Frozen Persimmon “Custard”
I *almost* feel guilty sharing this with you as a recipe when it only contains one ingredient and requires no cooking.:)
Persimmons have a sweet, honey-like flavour when it is fully ripe. It is packed with vitamin A, essential for eye health; it contains antioxidants that can reduce stress and inflammation and help keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check.
When making this recipe, double-check what kind of persimmon you are buying (Hachiya or Fuyu) because it makes a difference in how you make this recipe. Both options are listed in the instructions.
(makes 1 serving)
If you are using a Hachiya persimmon, it should be very ripe. Wash it well, then place it on a small plate, stem-side down. Let freeze for about 2 hours, until it’s firm but not frozen through.
If you are using a Fuyu persimmon, it should be fairly firm when you freeze it. Wash well and place it on a small plate, stem side down, and freeze for at least 8 hours.
To serve either type, remove the stem (using a spoon for the Hachiya or a knife for the Fuyu) and spoon out the fruit inside. Eat and enjoy the custard-like fruit, and top with optional coconut cream.
This is a GREAT alternative for those days you want a sweet treat, but don’t want to splurge.
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
I’ve got a tasty, filling, and nutritious recipe for you today featuring cabbage that is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help your metabolism, your energy level, and your digestive system.
Cabbage is good for your gut health due to its prebiotic quality, which means it serves as food for the good bacteria in your intestines.
This recipe contains all the satisfying flavours of stuffed cabbage without the time and effort.
(makes 8 servings)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef/turkey and cook, stirring often until it’s cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Add the cabbage, onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until the onion softens and begins to become translucent, about 5 minutes – stir often.
Add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir in the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is done, about 35 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.
This recipe is similar to soup stock ad believed to help boost immunity, improve gut health, and reduce the pain & inflammation of conditions like arthritis.
One thing (besides the nutritional benefits and taste) that’s so great about this recipe … is that you’re using almost every part of the chicken.
Roast the chicken one day to eat the meat, and use the rest of the chicken to make this bone broth.
Buy a good quality organic chicken for this recipe!
You can use this as a soup base, in recipes, or drink it as a comforting snack..
(Makes 6-8 servings)
Place the chicken bones (including legs, wings, and carcass) in a slow cooker. Pour the water over the chicken, which should be covered, and add the salt and pepper before pouring the vinegar over it.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and turn it to high for one hour, then reduce it to low and cook for 10-12 hours, or until the liquid reduces by about half.
Strain, reserving the liquid, and discard the bones. Use immediately or let cool slightly before placing in glass jars. It will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.
If you notice gelatin forming on your broth in the refrigerator, that’s because of the collagen in the broth. It will become liquid when reheated. Soooo good for you.
Do you love “hacks” when it comes to fitness and health? I know I do!
Well, these fruits and veggies below can help power up your workouts and recovery in a big way …
And I bet the next time you see them in the grocery store, you’ll look at them in a whole new light!
Green Peas. Peas are rich in protein (vital in the repair & rebuilding process), plus they contain magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which help with energy production, muscle contraction, and nerve function.
Oranges. When you work out, you create free radicals (aka “oxidative stress”) in your body, which can damage your cells.
The vitamin C in oranges helps sweep up those free radicals while also boosting your immune system. Another vitamin C superpower: helping you absorb iron from plant-based foods, is especially important for female athletes.
Beets. Packed with nitrates, beets can boost your circulation, increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This is important during and after your workouts.
Tart cherries. These small fruits are loaded with antioxidants that help you recover from workouts by reducing inflammation and muscle soreness. A small amount of tart cherry juice mixed into a protein shake is a great post-workout choice.
Spinach. Dark leafy greens contain important nutrients that boost performance, including magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and calcium. Not only that but they are one of the best sources of vitamin K, which helps you build and maintain healthy bones (as well as promote heart health).
Bananas. This fruit is a portable and easy-to-digest carb source to give you fast pre-workout fuel. Even better, they’re packed with potassium, an electrolyte you need to maintain normal fluid levels in your cells. Potassium also helps your muscles contract and supports normal blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes. There’s a reason sweet potatoes are a top choice by athletes. They are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin b6, potassium, and fibre. They also contain manganese, which can help your cells produce energy.
Pretty great list, right? Food is fuel!
Next time you plan or prep your meals, think about adding a few of them to your daily intake.
This recipe is incredibly nutrient-dense – high in protein and micronutrients your body needs ... while low in calories.
One serving contains almost 50% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of selenium, which is excellent for your heart.
The main ingredients (Shrimp) is an excellent source of iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid functioning and brain health.
They also are LOADED with an antioxidant called astaxanthin. This carotenoid helps protect your cells, strengthens the heart’s arteries, and guards your brain.
There are so many ways to eat shrimp. In salads, stir-fries, tacos, and even as a snack!
I thought I would share a slightly exotic recipe ... a shrimp curry with roasted oranges.
Serve it with a side salad and some rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
It’s important to remove the white “pith” from the oranges because it can have a bitter flavour.
(makes 4 servings)
Preheat your oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Line a rimmed baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, slice the oranges and then cut the slices into quarters. Spread the oranges on your baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 10 minutes – they should be slightly dry.
While the oranges are in the oven, toss the shrimp with the oil, curry powder, oregano, hot sauce, and pepper in a medium bowl.
Remove the oranges from the oven and add the shrimp to the pan. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-6 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through – they should be pink and slightly curled.
Remove from the oven and serve over the rice or quinoa. SO DELICIOUS!
This out-of-the-box recipe will transform your sandwiches, grilled or roasted chicken and pork, and anything else you can think of!
This recipe main ingredient "plums" contain almost DOUBLE the number of antioxidants found in most other fruits.
Plums are full of “anthocyanins,” … a type of antioxidant that reduces inflammation associated with lung and joint problems.
While plums may seem high in sugar, plums don’t appear to cause blood sugar spikes. That’s because they also increase the production of hormones that regulate blood sugar.
This recipe is a spicy-sweet alternative to regular ketchup … and just might become your go-to choice when plums are in season!
(makes 18 servings)
In a large heavy saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat and let simmer uncovered until the plums have cooked down to a puree consistency (about 35-40 minutes) stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and let cool before scraping into a bowl or other storage container. It will keep in the fridge for 1 week or freezer for 6 months.
Pistachio Crusted Salmon
This recipe is high in mood- and brain-boosting vitamins, contain stress-fighting and inflammation-reducing antioxidants, and have nutrients that boost your immune system. Pistachios don’t just taste...they pack quite a bit of nutrition in this recipe.
Preheat your oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Pat the salmon dry and place it on the baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Prepare the crust: In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, mustard, lemon, and maple syrup. Spread about ¾ of the lemon-maple mixture over the salmon.
Add the chopped pistachios to the remaining mixture and stir until the pistachios are well coated. Spread over the salmon and, using the back of a spoon or fork, gently press the nuts into the salmon to ensure they stick.
Bake until the salmon is done, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness. It should be flaky.
Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
You may want to put this on your regular rotation :)
Cumin Roasted Carrot
Not only does cumin add a spicy flair to dishes, but it’s also known for its healing properties. In traditional medicine, cumin is used to treat digestive problems, diabetes, and a wide variety of ailments.
Modern research shows that cumin may contain compounds that help with insulin control, improved cholesterol, healthier digestion, and even memory loss. Cumin is loaded with antioxidants and a good calcium and magnesium source.
Cumin is also one of the few foods that’s naturally rich in iron … and is considered a good source of iron even when used just as a seasoning!
Try this spicy-sweet roasted carrots recipe with cumin. It can be made in the oven OR on the grill – which means it’s a great side dish for a BBQ. The cumin seeds give a pop of just-right spice. If you’re grilling, seal the prepped carrots in foil and roast until tender.
(makes 4 servings)
Preheat the oven to 450ºF/230ºC.
Slice the carrots. In a medium bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Add the carrots and mix well.
Spread out the carrots in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast for 20 mins and then remove from the oven to flip the carrots over to ensure even cooking. Roast for another 10-12 minutes, until browned.
Try not to eat them all at once :)
Tart Cherry Superfood Shake
I’ve got a delicious shake recipe for you with a LONG list of good-for-you benefits. That’s because it contains tart cherry juice – aka the juice of sour Montmorency cherries.
