May 2nd, 2011

Combine:
3 cups of chopped strawberries,
4 tbsp chopped cilantro,
3 tbsp fresh lime juice,
2 tbsp chopped jalapeno,
4 tsp finely chopped shallot,
1 tsp agave nectar.
Makes 3 cups.
Serve over top a bed of baby spinach and grilled chicken.

May 2nd, 2011

Our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding. This is a natural chemical process that occurs to the skin, bones, muscles, and many other organ systems. In younger individuals, the rebuilding occurs much faster than the breaking down. As we age however, this relationship begins to work inversely. In the last 12 years, Fit Body By Sasha has worked with over 20 fabulous seniors . They all had one thing in common. They all wished they had begun a strength training program sooner.

April 7th, 2011

Most cooking today involves the incorporation of oils which are mostly healthy fats. Oils can add a great taste to your salads and veggies. Some oils work better than others whether it be for their high heat threshold or to add just the right taste. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a common one that works well with most dishes. Coconut oil is another favorite which also has many health benefits. It is a relatively stable fat that works well in high heat. It can add great taste to seafood dishes as well as breakfast foods. Safflower oil is also stands up well to heat and makes a great marinade. They also add great flavor to your dishes while preventing your foods from sticking to the pan. The important thing to remember is to never let your oils reach their smoking point. When your oil begins to give off a gray smoke it is now releasing fumes that you don’t want and a flavor thats not appetizing. When it comes to meat it is important not to overcook it especially since it is so easy to. An interesting fact is that meat continues to cook for ten minutes even after it is taken away from heat. So, keep a close watch on that meat thermometer because overcooked meat is dry meat. Baking and sauteing are two of the best options. I know grilling can be hard to avoid in the warmer months, but be wary of the harmful cancer causing carcinogens that grilling puts in your meat, so instead try using a flat cast iron grilling pan. It distributes heat evening across the pan. Or you can use a Foreman grill.

April 7th, 2011

When working toward a healthy lifestyle, you want your nutrition to be at an all time high. With that comes motivation and preparation which were touched on in the March newsletter. Now is the time to make it or bake it…or saute it. I’m talking about vegetables of course. They are your nutritional ammo and a must have if you’re going to fire a shot at your weight loss goals. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The question is: What is the best way to cook them without losing all of their natural nutrients? No one wants to chomp down on tasteless empty calories. So boil them? Boiling is not an option. This is the worst way to cook your veggies. All of the precious vitamins and nutrients get transferred to the water and get lost once you drain them. So, forget about boiling. Blanch them? Sure. Scald your veggies for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Then immediately place your veggies in ice water. What about steaming? Absolutely. When it comes to preserving nutrient content, steaming is the best method. It is also relatively quick. Sauteing is another common method. It is also quick. You can place your veggies in a saute pan coated with one of your favorite oils. What’s good about sauteing is that your vegetables aren’t fully submerged while they cook. This allows for a great amount of nutrient retention. When it comes down to it, eat your veggies raw whenever you can, otherwise steam them.

April 7th, 2011

As you continue your climb to be a healthier you, it’s important to note that your workouts and nutrition can be increasingly more challenging if you deprive yourself of sleep. That’s self explanatory but what isn’t is the work of the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Both are related to sleep and hunger control. Ghrelin is produced in the GI tract and it stimulates hunger. Leptin is produced in the body’s fat cells which sends a signal to the brain saying you’re full. When sleep is lacking, your leptin levels go down and your grehlin levels go way up. This means you’re going to feel hungry, stay hungry and feel unsatisfied even when in fact your body has consumed enough food. This will cause overeating leading to weight gain. Another important hormone related to sleep is Melatonin. It is secreted from the Pineal gland in the brain during the nighttime hours. Serotonin is secreted during the daylight hours and works inversely to melatonin. Melatonin reaches its peak at midnight, so it is suggested to fall asleep before that time. When sleep is compromised such as sleeping during the day or being awake during the night a shift in these two hormones which can lead to depressive behaviors. There is also a direct correlation to sunlight. Melanin is produced from Melatonin and is greatly activated during sunlight exposure. So, there’s a reason people are happier when they are seeing the sunlight more. So get your 8 hours of sleep and make sure it’s when the sun is down.

