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Month: April 2014

Free Video Blog: Opening the Hips and Hamstrings with Yoga

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Inspired by her passion for health and her dedication to her work on her yoga mat, it only seemed natural to team up with Chelsea Ray and create a series of yoga videos for you! Chelsea is the owner and operator of Yogawarehouse.ca. She also teaches yoga in her community and offers holistic and nutritional consultations. Follow along as Chelsea Ray takes us through some postures to open our hips up and hamstrings!

Food Friday – Homemade Pre-Workout Drink

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It’s been ten weeks since I’ve had a cup of coffee! I would love to tell you I’m loving my new freedom from the crutch or that I feel super fabulous after giving it up, but the reality is that it’s been super tough. The last two months have been filled with lots of changes, and I miss the comfort and extra boost from my tasty beverage. Although I’m not loving my new coffee-free lifestyle just yet, I do know that in the long run this is going to help support a healthy thyroid and healthy hormonal levels, so I’m pushing through!

The first week of giving up coffee was the worst, since I used to use caffeine as a little boost before workouts. So I decided to make my own homemade pre-workout drink! I get asked a lot about packaged pre-workouts! Do I take them? Are they harmful? For the most part, pre-workout drinks are little containers of chemicals that your body becomes super dependent on. Now there are some exceptions out there, like Vega’s pre-workout, which is sweetened with natural sugars, but my theory is skip the packaged items if you can and make your own!

Cherry Juice Pre-Workout Drink

The antioxidants in cherries, namely the flavanoids and anthyocyanins, can alleviate inflammation and swelling post-workout. A study from the U.K. found that runners who regularly drank cherry juice before and after a workout had faster muscle recovery.  So when I decided to put together a pre-workout drink, it made sense to me to include cherry juice. I also added green tea for the extra caffeine boost and for amino acids, which increase brain function. The amino acids in green tea also increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA which has an anti-anxiety effect. (Coffee, in contrast, increases anxiety.) I added a pinch of sea salt to deliver essential minerals and keep the body balanced. Sea salt also levels out blood pressure and reduces muscle tension, and the high levels of iodine in sea salt keep the thyroid gland healthy. Sea salt also prevents dehydration, so when you’re sweating it out in spin class you can be confident that your body is getting what it needs. And last but not least, I put in two tablespoons of lemon juice. Drinking lemon juice has a crazy amount of benefits! A few that are key for training are:

  • Boosts your immune system
  • Balances PH levels
  • Energizes you and enhances your mood
  • Promotes healing and anti-inflammation in your muscles

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup organic cherry juice

1 cups water (You can also use coconut water.)

1 cup of cooled green tea

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 pinch sea salt

Video Blog: Hips and Glutes Band Isolation

This bands workout is a great way to train the small muscles in your butt and legs. Remember, these small muscles play a vital role in giving your legs definition. They work to lengthen and lean out your legs while keeping your butt firm and raised. These exercises may not look difficult, but I can guarantee a serious burn is going to take place while you push to complete the routine!

Here is the workout written out! The only equipment you need is bands. Try and perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds, and set a goal to complete 1-3 rounds of the entire routine!

  • Side Hip Adduction
  • Half Circle
  • Leg Jacks
  • Turned Out Toe Leg Lifts
  • Reverse Leg Raise

 

Video Blog: Can Healthy Cupcakes Still be Yummy for your Kids?

Recipe

  • 2 cups organic sprouted spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut  sugar
  • 11/2 cups mashed banana (ripe)
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/3 cup coco or raw cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray/grease muffin pans.

Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, sugar, banana, and eggs. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, making sure not to over-mix. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffins pans about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until done.

Topping

Organic whipping cream with maple syrup to taste (approx. 1 tbs per large batch).

 

 

Food Friday – Delicious Quinoa Burgers

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This month we have been working hard to clean up our grocery budget and add more vegetables into our weekly meal planning. When you make the decision to buy organic meat, the budget can go out the window quite quickly! So we have started buying our meat from local butchers and adding vegetables, quinoa and beans to make it go further.  Wednesday’s dinner was burger night at our house and these quinoa burgers were a huge hit. Troy and the kids loved the flavour and I used half the meat I normally would for my burgers. I served them with sautéed broccoli and warm spaghetti squash salsa salad. Enjoy~~*

INGREDIENTS

1 lbs of organic ground beef

1 cup of cooked quinoa / pumpkin seeds / lentils

1 egg

1 clove of garlic

chopped onions (to preference)

pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl

Make into hamburger patties

Toss on the BBQ or cook in large skillet on medium covered until meat is cooked throughly.

