Fitness Tip: Get Real!

If you have kids you may have realized this a few weeks ago, but if you don’t, you may be like me and just realized this week:

HOLY CRAP IS SEPTEMBER!

September is a busy time of year for fitness because a lot of people start to “get back on track” after a summer of vacationing and indulgences. Have no fear though, we’re here to help!

My fitness tip this week is: Get Real!!

What I mean by this is to be realistic with your time. People tend to get excited when getting back into a routine and want to workout for 5+ hours a week. If you’ve taken the summer off, this is highly unrealistic.

Take a minute to look at your schedule, find the pockets of time you can actually commit to and work on making that happen. I’ll bet that even that will be a challenge.

Good luck!

Building a Healthy Heart

chia seeds

You know that big organ beating away in your chest? You know, that life line that keeps going without us really thinking about it.
You’re right, our heart.
Just sit and take a second to appreciate just how amazing our bodies are designed. It’s pretty hard to comprehend how every system works synergistically with one another. Designed to protect, react, feel, grow, thrive.
The heart and vascular system is one of the most important systems our body has. Not only does this system deliver vital oxygen and nutrients throughout our entire body, it also aids in the removal of waste products.
But these days, we sure do like to push our bodies to the limits, and our heart and arteries taking majority of the blow. Stress, processed foods, and stimulants being the big kahunas. Sure, our bodies are designed to adapt, but if we push too far there comes a point when it has to tell us enough is enough. And this message comes out loud and clear, usually in different form of heart disease and stroke. According to Stats Canada, heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. The major risk factors for these being:
  • Smoking
  • Elevated blood cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
So what can be done to keep our hearts healthy and happy? Below are 8 simple nutrition or lifestyle recommendations that every single one of us has the ability to adopt for a healthy heart.
1. If you’re a smoker, take the steps to stop.
Probably stating the obvious here, but did you know that smokers who quit this habit cut their risk of heart disease in half over the span of just one year. Amazing, right?
2. Increase your consumption of fiber-rich plant foods
Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds all contribute to a healthy ticker.
3. Reduce caffeine consumption
I’m not telling you to cold turkey cut it out of your system, but instead savouring that cup in the morning, grabbing a green tea in the afternoon, and making sure you have a water bottle with you at all times. Baby steps. Don’t shock the system. General rule, for one cup of coffee consumed, you should be rehydrating with two cups of water.
4. Regular exercise
Regular exercise is extremely important in reducing your risks. And I’m putting emphasis on regular exercise. Not only does moving our bodies help to balance out cholesterol levels and improve the supply of blood and oxygen to our heart, it makes us feel great! Go endorphins go.
5. Magnesium and whole foods
Magnesium is essential to proper functioning of the entire cardiovascular system, and it’s not uncommon that most of us are not meeting the daily requirement of 350mg for men and 300mg for women. And guess what? In nature, magnesium occurs abundantly in whole foods. Best sources being legumes, seeds, nuts, whole sprouted grains, and dark leafy greens.
6. Ease up on the processed foods
For many reasons: reducing empty calories, trans fats and sodium levels. Remember, the closer to the whole form of the food the better. An example of a simple change: Replacing a bag of potato chips with homemade baked sweet potato fries.
7. Watch your sodium intake
Sodium is essential for the heart to function, however in today’s Standard American Diet, the sodium level is through the roof leading to high blood pressure. Staying clear of overly processed foods, getting your whole foods, and lightly seasoning with a high quality sea salt are all steps in the right direction.
8. Love your healthy fats
Fats used to get a seriously bad rep, where all fat was categorized into one big bad scary thing to avoid. I could do an entire blog post just on fats, but for now remember this: steer clear of the bad fats such as highly processed vegetable oils, corn oils, soy oils, reduce saturday fat from red meats, and incorporate in healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, sesame oil, cold pressed olive oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds, free range eggs and cold water fish.
In health and happy hearts,
Jennifer
References
Heart and Stroke Foundation 
World’s Healthiest Foods 

Nutrition Tip – Simplicity

Nutrition Tip

Keep it Simple

“In cooking as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.”
– Curnonsky

Not necessarily always, but usually some of the tastiest dishes are also the simplest to make. We tend to think meals have to be extravagant to impress. So this week’s nutrition tip – use fresh, whole, and quality ingredients to see what flavour combinations you can come up with.

Keep it simple.

Weekly Challenge – Nutrition – Gear up your Greens!

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I recently visited Amsterdam for the first time. What an incredible city to get lost in. The biking, the canals, the food! I had a few recommended lunch and dinner spots written down from a couple foodie friends. One being a new salad bar. Salad bar? Sounds kind of like something you find in the food court of the shopping mall right? Wrong. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had while in the city. This leads us to the nutrition challenge for the week.