Tart cherry juice is linked with improved strength and less muscle soreness post-workout, better sleep, less joint pain, better brain health, and a stronger immune system, and the list goes on!
The pineapple adds some sweetness, but it also has even MORE compounds that help your body recover from workouts (especially the enzyme bromelain). Use unsweetened juice to avoid the added sugars in sweetened versions.
Place the tart cherry juice, cacao powder, spinach, and protein powder (if using) in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the pineapple, hemp seeds, and yogurt, and blend until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a serving glass and drink!
Heart-Healthy Breakfast Sundae
Show your heart some love with this breakfast sundae.
It’s a SUPER yummy breakfast sundae recipe that’s packed with heart-healthy and delicious ingredients. This recipe also makes a great snack.
Here’s a quick rundown of why this sundae’s ingredients are so good for your heart.
Quinoa: Studies show that eating whole grains is associated with both lower cholesterol and blood pressure … AND a lower risk of heart disease.
Berries: In addition to being filled with fiber, berries are rich in antioxidants that can protect you from the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to heart disease.
Walnuts: First, walnuts have more omega 3 fatty acids than other nuts. And second, studies show that they can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. They also appear to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Dates: The two types of fiber in Medjool dates can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as help control blood sugar levels.
Yogurt: This fermented food has been linked with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Pretty impressive, right?
Berry Delicious Breakfast Sundae
Place the quinoa in a bowl along with the coconut oil, cinnamon, ¼ tsp sea salt, and ½ tsp maple syrup or honey.
Roast the quinoa mixture in a medium skillet over medium-low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the walnuts about halfway through. These can burn quickly so keep your eye on them -- they should be golden brown.
Let cool for about 5 minutes and then assemble your sundaes.
Spread half of the yogurt in each serving dish, top with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, and then add the berries and dates, and sprinkle the quinoa and walnut mixture over the top.
Brussel Sprout Hazelnut Slaw
Who would think that this recipe can improve heart blood flow, possibly eliminating the risk for heart disease including heart attack and stroke.
The nutrient Vitamin K found in these vegetables may be involved in inhibiting the calcification process (narrowing) that occurs in our blood vessels. So eat up! This recipe makes an amazing side dish option.
3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 pear, thinly sliced
2 scallions (green onion), thinly sliced
3 oz. prosciutto, chopped
1/2 C pomegranate seeds or 1/3 C dried cherries
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 orange
2 T maple syrup
1/4 C hazelnuts
2 t Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
In a large bowl, toss together Brussels sprouts, carrot, pear, scallion, prosciutto, and pomegranate seeds or dried cherries. Place olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, hazelnuts, mustard, garlic, and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper in a blender container and blend until slightly chunky. Toss dressing with slaw. Makes six servings.
7 Steps to a Healthier Heart
Now that the peak of New Year's resolution season has come and gone, many of us have abandoned our grand visions for 2020. Big-picture goals, which are often vague and too ambitious, sometimes fall by the wayside as life inevitably gets in the way.
But that's no reason to give up on better health this year. In fact, February – also known as Heart Month – is the perfect time to focus on improving your heart health. The key is structuring that goal in a way that keeps you motivated throughout the year.
Now, we know what you're thinking: So, you just want me to lose weight, eat right, exercise regularly, quit smoking and keep my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar down? Fat chance!
But the truth is, each objective really is attainable through manageable behavioral changes. The first step is to find out where you stand. Go to the AHA's website and complete the simple assessment to find out what areas you already excel in, where you need to make improvements and what information you may want to ask your doctor about. For example, if you don't smoke, you've already achieved one of your seven big-picture goals. Don't know your blood sugar levels? That's something you should probably discuss with your doctor. In addition, the assessment will reveal areas where you can improve your diet, how much exercise you need to add to your day and where you stand in terms of body weight and other variables.
Now that you know your long-term goals, it's time to incorporate behaviour changes throughout your day and week to help you progress. Need to get moving? Consider joining us for a gym membership and/or trying some of our fitness classes. Or start with a commitment to walking a 2 km loop in your neighbourhood several days a week. Short on fruits and veggies? Start by adding one piece of fruit to your breakfast each day and eat a salad as part of your dinner three days each week. You can also boost your vegetable content with VegeGreens super food powder, which is availble at the club. Is your blood pressure too high? Talk to your doctor about ways to control it - there are many natural ways to do this. As those new behaviours become habits, you can modify them as needed.
Eventually, small behaviour tweaks will become big changes. They'll also provide frequent successes that keep you motivated throughout the year. Every time you join a fitness class or walk that 2 km loop, for instance, you've achieved another goal!
Remember, lifestyle change is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It may be quite some time before you meet every aspect of the dietary recommendations, or achieve every one of the 7 steps – if ever. But every improvement counts, as does every pound lost. For instance, losing 50 pounds to get back down to your college weight may not be achievable right now, but losing 10 percent of your body weight could lead to dramatic improvements in your health. Likewise, you may not be able to exercise every day, but every moment of physical activity counts. The successes will accumulate and become their own type of habit. It's all about perspective and acknowledging your achievements along the way. You CAN do it!
With all the celebrations and family gatherings this holiday season, are you concerned about maintaining your current weight? If you think about your energy balance (energy in vs. energy out) it is very easy to see how over the holidays you eat a little more and move a little less, which leads to some weight gain.
During the holiday season, the average person gains 5-12 lbs! Fortunately, though, you don’t have to fall victim to excess holiday bulge with these fitness tips...
Tip #1 – Write it down
Create a plan during the holiday season and write down your goals. For most people, the act of actually sitting down and writing out a plan of action, helps them to stay focused and increases their chances of following through. Make sure your goals are realistic and plan out some daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Make sure your plan contains some of the following tips in it as well.
Tip #2 – Get moving and make exercise a priority
During the holidays, most people cut out exercise because they say that they “don’t have the time.” Wrong–you do have the time! You don’t have to exercise an hour every day to get the benefits of exercise. If you are pressed for time, try some interval training which can burn more calories than an hour of steady-state cardio and can be done in only 20 minutes. Another way to burn extra calories in a shorter period of time is to perform some strength training workouts. Interval training and strength training both create an exercise-after burn which allows your body to continue burning additional calories even while you rest for up to 36 hours or more.
Tip #3 – Drink water
This really isn’t anything new, we all know that we need water to stay hydrated, but it’s more than just hydration. Sometimes the lack of adequate amounts of water in our diet can cause us to feel hungry when we are really not. Many people end up packing on extra calories because they think that they are hungry when really all they need is some water. Water helps keep our metabolism running at peak performance and aids in the digestion of foods so, drink up!
Tip #4 – Don’t skip meals
Holiday season means huge meals and huge appetites. On these days people generally tend to skip breakfast or lunch in anticipation of that big holiday dinner. The problem is that this tends to cause people to overeat and really pack on the pounds. Skipping meals slows the metabolism and aids in fat storage. Make sure to eat a few small meals before your holiday dinner to help minimize overeating and save yourself a 1,000 calories.
Tip #5 – Moderation
Watching what you eat and losing weight doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every now and then. The problem is that when most people go to treat themselves, they over-do it. Go ahead and grab a small piece of the pie, but remember to think in moderation and avoid going for seconds on dessert. Eating a few small meals and a small salad before your holiday dinner can help you avoid those cravings for sweets and help keep you feeling full.
Tip #6 – Minimize alcohol
One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories which is nearly double the amount contained in one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and is only two calories shy of a gram of fat (9 calories). These 7 calories per gram don’t even include all the calories and sugar you may take it if you mix your alcohol with something else. Drinking alcohol is a quick way to pack on excess calories and weight. If you plan on drinking, just remember moderation.
Tip #7 – Get some sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to aid in the accumulation of belly fat which can be very dangerous to your health. Make sure, even though holidays are a busy time of the year, that you are getting enough sleep.
Hearty Chia Breakfast Bowl
Chia seeds are packed with nutrients. A mere 2 tablespoons pack 8 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, and 2 g of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants — not too shabby for a tiny seed! Even more spectacular than its health value is its thickening ability, which can turn a plain cup of liquid into a creamy pudding. In just a few easy steps, you can make yourself the most delicious and hearty breakfast to keep you full and energized for hours.
Rolled oats, chia seeds, and cacao nibs make up the base of this breakfast bowl. Although chia seeds don’t provide any flavor, when soaked in liquids, it adds a great deal of texture. The longer you let it sit, the more the chia seed will plump up.
We use almond milk , but you can substitute any kind of non-dairy milk you prefer. For a touch of sweetness, you can add maple syrup or raw honey.
There are endless variations when it comes to toppings. The fun part comes with the variety of toppings and mix-ins!
OATMEAL TOPPINGS GALORE: This chia oatmeal breakfast bowl is topped with granola, blackberries, and blood orange segments. Get creative though - next time try loading your oatmeal with toasted almonds, sliced banana, and a handful of chocolate chunks. And if you're feeling tropical, maybe add some shredded coconut, pineapple slices, and chopped macadamia nuts. Enjoy!
Everyone’s Favourite Roasted Vegetables
Roasting adds a savory depth of flavor one can only achieve once a bit of caramelization has occurred, and creates crispy edges, which are a textural delight.
• 1 bunch Asparagus, Ends Cut Off, Chopped Into 2-3 Inch Pieces
• 1 Red Onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
• 8 oz. Mushrooms (any Kind), quartered or halved
• 1 medium eggplant, chopped into cubes
• 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• 1 tsp. steak seasoning (your favourite brand)
• 1/3 cup Olive Oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and steak seasonings.
4. Gently toss to coat all of the veggies.
5. Spread veggies out on two baking sheets.
6. Roast for 20 minutes, shaking the pans 2x while roasting. If needed, roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.
We know you’ve been doing your best to eat healthy and exercise, and along with this most likely, this means you’re weighing yourself and seeing some fluctuation. But don’t fret, there are many reasons for this!
Need help understanding nutrition and the scale? Contact Us at Functional Performance Fitness so we can discuss which of our programs, both fitness and nutritional will work best for you. Functional Performance Fitness has many programs for nutrition, exercise and recovery – contact us now!
Vegan Halloween Cupcake Monsters
Feasting on Fruit using just 13 ingredients with only 230 calories and 85 minutes of your time.
A fun and healthy recipe to make and share with the kids!
Brought to you by Yummly!
Eggs with Beet & Kale Hash
Beets contain a unique phytonutrients pigments. These pigments can provide powerful antioxidant protection. They are particularly rich in folate acid, excellent in B1 & B2 vitamin important for a healthy heart and essential for normal tissue growth. Not only are beets are high in nutrients, but are very low in calories. 1 cup of cooked beets contains 75 calories. Enjoy this meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
• 1 lb. beets, washed, peeled and diced
• 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
• 1 sweet onion, diced
• 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
• Beet greens (from 6 beets), chopped
• 5-6 kale leaves, ribs removed, chopped
• 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
• Handful fresh parsley
• 3-4 fried eggs
1. In a fry pan, put in diced raw beets and potatoes with plus enough water to cover them (about 3 cups). Season with salt and bring to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes.
2. Drain and set aside the beets and potatoes.
3. In the same pan, add olive oil, onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
4. Add in kale and beet greens, and cook until wilted (2- 3 mins). Set aside.
5. Heat oil in the fry pan over med-high heat. Add back potatoes and beets and press firmly into a layer, and allow the veggies to brown. Once crispy, flip to the other side.
6. Add kale and beet greens, stirring to combine. Let the entire mixture crisp up for another few minutes.
7. Top with 3-4 fried eggs and parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!!
Delicious & Healthy Baked Pears
Bosc and Comice pears are in season in the fall!
Delicious & Healthy Baked Pears
• 2 large ripe pears
• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp. honey
• 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Cut the pears in half, and place on a baking sheet (inside facing up)
3. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon, top with walnuts, and then drizzle 1/2 tsp. honey over each pear.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove, cool & enjoy!
A delicious side for your summer BBQ!
