The Benefits Of Eating The Rainbow

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Nature has an ingenious way of highlighting the nutrients in plants: each color signifies different nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies. By eating an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, you can provide your body with everything it needs.

Reds:
Contain phytonutrients, including Vitamin C, Quercetin, Lycopene and Anthocyanins.
The benefits: Reduce risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, macular degereration, improves skin quality, and soaks up damaging free radicals.

Oranges & Yellows:
Packed with carotenoids: Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Potassium, Vitamin A & C, and fiber.
The benefits: Protects skin against sun and pollution, improves immune function, promotes eye health, decreases risk of various cancers and heart disease, and promotes healthy joints.

Blues & Purples:
Full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, Potassium and Folate. The benefits: Improves memory and cognitive function, protects cells from damage, fights inflammation, and improves skin & helps prevent wrinkles.

Greens:
Cotains Sulforaphane, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Lutein, Potassium, Vitamin K and Folate
The benefits: Slows macular degeneration, improves eye health, reduces risk of bladder & breast cancer, up-regulates detox enzymes in the liver, and boosts immunity.

Whites & Browns:
Abundant in Vitamin C & D, Allium, Sulforaphane and Flavanoids. The benefits: Helps protect against certain cancers, lowers risk of heart disease, supports bone health, boosts immunity, reduces free radical damage, lowers cholesterol and has anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties.

Source: Vaclavik, V., & Christian, E.W. (1998) Essentials Of Food Science. New York: Chapman and Hall

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Very Berry Chia Seed Pudding

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Ingredients

2 c. non-dairy milk of your choice (almond, soy, cashew, etc.)
1/3 c. + 2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 c. strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. raspberries, fresh or frozen
2-3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Mix together all ingredients in large bowl or mason jar. Store in refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. Mix once more, serve cold in individual containers. Enjoy!!
Yield: 4 servings

Original Recipe Here


6 Science-Based Secrets To Help You Stay Motivated At The Gym

Inspirational quotes are a good place to rekindle our fitness commitment, and music can be a melodic path to getting into a fitness groove. Keep them both in your back pocket when you need a mantra or song to get you through those last reps. But there are other prove methods to help get you fired up. Make your workout routine a habit with these six science-based ways to get you motivated.

1. Your Hard-And-Fast Rules Were Made To Be Broken
One big hurdle is to not give yourself a hard set of rules, like “I have to start my workout program on a Monday or else I can’t do it.” Doing this makes it easy to talk yourself out of doing something. If you set yourself up for something small, like going for a 10 minute walk, you are more likely to keep that deal with yourself.

2. A Little Friendly Competition Can Light A Fire
Whether its running faster than the person on the treadmill next to you or wanting to take home first place, friendly competition is a major motivation booster. Even if you are not a comptetive person by nature, finding someone slightly faster or better than you can be helpful in terms of either a little competition or a conjunctive task. In other words, it’s a team efford, but performance depends on who is quitting first, and no one likes a quitter, even you.

3. Find A Friend Who Won’t Let You Off The Hook
Find a buddy or group to workout with, someone who will help to keep you accountable. Scheduling a gym session with a partner will make it less likely for you to back out of a workout. Being around other people with similar goals to yours will help keep that motivation going.

4. Stop Making Exercise About How You Look
When exercise is all about your physical appearance, you fall short of your own expectations, you end up being discouraged and want to quit. Make it about how healthy or strong you are now compared to when you started. Having an end goal, like having a 6-pack, is great, but it shouldn’t be your only goal. Set micro-goals along the way, like being able to complete a full pull-up or lose 5% body fat. When you accomplish one of these mini goals, you will feel amazing.

5. Tag Your Friends On Social Media To Step Up Your Fitness Game
Healthy social competition and support on social media platforms motivates people to get out and workout
more, according to a 2015 report from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication.
Use social media to hold yourself accountable and help you stay on track and support one another. The main thing is to be mindful of who you have as a guiding force for your motivation - your friends should be excited about the same thing you are.

