Wellness Is For All

The other day I read a great inspirational quote that really made me think:

The only person who should ever have to live by your standards, is you.  Let everyone else off the hook.

 Ouch, that hit home.

I want to reiterate for you (and for me) that the purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with exercise and wellness, educate, and hopefully entertain you, my readers.  I try not to be preachy, but rather to inform.

I tend to set high standards for myself, but I should not expect others to follow them.

Although I have a lot to say on the subject of healthy eating and exercise, I do not judge people for eating meat, dairy, high sugar snacks, diet soda, or being couch potatoes!  We are all different and have all come to this place with different life experiences and goals for the future.

All I ask of you are two things:

1) Educate yourself about nutrition (not diet!) and its direct affect on our health.  There are tons of books written on the subject, but a few that I have found to be very interesting and easy to read are:

2) Move every day.  You don’t have to run miles, join an exercise class or a gym.  Even a 10 minute walk, two or three times a day can make a big difference in your health!

  • Here is a short video from ABC News on some of the risks of inactivity.
  • NASA scientist Joan Vernikos, PhD studied the effects of inactivity and poor health and aging.  She has many short videos on the subject that are worth your time (maybe you could stand while you watch them!)  As well as a book, Sitting Kills, Movement Heals

I’d love to hear your opinion on any of these books or videos, or even any others you have found that motivated you.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Tacos

I made these delicious Sweet Potato Taco’s tonight for dinner.  I got the recipe from my son and daughter-in-law and they are delicious and once again — easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Sweet Onion
  • 1/2 can Black Beans
  • Salsa
  • Corn Kernels
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Allspice
  • 1.2 tsp. Paprika or Cayenne if you want them hotter
  • Sliced Avacado
  • Tortillas or Hard Taco Shells

Directions:

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Peel and cut sweet potato into small cubes.

Toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, chili powder, cumin, allspice and paprika.

Roast on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 450 until soft (about 20 min.)

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hile the Sweet Potato is cooking, slice the pepper and onion and saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil until soft.

Mix Black Beans, Salsa and Corn in a small saucepan and heat.

Assemble tacos — Black Bean Mixture, Sweet Potato, Peppers and Onion, add sliced Avocado on top or if there isn’t any room in the taco, put them on the side of the plate.  Enjoy!

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Ezekiel Waffle Treat!

Generally I eat the same thing every morning for breakfast. oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries on top.  It is good and filling, but today I wanted something different.  I had some Ezekiel 4:9 brand waffles in the freezer, but I find that when I have waffles with syrup, I always want more!  They don’t really fill me up, plus I didn’t want all the sugar from the syrup.  So I added some almond butter for protein, and boiled down some blueberries and strawberries to make a compote.  I added a pinch of maple syrup over the top.  They were delicious!

 

The recipe is simple:image

 

  • Boil 3 strawberries and a handful of blueberries in about 1/2 a cup of water until the water is mostly gone
  • Toast 2 waffles
  • Once waffles are ready, spread with a tablespoon or so of almond butter
  • Spoon fruit over the waffles
  • Drizzle a tablespoon (total) of maple syrup over the waffles

Enjoy!

Ezekiel brand breads and waffles are organic, gluten free and made from sprouted grains.  They are kosher too.  The name Ezekiel 4:9 comes from the bible verse by the same name:

 

“Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel…” Ezekiel 4:9

 

According to the company’s website, Ezekiel bread products are

  • A source of complete protein, including all 9 essential amino acids.
  • They are easily digestible
  • Sprouted grains enable us to absorb important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc more easily
  • Sprouting also produces vitamin C and increases the amount of B2, B5 and B6
  • And the combination of sprouted grains and legumes provides a high amount of natural fiber

In addition to waffles and breads, you can buy Ezekiel 4:9 pasta, English muffins, tortillas and cereals.

 

 

Happy Birthday!

This week my blog is 4 years old! 

