Archives for July 2013

The Eight Habits of Ultra-Fit People

The Huffington Post recently came out with a list of the Eight Habits of Insanely Fit People.  I’m not sure that I agree with the list.  Although some of the habits they list are good ones to have, I doubt that they will make you ‘insanely’ fit.  More fit?  Maybe.  Healthier?  Yes. ‘Insanely’ fit?  Probably not.

Here’s the Huff Post List from the article, 8 Habits of Insanely Fit People:

1.  Don’t Count Calories
2.  Find A Way To Enjoy Exercise
3.  Don’t Compare Their Bodies To Other People’s Bodies
4.  Make Fitness A Priority
5.  Eat Breakfast
6.  Find and Appreciate Support
7.  Get Enough Sleep
8. Cheat [on their diets]

The people that I would consider insanely fit might do some or all of these things, but there’s more to being insanely fit than what is on this list.

Tony Horton 2

Tony Horton demonstrating a lunge for Navy recruits.

The Highly Effective Habits of Insanely Fit People

Here’s my list of the eight habits of insanely fit people.

Insanely Fit People . . . . . .

1. Possess A Competitive Spirit – I don’t know a single really fit person that isn’t insanely competitive.  Some claim to only be competing with themselves, but I’m guessing they are competing with those around them as well.  Fit people are highly motivated and their competitive spirit is what drives them.  And most of them don’t have any problem comparing their bodies to other people’s bodies.

2. Have A High Threshold For Pain – I had a conversation with an ultra-runner that routinely does very well in competitive races. Like many ultra-runners he’s had his share of injuries.  I asked him what sets him apart from the other runners that put miles in but never make it to the top of their age bracket.  His answer:  If you’re going to win you have to have a high threshold for pain.  By that, he simply means, that you keep going when everyone else slows down or stops.

3. Make Their Workouts A Top Priority – In the world of wellness coaching and fitness instruction, we hear a lot excuses about missed workouts.  A lot of folks are too busy, too tired, too stressed, etc.  An insanely fit person doesn’t let lack of time, bad weather, a bad day, or being tired get in the way of their workout.  Their workout is a priority and they aren’t afraid to let the people around them know that.

4. Are Strict About Their Diets – Insanely fit people don’t eat foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or preservatives.  They see foods as fuel and are knowledgeable about which ones provide energy and which ones make them sluggish and therefore less competitive.  They make their food choices accordingly.  And some fit people do count calories to make sure they’re getting enough to fuel their workouts.

5. Have An Insanely Fit Mentor – Really fit people are following the tweets and Facebook fan pages of the world-class athletes that they admire.  They are reading their hero’s books, keeping an eye on their competitions, and taking notes when they give advice, all in an attempt to align their own practices with their role models.  Remember the “I Want To Be Like Mike” Gatorade commercial when Michael Jordan was in his heyday? Insanely fit people have a ‘Mike’ that they want to be like too.

6. Get Up When Everyone Else Is Sleeping – Insanely fit people are up before dawn working out, planning their day, and reading the tweets of their mentors. That doesn’t mean that sleep isn’t a priority.  It just means they can’t recite the jokes from last night’s Jimmy Fallon monologue.

7. Don’t Let Failure Shake Them – One thing that I’ve noticed about insanely fit people is that they don’t take failure lightly at all.  In fact failure rocks their world.  But they always bounce back and when they do it’s with a new fierceness that guarantees them that next time they will conquer.

8. Set The Bar Higher – Insanely fit people set the bar higher than the rest of us and then keep moving it up.  When I saw the Huff Post headline about insanely fit people, the person that immediately came to my mind wasn’t mentioned. For me, Tony Horton is insanely fit.  Tony set the bar high in the original P90X workout and introduced an entirely new way of training to the world of fitness .  The follow-up program, P90X2, takes what we saw in the original to the next level.  As insanely fit Jillian would say, “This isn’t your mother’s work out.” Tony Horton isn’t your average fit person.  He’s insanely fit.

