The Pancake and the Puppy


A Saturday or Sunday ritual – the girls make pancakes or waffles.  I couldn’t even begin to put into words what a joy it is to see my girls empowered in the kitchen!!!

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Presto Pesto!


Basil and Walnut Pesto:

4 c. basil leaves

2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

1 c. raw walnuts

4 garlic cloves

1 c. combination of grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or split recipe in half and put in blender), mix for approximately 2 minutes.  Freeze in zip top bags for future use as it will be awhile before we are back into “basil season.”

***Note:  Make sure to rinse fresh basil thoroughly as we wouldn’t want pulverized little critters!

***Ideas for usage – over grilled chicken, tossed with pasta, dip for focaccia bread, on top of fish, pizza topping… EXPERIMENT and let me know what yummy creations you come up with!

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More on Stretching


On 8/19/11  I wrote a short post about my response to a stretching article Ben had brought home from work.  I had mentioned my desire to see articles with more credible research and information.  Yesterday, I serendipitously came across this one - http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php

Paul Ingraham does an exceptional job of exploring this oh so controversial issue.  Thanks Paul!

I guess it’s one of those “ask and you shall receive” moments. :)

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Question: “How do I get rid of my love handles?”


Answer #1: “Why would you want to?”  If you stop and think about why they earned that title it makes sense to me that you would want to keep them!!!  Ok, so maybe they don’t need to be so big.  But, small, cute ones definitely serve a purpose.

Answer #2:  Assuming it’s okay if I re-word the question to read, “How do I reduce the size of my love handles?”  It’s important to remember that “spot reducing” doesn’t exist (unless of course you go the liposuction route).   Bothersome areas are minimized through a decrease in total body fat.

One strategy would be to ask yourself what you are doing currently to achieve the desired results.  Next – TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

It’s very likely that what you have been doing for weeks, months or possibly even years isn’t working! If you log hours at the gym every week but still carry around a small innertube, it may be time to focus on the intention and intensity of your workouts rather than the duration.

Expansion on answers:

For years experts have maintained that cardio and traditional weight training are keys to melting the fat off your ass and building muscle.  But, some fresh perspectives are finally coming to light and fitness professionals are implementing  new programming (based on more enlightened research) that is flipping old training paradigms upside down!  Short and varied intensity bodyweight workouts are replacing the long, steady state treadmill sessions for fat loss.

People everywhere are being exposed to the benefits of shorter, more intense bouts of exercise (ie. high intensity interval training).  For many, this is a welcome change because they feel like they are being given permission to spend less time at the gym.  Hence they have more time for the things in their lives that they really enjoy doing.

While I do believe this is a trend (and every trend certainly reaches a ‘tipping point’), I can appreciate the new perspectives and the learnings that come with them.

Interval training is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to fat loss as it’s important to recognize that everyone has individual needs and expectations that should be addressed.  There are plenty of options available for those that want to get a taste of what interval training is like but don’t want to spend the money for one-on-one training.  Just proceed with caution as group exercise classes can be chock-full of intensely integrated movements that do carry their own risks.

The bottom line is to try something different.  In order to achieve adaptation to any part of the body, the challenge must be appropriate to elicit the desired results (cause and effect).  The important thing is figuring out what “appropriate” means for you!

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To Stretch or Not to Stretch


I couldn’t help but smirk a little after reading this article that my husband brought home from work. His company circulates health/fitness related articles around the office several times a week and while I’m all for educating and motivating people to move, it would be nice to see more pieces that are backed by qualified research.

I won’t go into all of the quintessential details of how stretching can be detrimental to the body.  If you are interested – I encourage you to ask me questions (I love a good challenge especially if it involves some research). My intention is to always initiate a conversation!

Here’s the article (see below for my 3 cents worth)…

The Importance of Stretching

Stretching is so often something people neglect to do or when they do, they just rush through each stretch and so don’t get the full benefit of each one.

We stretch to improve our flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion that is available to a joint or joints. Flexibility is important because:

· It improves muscle balance around a joint, thus improving posture
· It reduces the chance of injury when playing a sport or in every day activities
· It increases the blood and nutrient supply to muscles and cartilage, thereby also reducing muscle soreness after training.

I know in our busy schedules, we forget to take the important 5 minutes to stretch our bodies.  This is so important that I have decided to highlight ever month going forward. To get you started, I have attached a poster of simple stretches you can do at your desk.  Print it and refer to it.  Try to do at least 2 stretching exercises a day.  You will be amazed at the difference!
 

 

So, at the risk of possibly pissing some people off (most likely those that are stretching fanatics), here’s what I have to say about “stretching”…

“Stretching,” as most probably know it, is an attempt to increase a range of motion available to a particular joint.  Put more simply, it is an increase in how far one can “reach.”  It does not necessarily “improve muscle balance around a joint” (I’m not entirely certain about what the author meant by this) although it is possible that this resulting effect could be a happy accident.

Feeling like one has a need to stretch is likely a cause of too much tension in a muscle or group of muscles.  Our bodies have these brilliant little tension regulators that ‘loosen’ and ‘tighten’ in response to certain stimuli.  They protect us from injury!  So, in general, when our bodies are put into positions that could be dangerous (because of muscle weakness, thus causing instability), they tighten up to prevent what could be a really ugly situation.

Realize that muscle tissue is not very elastic – when stretched, it behaves more like a plastic grocery bag than a rubber band.  When a muscle is forcefully “stretched” it can weaken little by little until eventually it shuts down, or worse, tears.

It would be wise to keep this in mind the next time you push, pull or otherwise force yourself into a position. There’s a good chance that you could actually be causing tissue damage and increasing your risk of injury rather than decreasing it.

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Octane booster


Packed with lots of nutrients this shake really gets me going!

1/2 banana

5-6 ice cubes

8 ounces of almond milk

1 T. each of wheat germ and ground flax seed (not pictured)

1/4 c. mixed fruit and nuts (I buy at Costco)

1 scoop of Body Strong 100% whey protein

Here’s a great source for the protein (http://www.allstarhealth.com/f/bodystrong-100percent_whey_protein.htm)

Blend together, pour into your favorite glass, top with ground cinnamon and enjoy!

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