Carb lovers home workout ~ holiday hacks

Want to make it out of the next week without the overeating, fat storing ho-hums??

This simple article is all about beating the fat away while still enjoying what most folks don’t think twice about on their holiday break ~ FOOD OF MANY SERVINGS AND CALORIE COUNTS!

The goal here is to prepare for carb overload using glycogen depletion. You don’t need to get too fancy with it, basically what you can shoot for is high intensity workouts with a lot of reps and plyometric style movement.

We attempt to use the largest muscle groups in this theory to tap into the areas with the biggest glycogen stores. Deplete…then refill. Make sense?

You can use the methodologies brought to you in the FML Fat Fry by going “low carb” for a few days before any feast….if you haven’t had that awareness / been low carb you can STILL prep using fitness as your weapon before and then the day after a big eating session.

Happiest of the Holiday Season to you all ~ may you nourish your bodies with the food and love they deserve this season and every other.

Let’s roll out the training…………

Choose any movement you wish for intervals – skipping is a GREAT fat burner but mountain climbers, Heisman’s etc…work just as well….Complete the work in a circuit fashion.

Exercise 1 – Intervals – 15 minutes

  • 1 minute work – Fastest cardio work (skipping/squat jacks….)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 30 sec work – air squats (BIG air)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work- regular squats,
  • 15 secs rest
  • 1 minute work – jump lunges
  • 15 secs rest

Exercise 2 – Intervals – 10 minutes

  • 1 minute work – fastest cardio work (see above)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – Burpees with jump tuck
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – crunches
  • 15 seconds rest

Exercise 3 – Intervals – 5 minutes

  • 1 minute work – fastest cardio work (see above)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – elbow to knee crunches
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – push ups (modify if needed)

Pittsburgh Meal Prep Discounts

Cool news ~ Pittsburgh Fresh clients are now able to have me PERSONALLY design their weekly OR monthly macros/meal plans for goal oriented nutrition!
 
Fat loss, muscle gain, maintenance calories…whatever your needs we will get you on your way.
 
There is a time requirement prior to your order being delivered so please have a read through the product details on my site. We are working through the details so please bear with us through any changes. Simply place your order and then purchase one of the services below as soon as possible to allow for enough time to build your personalized macro plan. 
 
*This discounted service is for Pittsburgh Fresh clientele only*
 
Any folks who are ordering can use my discount code for a 15% savings (anyone can use this, anytime):
SASHA15
 
Pittsburgh Fresh Facts:
 
*HQ located in Brookline, PA
*No preservatives & fresh made in Pittsburgh
*Ingredients from scratch in house including mayo, BBQ sauce, stock,dressing etc.
*Most meals are gluten and dairy free *and they now have a VEGAN line on trial* (unless otherwise noted)
*Meals are pre-prepared & take 2 minutes to heat
*Menu changes weekly
*Grab ‘N Go Cafes at FASTER Robinson + Southpointe and at MECKA Fitness
*Delivery Locations below as well as home delivery
 
Mecka/Crossfit Mt. Lebanon
Urban element
Raw training
Naturally Soergels
Crossfit Athletics
FASTER Robinson
FASTER Southpointe
Steel Revolution
Cycletique
Downtown hotels and offices
 
 
 

Meatless Monday Recipe – Spaghetti Squash

It’s Meatless Monday, you all know the drill – try your damnedest to go the entire day without eating meat. It’s easier than it sounds, and with cool recipes flying all over the Internet, you are certain to be a success.

To help you with this, from time to time I’ll post a recipe here for you that is simple to execute with basic ingredients for inspiration to go meat free each Monday.

Congrats to you for making one of the healthiest choices out there for total body health.

Bon Appetite!

xx ~ S

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas

This makes about 5 large servings, but since it’s so light, count on people eating 1-2 servings if there’s not much else on the menu. The red pepper flakes make this dish slightly spicy, so reduce them if necessary.

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Pierce a spaghetti squash 8-10 times with a skewer or thin knife (pierce deeply through flesh into center). Place on a baking sheet on center rack of oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then turn 1/4 turn. Bake another 30 minutes or until outside has browned in places and shell feels soft. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once it’s cool, cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork. Put the squash into a bowl and set aside.
  2. While the squash is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Trim and discard the ends and cut the sprouts in half (quarter larger sprouts). Place on a baking sheet and spray quickly (2 seconds) with olive oil. (This prevents burning; if you don’t want to use the oil, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.) When the squash has almost finished cooking, put the sprouts into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove them when they are just beginning to be touched by brown but are not burning (they will finish cooking in the skillet in the next step).
  3. In a large, deep, non-stick skillet, cook the onions on medium-high heat until they become golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and vegetable broth and cover tightly. Cook for 3-5 minutes, adding more broth or water if skillet becomes dry. Add the chickpeas, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the spaghetti squash, and toss gently to mix. Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with lemon juice.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 5

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 196 calories, 14 calories from fat, 1.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 348.2mg sodium, 742.8mg potassium, 40.7g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 7g sugar, 8.8g protein, 3.3 points (not equivalent to Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus).
Adapted from “Fat Free Vegan”

Vegan Maple Glazed Tofu with Soba



This recipe was a do it yourselfer after trying to learn a few new ones – that never ended up working out. I have slowly begun to leave the realm of food creativity fear when following a recipe – some recipes aren’t for everyone. I’m ok with that. 

Soba has a *bit* of an acquired taste, so if you’re not sure you like it you could substitute with any long noodle of your choice, that is of course if it’s healthy, right? 

Enjoy this one. It’s great served hot or cold I find. 


Ingredients: 

  • cucumber
  • carrots
  • 2 green onions
  • block firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 bag soba noodles
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • 2 tsp tamari/nama shoyu
 
Method: 
 
Start with a marinade of syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and sesame oil. Coat thickly sliced tofu in this mixture and set aside. 
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Slice cucumber and carrot into thin sticks with a sharp knife or a mandolin. Thinly slice green onions diagonally. Set aside. 

Toast sesame seeds until lightly golden in a small frying pan set over medium. Set aside. 

Add marinated tofu to pan and grill until browned on all sides – you can also opt to eat this cold. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium.

Add garlic & stir for one minute. Add spinach in small handfuls until it is all wilted. Ensure you stir often to avoid sticking. Add tamari/nama shoyu and cook for another minute or two.

Set on low/warm. 

While you are working with the spinach add soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, about 3 to 4 min. 

Rinse with cold running water to cool and remove starch. First add noodles to bowl, then top with tofu, onion & veggies.

Sprinkle all with toasted sesame seeds. 

Serves 4. 

Are you breathing just a little – and calling it a life?

I fell out of touch with my Yoga. I know, that everyone does at a certain point ~ or maybe not everyone starts. In my heart, so much healing came from giving myself the gift of a whole person challenge at least 1.5 hours each day.

For a while now, I’ve only been able to muster up 1 hour per week. Some weeks – nothing.

Lately, that has shifted and I’ve been blessing myself with inspiration and comforting solitude. Today, a poem inspired me to write this blog post to in turn, try to pass on the inspiration to you.

After all, who on earth would equate the involuntary act of breathing to living?

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO ENTER THE LONG BLACK BRANCHES
~ Mary Oliver~

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives —
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
     but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.

Fermentation – Why you need to get into it!

 

Water, salt & a few veggies is all you need to start!

Fermentation. From Kombucha to Pickles, Kimchi to Root Beer…this ancient tradition is the stuff healthy guts, skin and hair were made up of. While the move to Pittsburgh has ground my homemade ferments to a halt, I still have store-bought items in the fridge because nothing says digestion like a good helping of sauerkraut.

Take a minute to consider why you should be adding them to your diet on a regular basis and if you have 20 minutes and a few tools, you can use my recipes to start your own cultures at home for just pennies per serving.

Try my recipe here: GARLIC-Y SAURKRAUT

Fermented foods are rich in enzymes, which help speed up digestion and absorption in our system. They are also rich in good bacteria, specifically lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a beneficial flora found in the gut. Consuming the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods restores and balances the flora in your gut leading to better vitamin and nutrient absorption. Another plus is that fermented foods have a long shelf life, without containing harmful preservatives.

Fermenting means converting a food’s carbohydrates to alcohol (not the kind that gets you drunk). Examples include kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchee, vinegar, tempeh, miso, yogurt, kefir and pickles.

Kombucha (also known as mushroom tea, kvass, etc) is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, live bacteria and yeast. It’s readily available at health food stores and even some grocery stores but at astronomical prices that I just cannot agree with. Benefits include improvement in digestion and liver function, as well as stimulation of the immune system. Kombucha does not have a high salt or sugar content and can be enjoyed daily.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It’s typically made with just two ingredients: salt and cabbage. Korea has a version of sauerkraut called kimchee, which is fermented spiced cabbage. Sauerkraut and kimchee contain beneficial bacteria that help with the digestive process and are a great way to naturally cure yeast infections. There’s also research linking kimchee with high antibiotic potency and longevity.

Miso is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans that is a great source of manganese and zinc, two important mineral antioxidants. Miso contains healthy bacteria that supports intestinal microflora, the amino acid tryptophan which is important for sleep and is a great source of dietary fibre. During the soybean fermentation process, grains like barley, rice, or buckwheat may be added to achieve a certain flavour, but in most cases soybeans serve as the basis. Miso soup is also often prescribed to patients undergoing chemotherapy as it’s believed by some to aid in absorption of essential nutrients. Miso can be used to add flavour to soups, sauces, marinades, salad dressings or vegetables dishes.