Over To You

What do you think of my list? What characteristics do the insanely fit people in your world possess?

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In Year Three We’ll Find The Space Between Stimulus and Response. Together.

Two Years and Counting! And a big Happy Birthday to Put That Cookie Down Now!

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since I first hit ‘Publish’ on my very first article for Put That Cookie Down Now!  Here I am two years and 336 posts later thinking about how it has evolved and exactly where it is going.

At times I’ve considered turning it into a recipe blog, other times I think that I want it to be entirely about goal setting, motivation and personal achievement.  Instead it continues to be a hodge-podge of health and wellness topics, healthy recipes and exercise tips that motivate, enlighten and entertain me.

Let’s Celebrate!

Birthday photo

To celebrate our birthday I wanted to share the highlights from the past two years.  Below are links to the most popular posts just in case you’ve missed them:

Not Epic But Popular

1.  What Happened To Exercise TV – I had no idea that on December 13, 2011 when I got up and selected the Exercise TV app on my iPad to get some ideas for my 5:30 a.m. exercise class, I would be greeted with a notice that says the site had been shut down.   Even more surprising is that the article I wrote in response to that notice has driven the largest number of visits to this site.  Over the past two years thousands of people have asked the Google search bar: What happened to Exercise TV? Those people found their way to my site and that traffic gave my blog the jump-start it needed. I’m forever grateful for that.

2.  Moving Beyond Exercise TV: There Are Plenty of Options – In the What Happened To Exercise TV? post is a link to an article that provides alternatives to Exercise TV which proves that my idea to capitalize on the traffic I was getting from the original Ex TV post worked. Not only did readers click on the ‘plenty of options’ article, their comments provided we with additional ideas that I was able to research and write about.  I wrote two more follow-up posts which continued to increase my site traffic.

3.  Skip the McDonald’s Sweet Tea – In third place is the article I wrote about the high sugar volume of McDonald’s sweet tea.  Looks like not just a few, but thousands, of people are interested in getting a handle on the amount of sugar they are consuming and that’s a good thing.  I’m glad I could be helpful by providing that information.  I hope they’re taking my advice.

4.  Color Block Dresses – This post is one that I wrote in about 30 minutes on a gray, boring Sunday afternoon.  Famous writers that make their living blogging will tell you that the way to site traffic is through ‘epic’ (meaning 800 words or more) posts. Not true.  At least not in this case. I was actually disappointed that this post drew as much traffic as it did and at one point considered taking it down.  I think it’s weak and has no real value.  I wrote it because I was bored. I would never create a post like this now.

5.  Acorn Squash Quick Bread – This is the most popular recipe on my site. I’m fine with that because the bread is really good.  Typically, when I post a recipe my site stats jump the next day.  People are always looking for healthy recipes. I wonder if this site is destined to be solely for healthy recipes? Not yet, but maybe someday.

6.  Ballet Beautiful: The Dance-Inspired Workout Program – This post gave me tons of visitors the day after I posted it.  I’m not a SEO (search engine optimization) guru so I’m not sure why or exactly where they came from, but I’ll take it.  The day after I posted Ballet Beautiful my site saw the highest volume of visitors and it hasn’t had that many since.

7.  Five Reasons Why Drew Manning’s Fit2Fat2Fit Experiment is Flawed – This article was more of an opinion piece, borders on controversial and drew reader engagement.  I don’t happen to think that personal trainer Drew Manning really knows how an overweight or obese person feels even though he purposely gained weight so he could ‘walk in their shoes’.  I think he’s closer to knowing.  I think he thinks he knows.  I don’t think he knows.  So far no one has been able to convince me otherwise.