6. Make A Bet On Exercise And You’ll Win Twice
Okay, so the health benefits of exercise aren't enough to rouse you out of bed at the crack of dawn, but if part of your paycheck is on the line, there’s no way you’re going to miss that workout, right?
Fitness accountability apps like DietBet allow participants to set a goal and if it doesn’t get met, the participant has to part with their cold hard cash. And because the payout is attached to your bank account, the idea of backing out is a lot less tempting. On the flip side, if you do meet your goals, you’ll win it all back and then some! And it's not just a clever gimmick — a study in the medical journal JAMA found that dieters with a financial incentive were more likely to eat right, exercise and lose weight.

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Author: Ashley Macha

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

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Ingredients

1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 banana for slicing
1 c. cooked quinoa
2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. almond milk
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375* F. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Cook the quinoa as package directions indicate. Mix applesauce, mashed banana, almond milk, honey and vanilla in bowl. Mix dry ingredients (quinoa, oats, cinnamon) in a separate bowl. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully combined. Peel, core, and chop up an apple. Mix the apple chunks into the bowl. Fill each of the muffin cups to the top with the quinoa mixture. Add a couple slices of banana to the top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes and enjoy one warm or freeze for later.

Original Recipe Here

The Benefits Of Yoga

Maintaining a regular yoga practice provides many physical and mental health benefits. Yoga focuses on your body’s natural impulse of health and self-healing. The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. There are over 100 types of yoga, most of which include breathing exercises, meditation and assuming postures that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

Physical Benefits
Relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpel tunnel syndrome. Aside from pain relief, other benefits include increased flexiibility, increased muscle strength, improved respiration, energy & vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, aids in weight reduction, cardio & circulatory health, improved athletic performance, and added protection from injury.

Mental Benefits
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits is stress management. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including physical pain, sleeping problems, drug abuse and even an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life. A regular practice of yoga creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention ad sharpens concentration. Body and self-awareness are particularly beneficial because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventative action.

Because there are so many types of yoga practices, anyone can start yoga. The idea is to explore your limits, and really get in tune with your body and inner self.

Source: American Osteopathic Association
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Greek Pasta Salad

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Ingredients

1/2 lb. dry pasta
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced into half
1 medium cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c. Kalamata olives
4 oz. feta cheese

For The Vinaigrette

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, mince
salt to taste

Directions

Cook the pasta as package directions state, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with 1/2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and set aside. Prepare the viniagrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and salt. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta with tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, onion, olives and cheese. Pour the viniagrette over the salad and toss. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve. Enjoy!!

Original Recipe Here

Sweet & Spicy Turkey Curry

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbsp. Curry Powder
Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Finely Diced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 1/2 C. Chicken Broth (or leftover turkey broth)
1 C. Crushed Pineapple, Drained
3 C. Turkey, Cubed
1 C. Frozen Peas
1 Can Diced Pimentos (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Cooked Brown Rice or Quinoa

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat curry powder in oil for a couple of minutes to release the flavor. Stir in onions, continue cooking; stirring frequently, until onions are softened. Add ginger powder, 1 cup chicken or turkey broth and crushed pineapple. Heat to boiling, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/2 cup cold broth in a small bowl. Add broth/cornstarch mixture to skillet and whisk to incorporate. Gently simmer a few minutes until thickened. Add cubed leftover turkey, peas and pimentos (if using). Cook on low another 5-10 minutes or until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

Original Recipe Here

Self-Care Improves Your Fitness Routine

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Physical activity is undoubtedly one of the most important pillars in one’s health routine, but not if it becomes an obsession. Along with experiencing general burnout, individuals who overdo it are at risk for acquiring an eating disorder.

Part of the problem is that Americans feel guilty about relaxing and implementing self-care as a stigma that the busier you are, the more accepted you’ll be in society. But not incorporating downtime into your life has serious implications such as hormonal changes that lead to depression and weight gain and heart issues due to perpetual stress and inactivity. Not to mention, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to maintain a fitness routine for the long-term if you’re burning the candle at both ends.

It’s time to stop feeling remorseful about taking time for yourself, as living a balanced lifestyle can help you excel in everything you do. Here’s how to get started.

