Category : Nutrition

5 Perfect Recovery Meals for Your Workouts

powered by Fotopedia

Emily Newhook is the outreach coordinator for the MHA degree program from The George Washington University, MHA@GW. Outside of work, she enjoys writing, film studies and powerlifting. Connect with her on Twitter and

If you aren’t choosing the right foods to eat after working out, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Certain foods can boost your immune system and help speed up your body’s recovery, allowing you to feel great even after doing an exorbitant amount of squats.

Read More

Interview with Examine.com Co-Founder Sol Orwell

photo:flickr

Today’s post is an interview with Sol Orwell of Examine.com. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know I’m not big on supplements. For years my pantry was filled with different products– most of them half used or not even opened. I would fall for the hype, whether it was something I saw at the gym or something from a magazine. I believe that supplements played a large role in reaching my goals.

Read More
Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

Taking Back Our Table

 

 

Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

The other night I sat on the porch pitting cherries with my son Ellis. My daughter Gwyn and her friends surrounded us, sharing stories from school and writing notes to boys they would never actually share.

I taught my son different ways to pit a cherry, but we both found that using our fingers worked best. For him, it was a treat to squirt juice at the girls. Sometimes he would toss the stems and pits into the cherry bowl and the cherry into the pit bowl. In the end, we didn’t quite have it sorted out as some of us found pits in our cobbler.

I learned this practice from spending summers with my grandmother as she and my aunts would sit in the backyard shucking corn, pitting cherries, and prepping pole beans.

Meal preparation is such a huge part of my parenting. From morning pancakes with eggs to holiday pies, fresh salads to school lunches. It’s important to me that my kids know their way around the kitchen, and not just for life skills.

I want them to know that food is the center of our lives. Not just to provide us energy for the day, but as a part of our culture, our past, and our traditions. Around the world food has a religious importance, is part of story telling, and is thought to be a gift from the earth or gods.  Food makes us strong, and handsome, and gives us long lives. The most primitive cultures on earth know this, but our Western minds have neglected this notion for some time.

In fact, it’s often felt that our culture can do nothing but reduce food to particles that which we can’t even see. Our meals become a numbers game and we forget entirely what an enjoyable time meals can be from start to finish. We forget to respect where our food came from and the people who produced it—or that we are capable of growing food ourselves.

We neglect the time-honored traditions passed down from our ancestors. Those worn recipe cards sitting on shelves in our grandmother’s pantry that have moved through a generation of hands.

As a parent I struggle between what I know is right about food and what we are being taught in our modern world. I do not want my children to pick up items and ramble off how many calories and grams of fat are listed on a label.  Or refer to their friends as carboholics or worry that they’ve become sugar addicts.

But they do.

I do not want them to think about getting enough protein or vegetables. I do not want to them feel concerned with foods that make them fat.

But they do. Because they speak the language that they hear. From me, from the media, from their friends.

And it’s painful. But I will change it.

I want them to understand what food means to us as a family. How it brings us together, gives us those teaching moments, those times of splendor and of healing.  I want them to know what my grandmother taught me and learned from her mother. I want them to experience the traditions my mother created, and to feel that food is a part of who we are so they can share this with their families when they are grown.

For that, I am taking back my table. I will no longer play part in the calculations game. Food will not be simply particles that make up a whole once I add them together.

Food will share the same importance in my house as bedtime stories, nights under the stars, and wiping tears away. Memories etched in our table surround us each time we sit. As we pass dishes, butter bread, and pour tea we feel secure together and nothing else matters in the world more than filling our bellies and our hearts. The day’s stress washes away, the evening news shuts off, and for those 30 minutes stories are shared and lessons are taught.

For families that spend the day apart, food brings you together. Don’t rob yourself of this time because it will vanish before you can blink. So I encourage you, as spouses and parents, to take back your table. Bring back food in the traditional sense. Food that is the common bond in your home, among friends, and is a part of your heritage.

Give yourself that small peace of mind. With all the uncertainty that surrounds us, nothing gives us a sense of hope more than the family meal.

Read More
moringa

Tea Time: The health benefits of tea

 

The health benefits of tea have been known for centuries, but scientists have only recently investigated the medicinal benefits in the lab to discover why tea is so good for you.

In their research, scientists discovered tea to have a large flavonoid profile—plant derived compounds made up of antioxidants—which is something we discuss often here on LesserEvil Life.

