RECIPE: Pistachio and Spinach Smoothie

One of my coolest girl friends recently shared with me her favorite smoothie recipe. This is a girl who went heli-skiing on her honeymoon and stole Michael Jordan’s retired jersey from the Dean Dome rafters.  (Only one of these actually happened, but this girl would do happily do both, and then some).

So if it’s a Pistachio Smoothie that is her daily tall-glass-o-Bad-Ass, then this is what’s going in my Vitamix tomorrow morning:

Pistachio SMoothie

In a blender combine:

1 cup organic spinach

3/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup filtered water

6-8 almonds

12-14 pistachios

4-6 cubes ice

(1 scoop protein powder, unflavored or  vanilla) optional

(1 tbsp maca powder) optional

RULE: 5 Ways toTravel Smart

I get it. It’s hard to eat right when you travel. But is it? Or do we simply succumb  to convenience and temptation, buying something in a rush at the airport or ordering 3 courses because “work is paying for it”.  Sure, eating out healthfully, whether for business or pleasure, can be tricky.  But if you PLAN AHEAD, you don’t have to pork out when you travel.

persimmon and pistachio

First, pack something to take with you so you don’t drop $11 on a cold, hard, dry yet soggy-in-the-middle sandwich at the aeroporto.  I usually snag a meal from a health foods store the day before or day of air travel to carry on. (Air travel sounds futuristic, doesn’t it?)

I also keep nuts, seeds and dried fruit in my bag because flight delays are as common as obese TSA agents and are brutal on the feasting schedule.  Dried fruits (unsweetened), nuts and seeds (just a hand full or so) are super healthy and are a great thing to curb the appetite while you travel–so you don’t end up in the Cinnabon line, lured by the intoxicating aroma and a 3 hour layover.  Plus you can knock out a sweet AND the salty craving in one punch!  Bam!

I also always fly with green tea bags and a packet or two of miso soup.  That way, when jolted from sleep as they ram my knee with the beverage cart, I’m reminded to ask for both hot and cold water–cold to drink and hot to make tea or my miso soup. Plus, this gives me something to do once I’m done selecting my favorite items in the SkyMall Magazine.  And, since I don’t have a dog, a spacious garage, a pool or the need for a clothing steamer or a one-handed-jewelry-clasper_thingy, this task is usually completed prior to the captain’s cheery, cacophonous welcome speech.

I also find miso soup cures any nausea or hangover I may be traveling with.  Let’s just say in my 20s, there were several airport and airplane bathrooms that saw the aftermath of my raucous girls’ trips and wedding weekends.

Second, be willing to try something new, to keep your taste buds engaged, so when you don’t get the SUGAR-FILLED JAMBA JUICE or SBARRO SLICE you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.  Deprivation usually just makes you pound dessert later on (trust me).  I don’t think I’d ever tried a persimmon, and certainly not with pistachios, but it was a welcome change from my travel staple: almonds and an apple. And didn’t leave me feeling fat and gross like the WOK & ROLL Asian-salt-and-grease-blast-stir-fry lo mien I used to inhale at LGA. Switch it up and try something new and healthful. (And recall the first tip: bring it with you!)

Third, Order Smart. That’s a whole other blog post (click there).  But in summary, don’t use traveling or dining out as an excuse to over indulge, use it as a chance to have someone else make your healthy meal!

Fourth: Move! Walk and roll your bag instead of riding the tram or the shrill beeping golf cart with all the huge people on it.  Use the hotel gym, you may meet some fabulous, sweaty somebody down there.  Or do some exercises in the car or in the hotel room. (click here for Exercises On the Go)

Oh, and fifth: DRINK WATER! On the plane, while you wait for your delayed connection and in between drinks at the bar!  Water, water, water!

These are simple yet effective ways to combat the calorie creep of travel! You’re gut and your butt will thank you!

