diced
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1/2 fresh orange juice (or use the 50% less sugar orange juice as juicing an orange is kind of a pain)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients, except cilantro, in your crock pot. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5  hours. Remove Bay leaf before serving and garnish with cilantro.

This was very good and hit the spot on a cold day.  It was very easy and quick to put together. We cooked it on high and served it with a salad and some gluten free bread. You should definitely give this a shot!

Later this week I will have my little brother's report on completing the 60 day Insanity workout and some Q&A and before and after pictures!!! Stay tuned! :)

And Stay Active

You are what you eat...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Detox update plus Importance of Fiber

Hello on this rainy day. Now that I have gotten back on track and things are slowing down a bit, I can contribute more time to my blog more often. :)

So, are you wondering why there was no Dr. Oz Detox day 2 and 3 blog? Well it's because there was no day 2 or 3. After I posted on day one, I got to drinking my dinner smoothie as my husband ate his dinner. Throughout the evening, I quickly started feeling really terrible. I had a huge headache and about halfway through the smoothie almost got sick. I felt very nauseous and dizzy. The best way I described it was a cross between having the flu, being hungover and prepping for a colonoscopy. It was awful. I then started to break down and just had to throw in the towel. I was so disappointed! The next day, I weighed myself, I had lost 3 pounds, so that was interesting. My friend doing it with me, she lasted longer than me but towards the end of the 2nd day, she threw in the towel too. So, it was a fail. Oh well, hey I tried it!

I wanted to talk about fiber because I don't think most people get enough fiber in their diet. Especially if you aren't eating a clean diet. Women should get about 21-25 grams of fiber per day. Men should get about 30-38 grams of fiber per day. I researched foods that are highest in fiber and compiled a list:

  • Fruits:
    • Apples, with skin
    • Pears, with skin
    • Raspberries
    • Bananas
    • Oranges
  • Vegetables:
    • Carrots, raw
    • Broccoli, raw
    • Potatoes with skin
    • Artichokes
    • Green Peas
  • Dry Herbs, Spices and Peppers
  • Whole Grains:
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
    • Barley
    • Bran
    • Air popped popcorn
  • Beans and nuts:
    • Almonds
    • Pecans
    • Black Beans
    • Lima Beans
    • Navy Beans
    • Kidney Beans
    • Pistachios
    • Flax seed
    • Sunflower seed
Now of course this isn't a full list, but it is the most common things. When increasing your fiber be sure to increase your water intake as fiber is not digested and simply is bulk passing through your GI tract. You want to make sure you have enough water ingested to help pass this through. Increasing fiber in your diet helps regulate your bowel movements. It also helps you to feel full, so if you load up on dietary fiber, you will be full on healthy things and have no room for unhealthy junk. This can help with weight loss and help you to maintain your weight. Fiber can also lower cholesterol, decrease your risk for diabetes and heart disease. These are great reasons to make sure you are taking in enough fiber. I myself have a lot of GI issues, IBS, gluten sensitivity, and I find when I have enough fiber each day I have less bloating, I am more regular, and feel so much better. In addition to natural, dietary fiber, I do use a clear, dissolving fiber, such as Benefiber, in my coffee. This is an option as well for a supplement. 

So load up on some good, wholesome fiber each day and I think you will start to see the benefits. Especially if you tend to have stomach issues as I do. 

Todays Workout:

Stay Active and I will be back tomorrow with a new recipe!

Because it's the best therapy life has to offer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox Cleanse-Day 1

So a friend of mine and I decided to tackle the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox Cleanse in hopes we would reap the benefits of what it claims to do. It supposedly resets your body by eliminating toxins and helping to regulate your hormones, especially your thyroid. You can potentially lose a few pounds as well. We thought, it's just three days, can it really be that hard?

Well here is an update on day 1:
I started the day with hot green tea with a slice of lemon and 1 tsp of Stevia (although not a huge fan of Stevia). That was good. I like green tea so not a bad way to start the morning.