Take Up A Relaxing Hobby

Not only do hobbies give you a sense of pride and joy, ignite creativity, and open your mind to new possibilities, but also many of them actually help to calm the mind. For example, whether you’re listening to the radio or playing an instrument, studies have shown that music reduces anxiety, improves cognitive health and promotes feelings of power. The repetitive tasks associated with gardening — along with being outside in the sunshine and fresh air — calm the mind and boost one’s mood. Painting is a creative stress-reliever that helps expel anger and negativity. Though more common, reading and writing are two great outlets for reducing stress and exploring thoughts and feelings.

Get Quality Sleep

Approximately 70 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, a scary statistic consider rest is linked to cognitive and physical performance, weight management, and an increase in health conditions such as osteoporosis and cancer. Not to mention, sleep is a key element to any fitness routine, though many individuals tend to disregard this fact.

While it can be difficult to turn off your mind at the end of the day, turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary can make it easier to drift off into dreamland. Start by clearing all the clutter and keeping items on your nightstand and dresser, etc., to a minimum. Invest in quality pillows and always make sure you’ve got clean sheets and blankets. Blackout shades and a noise machine (think crashing waves) can help deter outside sounds and light, both artificial and natural.

Find Time To Meditate

Even if only for a few minutes each day, checking in with yourself by meditating can help you stay centered and present. In order to make this practice effective, however, you need a quiet and distraction-free place within your home that can function as a meditation space. If it has a window that looks out onto your backyard or nature, all the better. If not, invest in window treatments that can block out a distracting view.

Lighting is a matter of preference, as some people prefer a lot of natural light while others lean towards a darker room lit with candles. Choose whichever option makes you feel the most relaxed and focused.

Don’t Rush Your Meals

If you’re frequently eating at your desk or car and dinnertime is never without the television, it’s time to be more mindful about mealtime. The concept actually has origins to Buddhism and is a form of meditation. The general rules involve eating slowly, putting your fork down between meals, and not having a meal with any distractions. Use nice dishes to make the experience feel special — and not just on holidays! Be mindful of your food choices, too, even if it takes a few extra minutes to prepare something that will fuel your body in a healthy way.

Another crucial part of self-care is learning how to set boundaries. Without them, it’s more difficult to find balance in your life. While it takes a little practice, once you learn how to tolerate the reaction of others when you say “no,” the easier it will be.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Author: Sheila Olson
fitsheila.com
info@fitsheila.com

Alfredo Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

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Ingredients:
For the Alfredo Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 c. zucchini
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. plant-based milk
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 tsp. dry basil or 1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
A generous dash of black pepper
1 tbsp. flour of choice

For the Lasagna:
Pasta sauce or marinara sauce
1 c. spinach
5-6 artichoke hearts, finely chopped (if using canned, drain and rinse)
Plant-based Ricotta Cheese
Lasagna noodles
Veggies of choice (ex: mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, kale, tomatoes, etc.)
salt & pepper
Italian herb blend (or a mixture of basil, oregano and parsley)

Directions:
Make the Alfredo Sauce:
In a large pan, add oil and heat pan to medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, water and salt and cover, cook for 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Cool slightly then add everything including water to a blender or food processor and blend with plant-based milk, all the spices, oil and flour. Blend to a smooth puree. Taste and adjust salt, herbs and add tang if needed.
Make the Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 400*F. Layer 3/4 - 1 c. pasta sauce in the baking pan, then layer the noodles. Add more sauce, if desired. Then layer fresh spinach and ricotta, then 3/4 - 1 c. alfredo sauce. Add another layer of noodles, then pasta sauce, then add veggies of choice. Then layer noodles, alfredo sauce, and distribute chopped artichoke hearts on top of sauce. Sprinkle plant-based ricotta and/or nutritional yeast. Add layer of noodles, add 1/3 c. water all around edges, then a heaping 1 - 1.5 cups of pasta sauce on the top. Drizzle some alfredo sauce and add additional ricotta, if desired. Sprinkle salt & pepper and italian herb blend on top. Cover with foil, punch a few small holes and bake at 400*F f for 45-50 minutes. Cool slighly, slice and enjoy!!