If you’re not certain the type of tea to sip, try one of these 3 varieties (or all of them) next time you feel a little chilly.

Green Tea

Green tea’s most notable quality is the high amount of catechins called EGCG. Studies link EGCG to reduction of cancer rates, including bladder, colon, esophagus, pancreas, rectum, and stomach cancers. In addition, a Japanese study found that regular consumption of green tea may reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Black Tea

Black tea has the highest concentration of caffeine, a substance that not only boosts your energy levels, but has also been shown to provide health benefits including improved cognitive function and a lowered risk of coronary heart disease. A study at the University College London found that those who drank black tea decreased stress levels faster than those who drank a placebo.

Rooibos

If you are looking for a caffeine-free alterative, rooibos may be the answer. In a study, rooibos extract was shown to suppress skin cancer in mice, and it has also been linked to decreased risk of metabolic disease.

Just how much tea should you drink? Harvard Health Publication suggests drinking three cups of tea a day to absorb antioxidants and other healthy plant compounds. Steep tea for 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the catechins before taking your first sip. Preparing your own tea offers greater benefits than purchasing tea that comes in a bottle because bottled and instant tea products have reduced amounts of antioxidants.

moringa

My favorite Rooibos tea is Moringa from The Republic of Tea. It’s made from the leaves of what is known as ‘the miracle tree’, infused with green rooibos and a touch of mango. I make this as an iced tea for warm afternoons, or replace my coffee with it in the morning. I can’t seem to keep enough of it in my house as my kids sip it down faster than I can make it.

 Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is not made from a specific plant as traditional teas. Instead they are an infusion of leaves, roots, bark and/or seed extracts brewed in hot water. Herbal teas have medicinal benefits and offer many remedies depending on the type of herbs uses. Some herbal teas include peppermint, dandelion, ginger and camomile.
get active
I like sipping Get Active herbal tea from The Republic of Tea before workouts to give me a little energy boost. Made with holy basil, licorice root and maca root, it’s got a distinct aromatic spice that I love.
Read More
Get the freshest ingredients around

Gear Up for Local Farmers Markets

Get the freshest ingredients around

Get the freshest ingredients around

The weather is warming up and soon farmers markets all over the US will set up shop at local venues. Eating local not only helps sustain your community, but it also helps you put the best food on your table for your budget.

The grower is right at his or her booth and you can ask them how they produce the food that you buy. In addition, you know the food is as fresh as possible since it was likely picked right before it went to market.

When heading out the to farmers market, there are few things you should know before you go. These tips will help you get the most for your money and put the freshest possible ingredients in your pantry.

 

What Season is It?

Different regions have different growing seasons and it’s good to know exactly what grows at what time in your area. Though you can find staples year round at the regular grocer, often times those foods are shipped from different countries and states when they are out of season at your local farms.

This page offers great tips on what grows by region during each season. Follow this guide so you know what’s freshest and most affordable in your area when you shop.

 

 When should I go?

The earlier you arrive to the market the better. The crowds usually roll in an hour or so after the market opens. To get the best parking and to ensure you get the best quality foods, arrive around the time the farmers begin setting up shop.

 

What should I bring?

Bring your own bags to avoid getting overloaded with plastic bags. If you plan to purchase a good amount of produce and other products, you may want to bring a cart to help you haul things around.

In addition, it’s best to bring cash instead of credit cards. Though many farmers markets are set up to take credit cards, individual vendors are not and you pay at a central booth. This can add extra time to your trip.

 

How much should I buy?

Plan to buy in bulk to save the most money. Farmers markets usually offer great deals when you buy large quantities of items all at once. Plus if you buy something that is harvest at peak, then you get the best tasting food—and you can’t pass that up.

Read More
measuring cups

How Many Ounces in a Pint? Kitchen Volume Conversion Aid

I know I learned this stuff as a kid. It’s somewhere deep the wrinkly gray matter stored next to my first grade teacher Mrs. Burgess’s bathroom policy and my mom’s lentil stew recipe. Sometimes I just can’t seem to dig out kitchen volume conversions and I find myself stumped when cooking. How many tablespoons in a cup? How many ounces in a pint? What exactly is several pinches and dashes?

When I saw this kitchen volume conversion chart I got a little tickled inside. Yes, it’s the little things in life that alter my universe. I thought so highly of this and found it so useful that I couldn’t help but share it with you.