Time to get creative with your greens! Why? Because a salad can be so incredibly satisfying (and beautiful) if you know how to build it.

Greens (aka Leaves)
The base which should make the bulk of your green salad. Spinach, romaine, rainbow chard, kale, or a lovely mix from your local farmers market. Up to you, go wild.

Note: If you’re using a more bitter fibrous green such as chard or kale, I like to cut off the ends, roll up the leaves, and chop horizontally to create thin strips of greens. Give the greens a little massage in some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. A lovely salad base!

Veggies
This is where you get creative with colour and texture. Try shredding the starchier veggies such as carrots, purple or golden beets, summer squash, and sweet potato. Shredded zucchini and fennel are delicious too. As for your juicier veggies, try dicing cucumber or quartering small cherry tomatoes.

Fruit
If you enjoy a little sweetness in your salads, having it come from fresh fruit is a healthy option. Low glycemic fruit such as berries, diced pear, and shredded apple are great options.

Grains
Grains are a nice option for adding bulk to a salad, especially if you are enjoying your salad as a meal. Millet, red quinoa, wild rice are personal favourites, but any gluten-free grain could work. Try cooking a big batch at the beginning or mid week and keep in the fridge.

Protein
If you are choosing an animal source of protein, it is important to go for free-range and organic to ensure you’re getting a good source. The same goes for those that enjoy adding cheese. Try organic goats feta, as this can be easier to digest for some versus cows feta.When it comes to plant-based protein, try sprouted beans such as chickpeas, mung beans, adzuki beans, and lentils. They are incredibly satisfying and filling.

Healthy Fats
The cherry on top! I’m a big fan of the healthy fats, but in moderation and try not to skimp on quality so that you know you’re getting the highest amount of essential fatty acids. Some sources are diced up avocado, chopped nuts (lightly dry roasted or sprouted raw), or a homemade dressing made of extra virgin olive oil or unrefined sesame oil.

Note here: Most salads can keep well in the fridge, just wait to toss in the dressing until you are ready to serve.

Make sure to share some of our favourite flavour combinations in the comments below. The possibilities are endless all year round. Light and cooling in the summer, hearty and cozy in the winter.

Nutrition Tip – Egg Substitutes

chia seeds

Nutrition Tip:

Looking for an egg substitute in baking? Try 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds or flax seeds with 3 tablespoons warm water. This equals 1 egg. Whip in a blender or food processor until it becomes that egg yolk consistency.

A great option if you are avoiding eggs for allergies or personal preference. Also great if you’ve simply just ran out of eggs.

photo cred: thekitchn.com

Weekly Health Challenge – Go Ahead, Try Something New

Happy Monday!
If you didn’t already know, we’ve added two new services lately. Nutrition coaching and Yoga coaching. With that, we’re adapting the Weekly Activity Challenge to become a Weekly Health Challenge. We’ll switch it up each week between, activity, nutrition and even yoga challenges.
This week, Jennifer is giving us a nutrition challenge! Take it away Jennifer:
Continuing with Chad’s theme this week of getting out there and trying a new sport, I thought I’d bring that into today’s post.
Photo 2013-07-19 9 54 13 AM
When life gets hectic we tend to reach for those quick and easy (usually processed) options. Too often I hear “Cooking just isn’t exciting to me anymore” or “I’m lacking inspiration or motivation in the kitchen”.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve definitely been at that point myself. You’re staring at the pantry in the kitchen or the produce section of the grocery store and wondering what the heck to make. What I find really helps, is simply telling myself to try something new each week. This doesn’t need to be drastic, just think about how you can substitute something in to a meal that you’ve never tried before. Or, pick one recipe from your favourite food blog or cookbook and just try it out. With a whiteboard pen, I’ve been writing a “Recipe of the Week” on the mirror in my kitchen!
Some examples – do you have oats in the morning? Why not try millet, quinoa, or simply adding in soaked chia seeds or some hemp seeds? Do you have a salad for most of your lunches? Why not think up a new dressing that you can prepare and keep refrigerated for the rest of the week. How about for dinner? Head to the local market, have a conversation with the fisherman, and try a new type of fish that you’ve never tried before. You may be surprised, and even inspired to keep it going next week.
This week, I tried out a new juice recipe and it’s now becoming one of my all-time favourites.
So go ahead, try something new.  What new grain, juice, dressing, veggie, or healthy dessert will you try this week? Post it in the comments!