• 1 head romaine lettuce (organic if possible, separated into individual leaves)
• 1/2 cup beet store bought hummus (no preservatives)
• 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
• 1 cup shredded carrots
• 3/4 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
• 1 ripe avocado, cubed
• 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
For the Sauce:
• 1/3 cup tahini
• 2 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 tbsp. maple syrup
• Pinch sea salt
• Water to thin, if needed
1. Prepare sauce by whisking tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add water 1 tbsp. at a time, until dressing thickness is to your liking. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Set aside.
2. Arrange lettuce “boats” on a platter, and begin filling with 1-2 tbsp. of hummus. Top with lots of veggies.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and serve.
Got Water? Reasons to Drink More H2O
We all know water is good for us and that we should probably drink more of it. So why, then, do people find it so difficult to sip from what is arguably the fountain of youth?
We're all guilty of it -- choosing a can of pop over a bottle of water. But what happens when our kids develop the same habits? Forty-five percent of Canadians drink an average of four or more non-water beverages per day, according to a survey released for Nestle Waters Canada. In the survey, 22 percent of respondents said their child drinks fruit juice the most often.
"It's scary to think about, but it does grab my attention," says Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. "This issue needs attention because it can lead to larger health threats, especially for kids."
Water provides the body with health benefits…just take a look at how water helps:
• It balances body fluids. Your body is composed of about 60 percent water and performs vital functions such as protecting your organs and tissues, regulating your body temperature and carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells—essentially it keeps your body running like a well-oiled machine.
• It keeps skin looking healthy. Water moisturizes your skin and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss (think free anti-aging cream). In addition, it can keep your skin fresh and smooth.
• It boosts the immune system. Those who guzzle water are at a lower risk of getting sick. This crystal-clear concoction may help fight against flu and other ailments.
• It can help control calories. While drinking water may not be a weight-loss strategy, per se, substituting it for higher-calorie or sugar-filled beverages can help by removing by products of fat, filling you up so you’re not noshing, acts as a natural appetite suppressant and raises your metabolism.
Some additional reasons to get enough water throughout the day:
1. Maximize your physical performance.
2. Increase the your energy and brain function.
3. May prevent and treat headaches.
4. May relieve constipation.
You get it right? It’s important to get enough water, but how much is enough? There is so much information out there about what amount is the right amount, but a good guideline is to drink enough water so that you don’t feel thirsty – you’re body WILL tell you. And keep in mind the right amount of water is going to depend on your activities throughout the day. You’ll definitely need more water if you’re exercising, especially in humid or hot weather, if you’re ill, or you’re pregnant.
But, if you’re someone that needs a hard fast rule to go by, “The National Academies of Sciences suggests that women consume a total of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water from all beverages and foods each day and that men get approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily. But these are just general guidelines and are not supported by firm scientific studies.”
Have more questions about hydrating for optimum health? Contact Natatia at Functional Performance Fitness. - she’ll help you get on the road to proper hydration.
Ways to Satisfy Sugar Cravings
We hear it all the time…we’re eating too much sugar. Excess sugar contributes to weight gain (particularly around the middle), chronic inflammation and our ability to fight whatever bug is going around. But did you know that by cutting sugar out of your diet you’ll experience a mood boost and general all over good feeling? Sounds easy right? It’s not. Sugar is highly addictive recently compared to an opioid high!
So how do you beat the intense sugar cravings?
Keep your blood sugar level steady by eating regularly. Making sure your meals contain healthy proteins and fiber will keep you satisfied and help to deter that midday sugar craving. And keep healthy sweet snacks in your purse or at your desk.
In nature there is sugar and along with that sugar comes fiber, vitamins and minerals. Have berries, apples, pears, and carrots on hand when that craving hits. The ultimate benefit is not having that sugar crash that makes you reach for more sugar. Put a fruit bowl on the counter for easy access.
Make sure your getting enough sleep. Being sleep deprived makes your body produce the “hunger hormone” ghrelin – keep this sugar-craving hormone at bay by getting enough rest for your body. Put the phone away at least one hour before bedtime and create a sleep ritual to induce a good night’s sleep.
