RECIPE: Super Power Bars

PowerBar ingredientsOkay boys and girls, how’s your healthy new year coming along!?!  Have you added or increased your exercise routine? Are you putting healthy, chemical free foods in your body? I hope so!

 If you, like me, need something quick and convenient to grab on the go but are tired of paying for ‘bars’ that are loaded with sugar– If you are looking for something healthy, protein rich, and low-sugar that could be breakfast, a snack, or the perfect nibble during endurance exercising, well look no further!

In a food processor combine:

1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates (~8 dates, make sure you remove the pits and chop dates up, your mixer will thank you)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flax seeds
1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice honey, maple syrup, stevia)
2 Tbsp almond butter

Scoop out of mixer and spread into a small (preferably glass) container.

Cut into small blocks or bars.

I leave my Super Power Bars in the container in the fridge, but you could wrap them individually in wax paper ahead of time so they are easier to grab and go.

RULE: Add Movement to Your Day

Add movement to your day.

Stand up sit down, stand up sit down. Repeat. (10 to 20 times)

Who cares if your co-workers or classmates think you’ve gone batty!

Take a lap around your office, pretend you are on your way to an important meeting.

Do bicep curls with your water bottle.  Do calf pumps or leg lifts at your desk.

Dance with your children daily or chase them around the play ground and house!

Just move it people!

Studies show that the people who move more during the day, even if it’s not formal exercise, burn way more calories, and are ultimately much leaner!

image

Bike to work. Walk on your lunch break. Park farther away. Walk the dog 3 x day instead of just once. Take the stairs.

Just MOVE IT!

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!

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.

RANT: 5 Living Clean Tips

It blew my mind in medical school when I learned that drugs could be delivered through the skin and vaccines delivered through a nasal spray.  So cool that you could absorb things through the mucous membranes (as they’re called), breath and skin.  Until I realized that the same is true for pollutants.  The black exhaust billowing out of the dump truck in front of you also gets absorbed through your respiratory tract and skin. So do the carcinogens in your soaps, lotions and home cleaning products.  A lot of the chemicals in these products look like estrogen to our body’s hormone receptors, which is why glandular cancers (thyroid, breast, and prostate) are on the rise.
Unless you move to the Tundra, live off grubs, roots and berries and walk or bicycle only , you’re not going to be able to avoid most of the toxins out there.  However, you can make smarter purchases to limit you cancer risks at home.
1) buy skin products, shampoos, lotions and soaps that are all natural, organic, and free of the following:
sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and any ingredients with dyes and harsh chemicals (ex: yellow #5)
2) buy natural cleaning products and detergents, like Seventh Generation or Method (not Tide, Dawn, or Windex, etc)
3) buy local and/or organic fruit and organic milk; buy local grass-fed, hormone free dairy, eggs and meat
4) eat food that cleanses and detoxifies your body from the pollutants we’re exposed to—like leafy green vegetables and other foods high in antioxidants (green tea, red wine, berries, beans, green veggies, dark chocolate, etc)
5) drink filtered water in glass bottles; 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to FLUSH your system.

RULE: Don’t Buy it and You Won’t Eat It

Don’t buy it and you wont eat it. Ok there are some corollaries to this, which seems to happen to me frequently.  We’re at a gathering and the stars have aligned, and I am shockingly not putting a smackdown on the hors d’oeuvre table, but a friend or cousin whisks by, forcing a cracker loaded with a hot, drippy mess on it.  Though I’m not hungry, it does look delicious, so I have a spilt second to dispose of it with my mouth, or wear it on my shirt the rest of the evening.

Or alternately, I’m diligently typing away at work (probably on an important email about who’s volunteering to be the sober driver on the wine tasting tour next weekend—not me!!!) enjoying a moment when food is not on the brain, and a cheerful co-worker slides a styrofoam plate on to my desk with a slice of red velvet cake and a white plastic fork. Now for me, desserts are like sunsets.  I like them all; some are more enjoyable than others, but as a whole I thoroughly enjoy them.  Though strangely, I don’t like red velvet cake, but there is a 100% chance I am going to eat the slice now on my desk because it’s THERE staring at me. And before a can re-focus on my ultra-important email, I need to take care of it.

However, in general, if it’s not in my house, I wont eat it.  If there’s no ice cream in the freezer, I can’t scrape the carton clean. If there’re no oatmeal cream pies, I can’t finish the box. [Years ago, I actually found and demolished my roommate’s entire box of Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies one night while studying medical school. On a super tight budget, she was furious. But, after I’d replaced them, her sideways glances seemed more concerned than angry.  This was one of many clues, I needed help].

So don’t buy junk.  And don’t let your roommates buy junk.  You’ll eat it.