 

 

Read More
red and orange carrots

Know Your Roots (Veggies, That Is!)

red and orange carrots

Getting to know your roots

Root vegetables can be found year round at your local grocer and farmer’s market. Roots store best in humid environments or in the freezer, and can be stored in bulk at the right temperature. Loaded with complex carbohydrates, root veggies will keep you fueled during the winter months while providing a great resource of vitamins and minerals.

 

Carrot

A 10-year study in the Netherlands showed vegetables with deep orange/yellow coloring like carrots showed to provide the most protection against cardiovascular disease. In addition, the rich caratenoid profile in carrots helps prevent oxidative damage inside your cells.

 

Roasted Carrot Recipe

 

Beet

Beets are commonly a rich red color, but other varieties include golden, Chioggia, and baby beets.  This root veggie provides a unique phytonutrient called betalains. Studies on betalains shows that it provides antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support.

 

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad Recipe

 

Celeriac

This gnarly little veggie won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s light and pleasant flavor is worth every bite. It works well as a potato substitute if you are on a diet that calls for reduced carbs. Celeriac (celery root) is rich in vitamins C and K, phosphorus, and potassium.

 

Maple Bacon Roasted Apples and Celeriac

 

Rutabaga

Rutabagas remind us of yellow turnips.  Like carrots, rutabagas are loaded with beta-carotene. These bulbous veggies are also a great source of vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, and iron.

 

Mashed Rutabagas Recipe

 

Turnip

Turnips are loaded with potassium, thiamine, vitamin C, and folic acid.  They are a member of the mustard family, and can become unpleasantly hot if you buy them too large or too old. It’s best to purchase turnips that are small, brightly colored, and freshly harvested to get the best flavor profile.

 

Caramelized Turnip Recipe

 

Parsnip

Often the forget cousin of the carrot, these sweet and creamy root veggies make a great addition to your winter and fall plates. Parsnips are a low calorie and carb alternative for white potato, and offer a good source of calcium and potassium.

 

Roasted Parsnip Recipe

 

Radish

Most often seen in summer salads, radish provides a great source of folic acid, vitamin C, and anthocyanins. Some nutrients found in radish have shown to prevent oral, colon, and intestinal cancer.

 

Braised Radish Recipe

 

Don’t Forget Your Greens

You may feel compelled to chop off the greens of your root veggies and toss them aside, but often they offer more nutrition than the actual roots themselves. Beet, turnip, and radish greens provide incredible nutrients and taste great raw or cooking.

 

Southern Turnip Greens with Salt Pork

 Did we miss your favorite root veggie? Share in the comments below!
Read More
guacamole

Guilt-Free Snacks for Your Desk

guacamole

Even if you make an effort to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, the daytime snacking you do at your desk can sabotage your effort to stay healthy. If you’re strapped for time, you may instinctively go for something quick like the vending machine or leftover stale donuts.

When I taught, I made an effort to keep healthy snacks in my desk and always pack my lunch. On days that I was short on time or low on groceries, I found myself wandering the halls on break sniffing out the nearest junkie treat. Our wonderful cafeteria manager who took great care of the staff would always make coffee and cookies after lunch. They lured me in if I didn’t have something healthy close by.

It’s so much easier to say no thanks to sugary treats or office takeout runs if you have the right tools at your side. I put together this list of my favorite snacks to keep at my desk to help push me through the afternoon on busy days.

 

Edamame

Popcorn with almonds

Fruit and cheese

Non-fat Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries

Celery with almond butter

Bell peppers and hummus

Cottage cheese and melon

Sliced turkey and crackers

Bananas with peanut butter

String cheese with apples

Apples with PB dip

Tuna with sliced tomato and cucumber

Grape tomatoes with tzatziki dip

Fruit salad with apples, oranges, grapes, and sunflower seeds

Beef jerky

Unsweetened apple sauce

Rice cakes with cashew butter and jam

No-Mayo deviled eggs

 

Oatmeal with walnuts

Guacamole and homemade veggie chips

 

Next time you head to the store, add some of these high energy, low calorie snack ideas to your list. At the beginning of your workweek, bring enough for each day so that you avoid getting through your afternoon slump but heading for those sugary, high calorie snacks found around the office.

 

What do you keep at your desk to give you a boost of energy midday? Share below!

Read More
vitamins found in food

Quick Guide to Vitamins In Your Diet

The earth provides all the nutrients you need to sustain energy, support growth and development, encourage healthy sleep patterns, and improve vital functions while reducing risk of disease.  A nutrient-dense diet is your best defense against aging and non-communicable disease.

Knowing which food provides you with what nutrient isn’t always so easy to remember. That’s why your best bet is to eat the rainbow– a diet full of colorful produce.

To make sure you are getting enough of all that nature offers, here is a cheat sheet explaining which vitamins are found in certain foods.

 

Source

Read More
holiday weight gain

8 Rules for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

holiday weight gain

Keep those inches off during the holidays with these tricks.

I was a teacher before I was a writer and fitness coach. Each second week of December without fail our teacher planning room was overrun with Christmas cheer.

Parents arrived in flocks with arms loaded, spreading the joy of Christmas with homemade candies, cookies, luncheons, and more goodies. It was 2 weeks of endless treats, and if the teachers weren’t careful those pounds would quickly creep up.

After a week in, I was scared to make photocopies for my class. We stood in line waiting our turn to print tests or reading material. And there sat a tableful of brownies, cakes, cookies, and fudge. It crept closer to our hips, nudging us to not let it all go to waste. Nudging us to let is all go to our waste.

I know teachers aren’t the only professionals who face the dreaded holiday table. Those offices fill up with ‘thank you’ desserts and it’s hard to keep your fingers out of it all.

Add in parties, dinners, and holiday outings. The situation seems bleak for your hips and thighs. Don’t fear that Santa will only bring you stretchy yoga pants this year. You will get those lovely jeans you worked so hard to fit into if you stick to this quick guide on keeping the holiday weight off.

 women running together

Kick Up the Exercise a Notch

My good friend Marianne Kane decided to help keep her on track this holiday season she would walk to and from the gym each session. Adding in a little extra exercise will help keep you balanced.

You won’t have to bypass holiday goodies entirely if you add in some extra cardiovascular exercise to your weekly exercise regimen. A good 30-minute walk each day, sprint intervals in the stationary bike, a quick tabata round 3 times a week. Possibilities are endless and the more you mix it up the less likely you will grow bored from exercise.

 

Get In Those Fruits and Veggies

Strength coach and powerlifter Jordan Syatt recently lost 6 pounds quickly. His secret? Adding more veggies to his diet. That’s it! He didn’t change his workout routine, didn’t add any extra cardio, and didn’t cut down his calories. He filled up on veggies with every meal and the pounds melted away.

Aim for 1 cup of veggies 3-4 times per day and 2 servings of fruit. This will help you feel full, keep your energy up, and reduce the urge to splurge on sugary treats.

 

Set Limits

If you set limitations on how many treats you have, this helps you control exactly what you eat. Knowing you can only have a set amount of treats that week will prevent you from eating just to eat.

Save those treat times for things that you really look forward to during the holidays. Rather than eating a piece of fruitcake just because it’s there, save up that treat for when your neighbor brings by her famous peanut butter fudge. You will be glad you waited and won’t feel guilty since you didn’t give into temptation.

woman eating salad

 

 Eat Before You Go

If you are headed out to a holiday party or event, eat before you get there. Have a nice salad with a source of protein like chicken, eggs, or tofu.  Grab a piece of fruit with some nut butter.

Whatever you do, don’t show up ravenous. If you wait all day to eat at the party, chances are you will overeat on less nutritious foods.

 

Be Choosing with Alcohol

Enjoy couple of alcoholic beverages, but watch those high calorie spirits. Egg nog, Baileys, and other high calorie drinks can add up quickly. Stick with white wine, vodka or gin with soda, or light beer instead.

Talk More, Eat Less

Make a small plate, and then head away from the table into the crowd. I know when I go out to dinner with friends I eat far less because I spend so much time gabbing.  Socializing lets you get into the holiday spirit without loading up on calories.

Avoid the “Just Because” Eating

The grocery store, the gym, the salon… Everywhere you go it seems free holiday food and drinks are offered. Just say ‘no’ to these unplanned snacks and you will feel good about yourself when you get home.

 

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water during the day at at your events to keep you alert and your body hydrated. Often those hunger alarms sound when you are just dehydrated. Rather than reaching for a chocolate truffle when you feel hungry, grab a glass of water with a squeeze of fresh fruit.

Read More
1 2 3 12