Did you know that there are good “bugs”? Some bacteria in your system are actually good for an overall healthy system. Your gut microbiota is part of what dictates what your crave. Satisfy your microbiota with good bacteria by eating fermented foods such as yogurt (choose Greek yogurt over the other heavily sugared options), kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
To help scale back that sweet tooth eat bitter foods before you eat the sweet foods. Some bitter foods include grapefruit, arugula, radicchio and Brussels sprouts. Veggies, like fruit will keep you satiated which equals less sugar cravings.
And don’t fret, like adding all new habits it can take up to 21 days for those sugar cravings to subside. Don’t lose sight during this time…remember all you’ll be gaining - energy, a great mood, lose of weight and finding new and delicious foods!
We know it’s not that easy so do you need that extra boost to get through those 21 days? At Functional Performance Fitness we offer nutrition guidance, CONTACT NATATIA for more information about the challenges you have when it comes to satisfying those sugar cravings.
Grilled Tilapia Broccoli Penne
2 Tilapia fillets
4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta or rice brown rice pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cut each fillet into four pieces and grill.
Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for two minutes and sauté onion and garlic five minutes, add broccoli, sauté seven minutes, add pasta and remove from heat.
Combine remaining ingredients with broccoli mixture and arrange fish pieces over pasta and serve.
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pork tenderloins (10-12 ounces each)
2 red, yellow or green bell peppers cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1 small eggplant cut into 1-inch pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
To prepare the marinade, combine the Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, garlic and herbs in a bowl. Whisk until blended; add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the two pork tenderloins in a large sealable plastic bag. Pour in half the marinade and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight, turning the bag occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour the remaining marinade over the peppers, onions and eggplant and toss. Arrange the vegetables in a large oiled roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade. Add to the skillet, and brown on all sides.
Transfer the pork to the pan of roasted vegetables. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pork registers 155 degrees on a meat thermometer. Slice the pork, and serve with the roasted vegetables. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over finished dish.
Social isolation is a little thought of, but growing, factor in the health and well-being of people 65 and older – and it may play a greater role than obesity as a public health hazard, according to research at Brigham Young University. But what does “social isolation” really mean? It’s how often we interact with others, and how much we enjoy those connections. In fact, social interaction is so important that it’s actually a key factor in maintaining good health. As we age, a support system is more important than ever – because often, basic life circumstances may have changed. For example, seniors may be on a fixed income, with less money to spend on eating out. Or may not see well enough to drive. Bottom line, it can become difficult to fulfill the basic human need to connect with others.
"Relationships really do matter when it comes to healthy aging, because there’s a strong correlation between a satisfying social life and a senior’s overall well-being," says Larry Weinstein M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Humana Behavioral Health. "If you’re feeling isolated, the first step is to talk to your doctor, and it’s important to reach out to family and friends for encouragement and support."
There also are lifestyle changes we can make to better nurture our emotional health, and by extension, our physical health. "Humana’s Dr. Weinstein recommends five ways in which to become more active and engaged:
1. Socialize on Schedule. Nurture existing relationships by scheduling a weekly phone call, coffee date, or game night with friends or family
2. Volunteer. If you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. Or comforting babies at a hospital.
3. Stay Active. Functional Performance Fitness offers programs specifically designed for seniors.
4. Learn Something New. Join a book club or take a class to learn a new skill. Local libraries are a wonderful community resource, often offering seminars free of charge.
5. Get a Pet. Pets are wonderful companions. Choose a pet that suits your needs. For example, an older, trained dog is easier to care for than a puppy. Or a cat or fish might be a good fit.
When it comes to maintaining good health, social interaction matters. If you – or a loved one – are struggling with social isolation, please contact your physician.
Exercise is a great way to connect with others! Our next Functional Aging Group will be starting soon, contact Natatia at Functional Performance Fitness for more information about this group.
Salads provide a healthy and easy avenue to gather several of the recommended nutrients.
4 firm, ripe pears (Bosc or Bartlett) peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 cups baby greens
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Choice of salad dressing
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle pears with olive oil. Roast in oven until edges of pears begin to brown, but still firm. Cool.
Gently toss baby greens and cooled pears in salad bowl. Sprinkle feta and walnuts over salad. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with choice of dressing.
Suggested dressings - Ranch, Champagne Vinaigrette and Strawberry Poppy Seed.