Workout of the Week

30 Minute At Home, Snow Day Workout

More snow.  Yuck.  Since it looks like we might get stuck inside again, and we may not be able to make it to the gym, here's a quick workout you can do at home in your living room so you don't have to skip your workout!   

Put 30 minutes on the clock and make it through this circuit as many times as you can.

15 Push-ups
15 Squat jumps
15 Tricep dips (use your coffee table)
15 Lunge hops on right (do a reverse lunge stepping back with left leg, drive left knee up and hop off right foot, then land back on right foot and send left leg back into a lunge again)
15 Lunge hops on left
15 Crunches
15 Superman (lie on your stomach with arms reaching overhead.  Lift your upper body and lower body off the floor.  Squeeze your legs together and squeeze your butt, then lower back down)
Run up and down the stairs 3 times or do 30 seconds of toe taps on the bottom step

 

Workout of the Week

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30 minutes on the clock, 10 reps of each exercise, as many rounds as you can.  That is the challenge for this workout.  Get ready to move fast, with good form, and push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Good luck!

10 Reps of each x 30 minutes total

Dead lifts
Squat with overhead press
Decline push ups (feet on physioball or bench)
Lunge row (on each side): In a lunge with right leg forward, place right forearm on right thigh.  Flatten back and do a row with the left arm
Lateral shoulder raise
Punches with weights
Sit ups
30 second cardio burst (sprint, high knees, jump rope, run up the stairs, etc.)
 

My Favorite Products this Month

I often get asked about products: what do I eat, what do I recommend, what are my go-to healthy staples?  Well, each week I feature a new product on my instagram accountand at the end of each month I'll compile them here for you. 

Here's what I have been loving recently

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Kimchi

Why I love it: 
Kimchi is a spicy fermented, pickled cabbage that is full of gut-friendly probiotics.  It's a flavorful addition to stir fry, cauliflower fried rice, salads, or anything else you can think of!

 

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Salad Dressing

Carrot Ginger Miso &
Green Goddess Dressings

Why I love them:
You know how other people's salads always taste better than your own?  These dressings will make your salad taste like you bought it somewhere fancy.

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Siggi's Yogurt

No added sugar, flavored yogurts.

Why I love it:
Finally, a flavored yogurt with no added sugar!!  You can enjoy the tasty flavors without the unnecessary sugar.

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Pizza Crust

Sprouted Whole Grain

Why I love it:
These super thin pizza crusts are the perfect answer to your weeknight pizza craving.  Top them with some pesto, arugula, and cheese and they are ready in no time! 

 

 

We {Hemp} Heart Valentine's Day

 
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In honor of Valentine’s Day, let's talk about Hemp Hearts.  See what I did there?  

Hemp Hearts are the edible insides of hemp seeds.  They pack a serious nutritional punch, they are really tasty, and they are, in fact, good for your heart.  

Here are some of the reasons why I love Hemp Hearts this Valentine’s Day (and every other day too):

Hemp Hearts are a complete protein, which is a great option for vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike.  They have 10g of protein per serving, so they are a great way to give any meal a protein boost.

They are full of healthy omega 3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation and promote heart health.

Packed with vitamins and minerals like iron, B vitamins, manganese and magnesium, Hemp Hearts are a nutritional powerhouse within a teeny tiny little seed.

They are so easy to add to meals and snacks like smoothies, granola, and trail mix, they can be treated just like a nut and blended into a creamy pesto, and they offer a nutty flavor when sprinkled over salads, yogurt, or avocado toast.  The possibilities really are endless.  

Check out these recipes using Hemp Hearts and give them a try this Valentine's Day!

Super Kale Pesto
Grain-Free Granola with Hemp Hearts
Coconut Hemp Seed Granola
Overnight Oats and Mango Berry Smoothie
Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

What's the Deal with Collagen??

If you’ve been seeing collagen pop up everywhere, you’re not imagining things.  Using collagen powder has become a recent trend and I’m here to explain why and if it’s worth the hype.

First, what is it?  Collagen is found in connective tissue, bones, skin, nails, and hair in our bodies, and in all animals as well.  As we age, production of collagen slows down, which is partially to blame for things like sagging skin, the loss of that youthful glow, and achy joints.  It is protein rich and made up of amino acids (as is all protein). So, collagen powder is actually just made by grinding up things like connective tissue or hide from cows or scales from fish.

Why would someone eat that?  Well, the argument is that eating (or drinking) collagen powder will help restore that youthful glow, reduce wrinkles, help keep joints lubricated and strong, reduce inflammation, promote gut health, improve hair, skin, and nails, and so much more from the inside out.

Is it the real deal?  Scientifically, yes.  The research is actually very promising for supplementing with a good quality collagen powder.  Unless you’re vegan (since collagen is an animal product) or have a condition where you need to be mindful of your protein intake, collagen could be a good addition to your diet. 

Collagen can help improve hair, strengthen nails, and reduce wrinkles in the skin. 

Since collagen is a huge component in our bones and joints, it can help improve joint pain, lubricate joints, and reduce inflammation as well.

The amino acids (the building blocks that make up protein) in collagen powder, specifically the amino acid glycine, help improve digestion and promote gut health.

It is a great source of protein without all the additives of many protein powders.  It is pretty flavorless, so add it to your smoothie for a boost of protein, mix it in with your coffee if you struggle to get enough protein in the morning.  Or, add it to your water to replenish after a workout.    

Another way to get collagen without using the powder is in the form of bone broth.  Bone Broth was all the rage a few years ago, and collagen was the reason why.  When you boil down all of those bones, the collagen is released into the broth, and you end up drinking collagen-rich broth.  So, make a big pot of soup with lots of added veggies and some bone broth, and you’ll be filling up on collagen! 

You might see it called collagen peptides.  That means that it has been broken down into those amino acids, making it easier for your body to absorb and making it dissolve in both cold and hot liquids.

One of the brands that I like is called Vital Proteins.  It is organic and, since the FDA does not regulate supplements, Vital Proteins has been checked by a third party, quality control group called NSF to check for contaminants of any kind.  They have collagen powders in all different forms, flavors, and applications.  From coffee creamers to individual packs to add to your water and just plain old collagen peptide powder, they have it all.    

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Let's Talk About Your Gut

 
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Let’s talk about your gut.  No, not the gut that hangs over your pants when you’ve had too much to eat (totally what I thought my teacher was talking about the first time she mentioned “the gut” in class when I was in college), but another gut entirely. 

I’m sure you’ve heard people talking about “the gut” recently – foods that are good for your gut, gut health, words like probiotics and microbiome.  So, what are they really talking about?  Well, your gut is actually just your entire digestive system, aka gastrointestinal system, gastrointestinal tract (GI tract).  It is the system of your body that is responsible for digesting and eliminating food (from eating to pooping.  Sorry I said pooping).  It encompasses the path the food travels (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines), and the organs that help along the way (pancreas, liver, gall bladder).

Ok now you know what your gut actually is.  Why is it so important and why is everyone talking about it?  Well, your gut is where the majority of your immune system lives, which is a pretty big deal.  Bacteria, the good kind, lives inside of your gut and makes up your gut flora.  Everyone has a unique make-up of the bacteria in their gut, and science is just beginning to scratch the surface of what that really means and how it affects things like auto-immune disease, weight, digestion, diseases of the digestive tract, and much more. 

So, we all have bacteria in our gut that controls our immune system.  It’s a good kind of bacteria, when we are healthy, and it feeds off of foods we put into our bodies.  Feed the bacteria healthy food and follow a healthy lifestyle, your gut bacteria will be happy, healthy and strong, and support a healthy immune system.  Feed the bacteria unhealthy food, antibiotic filled foods, certain medications and supplements, and be barraged by environmental toxins, your gut bacteria will be unhealthy, unhappy, and have a harder time keeping your immune system strong. 

If you get sick and have to take an antibiotic, the antibiotic’s job is to clear out any bad bacteria that has found its way into your body.  The problem is, it clears out all of the good bacteria too.  So your gut is in shambles, and you are likely to get diarrhea (sorry again for all the poop talk).  If that happens, your Dr. probably tells you to eat yogurt.  Why?  Because it has probiotics.

Enter the next buzz word: Probiotics. 

What are they?  Probiotics are the good bacteria.  They are found naturally in some foods and drinks, and can be taken in pill form as well.  The best way to get probiotics and support your gut health?  Eat or drink them.  You can take them in pill form, the only problem is, you don’t know the make-up of your gut bacteria, so you don’t know the best kind and combination to take for your unique biology. Here are a few ways you can easily get them in your diet.

  • Fermented foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dairy: Plain greek yogurt, Kefir
  • Kombucha: a fermented tea

Probiotic rich foods are an important addition to your diet.  But, there is something else to consider that helps them do their job.  Prebiotics.  Probiotics are the good bacteria, prebiotics are their fuel.  It’s important to eat prebiotic filled foods in conjunction with the probiotic rich foods.  Here are some foods filled with prebiotics:

  • Fiber: fibrous foods are a great source of prebiotics
  • Raw garlic
  • Onions and leeks
  • Raw asparagus
  • Banana
  • Raw wheat bran
  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Potato starch
  • Chicory root

To Summarize: Your gut is your digestive system, and that is where the majority of your immune system lives.  It is filled with bacteria that feeds off of the foods you eat and can be affected by pretty much anything you are exposed to.  Your gut health is important to your overall health and wellbeing.  Eating probiotic rich foods and long with prebiotic rich foods is a great way to improve gut health and boost your immune system.  Bring on the kimchi!