I drank my breakfast smoothie around 7am that consisted of: 1 cup of water, 1 tbs flax seed, 1 cup raspberries, 1 banana, 1/4 spinach, 1 tbs almond butter, 2 tbs lemon juice. This is actually pretty tasty. I enjoyed it and drank it pretty quickly. I did have a slight headache in the morning, but I think it was all in my head (no pun intended) as I don't intake much caffeine, I didn't suspect I would have the typical caffeine headache that most probably do. And the green tea has caffeine. I didn't notice anything weird with my GI tract other than about halfway through the smoothie I did need to, well you know...go. TMI, I know, but come on, don't you want to know what happened? ;)

By the time I was hungry it was time to drink my lunch smoothie. It was about 11:00am. This consists of 4 celery stalks, 1 cucumber, 1 cup kale leaves, 1/2 green apple, 1/2 lime juiced, 1 tbsp coconut oil 1/2 cup almond milk and 1 cup pineapple. At first sip, I thought it tasted ok, kind of refreshing. However, it than became very sour. And it is super thick. I almost had to chew it just to get it down. After over an hour and only half way through the smoothie and gagging a few times I gave up and poured it out.

Now through the afternoon, I did start to feel a little fuzzy in the brain and grumpy. I found myself craving something salty. But still wasn't overly hungry.

Around 3pm I had my "snack" smoothie, which I repeated breakfast.

I got home from work a little after 4pm. At this point I really don't feel very good but I did a 12 minute HIIT routine for exercise. I thought I was going to die. I really did not have the energy like I usually do to get through it.

I took my detox bath: hot water, epsom salt and lavender oil for 30 min. I was sweating my ass off!!! My heart rate was way elevated and this made me feel worse. I read a book to keep me occupied for 30 minutes and I did bring a glass of ice water to keep me hydrated. By the time I was done with the bath I more or less feel the way I did when I was prepping for my colonoscopy last year. Dizzy, fuzzy, disoriented, nauseous.

Currently I am getting ready to drink my dinner smoothie: 1/2 mango, 1 cup blueberries, 1 1/2 cup coconut water, 1 cup kale, 1 tbs lemon, 1/4 avocado  1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tbs flax seed. I have taken my first drink and it is spicy!!! But it kind of is helping my craving for salt. I actually don't mind this one. (as my husband heats up his chicken patty and refuses to give me a bite! lol )

Overall, I don't feel great, but it could be worse. I have noticed I am having a hard time focusing and finding my words for this blog and I left the fridge door open. Yikes! Hopefully tomorrow will go better. Oh and I forgot to weigh myself this morning, but when I got home, i was 123.2. we shall see what happens!

Cheers to detox

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday's Recipe: Chicken and Asparagus with Melted Gyuere

Happy Sunday Night.

I have been so busy every night, the last week, so I feel a little bad about not posting any actual health subjects. But that is about to change. Upcoming subjects will be importance of fiber, explanation of Tabata training, Dr. Ox's 3 day detox (does it work?) and before and after of the "Insanity Workout". So stay tuned...please!

Today i found a semi-gourmet style dinner that was AMAZING! I had some chicken breasts to use up, so I searched one of my favorite healthy recipe websites, . I found an entire list of chicken dinners 350 calories or less.

Chicken and Asparagus with Melted Gyuere
How I "Mandi-tized" it. I used gluten free flour of course. The wine I used was a naked-style Chardonnay, which means it is aged in stainless steel rather than an oak barrel. This wine pairs perfect with the strong cheese that is used. This dish has a very unique flavor with the Gyuere cheese, but it tastes like it was made in a fancy, gourmet restaurant. I served it over a little bed of brown rice along with a salad.

Try this healthy, sophisticated recipe. You surely won't be let down.

I will be doing the Dr. Oz three day detox cleanse Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. I am interested in how this will make me feel, what it does to my body, etc. I will be posting on my results.

Have a great week!

This weeks workouts:
6 pack ab challenge
Butts and Guts workout: 2 times through
I also have been doing some yoga a few times per week

Motivational Fitness Quotes