Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cellulite + Chicken and Squash Recipe

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

I have been thinking about something to write about in my blog and I decided to discuss cellulite. If you are a women and reading this, you probably are cringing because we all hate cellulite and we want to know, why do have it and what can we do about it?!?!

I wish I could say I have found a quick fix to this problem, but unfortunately it doesn't exist. As a woman, we have 3 layers of fat, or adipose tissue. We tend to carry the majority of this in our lower body. There is connective tissue that connects our skin to our muscle by fibrous cords. The adipose tissue cells accumulate between these tight cords and poke through the collagen causing a dimpling, puckered look.

There are certain factors that contribute to the worsening the appearance of existing cellulite. Hormones, such as estrogen, weaken the collagen in our connective tissue causing more dimpling. Weight gain also contributes due to too many fat cells trying to be contained between our muscle and skin. Stress, genetics, fad dieting and lack of physical activity also are culprits to the problem.

Cellulite is not a medical condition. Many of us have cellulite and it doesn't exactly mean you are unhealthy or not fit. I have had cellulite since I was a teenager on my thighs. Even when I weighed 105 lbs and ran almost everyday, I had cellulite. I have cellulite now, even though I am the most physically fit and toned than I have ever been. It is a fact that I have had to learn to accept.

I researched a few different types of "treatments" that I wanted to share. First are over the counter creams. There are no studies that show these work and most people do not see any effects. Also some of the ingredients can cause skin rashes. I have tried some myself and have not found any to work. Another treatment is laser. These can work temporarily, but take multiple treatments and are expensive. They tend to last only about 6 months. Then there is liposuction. I used to joke and say I was going to do this. But in reality, it can change the shape of your body, but doesn't take cellulite away. It can actually make it worse. Think of it this way, if you had a barn full of cows and took the cows out, the barn might look nicer, but the barn is still there. All you have to do is open the door, and back comes the cows. That's liposuction. It's very easy for those fat cells to accumulate back into the existing open spaces.

What really works? Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight by eating clean and exercising. Increase your muscle tone. This helps to decrease the appearance of cellulite. Stay hydrated. I know you are thinking, really Mandi? That's the same thing you preach over and over again. But it's true, everything boils down to altering your everyday lifestyle habits to healthy, fresh, clean choices and physical activity!

Here is a recipe I have been wanting to share with you because it is delicious!
Chicken and Squash Bake:
(You could use zucchini instead of squash and olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into about 4 strips (about 1 1/4-1 1/2 lbs)
Garlic salt (or garlic powder to decrease sodium)
Lemon Pepper
10 cups yellow squash, washed, sliced 1/4 inch thick (cut large slices in half)
6 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tbs of butter (or oil)
4 ounces sliced Muenster cheese (or any cheese you would like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9x13 baking dish and place chicken inside. Sprinkle with garlic salt or powder and lemon pepper, turn chicken and repeat. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. After about 30 minutes of baking, heat 2 tbs butter or oil in a large stock pot. Sauté squash until tender. Add remaining tbs of butter or oil to pot. Add spinach leaves. Cook and stir just until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and toss with a pinch of salt if desired. Take the dish of chicken from oven, uncover and spoon the squash mixture over the chicken. Place slices of cheese on top, enough to make a thin layer over the vegetables.

If you prefer to Grill ( I prefer it this way rather than baking as above):
This is much faster! Sauté veggies, grill the chicken and assemble in the greased baking as above. Broil in the oven just until cheese is melted and top is browned.

I hope you have a great rest of your Labor Day weekend.
Stay Active
 Challenge yourself!