Protein-Packed Green Smoothie With Banana And Almond Butter

Smoothies are a great, easy way to get in lots of nutrients while on the go. This is one of my favorites! Here’s to a healthy 2017!

Recipe courtesy of JustRecipes Facebook Page

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 cups frozen spinach
2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 banana
3 tablespoons natural almond butter
2 scoops of your favorite vanilla protein powder
1 cup water (or a little less if you like thicker smoothies)
2 teaspoons flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions

Combine everything in a blender.

Blend on high speed until everything is blended together. (This might take a little longer than usual because of the dates.)

Pour into two glasses, or two mason jars if you’re sipping on the go, and enjoy!

Why Diets DON’T Work…Advice for the New Year

It’s almost New Year’s Eve…time to get those resolutions in line. One of the most popular resolutions that people make every year is to lose weight. Most of those people start the year on some crazy, incredibly restrictive diet and exercise regiment that is not feasible to maintain long-term. While you may achieve temporary short term results with a diet, you will not see long term results unless you are able to commit to a long-term lifestyle change.

When determining if a program is right for you, you need to look at is as something you can commit to long term. Will you be able to live the rest of your life eating nothing but cottage cheese and grapefruit? Will you be able to commit to going to the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours at a time? For the rest of your life??? If the answer is no, then the program is not the right fit for you. Overly restrictive diets eventually lead to the feeling of deprivation which leads to a feeling of overwhelm, and that is when the tables turn. You will likely go on a binge that will cause you not only to gain back everything you have lost, but in fact, gain even more.

To achieve long term, sustainable success, your program needs to be something that you consider a realistic lifestyle change. By changing your mindset and habits with smaller, more manageable goals, you can set yourself up for success. Your nutrition and diet plan should create a healthy balance between clean living with some wiggle room for indulgence on occasion. There are many diet and exercise plans in the market, and different plans will work effectively for different people long term. Before committing to a program in 2016, do your research and determine if the program you are considering is really a good fit for you as a long-term lifestyle change.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Stiff Ankles Might be Keeping you from Working Out to your Full Potential

By Rachel Song

The ankle is an often overlooked ligament that is actually crucial in utilizing the full strength of your legs, hips, and glutes and maintaining a healthy posture & gait.  Stiff ankles inhibit full fitness potential by restricting your movements and may even cause pain in the heels, calves, shins, knees, hips, and lower back as surrounding muscles compensate for the lack of mobility in your ankles.

Before you scramble to start ankle stretches & exercises, take a moment to assess yourself and make sure there’s an issue to address.

Here are 3 ways to test your ankles:

  • Perform a basic squat, feet hip width apart with a neutral spine. You should be able to get your thighs parallel to the floor without lifting your heels.
  • Stand up straight with your feet together. Lift the balls of your feet from the ground without moving the rest of your body.

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  • Get into the hip flexor stretch stance with one knee on the ground, the other knee up with the foot directly below it, upper body held straight up above the hips (see above image). You will be testing the ankle of the foot in front of your  body.  Face a wall with your knee at a distance about 5 inches from it.  The closer you can get your knee to the wall without lifting your heel, the better your ankle mobility.  Ideally, you should be able to touch your knee to the wall without lifting your heel.

If any of the above tasks are difficult, you may want to include the exercises below in your daily fitness routine to increase your ankle mobility:

  • Massage calf and foot muscles: Using a hard, round ball, roll the bottom of your foot from side to side and top to bottom several times, applying firm but not painful pressure. Do the same for your calves using a foam roller or similar item like a rolling pin. This exercise will help relax connective tissues that may be playing a role in your tight ankles.

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  • Heel raises: Stand with your forefoot slightly lifted (about 2 inches) on any workable object. Bend your knees while keeping your upper body straight with a neutral spine and heels completely on the ground.  Stand up straight. Repeat for about 5 minutes a day.
  • Half-kneeling ankle flex: Get into the same hip flexor stretch position from the ankle assessment exercise above. Stretch your ankle by pushing your knee forward, getting it past your toes if possible. Stay in position for 1-2 seconds before returning to the starting pose. Remember to keep your upper body straight with a neutral spine. Repeat motion 10-15 times.

In conjunction with these exercises, it’s important to wear proper footwear when exercising.  Correct support & cushioning can make a huge difference in your posture and stability, allowing you to prolong the health of your joints and muscles for lasting fitness & health!

Healthy Snacks…A Quick List

As the weather starts to cool down, many of us go into “hibernation” mode and start seeking out extra snacks throughout the day. It’s easier to sit inside and curl up with a snack than it is the brave the cold outside. I put together a list of some healthier snack alternatives that will help you stay on track this fall. Enjoy!