8.  Raising Your Glass To Longevity – This was the article I wrote about the health benefits of drinking wine.  I love that this article has been one of the most popular because a.) I like wine and b.) I think the picture in the post is one of the best on the site. I bought the bottle of Pinot Evil and set this picture up one sunny afternoon in the breakfast room off of my kitchen.  When I re-visit this post I’m reminded of that beautiful summer day.  Plus, I enjoyed drinking the Pinot Evil. (Notice I set up the champagne glasses for the birthday shot (above) in the same spot?)

Pinot Noir - one of the healthiest wines.

Pinot Evil wins in two categories: Best wine and best picture.

Year Three

So there you have it, the top eight most popular posts on my site.  They are far from my favorites.  My favorites are the ones that I’ve spent hours researching and writing that attempt to help people find their healthy tipping point. Two of my favorites are Changing Behavior By Taking The Smallest Possible Step and What You Can Learn From Chris Cardell, J.D. Meier and Pink.

In year three, my goal is to focus more of my writing on behavior change and less on color-block dresses. Of course, I’ll always feel the need to enlighten you about the sugar content in various food and drinks, help you find free workouts on the web, and warn you about the ridiculous diet fads that Dr. Oz is promoting.

But beyond that I want to you to take your life off of auto-pilot and find that space between stimulus and response where you’re living in the moment, embracing optimism, practicing gratitude, and kicking your goals in the you-know-what!

I hope you’ll follow me on the journey by subscribing or following me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. There’s a lot of work to do in the year that’s ahead.  Let’s do it together.  Invite your friends to come with us.

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Why You Should Forget About Motivation and Focus On Discipline

“The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passion.”  Stephen Covey

If you can’t get out of bed to work out, say no to the pizza that’s been brought in for a lunch meeting, or summons the inspiration to add an extra mile to your routine run, blaming it on a lack of motivation may be part of your problem.  What you may lack is discipline.

I realize that may sound harsh, but unfortunately, it’s true.

Stream

“In the confrontation between the rock and the stream, the stream always wins. Not through strength, but through perserverence.” — Buddah

Motivation and Discipline: What’s The Difference?

Motivation:  1. The act or process of motivating.  B: The condition of being motivated.  C: A motivating force, stimulus, or influence

Discipline:  1. Control gained by enforcing obedience or order.  2. Orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.  3. Self-control.

When you look at the definitions the difference is pretty clear.  Motivation is something that you wait for to happen as though it’s beyond your control.  It’s elusive.  Sometimes you have it.  Sometimes you don’t.  If you don’t have it you wait for it to arrive.

Self-discipline is the trait of being well behaved.  It means you have willpower, determination, drive.  It doesn’t depend on either an internal or external force to come along to spring you into action.

Motivation is what I wait for when I have a project to do at home that I’m dreading.  Cleaning the large walk-in closet that is a catch-all for holiday decorations, clothes that need to be donated to the Salvation Army, old tennis shoes that someday I could wear to paint in, and old purses that my daughter gave me that I can’t bear to part with, falls into that category.

I never tell myself that next Saturday I’m going to clean out the closet.  I wait for the day to come when I get up on a Saturday morning and know that this is the day.  This is the day that I will clean out that closet.

And that day does come.  But, by the time it does  the closet is a complete disaster, my task is doubly difficult, it takes me twice as long to clean it out, and I end up wishing I hadn’t put it off.

Recognizing the difference between motivation and discipline is the first step in making all of the things we want to accomplish happen.  If you’re waiting for the mood to hit you or someone else to give you a push, precious time is being lost.  The longer you put off tackling your goals the harder it will be.  The junk is piling up in the closet and if you wait too long the task will be so overwhelming you’ll postpone it indefinitely.

For that matter, what if the motivation you’re relying so heavily on never comes?

Get Out Your Clubs

“You can’t wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club.”  — Jack London

Many people either wait for their internal motivational mechanism to kick in or they depend on someone else to inspire them.  In reality, you’re better off getting your club out and going after your inspiration.  That may be easier said than done, but there are ways you can acquire the self-discipline you need.