Coconut kefir (similar to milk kefir without the dairy) is fermented coconut milk. It contains a host of probiotic cultures that support your intestinal system that are not found in yogurt. Coconut kefir helps to minimize sugar cravings and, because it’s not made from animal milk, people with lactose intolerance can partake minus the nasty side effects. Enjoy it on its own or in a smoothie or make it into a dip similarly to how you’d use yogurt.

Adding just one of these delicious fermented foods to your diet now could balance a whole host of issues that could be living in your gut now. Fill up with good bacteria that doesn’t require the use of dairy products and feel amazing!

xx

S

 

 

 

Beat the winter blues before they get to you – lets move!

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Every fall, without fail, a slow trickle of sadness comes over me. At first, it’s a tiny leak only the keenest ear could hear. When ignored, sad evolves into a tornado. A formidable monster of frustration, resentment and loathing for pretty much nothing in particular.

Sound familiar? Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. However much like the winter blues, stress, inactivity and the busyness of life can take over who you REALLY need to be and before you know it, you’re someone barely recognizable in the mirror.

While we all need to learn to love ourselves for who we are, there is no excuse for neglecting our basic human needs when the weather turns or, as in the case of so many of us Canadians, when the good weather never quite arrived!

Whether it be the deep bags, new wrinkles or extra 10 pounds, the sure-fire way to get a great sleep, have wonderful relationships and keep a smile on your face this winter is by incorporating movement, nutrition and self care into every day. These are the basic fundamentals of “Food Medicine Life”.

Medicine

There are a TONNE of activities that are perfect for this time of year if you are NOT a gym junkie:

– hiking
– biking
– jogging
– canoeing
– rollerblading
– soccer
– racquetball, tennis, badminton

Now, you’re going to say “but these take up so much TIME”. Well, yes, they do but then so do countless episodes of “Netflix and chill”.

If you are ready to bite the bullet but are time conscious, go with an equipment free HIIT workout. You can find them on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and plain old Google. High intensity, low investment, amazing results.

You can also try a 30 minute circuit at your gym in the weight training section or join a fun new spin, surf or rowing class. Group fitness is a great way to stay amped and bring some friends along for the high intensity fun.

Food

Once you’re done burning off the stress, make sure to replenish your mind and body with some great snacks such as bananas, blueberries, lentils or beans.  Protein isn’t everything guys, but it is important to your diet and building muscle.

If you’re looking for cruelty-free protein options that don’t support industrialized farming…try this link:

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/top-10-vegetarian-sources-of-protein

Water is essential for flushing toxins and fat as well as keeping us hydrated and radiant – drink a minimum of 8 large glasses per day. Start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water before all else.

Sugar cravings getting you down? Try some seasonally fabulous fall treats to keep around the house for you or your family, try this quick easy Vegan Pumpkin Ginger cookie recipe that tastes lovely with or without sugar….but we all need a treat every now and then, it’s all about balance!

CLICK HERE TO LINK TO RECIPE. 

If you’re still suffering from stress related issues, it’s time to try on a bit of herbalism to treat your symptoms.

My top picks are:

  • Chamomile
  • Ashwaganda
  • Passionflower
  • Magnesium
  • Green/Black tea
  • Lavendar
  • Kava

These herbs can be taken in a capsule, pressed pill, tea, essential oil (aromatherapy)or tincture. The easiest to get ahold of being Magnesium which can be taken each night before bed. All of these natural anti-anxiety herbs will aid you in your stress reduction efforts as part of your daily health ritual.

Life

Quick fix junkie? Look no further. Just 5 minutes of meditation each day can restore and invigorate your spirit. If you’re a beginner the easiest time to get this done is upon rising or just before bed.

Set your alarm clock or phone timer for 5-7 minutes.

Next, sit cross legged, in a chair or upright in bed ~ lying down is also an option~ with your hands in a relaxed place in your lap. Get all of your fidgeting out by gently squeezing together all your muscles from head to toe for a couple of seconds, then releasing. Once you have done this a couple of times, you are ready to begin.

You can start to increase the length of your inhales and exhales by counting 1-2-3 as you complete both. You can even add a “Mississippi” in between if you are into a challenge. Fill up your lungs and let your belly expand on the inhale, squeeze all the air out that you can on the exhale.

If your mind tends to wander, that’s ok! It happens to the best of us. Sometimes it can help to picture a soft glowing light in your minds eye that expands and contracts with each inhale and exhale. Just return to your breath/glowing light each time you start to panic about the day that lays ahead.

When your alarm goes off, gently allow yourself to return to the moment and start/end your day.

Give yourself the treatment your mind and body crave. Yes, you do have time. Work can wait, the kids can wait. Start devoting just 15 minutes a day to yourself. Your world will change, promise.

Continue reading “Beat the winter blues before they get to you – lets move!”