April 7th, 2011

We know the reasons you should exercise are numerous. But “should” just won’t cut it when everyday life gets in the way. One should have a motivating factor to want to exercise. Not because you have to…but because you want to. So, here’s the question:
What motivates you to want to exercise?
There’s an answer for everyone. You just have to find it. Is it your newly born grandchild that you not only want to see grow up, but also keep up with? Or maybe you want to be the size you were before you got married to feel fabulous and sexy? Or how about you just want to walk your dogs that have been cooped up all day and not feel winded while doing it. Make a list. Hang it where you will see it, whether it be on your refrigerator, in your bathroom, on your alarm clock or even in your wallet. Over time add to the list. Trust me, as you go along you’ll find more and more to add and it will keep you motivated. And whenever a negative situation comes in, don’t put exercise on the back burner. Make it a necessity to accomplish. Spring is coming. Get ready to shed those winter clothes. Here are 5 quick questions to answer that will help you find your motives to be strong and fit.
What is the single most important reason for change regarding your current state of health?
What is required to make the change?
Are you prepared to make the change?
What challenges will arise?
What will be different once this change occurs?
Here are Fit Body by Sasha’s clients and their take on what motivates them to exercise.
Helen says, “It is her fear of becoming inactive and immobile.”
“I want to forestall the ravages of old age and beat arthritis. When I work out in the morning it’s gone”, says Ginny.
Greg proclaims, “Exercise helps me feel that I am capable of being highly active. I may play sports differently, but they’re no sports that I can’t play.”
Jen with a hectic schedule just does it to ward off bad energy and stress.
Lisa originally began strength training just to increase her energy, but has found real motivation in her new ability to lift her grandchildren.

April 7th, 2011

(Makes 10 patties) *I encourage you to double the recipe and make 20 patties. Great for a last minute meal out of the freezer.
-2 cups cooked black beans, mashed
-Sweet potatoes to equal 2 cups when peeled and cut into small cubes
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-salt
-3 ounces yellow onion diced
-2 teaspoons of garlic
-2 teaspoons ground cumin
-pepper
-7 ounces cooked rice
-1.5 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
-1 ounce cornmeal, plus one ounce for dredging

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Place the mashed black beans in a bowl. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes, dropping them in cold water as you cut them. Drain well and toss with olive oil and salt. Spread them out in a even layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Toss occasionally.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions to the bowl of beans. Stir in the cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked rice, sweet potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and one ounce of cornmeal. Mix well and adjust the seasonings. Form into 4.5 ounce patties and dredge ligtly in the one ounce of remaining cornmeal. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add more olive oil. Add the burgers and brown lightly on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Serve with salsa and guacamole on your favorite bun, bread, wrap, or bed of mixed greens.

March 7th, 2011

Recently I was taking a bike ride through the rolling farmland in Monkton, Maryland. I was listening to a song on my Ipod (sorry mom I had the volume low so it wasn’t a distraction). The verse that grabbed at me had to do with dreams and achieving them.
I spent the next hour considering my dreams some bigger than others. I soon realized that I have a lot I still want to accomplish in this lifetime. My dreams keep me motivated everyday; focusing on saving money, increasing my knowledge and continuing the pursuit of optimal health and wellness.
Lately I seem to be hearing from people more and more often that their dreams have taken a back seat to the daily grind. Is it the state of the economy, lack of support from the people in their lives, stress or simply the challenge of the unknown which is holding them back?

If this sounds familiar, what’s keeping you from dreaming big and achieving bigger?

Here’s my challenge to you this month.

What’s the most important dream for you right now? Don’t create a running list of all you hope to accomplish someday, but one dream for this lifetime.
It may be a passion or hobby you’d like to master. It may be professional dream like owning your own company. It may even be a life dream like retiring on a golf course, mountain side in Wyoming or boat on crystal blue waters.

In the last 10 years I began to pursue one of my dreams which was to travel to places that I dreamed of as a child. I want to experience cultures, activities out of my comfort zone and taste cuisine only possible in lands far from my home and familiar surroundings. This month I’ll arrive in Italy; a place I’ve learned about through history classes, art books and popular movies. This ignites me and drives me to work hard so that my dreams will continue to evolve throughout my lifetime.