The good news is, if you’ve read this far, you’ve completed the first step which is recognizing the difference between the two.  The second step is making sure your action plan is based on no longer relying solely on motivation, rather acquiring self-discipline around a specific goal or goals. It’s a paradigm shift that may take time and energy, but will be worth it once you’ve mastered it.

To get started, each week write down the goal that you want to work on and recognize that it may be a challenge.  Let’s say you’ve decided you’re going to go to the gym and work out before you start your day. I’m using this as an example because I know from experience it is one of the hardest things for people to do.

Figure out how many days you are going to go, what time you are going, and how long you plan to be there. Write down the details.  At the end of each week honestly evaluate how you did. Continue to do this every week until you are no longer thinking of reasons not to get up when the alarm goes off.

Remember, there may be mornings when you feel no motivation to go.  It doesn’t matter.  Go anyway. Stay accountable to yourself.  Using the excuse “I’m just not motivated” no longer counts when you’re pursing self-discipline.

When you push yourself to complete a goal – even when you don’t want to you – you move closer to establishing a long-term habit.  You’re on your way to achieving the pattern of behavior you so desire.

Be the stream.

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Cucumber Radish Salad

Last week I posted the Hungarian Cucumber Salad recipe.  Yesterday I made a cucumber radish salad my family liked even better so I wanted to share in case anyone has cucs coming out of their ears like we do.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Cucumber Radish Salad 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large garden cucumbers, peeled
  • 6 large radishes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup sweet white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Crushed Pepper

Directions:

  • Peel the cucumbers and cut them into cubes.
  • Put them in a large bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt.  Stir to evenly coat.
  • Let the cucumbers sit for 10 minutes, then drain in a colander.
  • While the cucumbers drain, chop the radishes and onions.
  • Mix the olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  • Put the cucumbers, radishes and onions back in the large bowl.
  • Pour the olive oil mixture over them and stir.
  • Top with coarsely ground black pepper and fresh chopped parsley.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Do you have a favorite cucumber recipe?

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A Ten Minute HIIT Workout You Can Do At Home.

Tabata and HIIT workouts are here to stay.  Both workouts are based on a brief period of intense exercise followed by an exercise of lower intensity or a rest period.

In the case of HIIT training, the participant does about one minute of a high-intensity cardio exercise, followed by a lower intensity exercise that can be either cardio or strength based.  My favorite form of HIIT training is to do a high intensity cardio exercise (burpees, mountain climbers, power air jacks) followed by a strength training exercise that uses multiple muscle groups (clean and press, split squats with bicep curls, lateral lunges with lateral shoulder raise).  It’s a good way to get a full-body workout in a short amount of time.

HIIT

Below is a HIIT workout that you can do at home with minimal equipment.  To get the most benefit from the workout you’ll need a set of dumbbells in the five to 10 pound range.

Ten Minute HIIT Workout

Before you begin, do a warm up for about three minutes.  Walk or march in place, or back and forth across the room, while doing arm swings and circles.

Then, complete all of the exercises in the following circuit for one minute.

*Note – the cardio exercises are intense, but they only last one minute.  If they seem hard at first, just know that they will get easier each time you do them.

Cardio One – Mountain Climbers – from a plank position with both hands and toes on the floor, quickly exchange your feet as though you’re running place on your hands for one minute.  If you can’t do a full minute when you start, no worries.  Take a little break and start again when you’re ready.

Mountain Climbers

 

Strength One – Clean and Press  – With a dumbbell in each hand, squat making sure you push your hips behind your knees.  As you come up from the squat, do a bicep curl with both arms. When you’re back in the standing position, push both arms overhead and do a shoulder press. Return to the squat position and repeat.

(This picture shows doing the clean and press with a kettle ball.  If you have a kettle ball and want to use it, that works. A dumbbell works as well.)

Clean and press

Cardio Two – Plank Jacks – from a plank position with both hands and toes on the floor, do a jumping jack with your feet (hands stay in place) as quickly as you can for one minutes.  As with the mountain climbers, do as many as you can at first, rest, then start jumping again.

Plank Jacks

Strength Two – Stepping Lunge with Bicep Curl – with a dumbbell in each hand alternate stepping feet out to a lunge position while arms do a bicep curl.

Stepping Lunge

Cardio Three – Burpees – you probably remember these from P.E. class in grade school.  Start in a standing position with both arms overhead. Drop both hands to the floor and jump feet back so you’re in a plank position. Jump feet back up to hands and return to starting position.

Burpee

 

Strength Three – Lateral Lunch with Shoulder Press – With a dumbbell in each hand, step right leg out to a lateral lunge. As you come back to center, push opposite arm overhead to do a shoulder press. Repeat on left and continue to alternate for one minute.

Lateral Lunge

Cardio  Four- Power Air JacksA basic jumping jack where you get as far off of the ground as you can.  Put some air between your feet and the floor. Add intensity by making big arm circles.

Jumping Jacks

Strength Four – Push Ups – These can be done on your toes or knees.  The goal is to get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Try to keep working for one minute.

Push up

Cardio Five – Football Runs – With feet shoulder width apart, run in place moving your feet as fast as you can.  You can add variety to these by moving forward and back, and side to side, or run with feet wide then close together.

Football Run

Strength Five – Plank – The plank uses nearly every muscle in the body.  Hold the plank for one minute. Make sure you keep your core tight and your hips level with your shoulders and heels. No buns in the air, please.

Elbow Plan

Cool Down – The cool down is similar to the warm up.  Walk around or march in place with arm circles or shoulder rolls until your heart rate comes back down.

HIIT Training Burns Fat and Calories in A Little Bit of Time

Research on HIIT training shows, when done on a regular basis, it is effective in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, lowers insulin resistance and improves glucose tolerance which helps prevent type-II diabetes.   HIIT workouts are also good calorie and fat burners and are a great ‘no excuses’ workout because they can be accomplished in as little as ten minutes a day anywhere with little or no equipment.

Let’s HIIT it!!

Images were embedded from Pinterest.  Click on picture to see source. 

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Your Brain on Pot, Icky Egg Whites, and A Summer Drink Quiz. It’s Friday. I’m In [Link] Love.

It’s Friday.  My favorite day of the week and I have links to share.  Everything from a virtual running club you can join to a quiz where you can test your knowledge of the calories in some of your favorite summer drinks.

It’s Friday.  I’m in [Link] Love!

Link-Love2

Fitness Friday Presents The Numbers Game – Are you obsessed with numbers like how many calories you’ve burned, how much weight you can bench press, and how fast the mile was that you just ran?  The big question is how does knowing all of that affect your overall performance? Jesse Holland has some good advice for number crunchers.  Read the full story here.

Need Running Motivation? Join the Rise and Run Virtual Running Club – The Rise and Run Club is for anyone who is committed to running first thing in the morning before the rest of the day begins.  If you like to run early, but could use some support, click here to join the Rise and Run Virtual Running Club.

Highest Calorie Summer Drinks from Your Favorite Spots – If you find refreshing summer drinks irresistible, take this quiz to find out where your favorites come in calorie-wise. Warning: You may be looking for some alternatives. Find your drink here.

Walk Away Vs. Walk It Off: Exercise Cost – Once you’ve taken the summer drinks calorie quiz you can find out how long you’ll have to exercise to work off the extra calories you consumed in your selection.  One nutritionist thinks if you know what you’re in for you’ll make better choices. The full article is here.

Study Shocker: Potheads May Not Be Motivated to Work – This doesn’t come as a shock to me but it has been getting a lot of media attention so I thought I would share.  Apparently pot smoking does a number on the dopamine centers of our brains and the chillaxin’ mood that takes over when we smoke may be long term. Details here.

6 Weight Loss Myths Debunked – There is a ton of information to wade through when it comes to effective weight loss strategies.  Here you’ll find six weight loss tactics that turn out to be myths.

What’s In Your Egg White Sandwich Might Scare You – The egg whites found in some food chain’s ‘healthy’ breakfast entrees have more ingredients than when they came out of the chicken.  Sometimes 15 more.  That IS scary!  Click here for the full story.

Study: Diet Soda Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight – At one time we believed that if we cut sugar-loaded soda out of our diet and the drank version diet instead it was a guarantee that we would shed pounds.  Not true says a recent study from Purdue University.  Read about this weight loss myth in detail here.

Developers Creating Apps To Treat Mental Health Issues – A Dorchester woman has created a simple, free Web game called “Depression Quest” that seeks to help people with depression and anxiety.  The game shows helpful options for dealing with depression.  It isn’t intended to replace professional treatment but rather to provide an additional layer of support. Check out the story here.

I hope you love the links too.  Happy Friday!

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Chia Plus Emergen-C Is Vitamin Infused Hydration

Do you have days when you’re just dog-tired?  Boy I do.  Especially in the summer after I’ve put in a few miles on the pavement or in the gym.  By the time I get to work I know my challenge is going to be staying focused, on-task and motivated.

I’ve noticed that some runners have been showing up to races with a sports drink – or even plain water – with Chia seeds in them.  I wonder if there’s any science behind this new fad of hydrating with a drink full of chia to improve sports performance?

It turns out there is. Kind of.

Emergen-C + Chia = Hydration

Emergen-C + Chia = Hydration

A study cited by the National Institute of Health compared athlete’s performance using two different high dietary carbohydrate (CHO) treatments.  One treatment consisted of CHO-loading with 100% of the calories coming from Gatorade.  In the second treatment, 50% of the calories came from chia seeds and 50% from Gatorade.   While the results of the study did not prove enhanced performance from adding the seeds, it did show that athletes did just as well with the second treatment and using the seeds allowed them to reduce their sugar consumption by 50% which means fewer calories and more nutrition.

Wayne Coates, ultra runner and author of the book called Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood, says that chia has long been known as runner’s food and was one of the main ingredients that the Aztec warriors used for fuel.

Coates says “The Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyon in Mexico have been known as the “running Indians” and they have used [chia] for years. The Aztec warriors used to carry it on their campaigns.  It is said that that’s really what they ate; it gave them sustained energy.”

Plus, because of their high fiber content, chia seeds really take on water so not only are they are effective for nutritional hydration, they fill you up.

Chia Seeds + Emergen-C = Healthy Hydration

What about Chia seeds with Emergen-C?  Emergen-C is already one of my favorite drink mixes that always helps me get out of a low-energy slump.  Each mix has 1,000 mg of Vitamin C which has been shown to increase metabolism and boost energy.  It also has a hefty supply of B Vitamins:  Vitamin B6 – 500% DVM, Vitamin B12 – 417% DVM. There are also several other  nutrients including potassium, thiamin, niacin, and folic acid.

Today I’ve mixed a little more than a teaspoon of chia seeds into my Emergen-C beverage (photo above).  If I cut up a lemon and add it to the concotion I’ll have the perfect drink.

Anyway, I’ll let you know if it helps me get through the day.

I think I feel better already.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipe

At this time of year you can find big, beautiful Portobello mushrooms at the market.  I found a recipe for stuffed Portobello mushrooms and made them over the weekend.  They were wonderful.

Portabello mushrooms

The recipe is from Epicurious.com.  There are numerous stuffed Portobello mushroom recipes on the web but this one was different because it called for marinating the mushrooms before you fill and cook them.

It wasn’t until I had my mushrooms sitting in the marinade that I began to read the comments at Epicurious and found that many people that had tried the recipe thought the marinade was too strong.  Fortunately I had cut the marinade recipe in half since I only had four mushrooms.

After only an hour I took them out of the marinade and let them drain in a colander while I prepared the filling.  I think this may have helped reduce the flavor so mine didn’t get the fully marinated effect. They were really good and not overbearing at all.

Also, I used fresh spinach in place of frozen.  Fresh spinach is always my first choice because there is so much extra water with frozen. I find it makes dishes like this one or quiches, for example, too soggy.

The fresh, organic baby spinach by Earthbound Farm is a good choice.  It has good texture and flavor and isn’t pricey.

Organic Spinach

Ingredients:

Marinated mushrooms  (This is using half of what the original recipe called for.  You may need to adjust depending on how many mushrooms you’re using.)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms

Filling:

  • 5-ounce fresh spinach  (check quantity on this one)
  • 3/4 pound button mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 5-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Stuffed Mushroom Ingredients

Preparation

Directions For Marinated Mushrooms:

  • Whisk first 6 ingredients together in medium bowl for marinade.
  • Cut stems from mushrooms and place stems in processor.
  • Arrange mushrooms, gill side up, in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish.
  • Pour marinade over mushrooms and marinate 4 hours, turning to coat occasionally.

*I didn’t leave the mushrooms in the marinade nearly that long.  Mine were in the sauce about an hour.  I turned them every 15 minutes.

Directions For Filling:

(*note – the filling can be made up to two hours ahead.)

  • Separately, coarsely grind fresh spinach in a food processor and set aside in a medium bowl
  • Do the same with the button mushrooms
  • Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add onion; sauté until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and stir 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped mushrooms
  • Sprinkle with salt, and increase heat to high.
  • Cook until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
  • Season mushroom mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to large bowl
  • Cool to room temperature.
  • Add spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and breadcrumbs to cooled mushroom mixture
  • Toss to distribute evenly.
  • Add goat cheese and toss gently to distribute evenly.
  • Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover filling and let stand at room temperature.

Pan with ingredients

Preparing The Mushrooms

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Transfer marinated mushrooms to rimmed baking sheet, gill side down.
  • Roast until beginning to soften, about 15 minutes.
  • Turn mushrooms over.
  • Divide filling among mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over and bake until heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Portobello mushroom w salad

The stuffed mushrooms were delicious.  I used them as a main course with a salad but they could easily be a side dish.

They re-heat well in the microwave.  I took the one left over for my lunch the next day which gave me a fuss-free, healthy low-calorie brown-bag.

Brown Bag Lunch

 

Do you have a favorite Portobello Mushroom recipe?

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Compressed Morbidity Isn’t As Morbid As The Alternative

The good news: Americans are living longer. The bad news: Americans are spending more of their lives in poor health.

A latest results by the Global Burden of Disease Study show that the United States has seen a dramatic shift in the last 20 years from illnesses that cut life short to chronic health problems that lead to longer-term disability.

While Americans are living longer on average, they aren’t necessarily living those years in good health.  Many are living with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and, fatty liver disease.  Americans aren’t suffering from conditions that will kill them (right away), just strip them of their quality of life sometimes for ten to 20 years.

Doctor

By adopting a couple healthy behaviors you’ll improve your chances of not having to see this guy quite as often.

Too Much of One Thing; Not Enough of Another

It’s not a big surprise that the trend in living longer in an unhealthy state is attributed to lifestyle with the biggest problem being poor eating habits. The American diet continues to be too low in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seed, and too high in sodium, processed meats and trans-fatty acids.

Second and third on the list of problematic lifestyle habits are smoking and a lack of physical activity. Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine, says “If we want to be healthier, we have to change the way many of us live. Twenty percent of adults in the U.S. still smoke cigarettes. A growing number of adults are overweight or obese.”

“We need to get more exercise on average than we do, and we need to stop doing foolish things like driving after we’ve been drinking alcohol or drinking in excess.”

If Dr. Fineberg is right, and I have every reason to believe he is, there is a relatively short list of things we have to do to improve the quality of our lives:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Get more physical activity
  • Don’t start smoking, and if you do smoke, quit.

You Can Choose To Live A Long AND Healthy Life

Recently I had the opportunity to view a presentation by Dr. David Hunnicutt, CEO of the Wellness Council of America, who was a keynote speaker at a recent Keenan conference. Dr. Hunnicutt addressed the very same issues that are validated in the Global Burden of Disease Study.  We may be living longer, but we’re certainly not living better.

In his presentation David addressed the concept of Compression of Morbidity which is a hypothesis that was confirmed by a 1998 study by the University of Pennsylvania that shows that with proper nutrition and physical activity the burden of lifetime illness may be compressed into a short period of time right before death.

Compression of Morbidity is what everyone dreams of. It’s a long life void of chronic illness and disease where you have one ‘event’ later in life that leads to your death. It’s the opposite of the numerous years of disease management that many Americans are now experiencing. Instead of a long life where you linger in the midst of chronic disease, you have a long healthy life that ends somewhat abruptly from a natural cause.

According to Dr. Hunnicutt the dream of a compressed morbidity is within our reach and we only have to do a couple of things to achieve it. Not surprising, they just happen to be the same things Dr. Fineberg mentioned.  We need to improve our diet by eating more whole foods and we need to get 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity every day. Nowhere does either expert say you have to go on a restrictive diet, join a gym, or qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Being healthy is a choice.  By choosing to walk 30 to 40 minutes a day and filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins and unprocessed grains you’re writing your own prescription for a long and healthy life. There’s nothing morbid about that!

 “By walking 30 to 45 minutes on most  preferably all – days of the week, you will delay the onset of disability by 10 to 12 years.”  Dr. Steven Aldana

“By walking 30 to 45 minutes on most preferably all – days of the week, you will delay the onset of disability by 10 to 12 years.” Dr. Steven Aldana

Lead The Way

Workplace wellness programs and challenges is one of the best ways to encourage your friends and co-workers to establish healthier habits. A walking program, No Fast Food Challenge and Sit for 60 Move For Three campaign are fun and promote employee wellness. Find a few of your co-workers that are interested in creating a healthier working environment and work with them to create some simple, yet effective initiatives for your organization.

What are some of the things you’re doing to model healthy behaviors for your friends, family and co-workers?

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Never Let Your Fear Grow Bigger Than Your Faith

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

The Word Faith

Flickr photo by Hamed Al-Raisi

Faith.

If you roll the word over your tongue a few times you begin to realize how powerful of a word it is. Most of us have faith in something.

Many people have faith in a higher power or religious doctrine.

Prayer

Dogs have faith in their owners.

Man's Best Friend

Flickr photo by Beverly and Park

Children have faith in their parents.

Mother Holding Child's Hand

Wives in their husbands. Husbands in their wives.

Still holding hands

Flickr photo by Brian

Having faith in others or a deity is good, but the person you need to have unwavering faith in is you. Only when you have faith in yourself will you be able to reach your goals.

Practicing faith is different than being a positive thinker.  It is deeper.  Having self-faith means that you make choices and base decisions on your own knowledge and your intuition and you don’t second guess that decision if someone else expresses doubt.

It’s having a deep seated belief that things will work out.

Faith

Flickr photo by Deehpak Ra

What does having faith in your own abilities have to do with living a healthy life?

Everything.

Developing the faith necessary to achieve the success you’re looking for in life starts with awareness that can be found in daily affirmations.

Do you have faith?  If you’re looking to develop faith in your own abilities, some daily affirmations may help. I’ve started a Pinterest board called ‘Faith’.

Faith & Fears

Follow me on Pinterest to receive daily affirmations that will help you reach your health and fitness goals.

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