Crunchy

·       apples

·       frozen grapes

·       rice cakes

·       light popcorn or plain popcorn: use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan

·       one or two hard pretzels, the large Bavarian variety

·       carrots: particularly the super-sweet, organic baby carrots

·       crunchy crudités of veggies and dip (hummus, tabouli, vinaigrette, favorite dressing)

·       celery and peanut butter (use non-hydrogenated peanut butter)

·       hummus with whole grain toast, baby carrots, rice crackers

·       nuts

 

Sweet

·       wheatgrass

·       fresh, whole fruit

·       organic yogurt and ripe fruit

·       apples and almond butter

·       sprouted date bread with jam

·       frozen yogurt: freeze yogurt and make your own!

·       dried fruit

·       use leftover grains to make sweet porridge: drizzle maple syrup and sprinkle cinnamon, add soymilk and bananas, heat with fruit juice, etc.

·       smoothies: mix whatever you have in the kitchen – fruit, ice, soymilk, yogurt, carob powder, etc.

·       fruit “ice cream”: peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins and serve; can be put through the screen of a juicer for a creamier consistency.

·       freshly squeezed fruit juices: Make your own and try different combos.

·       sweet vegetables: yams, sweet potatoes, squashes (acorn, butternut, kabocha) cut into chunks or fries; sprinkle with cinnamon and bake.

·       dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter

·       organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips

 

 

 

Salty

·       olives

·       pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets and lotus root

·       tabouli, hummus

·       oysters and sardines

·       steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar

·       tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole: try whole grain chips such as “Garden of Eatin” brand and freshly made salsa or guacamole.

·       sauerkraut: it will also knock your sweet craving right out!

·       fresh lime or lemon juice as seasonings or in beverage

·       salted edamame

·       small amount of organic cheese

 

 

 

Creamy

·     smoothies

·       yogurt

·       avocados

·       rice pudding

·       dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush

·       puréed soups

·       puddings made with silken tofu, avocado or mashed banana

·       mashed sweet potatoes

·       coconut milk

Why Diets Fail Us…

Diet is truly a 4 letter word. Americans spend so much time, money and effort on crazy fad diets, only to wind up frustrated, defeated and even heavier than when they started.

Why is it that diets are so popular when everyone knows that you end up gaining back all that you lost if not more once you stop your overly restrictive diet plan? In my opinion, people WANT to be healthy, but they don’t know the means in which to achieve good health. There is very little education about nutrition and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in this country. Even the food pyramid created by the US government is corrupted.

People are open to trying these crazy fad diets because they so desperately want to find something that will work. The truth is, until you can educate yourself about what truly healthy eating is, and change your relationship with food, you will continuously find yourself in the yo-yo diet phase. To permanently transform your health and your body, you have to commit to a lifestyle that is manageable for you long term. If you are doing a diet that is overly restrictive, and you are clenching your jaws with frustration every day, how will you realistically maintain your results in the long term? You won’t. Your relationship with food has to change for you to have long lasting results.

You have to stop looking at food as a reward, and start thinking of it as a source of nourishment for your body. Before you eat something, ask yourself, how will this food make me feel when I put it in my body? Will I feel bloated, sluggish, guilty or miserable? If so, put it down and make a better choice. Making one better choice each day can add to a total health transformation. Can you commit to changing just ONE thing a day? Instead of that morning donut tomorrow, try a healthy smoothie instead. You can do it! You deserve to live in a body that feels amazing every day. Just one small step at a time will get you there…

 

Get That Natural Glow…Scrub Your Skin

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It’s important to take good care of your skin, keeping it exfoliated, moisturized and protected. People ask me all the time how I get my skin to glow from within.

First of all, I drink A TON of water, about a gallon a day. Keeping my body hydrated helps keep the elasticity in my skin. Dehydrated skin will appear, rough, wrinkled and saggy. Properly hydrated skin appears dewy, plump and smooth.

Homemade skin scrub is another secret weapon in my “glow” arsenal. For pennies, you can make a very effective body scrub with staples you probably already have in your pantry. My favorite, simple recipe is to mix 1 cup sugar (born or white) with 1/2 cup of olive or coconut oil. Then I add in 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to give it a nice aroma and help relax me. I simply scrub my skin (body and face) every other day before I shower to keep it exfoliated and glowing.

As the weather heats up, more of your skin will be showing. Regular exfoliation with a scrub will help keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Be sure to take good care of your body and it will be good to you!