Workout Video: Medicine Ball Power Sculpt

Medicine Ball workouts are some of my favourite workouts! If you’re looking for a quick workout that will leave you dripping sweat and feeling the burn all over your body, then this is the workout for you! This medicine ball workout requires a ton of force, energy and determination from your entire body to power through to the end.  Before you set your timer for this workout, set up your iPhone camera and record yourself doing this routine! I do this constantly with my workouts to check my form, track my progress and remind myself I am getting better!!

Here is the workout written out! Set your timer for 15-20 minutes and try to get in as many rounds as you can!

  • Overhead ball throw
  • Wall Ball
  • Side oblique throw
  • Over head slams
  • Reverse lunge
  • Russian ball twist

 

Are Your Protein Bars Killing You?

We are the generation that counts calories. We avoid fats. And we try to substitute our sugars with every low-calorie option we can find. After all, we want to be healthy, right? Here’s the truth about all those calories we’re saving, thinking it’s making us “healthy”: our generation needs to seriously shape up our food choices and start educating ourselves about what we are putting into our bodies every day.

Let’s talk about a little sweetener called sucralose. What is sucralose?

Sucralose is a strand of chemicals that has been approved by the FDA as 98% pure. 98% percent sounds pretty good, right? Wrong! That little 2% could be causing major health concerns in your body. So what could possibly be so bad that you need to worry about that small 2%?

It contains heavy metals like lead, arsenic, triphenilphosphine oxide, methanol, chlorinated disaccharides, and other potentially dangerous substances.

What concerns have been raised about these chemicals? What problems might they cause?

One study on sucralose showed an increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (meaning damage to the oxygen carrying part of a red blood cell). Research in animals has shown:

  • Up to 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus gland (critical for the response to disease—the “heart” of our immune system)
  • Enlarged liver and kidneys
  • Atrophy of lymph follicles
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Reduction of healthy stomach florid

The reality is that there has not been enough research done on sucralose to establish that it’s safe for humans to consume, yet we are putting it into our protein bars, gum, snack items, and drinks.

Consider the problems that sucralose could be causing and put into perspective what this will do to your body in the long run instead of just thinking about what it’s doing to help you reach your possible goal of losing weight. When you put your body through this type of stress in your kidneys, when you have low healthy stomach flora, and when your immune system isn’t working the way it should be, your training results will decline and your body will go into a state of shock hormonally over the junk that’s being fed to it. So before you go and grab that quick snack option or that coffee that claims to only have a small amount of calories, take a good hard look at what you’re actually consuming.  A healthy body is about smart choices, not a quick easy fix … one that maybe killing you.

Food Friday – Pesto Flat Bread

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After you make the decision to eat clean meat and vegetables, you can be left speechless at the end of the month when you add up the bills from your local grocery store. Over the last month we have been cleaning up our grocery budget and eliminating the unnecessary. This means living simpler with our food choices, shopping local, and introducing vegetarian night! With the cost of organic meat options being so high, we decided to get creative and introduce vegetables into our weekly meals. Support your local farmers and eliminate the middleman (which we, too, are doing) and you will be astounded by how vibrant and amazing fresh vegetables taste. Try some of these yummy recipes I’ll be sharing with you, and I promise you won’t miss your meat options at all!

Pesto Flat Bread

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons whole psyllium husk (make sure it is labeled as exactly that)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water (273 grams)
  • 1/2 cup blanched basil OR 1/2 cup thawed spinach
  • 1 packed cup coconut flour (115 grams)
  • 1/3 cup starch (45 grams) tapioca, arrowroot or potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced OR 2 teaspoons. dried garlic
  • Vegetable toppings and/or sauce of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a bowl, mix together the hot water and psyllium husk until thickened. Pour into a food processor.
  • Either thaw 1/2 cup spinach or place 1/2 cup fresh basil into boiling water for 1 minute. (If you only have fresh spinach, it can be prepared by boiling for 1 minute.) Strain the leaves—do not dry them—and place the full 1/2 cup into the food processor.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and process until fully mixed.
  • Grab a handful of dough and roll it out between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Using the edges of the parchment, shape it into a rectangle as you roll (or simply cut the dough into one) using a pizza cutter. Roll out as thin as possible.
  • Place into a nonstick skillet with a little bit of oil and cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  • Top with fresh vegetables and/or sauce of choice. For my toppings, I blended carrots, onions, spinach, cabbage and garlic. I topped the pizza with a bit of coconut oil and served it with a homemade marinara to dip in.

Enjoy!