 

 I started the blog in February, 2010 with this post:

I went to the gym today, as a matter of fact I exercised today, for the first time in 38 days.  Will this be the day I restart my fitness-centered life?  Let me back up.  I had been exercising regularly and rigorously for 20 years (minus the last 3 years).  I used to run 20 miles a week, I lifted weights, ran three half marathons, three 10 mile races, and countless 10K and 5K races.  I skied, snowboarded, ice skated, hiked, roller-bladed.  I had a house full of fitness equipment.  I easily exceeded the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

But then I stopped.  A combination of personal issues led me to alter every aspect of my life, including my fitness routine.  I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since.  In the past 3 years I joined 3 different gyms.  In total I’ve gone a total of 7 times  I even started running.  I was up to 4 miles three times a week, but then I stopped.

But, I went to the gym today…

I am happy to report that over the past 4 years I have indeed gotten back into fitness and into healthy eating.  I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol and other health risk factors through exercise and healthy eating.  I’ve run some road races including two half marathons, got back into weight training and started practicing yoga.

This blog is called, Let’s Get in Shape Together, and as the name implies, the blog is meant to encourage you, my readers to also start, or continue, on your own health and wellness journey.  I like to share news and information that I find on healthy living, I try not to get too preachy…. And, I try to adopt the healthy habits that I write about.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have adopted a near vegan diet, and I have never felt healthier or stronger!  I have several posts on the health advantages of a plant based diet, the health risks of milk and dairy, and the dangers of genetically modified foods.

Lately I’ve begun to change other aspects of my daily life.  I have been using less and less plastic in favor of glass for food storage.  I now use a non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets.  I am even attempting to change my make up and skin care products and make-up to those without toxic chemicals.

I’d love to hear from you on healthy changes you’ve made in your life, or health/wellness goals you have for yourself.

 

 

 

Chocolate — A Superfood?

Let’s start by saying that I love chocolate.

A fellow blogger, Doreen Pendgracs, in addition to writing a blog, Chocolate Travel Diversions, has written a delicious book all about chocolate, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate.

The book reads like a journal of Doreen’s travels through the chocolate growing and chocolate producing regions of the world; from  the cacao growing regions of Peru, Ecuador and the eastern Carribean to the chocolate producing centers in Europe.  Volume II of her book will focus on great chocolate in the Americas and the Caribbean, and Volume III will include the rest of the world.  I learned a lot about how cacao is grown and made into chocolate and subtle differences in chocolate.

 

The one section of the book that I really could sink my teeth into (sorry), and the one I want to share here is the section that talks about the many health benefits of chocolate.  First of all did you know that chocogasm is a real word?  As defined by the Urban Dictionary chocogasm is defined as:

eating high quality chocolate and experiencing bliss like states of choc-erotic pleasure

According to Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H.,  RD., It turns out that women crave chocolate because we need it “to feel content with our lives, satisfied in our jobs, and able to accept and fulfill and the duties and responsibilities we have in our daily routines”!  It is not only OK to eat chocolate, but we need it!  Of course we are talking about pure (at least 70%) dark chocolate, not chocolate candy…

I learned that pure chocolate contains 380 chemicals including a neurotransmitter similar to THC (cannabis).  Chocolate also encourages our bodies to produce serotonin, and releases endorphins in our bodies — natural anti depressants!

Eating dark chocolate increases the nitric oxide level in our body, increasing blood flow and improving stamina and the body’s ability to recover, and so a little dark chocolate before and after exercise is beneficial!

Another compound in dark chocolate, epicatechin, improves heart health.  The flavonols found in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants, and may improve our health, enhance circulation, joint function, brain function, lower blood pressure, lower inflammation as well as reduce our risk of Alzheimers, dementia and heart disease, may be good for our vision, and natural fluoride found in cocoa may also make it good for our teeth!

But it is these compounds (flavonoids) in dark chocolate that also make it bitter,  reducing the bitterness also reduces the healthy properties, and so these health benefits are not found in milk chocolate or white chocolate.   Actually white chocolate only contains cocoa butter and sugar and so it isn’t truly chocolate!

And so, to start your chocolate journey and to read more about how chocolate is made, its health benefits and take a virtual tour of the chocolate producing centers in Europe, I recommend Doreen’s book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate!