April WINGS!

Hey yall!

How did March’s leg challenge go? 90-60-30 were you able to improve your counts?

This month is April – you know, Aries birthdays, spring showers and the start of maxi-dress & umbrella season! (*we hope… North American East coast posse, y’all hear my PLEA!!)

The challenge for the month is all about the WINGS – that’s ARMS – and, like last month’s challenge, it is very simple, in theory, but is all about challenging yourself.

1. Push-Ups > See how many you can do in a 1-up/1-down cadence, in 60seonds & record.

2. 15-60 seconds wide-arm plank > Those of you with a strong core & upper body can do it on out stretched arms; those who are at a more beginner level, do it on your forearms.

3. Dips > See how many you can do in a 1-up/1-down cadence, in 60seconds & record.

4. 15-60 seconds inverted plank hold (*chest up) > again, depending on your upper body strength, you can do it on your hands (arms, extended) or on your forearms

5. 30 seconds reverse arm mini-circles; 30 seconds forward mini-circles

6. 15-60 seconds pike-plank hold > Those of you with a strong upper body can do it with elevated legs; those who are at a more beginner level, do it with your feet on the ground.

The challenge, since I called it one, is to
A) complete the mini-circuit (*with as little rest as possible between moves);
B) improve your push-up and dip counts (*in the minute time);
and lastly
C) challenge yourself to increase the time of your plank (*from closer to 15 seconds, to the full minute)

Enjoy it guys! And keep me posted on the progress!!

xo – Mia

Checking IN – Legs challenge

Ladies & Gents,

How goes the 90-60-30 legs challenge?

Are you beating your past days’ numbers? I know on my leg lift days, I was NOT! *cramping* But I have steadily been holding around 85-95 air squats, 26-28 1,2Lunges, and about 20-25 tuck jumps (*the land & spring, power building!!)

Don’t give up and don’t think you only have to do it ONCE! If you’re less concerned about how many, and focus on the WHY you can do this loop 3-5x and get a KILLER leg pump HIIT style! taking a minute rest between cycles.

Keep it up!

Meatless Monday

Hello Happy Healthy people (*and g’day to the rest of y’all too!)

Today, as it is an “overlap” between National Nutrition Month, and the every-week marker of “Meatless Monday”, I thought I would give you guys one of my fave Vegan/Veggie go-to meals, I got it from my sis, Alex (*see her blog here: http://imalittle.com) & I just tweaked it a bit for my taste & waist!

White Beans & Kale, with Chili Flakes
Sounds simple enough, but it’s creamy, filling, with just a hint, or a haymaker (depending on your tastebuds), of heat.  Not to mention it’s chock-full o’Vitamins, nutrients fibre and some protein and with delicious flavor.

What you Need:

  • Large Sautée Pan
  • 1/2 Large white onion
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 – 2TB red chilli flakes
  • 1 (full) TB Coconut Oil (~ if liquid/melted, or you would rather EVOO use 2 TB)
  • 1-3 TB additional Oil (*set aside)
  • 1 Can of White Beans – drained & rinsed (*you want to add your OWN salt)
  • 2-4 cups of Fresh Kale (*I used purple Kale in the, rough chopped (*think bite sized ribbons)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Optional: Nutmeg, Thyme, PineNuts, Lemon Juice – all add different nuances to the dish, but aren’t “Needed”

IMG_3744

What you Need to DO:

  • Warm your oil over medium heat
  • Add Onion & when mostly softened, add garlic until both translucent (3-4mins)
  • Add in the rinsed Beans, and Salt, Pepper, Chili flakes, and drizzle in a little of the additional oil
  • As beans soften, stir and smush the beans, until they are to your desired consistency; adding in a little oil if you notice they’re drying up
    (~ I like it creamy, so it takes a little longer for me)
  • When the beans are to your desired softness, add in the Kale
    (~ start with 2cup, and add more if you like – 3cups is about a 60/40 beans/kale ratio)
  • IF using the optional dry ingredients, add them now
  • Season with additional salt, pepper & chili, and let it wilt down (5-7 mins)
  • IF adding lemon juice, squeeze over the kale & beans after plating.

IMG_3745

IMG_3735

 

Swaps:

  • No Kale? – Try Spinach or Chards
  • No White Beans? – Try Garbonzo (*chickpeas)
  • No Coconut Oil? – Use EVOO!
  • Not into Heat? – Use Rosemary, and add Nutmeg & Thyme
  • Need some Crunch? – Add the pinenuts, or Walnuts, hazelnuts
  • Not into Meatless? – Add Tuna, like I do OR try lean Chicken, Turkey or Pork

It is SO easy, yet SO satisfying! For the days which AREN’T “Meatless”, when I take it off the heat, I will toss in a can of low sodium Tonna al Olio (*Tuna Steak, packed in pure EVOO, no added salt) and a squeeze of Lemon – Italian style!
*Cosi Buono!*

IMG_3739

Buon Apetito!

xo – Mia

ps – THIS dish, is ESPECIALLY Great for Women (*dudes, CHILL) See why HERE

FYI

As my GF would say “and just For Your FYI…”

Here is WebMD’s list of SuperFoods
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs

Just as an aside:
I am, for my own reasons, wary of Soy and IF I am eating it, I make sure it is only Non-GMO sources. Also, being mildly gluten sensitive, I consume ONLY Gluten-Free Oats (*yes, they exist, I use the RedMills brand, but others are available) and I stick to only fat-free, plain Greek Yogurt, or Phage.

To that list I would like to add:
Pomegranate, Cranberry, Raspberries, Spices (esp: Cinnamon, Ginger, Tumeric, Cumin, capsaisin), Garlic, and Broaden Walnuts to “Oil-rich Nuts”, Broaden Spinach to “Dark Leafy Greens” and of course, no list is complete without Avocado.

That said… it would make the list MUCH longer.

🙂

International Women’s Day

Hey Yall,

Today’s post is for the LADIES!! *Don’t worry guys, it’s nothing scary!*

For busy women of all ages, a major concern is getting enough of the foods which provide a boost of essential nutrients. Adequate amounts of folate, iron & magnesium, calcium & vitamin D, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids, are especially of concern for women’s biological health, as well as being/staying properly hydrated. (Yes… THAT, AGAIN.)

In order to get the proper Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) for nutrients, or the more modern tables for RDI (US/Aus) or DRI (Can) women should aim to eat some (or all) of the so called “Super Foods” which are readily available sources of these essential nutrients.

Folate (folic acid/folacin)
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that’s needed for making and protecting DNA, producing new blood, forming new cells, and synthesizing protein Folate has also been tied to a decreased risk of some cancers in adults; including, specifically, breast & cervical cancers in women.

Some great sources include:
Cruciferous Green Veggies – Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts
Avocado
Black-eyed peas, Kidney Beans
Beef/Calf Liver
Nuts – especially almonds, walnuts

Iron (ferrous oxide) & Magnesium
Iron
is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. A slight  deficiency in iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency  can lead to organ failure.
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and  nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and  building strong bones; it is also a necessary mineral for the body to uptake & process iron and calcium.

Some great sources of Iron include:
Mollusks – Clams, Oysters, Shrimp, Cuttlefish, Scallops
Animal Protein (esp livers) – beef/calf, chicken/turkey
Squash & Pumpkin (& seeds)
Nuts & Seeds – Sesame, Pinenuts, Hazelnuts, walnuts
Beans & Pulses
Cruciferous Green veggies

Along with these, Magnesium can be found in:
Dark chocolate – high cocoa content >70%
Bran – rice, wheat & oat
Brasil nuts – all nuts, but brasil nuts are highest
Dried Herbs – coriander, spearmint & chives especially
Molasses

Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium
is very important to ensure strong, healthy bones and teeth; especially in women, in preventing osteoporosis. Calcium is also necessary for muscle function and nerve-signal conduction.
Vitamin D helps you to absorb and use calcium.

Best Calcium & Vitamin D sources in food:
Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese
NB:  For those who are NOT dairy sensitive; often sources are “nutrient enriched” or “fortified” (*there is a LOT of speculation as to the TRUE benefit of dairy sources of calcium, but I will leave that up to you to explore – no “politics” on my blog)
Cruciferous Green Veggies (*have you noticed a pattern yet? EAT YO GREENS!)
– Okra, seaweed (wakame) and kale are exceptional sources of vitamin D
Egg Yolks
“Fatty” Fish – salmon, mackerel, trout, herring
Legumes – nuts, seeds, beans, pulses – *Soy, Soy products & Tofu are also great sources of calcium/Vit-D, again IF you are not sensitive to these products – consult your physician
Orange

Vitamin K
Vitamin K, similar to Vitamin B, is not a single chemical substance but rather a family of chemically related substances that go by the general name of “vitamin K.” They are required in blood clotting (even a simple cut), in bone density maintenance, and are imperative in preventing atherosclerosis (arterial calcification). Vit-K has also been cited in prevention of liver and cervical cancers (*and prostate cancers, in men).

Best sources of Vitamin K:
Cruciferous Green veggies
Dark colored berries – blueberries & blackberries are the best sources
Herbs – sage, oregano, thyme
Cauliflower
Cabbage & Romaine lettuces

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (ALA / EPA and DHA)
The Omega-3s (EPA and DHA) can boost heart health and lower triglycerides. And there are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions — rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many morethe fatty acids responsible for brain health and function (*studies have shown EPA/DHA are responsible for prevention of depression and ADHD) & cellular maintenance, especially the myelin sheaths of nerve cells, and with regards to the reduction of inflammation throughout the body.

Best sources of Omega-3s from food:
EPA and DHA
Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Game fish, mackerel, herring
Fish Oil
Algae Oil

ALA – precursor to EPA & DHA
Flax seed/oil

WHEW!! THAT WAS A MOUTHFUL! (*see what I did there?)
Anywho, you can see that a MAJORITY of the essential vitamins and minerals that are required by the body come from the same, overlapping, sources.
There is a REASON that they are part of the list of SUPER FOODS. Not only do they provide exceptional sources of these essential nutrients BUT they are also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, and physique, due to their being clean foods. Most of the listed sources are also WHOLE foods – 1. Because they’re unprocessed, but 2. because they provide all the macro nutrients (fat, protein, carbs) required by the body, when combined.

Eating a diet rich in these foods, and therefore rich in these nutrients, will help you live a long(er) and health(ier) life, plus you stand a better chance of that Year-round Summerbody and potential 6-pack, we have been working on these last 6 weeks!
**Clever Segue: Have you done your sit ups & Leg challenge for today, yet?**

😉
Happy Eating
xo – Mia

Checking IN!

Hey yall!!

Are you excited!? We’ve passed the halfway hump of our LAST WEEK of the 6-week sit-up challenge, how is progress? Do you feel stronger? Are you seeing some changes?

Remember what I said – ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN – if you eat garbage, you won’t see any progress in muscle definition made as readily as if you cleaned up your eating habits.

That being said, if you’ve made it this far you’ve accomplished a LOT!
KEEP IT UP! We’re almost at the finish line – you can DO IT!

xo – Mia

ps: Are you participating in the 90,60,30 Legs Sculpting challenge?
Have you improved your scores? Don’t forget to record your numbers!

MARCH MADNESS!!

IT’s ALL ABOUT THE LEGS THIS MONTH!!

This challenge is SUPER SIMPLE – in theory!! It’s about YOU vs. YOU, Yesterday.

Set your base-lines TODAY (*yes it should have been Friday, but the post didn’t load, we’re moving FORWARD!)

  1. Put 90sec on the clock.
  2. Count how many Air Squats (*just body weight) you can do, in 90sec – Knees must bend to 90 degrees (*if you’re able) – and Record.squats
  3. Reset the Clock to 60sec.
  4. Count how many Lunges (*left leg & right leg = 1 rep) you can do, in 60sec – Front knee must bend to 90 degrees (*back knee does NOT have to touch the ground) – and Record.

1-2lunge

5. Reset the clock to 30sec
6. Count how many Tuck Jumps (*or for those with knee issues, Jumping Jacks) you can do, in 30sec – and Record.

tuck jump1

jumping jack

Thats 3 MINUTES of your time. No Big Deal, right? EVERYDAY, your objective is to beat your counts by ONE (*or more).

Are you GAME? LET’S GO!!

ABS CHALLENGE – week 6

HEY EVERYONE!!!

We’re in the final STRETCH! Last lap of the 6-week Sit-Up challenge!

How is it going? Did you find last week hard? I was surprised at how “different” 125 & 150 were!! The extra 25 on Monday & Tuesday were ROUGH, but as the week progressed, it became manageable, even though the abs were SORE!

On Monday & Tuesday, I HAD to tuck my feet for the back 50. For Thurs/Fri, was only the last 25, but MAN it was a CHALLENGE to not pause!

What’s your trick when you hit a plateau – a threshold, for pain, of sorts – how do you cope & over come? I break my reps down into mini-sets, no rest! For the 150, I tried to rock out the 100 & then nail 5x 10, trying to do each set of 10 faster than the last.

THE FINISH LINE IS IN SIGHT!

DON’T QUIT!

xo – Mia

Coo-Coo for COCONUT!

IF you’ve been reading my blog since it was on blogspot.com, you would have seen/read my post on Coconut water. vs “regular water” … I really should do a Coconut vs. “Regular” vs. Alkaline water research/report blog… but I digress…

Since we’ve covered Coconut WATER, let’s go Coo-Coo  nay, go NUTS, for Coconut OIL. Those of you who follow me on Twitter, and some of you on here, most likely already know my LOVE of coconut oil. Not ONLY in cooking – but as an all-around, great for everything additive to my life (*It’s like Windex to the Big Fat Greek Wedding family).

In Case you didn’t know …

coconut oil
photocredit: www.hybridrastamama.com

Disclaimer: IF you know you are ALLERGIC to coconut, then coconut oil MAY (*not necessarily) cause you to experience reaction. IF you are NOT ALLERGIC to coconut, there are no known side affects to ingesting or topical applications of coconut oil. HOWEVER, the initial addition of coconut oil, even in small doses to your diet may cause increased, or looser, “bowel activity”.

Anywho, since it’s 3/4 & we’re following the March Madness theme, l thought heck I wonder if I can give em 3/4 uses, erm 34 uses… and you know what… I CAN!

Here are  34 USES for Coconut Oil! – and NO, they’re not ALL edible uses.

  1. Baking – No coconut taste, and better for your belly, plus no animal fat residue on your pans & caserole dishes, yay!
  2. Frying – better medium than butter, for your waist-line and it has a higher smoke point than animal based fats, and safe for those with nut allergies (*peanut oil is OFTEN used in deep frying!)
  3. Used to aid Malnutrition – it’s put in most infant formulas, check the labels of organic, non-chemical baby foods; Used because it is rapidly absorbed to delivery nutrients quickly without excessive strain on the digestive or enzyme systems; Breast-Feeding Moms: Take 2-3 TB per day to enrich breast milk!!
  4. Organ Safety – it’s an essential Saturated fat – used to keep our nerves’ myelin sheaths thick and healthy (*no myelin = over firing, and disordered nerve firing – think Multiple Sclerosis) but since its particle size is smaller it is MUCH safer on the Liver to be broken down than Saturated Animal fats (*hurray, no additional bad cholesterol build up!)
  5. Digestive Aid – having trouble “staying regular” & just not about that Activia life? (*no shots!) – try adding 1 TB coconut oil at breakfast – I put mine in my coffee, or spread it on Ezekial toast, in lieu of butter.
  6. Butter Replacement – come on… you HAD to see that coming… it really is a GREAT “spread”; it will change your grilled cheeses too! Try reduced milk fat swiss, and some aged cheddar, use coconut oil instead of butter (*or… God forbid, you’re doing the Paula Deen thing, and using MAYO, Yikes!); also spot on replacement for butter in Roux based sauces.
  7. Seasoning cast iron pans – the same way you would with oil, allow it to come to smoking point, wipe out & repeat, to prep cast iron pans for high-heat cooking
  8. Coating wooden cutting boards – MUCH safer than petrolium based mineral oils, seasons & coats the wood grain to prevent bacterial growth – bye, Salmonella!
  9. Nutrient absorption – Coconut oil aids in the absorption of Vitamin D, magnesium, amino acids and calcium. (*Power packed Calcium source: Kale & Broccoli sauteed in coconut oil! BANG)
  10. Helps prevent Atherosclerosis – although coconut oil is comprised of Saturated fat, it is not harmful as animal fats are, as Coconut oil is roughly HALF lauric acid, and in fact helps REDUCE bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and prevent hardening of the arteries.
  11. Boosts the Immune systemLauric Acid is converted by the body into Monolaurin, which internally fights viruses & bacteria, when ingested AND
  12. Helps fight infections – when applied directly to injury sites, it provides a barrier from additional debris/dust/infection to aid healing
  13. Helps control blood sugars – with properties that help in insulin balancing it can help in controling blood sugar, and in turn aids in diabetes prevention.
  14. Boosts Energy – just as coconut water has energy boosting properties from the aminos and electrolytes, Coconut oils contain and excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids boosting energy AND
  15. Increased Brain Function – Yay! Team OMEGA! The brain, and all nerves NEED FATS to function properly and efficiently.
  16. Hair Mask/Conditioner – great deep conditioner for the hair, from scalp to ends; you can use daily, as a rinse out; or weekly as a leave-in, under heat.
  17. Dandruff prevention – since it’s a super-moisturizer and non-pore clogging, it helps scalp health
  18. Hair regrowth – I’m not saying toss out your Rogaine*, but due to it’s natural cell healing & stimulating properties it helps with hair growth and follicle health.(*seriously, though, you may want to, it may cause cancer!)
  19. Nose bleed prevention – coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather (extreme hot/cold). When the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air, it can result in burns and cracks in the mucus membranes, leading to bleeding. To prevent this just put coconut oil in your nostrils, to strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages. (*Adding a Vitamin C supplement will also help prevent nose bleeds)
  20. Sunscreen – fun fact, coconut oil contains an amino which provides roughly 5spf (*my Fairer ladies, please STILL use a stronger, like 45-60spf, to minimize melanomas)
  21. Base for Body Scrubs – I like to mix mine with sea salt, and it’s great for moisturizing while exfoliating
  22. Bruises – applied directly to the bruise, it can speed up healing but reducing redness & swelling
  23. Bug Bites – applied directly to the bite, option to add a drop of mentholatum, it reduces the itching and burning & again relieves redness & swelling; also when combined with Citronella, Cinnamon, Lime oil or Pepperment, will act as an insect repellant.
  24. Skin Disorders – dermatitis, exzema, rashes – applied directly, relies itching and soothes the skin.
  25. Ladies’ Care – *gentlemen, avert thine eyes* – Gals, you can use it in your “bits” without any concern for pore & gland duct clogging. (*This is important to prevent Bartholin’s Abcesses which can be SUPER painful) & it can be used to sooth the itching from Yeast infections, and other bacterial-based issues.
  26. After shave – Guys here we GO! – coco oil is non-comodogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, so it’s soothing post-razoring (*or waxing) and it won’t cause bumps! (*in any hair type)
  27. Hair Gel/Defrizzer – rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair
  28. Toothpaste – there are numerous recipes out there but basically, you can just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush (*I’ve recently started using a Neem oil, baking soda & Peppermint oil mixutre)
  29. Hand Lotion – super moisturizing, very absorbent and includes anti-bacterial properties!
  30. Deodorant – coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda, and lime skin.
  31. Lubricant / Massage oil – safe for external or, umm… “internal massage” (*do NOT use with Latex!!)
  32. Baby Care – Nipple-balm, Cradle Cap & Diaper Rash – soothing, reduces redness & itching, and heals skin keeping it moisturized, while locking out additional wetness.
  33. Swimmers Ear – mix EVOO (*or garlic oil, I’ve read) and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
  34. Last but NOT least – For Fitness – coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle; bonus: because of it’s ability to control blood sugar, it’s been shown to help with weight loss & controlling cravings.

SO… There you go!! 34 uses/benefits (*may be more apt?) of coconut oil – now go forth and USE THIS INFO!!

xo – Mia

GO Bananas!!

Ok Y’all It’s FRIDAY so let’s start with a JOKE!!

Knock Knock!! – Who’s There? – Banana – Banana, Who?
Knock Knock!! – Who’s There? – Banana – Banana, Who?
Knock Knock!! – Who’s There? – Orange – Orange, Who?

ORANGE YOU GLAD I DIDN’T SAY BANANA?!?!

Corny… I know! But always a CLASSIC & kid’s favorite!
Here are some of the benefits to these two “CLASSIC KIDS’ FAVORITE” Fruits!

*click to enlarge*

bananaorangePersonally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to these bad boys! They come in their own wrappers! Just peel back the skins and VOILA – instant GOODNESS!

After a few rough years in childhood with banana flavoured meds and mushed bananas with sore throats, I simply cannot STAND the “smell” or “mystery taste” of bananas IN things (*ok, the occasional Chocolate chip banana bread, is FINE!) & I prefer the sensory experience of citrus – peels, oils, piths and juicy goodness!

I’ll post a bit more details about Citrus a lil later on this month 🙂

Low blood sugar and want to avoid a sugar binge? Try one of these, today!

Enjoy,
Mia