5 New Ways to Fall in Love with Smoothies

Smoothie

Happy Wednesday!  Lets talk smoothies!

The second the weather gets nice, my body starts to crave those perfectly blended drinks in the AM. Smoothies may not be for everyone, and that’s ok, but I found that the second I learned how to create that creamy texture, I was hooked. Here are a few of my favourite smoothie tips and tricks.

Smoothie

  • A quarter of an avocado or extra banana can create a really nice creamy consistency. Try 1/2 of a frozen banana and a quarter of an avocado.
  • If you’re currently putting yoghurt in your smoothies, you can try an organic plain kefir which is similar to yoghurt but a thinner consistency and higher in those healthy bacteria.
  • Fruit overpowers the veggies. So add in that spinach or kale and trick those picky eaters into getting their greens.
  • Easing into those green smoothies? Try sweetening with low glycemic fruits such as green apple, pear, green grapes, or kiwi.
  • Don’t forget the fresh herbs! Mint has always been a favourite for berry smoothies, until I recently saw a recipe using fresh basil. It was a life-changer!

I hope that you find these tips helpful. Feel free to share your favourite smoothie in the comments below. I’d love to know!

12 Healthy Snack Ideas for Nutrition On The Go!

Healthy Snack

We’ve all done it – used our busy lifestyles to justify a coffee for breakfast, skipping meals, or grabbing for that processed snack in hopes for some kind of afternoon energy burst. You may be raising children, with little time to devote to yourself. Or your job may be keeping you busy throughout the entire day, with little time for lunch or snacks. Whatever the case, always remember that even the littlest of change can make a big difference, especially when it comes to snacking.

To me, Nutrition on the Go means everything from proper hydration, preparing healthy snacks to get you through the day, or quick and easy breakfast ideas for those mornings you’ve slept through the alarm. But for this post, let’s talk snacks.

Why dedicate a post just to snacking? Well for one, healthy snacking can do more than curb cravings and increase energy, it can even save you a little money and reduce waste. And two, sometimes we just need to be reminded of the basics of nutrition and believe this starts with quick and easy ideas that everyone can try.

Healthy Snack

Healthy snack ideas, to name a few:

  • Pear slices and raw walnuts
  • Green Juice
  • That go-to smoothie
  • Dried Apricots (organic, unsulphured)
  • Applesauce and cinnamon
  • Homemade dips such as hummus, guacamole, or with rice crackers or veggies.
  • Multigrain rice cakes with honey and nut butters
  • Celery with nut butters (almond, pumpkin, walnut)
  • Homemade trail mix or roasted nuts
  • Organic Popcorn with melted coconut oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 mashed avocado on toasted dark rye
  • Spelt or gluten-free pancakes with almond butter

I’d love to hear about your healthy go-to’s when it comes to snacking, so be sure to comment below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great week!

Wine: It’s delicious and… nutritious?

Hi! I’m Kelly!

I’ve recently come on board to write some blog posts for Chad from a woman’s perspective. I’m a 30 something avid worker-outer (is that a word?), marathon runner (which means I’m possibly a bit nuts) a sometimes/sometimes not a health conscious woman, a professional makeup artist, an enquiring mind, and quite obviously not a professional writer. I’m going to write about stuff that I want to learn more about and hopefully I’ll open up a few questions in your mind too.  So that brings us to my first topic.

Wine (what else would I write about?!)

There’s been a ton of hype in the past years about red wine being full of antioxidants and I recently over heard my mom saying “it’s healthy… it has antioxidants” so of course I had to research a bit.

Yes, it’s true, red wine (more than white) contains antioxidants and antioxidants have been proven to help prevent some health problems like heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers, but when it comes to wine consumption the health care pro’s say that moderation is key.  Moderation is not a word a woman in her 30’s usually uses in the same sentence as wine (a bottle is moderation… right?), so I did some research.  According to the Canadian health association a person should have no more than 10 drinks per week and no more than 2 drinks per day and they specifically say that the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh the positive effects if you consume more than 2 glasses.  As far as antioxidants are concerned wine is waaaaaay down the list. Actually wine didn’t even make the list when it came to foods and beverages that have a high concentration of antioxidants, the top 5 being berries, broccoli, garlic (yum!), green tea and tomatoes.

So in short if you’re concerned about getting your antioxidant protection, eat your fruits and veggies and drink your green tea.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking your sipping your red wine for the health benefits, sip (in moderation) because it’s delicious!

What’s YOUR favourite bottle?

Healthy Options When Travelling by Ferry

Have you ever had a tough time finding the healthy options when travelling?

I was on the ferry the other day and watched an interesting thing unfold. I could be completely off, but ultimately I made the assumption that the person in front of me was on a “Diet”.

I tend to “people watch”, a lot, and I look at how they move, act and eat.

I was watching this person while in line for ferry food. This means you usually get the option between burgers, fries and other lovely deep fried foods. Bottom line: not a lot of “healthy” options. This is a problem I’m sure many of you have found yourself in. So, what do you do?

Here’s what unfolded for me:

Sign #1 of a diet: At the drink station, they grab a cup, fill it with ice and go for the only “diet” option available.

Sign #2: Further down the line they are confronted with a bowl of mini yogurts. They dig through the bowl and find the low fat plain yogurt. The “healthiest” of the bunch.

Sign #3: At the food order station, they get oatmeal. Just oatmeal. They seemed very unsatisfied with this choice. I imagined they really wanted the deep fried chicken burger. Thankfully, there was a small container of brown sugar that they could grab for the oatmeal. (sign #4)

By the end of the line, their total tray contents were: 1 small diet pop, 1 small plain yogurt, 1 small oatmeal with brown sugar.

By the facial expressions I saw, it did not appear like it was their favorite meal, but rather the only healthy options they had available.

On the flip side, here’s what I chose to eat:

I got the “All Aboard Breakfast”: 3 strips of bacon, 3 sausages, scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast. I asked them to hold the toast.

 

So my question is:

What actually are the ‘best’ or healthy options? If we were both on a diet, why would we choose what we chose and what are the effects we think we’re getting from those choices?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic so please comment below.

I’ll reveal my thoughts next week!

5 Top Tips for Visiting Farmers Markets with Kristi Willis

Farmers Market

Today I’d like to welcome another fellow Evernote Ambassador – Kristi Willis.

Kristi is the Food Writing Ambassador and runs her own food blog over at Ditch The Box. Welcome to my Blog!

Kristi Willis - Food blogger

Hi! I’m Kristi. I’m a food writer and fellow Evernote Ambassador with Chad, and we decided to trade wisdom on each other’s blogs. For me, food is all about freshness – ripe summer tomatoes, strawberries straight from the vine or hand-crafted cheese from the dairy farm. I grew up in a family that ate more than a bit of processed food, but I’ve revamped my pantry and learned to cook fresh.

One of the first steps for me was to change how I shopped and there is no better way to make sure you come home with a load of vegetables than to shop at the farmers market.  Shopping at the farmers market is different than the grocery store and can take a little getting used to.  Here are 5 key tips I follow when heading to the market.

1. Bring cash, preferably smaller bills.

Although Square and other card processing apps make it easy for vendors to take credit cards on a mobile device, most still use cash. Most market transactions are in small amounts, $2-$3, so having a stash of small bills/coins makes transactions easier.

2. Bring  bags and a cooler.

Small plastic bags can be tough to juggle so bring your own re-usable shopping bag and, if it’s hot, a cooler to hold more perishable items.

3. Rethink your shopping list. 

Unlike the grocery store, you aren’t going to always find broccoli or spinach at the market.  The produce will change with the seasons and so should your shopping list.  Review a list of what’s in season before you go or sign up for the e-mail notice for your local market.

4. Give yourself of time to explore.

While it’s possible to blaze in and out of the market in 30 minutes, budget extra time for your first visit so that you can figure out the market layout.  Walk the booths once, scoping out what is available, then return to the booths where you want to buy items.

5. Connect with the Farmers/Vendors.

I love visiting with the farmers and food artisans, learning about new foods and how to prepare them. There’s something magical about connecting with the people who grow and make your food.

Most importantly – have fun!

Have you been to a local farmers market? What’s your favorite farmers market item?

Weekly Fitness Challenge – Water

Weekly Fitness Challenge - Water

For today’s weekly fitness challenge, I’m changing things up slightly and offering a nutritional challenge. The goal is to see if you can drink nothing but water for 7 full days.

This is always a fun one because of the questions I get about ‘exceptions’.

Is tea okay?

What about coconut water?

Fresh squeezed juice?

Although I agree that those things may have positive benefits, it’s not the focus this week. It also wouldn’t really be a fitness CHALLENGE if it wasn’t hard and didn’t exclude some things. So, for this week, no, those things are not okay. Go for it 100% and stick to ONLY WATER.

As Always, please post questions and progress in the comments below.

Introducing Lauren Atkins – Food Blogger

Lauren - food blogger

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Lauren Atkins as a guest blogger on AnthroPhysique. Lauren is a fellow Evernote Ambassador (Home Cooking).  In her spare time, she runs a food blog (Have Fork, Will Eat), studies gastronomy, and cooks and bakes as much as possible.  She loves to help other home cooks use Evernote and other tools to make their time in the kitchen as delicious and efficient as possible. Lauren will be posting here once a month to offer some great tips, recipes, and guidance for all things food and kitchen.

A few words from Lauren:

Lauren - food blogger
Lauren Atkins,
Have Fork, Will Eat

Hi all!  I am so excited to be doing guests posts on Chad’s site!  It’s full of inspiration and ideas for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and Chad is an amazing person and resource.  

I know that eating healthfully can seem like a big challenge, especially when you’re busy, you’re short on time and you have a giant sweet tooth.  I hope that with a few of my recipes and kitchen tips, you’ll see that it’s easier than you think, and delicious to boot.  I always thought that you are what you eat, so be both real and delicious.

As a bit of an intro to me, I’m just a few weeks shy of 30, married, no kids but two very spoiled dogs (an English Mastiff and a Shar-pei Basset).  By day, I’m an instructional technologist at the University of Michigan, because I love technology and I love helping people learn.  I know how hard it can be to work all day and then have to come home and cook dinner.  I also know how difficult it is to have a crazy schedule and still eat right during the day.  But it can be done!    

My favorite daily meals are simple, with just a few ingredients but a lot of satiety, though I have a soft spot for American comfort foods.  I like to experiment, and will make pretty much anything on request just to see if I can.  My goal is to have an efficient, organized kitchen and pantry, where quality raw food goes in one end and delicious meals come out the other.  I’ll stop now before I ramble about it too much but in future posts, I hope I can answer some of your questions and share great recipes and tips.  I’d also love to hear about your favorite foods, cooking methods or any questions you might have.

Please post any questions you have for Lauren in the comments below, or share what challenges you experience for keeping meals healthy.

What’s your plan?

Ever heard the term “Planning is the key to success” or “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? I have. Probably a million times too! But do I always do it? Not always. Life’s too busy right?!?

In my experience, the sayings are true and planning can play a big role in your success. One thing I often recommend to my clients is that they plan out their meals in advance. Especially when it comes to whatever meal is the hardest for them to make. Mine is dinner.

Last week, my wife put together this little plan:

We’ve been eating out a lot so it’s time to get back on the horse. A big step for eating better is to make your own meals.

For me, I could eat meat and a vegetable as my meal and I’m good to go. For my wife however, she likes more than two ingredients in a meal and has a desire for things to actually taste good. (weird right) So, along came the plan.

From the plan, we went and did a grocery shop to make sure we had everything we needed. Since then, it’s been as easy as: look at the plan, grab the ingredients, cook them, and eat them. Simple, easy, and actually fun.

We’ve been making dinner together, eating at home and feeling way better. We’ve had to modify our plan a few times, but it was just a matter of switching out the days and re-arranging. In 1 week, our plan has proven extremely successful and it has made dinner a much more enjoyable meal.

Do you plan your meals? If so, how has it changed your life? If not, how would it change your life if you did? 🙂

Please share you your plan on my Facebook page. You can find the one I posted above right here.

The Value of Water

While about leave my apartment the other day, I went to fill my bottle up with water. Sure enough, the Brita jug was nearly empty. Then came the slew of thoughts:

Do I have time to wait for the filter or do I just go straight for the tap water?

When was the last time I actually changed that filter?

Is it supposed to be changed every 3 months or 6?

Will there be a difference in my water quality after 3 months vs. 6?

How much are the filters anyway?

I bet it’s cheaper than bottled water!

Crap water is expensive!

Why?

Since then I’ve been thinking about the value of water. On one side, it’s the second most valuable thing in the world. As in, only air is more immediately needed than water to survive. Without either, we’d die pretty quickly. But, why don’t we pay for air then… It’s polluted too… Will there be a Brita Air filter? How much with that be? Uh oh, here we go again…

In north america, we pay more for bottled water than we do gas in our cars! Is it really that valuable? I mean, I know we’d literally die without it, but is the quality we’re buying truly worth that much? Is the quality we think we’re buying actually the quality we’re getting? Does that quality really matter?

I know plenty of people that mainly drink filtered water. I know plenty that mainly drink tap water. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people that don’t even have tap water. Can we measure our health differences between bottled vs. tap? To what degree does the filtered water win out over regular tap water?

Crap. So many questions!

As you can see, I have many questions around this subject and I wanted to put them out there to stimulate some though and discussion. What is your view on the value of water? What do you choose to drink and why do you make that choice? Is it because it’s available and marketed to us or are there health benefits you can measure? Please post your thoughts in the comments and see if you can do it ‘un-googled’.