RANT: Airplane Seats

airplane seats

Is it me or could there be more ergonomic airplane seats? Who designed these frigging things? Unless you are 6’3″, the headrest thrusts the back of your head forward, forcing your chin toward your chest like you are monitoring your cleavage.  While I so enjoy the jolting head bobbing that goes on when I hit deep REM’s on a plane,  I have often wished I could somehow unscrew my head and put it in my lap for the flight’s duration–that’d allow for some serious zzzz’s.  Realizing it’s unlikely I’d ever be able to safely unscrew my head and, upon landing, re-attach it effectively,  as a frequent flier, I had to take action.

And by the way, neck “pillows” don’t work– I’ve tried them all–whether it’s a $20 u-shaped bean bag or the inflatable kind (even a turgid pre-inevitable slow leak).

My husband thought it absurd when I asked him to get me a c-spine collar, you know the type they put on patients with a neck injury.  But I was snoring like an 80-year-old in a rocking chair when I donned that thing on a transcontinental flight; and then again on a transatlantic flight.  Once I got over the fact that it felt as if I was feigning injury, I slept like a hibernating bear.  Plus the chin support keeps your mouth from open mouth breathing on your seat-mate.  Which I kind of miss.

I’m telling you, if I could think of a clever name and make the c-collar look a little sexier, I’d never have an uncomfortable flight again, because A) I’d have on my “Neck-Mate” and B) I’d be traveling on my own jet, paid for by all the “Neck-Mate” profits.  Plus I’d be banking REM’s,

Is it pertinent to include this rant in a healthy nutrition blog? Um, yes. Do you make healthier choices when you’ve slept well? You’re gosh darn right you do!

RECIPE: 7 Easy Exercises for Travel

I want to keep you guys fit while on the go!

All that sitting (on planes, buses, cars and while dining) makes us pretty weak and floppy!

So below are some simple exercises to keep your core strong and your balance good!

You can do most of these on the plane, in the boarding area, on a train, bus, or car, at your desk! or in your hotel or living room!

1) Sit in a chair, stand up, sit back down, stand up. REPEAT 10-20 times. Do this 3 x day

(try not to rock forward or push off with your hands)

Challenge: do this without a chair, instead of sitting, squat! (Form: Hips go no lower than knees, and don’t let knees go beyond toes)

2) Sit up straight in a chair. Tighten your stomach. Without using your hands, and with knees bent, lift one foot off the ground about 3-5 inches.  Set it back down. Now lift the other foot. REPEAT 10-20 times. Engage your core as you do this!

Challenge: hold for 5 seconds or pulse 20 times. Or lift both feet off at the same time! No leaning back!

3) Sitting or standing.  Extend your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing each other.

Tighten your stomach while you scissor your arms (cross them, left on top then right on top)

quickly do 30 reps (Keep elbows straight!)

Challenge: do this while doing lunges

4) Sitting or standing.  Extend arms out in front of you. Keep them straight. Make little circles. 10 reps rotating arms out, then 10 reps rotating arms in. Repeat 3 times.

Challenge: do this while in a Sumo squat (knees and feet turned out)

5) Stand on one leg. Lift opposite knee towards your chest, then reach foot behind you, tap foot to the ground, lift knee towards chest, repeat 10 times each side. (try to remain standing straight, don’t lean to one side, that’s cheating!) Challenge: bend knee of standing leg and don’t tap floor in between

6) Standing, hands on hips. Tighten Stomach. Bend slightly forward, then bend to Right, then lean backwards, then lean Left, then bend forward again. Repeat in opposite direction. Do 5 times each direction.

Challenge: do while standing on one leg

seated exercise

And don’t forget to stretch!!

TORSO STRETCH:

Sitting in your chair. Twist upper body to the right, hold and take 10 deep breaths.  Then twist it to the left and hold for 10 deep breaths(as shown in photo). Repeat.

NECK STRETCH:

Point your chin to the ceiling and hold. Point your chin to the floor an hold. Roll R ear to R shoulder, then roll L ear to L shoulder.  Bring head back up to neutral. Look over L shoulder. Look over R shoulder.