So what’s on your bucket list? In the last lecture by Randy Pausch, “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” he states “Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something bad enough. They are there to keep the other people out.”
Here are some simple steps I’ve used to assist my dreams becoming closer to my reality.
1. Create a clear vision
2. Brainstorm and do research
3. Simplify – One dream at a time
4. Set aside some time each day to devote towards focusing on that dream
5. Act like failure is not an option

Dream big
Dream often
Live as you want to be remembered

March 7th, 2011

1. The alarm clock you set to fit in an hour of exercise before work goes off. You…
A. Get out of bed, put on your shoes and slip out the door within minutes. (3pts)
B. Roll over and go back to sleep. You’ll work out tomorrow. (1pt)
C. Manage 30 minutes on the exercise bike and a few yoga poses. (2pts)
2. At your annual family reunion, what position are you most likely to play at the all-family softball game?
A. Shortstop (3pts)
B. Catcher (2pts)
C. Cheerleader (1pt)
3. The escalator at the mall isn’t working. You see that flight of stairs and think:
A. “I can do this if I take it slow” (2pts)
B. “Wonder if I can take them two at a time?” (3pts)
C. “Is the elevator working?” (1pt)
4. You have muscle aches and pains….
A. Pretty much all the time (1pt)
B. When you’re stressed out or haven’t gotten enough sleep for a couple days. (2pts)
C. After an intense workout. (3pts)
5. How long does it take you to fall asleep at night?
A. You toss and turn for at least an hour. (1pt)
B. Shhh…You’re already asleep. (2pts)
C. It takes you 20 minutes. (3pts)
6. You frequently feel hungry and light-headed during the day and crave sweet starchy foods…
A. Always. “Another Krispy Creme, please!” is your mantra. (1pt)
B.Only when tired and stressed. (2pts)
C. Rarely. (3pts)

Add up your points to get your physical energy quotient (PEQ)

IF YOUR TOTAL PEQ IS…
14-18: You treat your body like a temple (eating right, getting enough rest, exercising), and it shows. You have the strength to push yourself through your days and keep yourself going during stressful periods, says Erika Shwartz, MD, a New York City internist and author of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 days. Keep up the good work!

10-13: You feel okay, but be on guard for occasional aches and pains, sluggishness, and acute attacks of the munchies. These are all hidden signs of fatigue, says Jacob Titebaum, MD, director of the Annapolis Center for Effective CFS Fibromyalgia Therapis and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!

6-9: You may often feel sick, tire easily during exercise, and have a reduced libido. You possibly also have low levels of brain chemical that control motivation for physical activity, says Judith Orloff, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Positive Energy.

March 7th, 2011

What does organic mean? Organic foods must be at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. Any food labeled, “USDA Organic” was grown without the aid of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge (yes, it’s what you think it is), and without pesticides disallowed for organic agriculture by the USDA. If it’s meat, the animal was raised without antibiotics and growth hormones and fed an organic diet.
Natural: Foods labeled “natural” aren’t necessarily organic. Except for meat and poultry, no official standards legally define “natural” for producers or consumers. Nevertheless, the term often refers to foods with no preservative or artificial ingredients.
Organic farming is better for the environment: Growing foods organically prevents thousands of toxic chemicals from entering the environment and poisoning our soil, our wells, our wildlife, our children and ourselves. Growing foods organically also restores the earth’s ability to process and store carbon, so it significantlt reduces the atmospheric problems causing the climate crisis.
Organic foods may have more nutrients: Studies show that some organic foods have more disease-fighting antioxidants than chemically farmed (a.k.a conventionally farmed) foods do. Research also shows that organic dairy foods contain more conjugated linoleic acid, a powerful cancer-fighting nutrient.
Pesticides may harm your brain: Exposure to some widely used pesticides-diphenyl, paraquat, and maneb-can damage nerve cells and deplete your brain’s supply of the feel-good chemical dopamine. This could potentially lead to Parkinson’s disease, according to a recent British study review.
Chemicals in animal feed may cause cancer in humans: Chemical farmers often lacepig and poultry feed with arsenic. It promotes growth in livestock-but may also cause a number of cancers that affect humans, including prostate cancer, according to a recent John Hopkins University study. The government set dosage thresholds, but feed formulations are considered confidential and monitoring is limited.
Agricultural chemicals could be making you fat: Synthetic chemicals may cause obesity in adults by altering hormone levels or by changing the way certain genes work, according to a recent French study. Plus, it’s a vicious circle: The more fat your body has, the more toxins you store.
Pesticides may cause you to develop allergies: Certain agricultural chemicals, such as the widely used insecticide chlorpyrifes, may cause your immune system to overreact to harmless antigens. This may tridder an allergic reaction, Italian researchers say.
Small doses of chemicals can be just as dangerous as large doses: Most of the government regulations on chemicals are based on estimated safe amounts of exposure. Doctors and scientists are finding, however, that small doses-especially over time-can be just as toxic as large ones.
Foods that are relatively pesticide-free: Onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwis, cabbage, eggplants, papayas, watermelons, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes