Sep 04 2012

French Toast

When you keep balance in your meals you have a bigger variety to choose from.

This French toast is a savory variation that with a pile of fruit and vegetables gives you the nutrients you need and feels like a guilty pleasure.

Pay attention to portions: the fruits and vegetables are half of the plate.

For one serving size:

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cheese (try to make it reduced fat – any kind you like: Cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella)
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil (I combine coconut and olive oil)
  • Salt, pepper
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, barbecue powder (use your imagination…)

Directions:

  1. Preheat pan on medium heat and add the oil.
  2. In a wide bowl whisk the egg and the milk.
  3. Add to the egg mixture all the spices that you like, whisk again.
  4. Add the shredded cheese and whisk again.
  5. I like to cut the slice of bread in half – it’s easier to handle.
  6. Drench the bread in the egg mixture and put in the hot pan. When I place the bread in the pan I kind of scoop it to make sure I get some of the cheese with it. Put the side with more cheese face down on the pan.
  7. After putting both halves of the bread in the pan, pour the left over egg mixture and the cheese on top of the bread.
  8. With a spatula, turn each piece over after a couple of minutes.  The goal is to get both sides nicely brown without burning it.

To serve, put on a plate with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

We love to add some cottage cheese on top, or just enjoy it as is.

Important comment: use spices that you like, regardless of what I wrote. In general the more spices you use when cooking, the less fat you’ll need to make it yummy and you are more likely to enjoy staying home and eating healthy.

 

Aug 21 2012

Burn the dump ships – How to really achieve your goals

There was a successful general that took his army by sea to conquer a new land. When they landed he gave the order to burn the ships. Although the soldiers couldn’t believe it, they followed the order and burned the ships. What do you think the outcome of the battle was? Of course they won! They didn’t have any other choice – they didn’t have any ships to take them back and run away in case they lost. They had to win, if not they would all be dead.

We all make decisions every day, small and big. When it comes to important, big decisions there are a few variables that will impact how successful we’ll be in achieving our goals, but one factor is the most important one.

The following are four of the factors that will make or break your success:

  1. What exactly is your goal? (Must be specific).
  2. Where are you now? (Must recognize the starting point).
  3. Why do you want to achieve that goal? (Why it’s important for you and what will happen if you don’t achieve it).
  4. What steps do you need to take to achieve the goal? (Create a plan).

And this is THE factor that will control everything else: How you make the decision. The way you decide is the single most important factor that will determine your success. Without fully understanding and realizing this, you’ll have a hard time reaching your goals.

The two different ways to make decisions for creating change and achieving goals are:

  1. When you make a decision and, at the same time, you think about all the obstacles that come with it and already have in your mind the reasons and excuses for your upcoming failure.
  2. When you make a decision and you give yourself no way to go back – you burn the ship – you don’t see any other way but to move forward in achieving your goal, failure is not an option.

This is a fundamental difference between making a decision for success or failure. I know firsthand the power of each of these ways of thinking and decision-making. I have experienced both ways, and can share with you that it’s a totally different mindset and process with totally different outcomes.

This kind of decision-making to achieve your goals will create the success you want – when you know you won’t accept any excuses, you give yourself no other option but to do what it takes to achieve your goal. That’s how you create success in your life (in any area).

Hey, I didn’t say it’s easy – if it was easy everyone would do it! But I know now for sure – it’s worth it. I made too many decisions and had too many goals that I didn’t achieve because I gave myself all the excuses (and I’ve got good ones) in the world to why I didn’t achieve them.

When I changed the way I made decisions and set a goal with no excuses – that’s what made the whole difference. There was no way to go back (burn the ship), no giving myself another way besides achieving the goal.  Yes, it’s hard work, mostly in the mind-set, but as I said it’s totally worth it – life is great when you get where you want to go.

If you’re interested you’ll do what is convenient –

If you’re committed you’ll do what it takes!

 

Jul 31 2012

The Truth About Your Metabolism

If you’re like most people I’m sure you’ve tried to lose some pounds at one point or another in your life. Some of us have made a career of it and never stop fighting to lose weight. It means that we are always looking for some magic thing that will help us to speed our metabolism and burn more calories.

Weight loss programs often promise to provide some secret to boost your metabolism and make the process easy but, in fact, those are just gimmicks.

The need to have a quick and easy solution to lose weight is so big that many theories are established on the notion that a specific food or drink will help you magically burn more calories.

While most nutritionists agree that eating a diet consisting of whole grains, lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables is healthy, there is no evidence that so-called “calorie burning” foods like grapefruit or cabbage actually promote weight loss. Unfortunately, there is no food we can consume that will help us burn those extra pounds.

Some other concepts that are advertised as metabolism boosters include:

1 – Don’t eat too close to your bed time

The idea behind it is that your metabolism is slowing down at night, and you’ll sabotage your weight loss if you eat too close to bedtime. This is NOT true. Calories are calories. The problem with late night eating is that you tend to make poorer choices and eat too much of these unhealthy foods.

2 – Drinking water speeds metabolism.

Drinking lots of water is very healthy for many reasons, but it does not enhance your ability to burn more calories. If you drink plenty of water, it can help to keep you feeling full, you’ll want to eat less – but more water in your system won’t burn those extra pounds.

3 – Eating breakfast boosts your metabolism

People who eat only one meal a day will shut down their metabolism. So, you can say that by eating breakfast you help to keep your metabolism up and running. The more important fact is that people who eat breakfast are much less likely to binge later in the day and are more in control of what they eat throughout the day.

4 – Build muscles

There is only one way to enhance your metabolism: build more lean muscle mass! Muscles are the tissue in the body that burn more calories than fat tissue, so by having more muscle and less fat you’ll increase your ability to burn calories.

Physical activity is the way to increase your muscle mass. Bearing weight exercises are the best way to do that, although any physical activity will help you maintain your muscle mass as you age.

In conclusion, to be successful in weight loss and shed those extra pounds, to enhance your ability to burn more calories and keep the results for the long run – you must include physical activity in your weight loss efforts and, to be more specific, start to do strength training to build your muscle mass.

 

Jul 16 2012

Are you wasting your most precious resource?

Time – you can’t see it, touch it, smell it, taste it or hear it – it’s not attainable!

Yet, it affects us all the same way. The difference between us is how and what we personally do with it.

6 facts about TIME – My hope for this short article is that it will make you stop and think! I hope it will remind you how time is priceless and irreplaceable, and that you’ll take [even] small steps to be more mindful about this most precious resource.

Time:

First: Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time.

Second: Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results/fulfillment/happiness.

Third: Time is perishable. It cannot be saved for later use.

Fourth: Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time… poor or king. It is not how much time you have; it is how much you use.

Fifth: Time is irreplaceable. We never make back time once it is gone.

Sixth: Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything in the world, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.

Just take a minute to stop and think about it. Does it make you want to do better with your time? Use it more wisely? Concentrate on more important and enjoyable activities?

What will you start to do differently in your life – now that you think about it?

(My Apologies! for not having the name of the creator of those wise points about time, I just love it so much that I had to share it with you all).

Jun 26 2012

Frappuccino

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this frozen drink.  It’s cold, sweet and satisfying – especially in the hot summer. The problem is the huge amount of calories it comes with – a 16 oz. drink is a minimum of 500 calories – even more than a meal.

In the last couple of weeks I created it at home and the results are great. For the same serving size of 16oz, you can make it yourself for about 80 calories.

Now I can have it more than twice a year and enjoy it without feeling guilty and suffering the result of extra sugar and pounds.

Here is the basic recipe, please feel free to play with it to your taste and liking. Make it your own and enjoy the drink, the fewer calories and… the much cheaper affect on your pocket as well.

Ingredients:

For coffee ice cubes (it makes more than for one time):

3 tsp instant coffee

2 tsp sugar (I like dark brown)

1&1/2 cups water

Preparing the drink (make one big serving or 2 regular servings):

3 coffee ice cubes

6 ice cubes

½ cup 1% milk

½ cup cold water

1 tsp vanilla

4 stevia packs

Instructions:

Make the mixture for the cubes:

Use instant or any other coffee making method you like and pour into ice cube tray and put in the freezer.

For the drink:

  • Put the ice and coffee cubes in the blender – pulse to break them up as much as possible.
  • Add all the other ingredients and, according to your blender, blend on high or on the smoothie setting until everything is blended really well. If it’s too thick – add a little water or milk until it’s the consistency you like.
  • Pour into a glass, add a straw if you like and… enjoy!!!

Personal notes:

  1. You can make the coffee cubes from any coffee you like, make espresso or any other method.
  2. Try to play with it – you can add more vanilla or none at all, or maybe you like cinnamon, or walnut extract or anything else you have around and feel like trying.
  3. I did try adding peppermint extract, it was good, however you need to be careful with this stuff – it’s very strong and a little goes a long way (½ tsp is about right).
  4. You can make it with no caffeine; add some fresh fruit and no coffee ice cubes.

I hope you’ll try it… I would love to hear what you think. You might even invent a new version that I didn’t think about, please share it with me.

 

Jun 04 2012

I Believe There Are – 5 Basic Human Needs!

When it comes to the basic human needs – what we need to be and stay alive , to have good health and function well – there are 5 basic needs that go into this category… and we will leave sex out of this discussion.

However, for some reason, in these modern times, we consider only 4 of them as a must and treat the last one as optional – that’s the reason we get in trouble and have a hard time incorporating it into our lives on a regular basis.

Our mind-set and the way we view things is the single biggest obstacle we have to achieving health and wellness. Although we provide our body with what it needs to survive, the second obstacle for having good health and wellness is the quality of what we provide our body with. Maybe for some people it is enough to live in a survival mode, but it’s sure not good enough for me; I want to have health, energy and the ability to use my body and enjoy life as much as I can.

The first need is AIR – breathing:

You’ll say “Duh” of course we need air, without it we’ll die in seconds. But what about the quality of your breathing; did you ever stop to think about that? How you breathe affects your body and your mind, and consequently the quality of your life.

The second is liquid:

You’ll notice I didn’t say water, as so many people know very well that although they don’t drink water they still have enough liquid in their bodies to stay alive. Of course the quality of the liquid you drink directly influences your health and wellness, and I hope that water, in its original form, is what you drink most.

The third is food:

We can survive without food for some time, but not for too long without losing the ability to function well. The amount of words that are being written these days about what we need and should eat to function our best and to feel our best is endless. That’s because most people don’t eat well, and they feel the result of that (illnesses, lack of energy, less then optimal function overall), and know they will be better off if they will eat the right things.

The fourth is sleep:

I don’t know how many days a human being can survive without sleeping, but for sure their function will be affected after only one night without sleep. Think about the last time you had just 3-4 hours of sleep and what the day after looked like. Many bodily functions are happening during our sleep (like hormone production, healing processes, and much more) and if we don’t get enough sleep our health will suffer for it.

The fifth need is moving – physical activity:

This is the biggest part that most people miss – we move all the time (even sitting near the computer make you move your hands and fingers) we must have quality moving for our health, wellness and longevity – period! Yes, you can survive without moving much like you can survive on very low nutrition food, BUT what kind of life will you have? How much will it be worth living without the ability to function well, be able to do all that you want, and destined to live with aches and pains?

Our body is built of muscles; we are meant to move. The sedentary modern society we’ve created is against our nature and that is why we need to make an extra effort and be mindful about including physical activity into our days. Most people I know make plans for dinner and find the time to take 45-60 minutes to eat. That is exactly how we are supposed to look at physical activity – make the effort to have the time to move every day.

When you realize and accept the concept that physical activity is not less important than eating or sleeping, then and only then, you’ll make the efforts to make it part of your life on a regular basis!

We live in times that we look for more than just surviving. We want to achieve goals, to feel fulfilled, to make a difference, to feel happy and successful, to enjoy life, and to love and be loved.

Making your health and fitness a priority in your life will insure that all that you strive for will be possible and within your reach.

May 01 2012

Potatoes and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

I have been making this dish for years. It’s great as is or with anything else that you’d like to add to it after it’s cooked. Always buy organic when possible.                           

The size of the veggie chop

Ingredients

1 big onion – diced

2 Garlic cloves – minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

4-5 big Potatoes – cut into one inch cubes

4-5 big Zucchini – cut into one inch cubes

1 big tomato – diced

3-4 Tbsp Tomato paste

1 cup water

1/3 tsp Cumin

Chili pepper

Salt & Pepper (as spicy as you like it)

What it looks like after adding the spices and tomatoes

Directions

  • In a big, wide pot on medium/high heat, add the olive oil and the onion. Let it sweat and get some color (7-8 minutes).
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add potato cubes and cook while stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add zucchini cubes and continue cooking another 3 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomato.
  • Combine the tomato paste with water in a bowl on the side and add them to the pot – stir.
  • Add all spices, stir, and cover.
  • Cook for 30 minutes, taste and correct spices accordingly, if too dry, add more water.
  • Continue cooking about 20 minutes more or until the potatoes is soft.

This is one of the foods that taste even better the day after. I like to warm it in a pan and add an egg to it – stir it all together. Also consider adding beans when warming it up or anything else on your mind.

As always I hope you’ll like it and add it to your daily healthy cooking.

Apr 23 2012

How to maximize your cardio workouts

The talk test is an acceptable method for cardiovascular intensity!

You put your time and efforts in to a walk a run or bike ride. The goals are to get fit, get your heart strong and burn as many calories as possible.

How will you do it all and maximize your results during that time? How to improve in of those goals during one workout? How to create the best workout for you?

There is a simple no-cost tool that can help you do just that.

It’s an old method that lately has been proved again to work in the lab: The talking test. One example:

A report published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2011; 25 [3], 590–96) says that the widely used “Talk Test” is an easy-to-implement method for setting exercise intensity.

Without getting into too much science, first you need some understanding of how your body works for the goals you want to achieve. The key element here is your heart Rate (HR).

To create a strong heart you need to put it under some extra work – extra stress, Your heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle in the body, it needs to work harder to be able to get stronger.

To efficiently burn calories during a workout, you need to spend some of your workout time in high intensity.

The great news is that to achieve both goals you actually need to do the same thing: according to your fitness level, you’ll need to spend some of the time during your workout at a high intensity.

Here comes the easy to use tool that will help you know how hard you and your heart are working: The Talking test.

First you’ll find your Maximum heart rate for your age:

(Although there is new research that shows this method is not the most accurate, it still gives us a good idea about measuring heart rate. There is still no consensus between professionals of what is the most accurate formula, so we’ll use what is acceptable in this field during the last many decades and proved to have good results).

You’ll calculate your Maximum Heart Rate:

220 – Your age = MHR (Maximum Heart Rate)

Your HR will be divided into 3 main zones:

  • Zone one – Low intensity – 65-75% of your maximum HR
  • Zone two – Medium intensity – 80-85% of your maximum HR
  • Zone three – High intensity – 86-90% of your maximum HR

To use the Talking Test you’ll need to talk during your workout, your walk or your run. This is how you evaluate the results:

  • You’re in zone one if you can carry on a conversation pretty easily.
  • You’re in zone two if you can say a sentence or two but don’t feel like talking much.
  • You’re in zone three if you’re able to say a word but really prefer to breath and not talk at all.

That’s it – it is that simple! It is proven to be accurate enough to help you improve your fitness, get your heart stronger and lose weight.

Now some tips on how to use it to improve the goals above:

As we said in the beginning, you’ll need to spend part of your workout in the high intensity.

To burn more calories and get your heart fit you’ll need to get in and out of the different intensities, the different zones.

For example:

Start with a warm-up which will be in the low intensity zone for about 5 minutes. Then you’ll play with getting in and out of the medium and high intensity: 4 minutes in medium and 2 minutes in high – alternate this a few times, or if it’s hard for you to stay in the high intensity do only one minute at a time in high intensity. You can go 3-1-3-1-4-2… between the medium and high intensity. Make it your own and start improving as you will be able to stay in high intensity more as you go.

The fun part is that it’s all in your hands and you can decide how to play with it according to how you feel that day. Some days you have more energy and can push harder and some days you want an easier workout.

So, go out, be active, use variety and be creative about how much to push yourself. There is no right and wrong here. Just make sure to connect with yourself and feel what your body needs each and every day.

Apr 03 2012

Fried Chicken?

This is a great way to have something very similar to fried chicken but without the extra fat. It’s a hit in my house. My daughters say they don’t miss the fried stuff that makes their tummy ache.

Please make an effort to buy chicken without hormones and antibiotics (make it a habit – it’s much better for your health).

Ingredients:

8 Chicken thighs or legs

Bread crumbs or Panko (Japanese kind)

1-2 eggs

Mustard

BBQ seasoning powder

Garlic powder

Sesame seeds (optional)

Oil spray (prefer olive oil)

Salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Remove the skin and any extra fat you find from the chicken parts.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder all over the chicken.
  • Using your fingers, massage the mustard in a thin layer all over the chicken.
  • Shake BBQ seasoning all over the chicken.
  • In a wide bowl, break the egg and add about 3-4 tbsp of water to thin it out – whisk well. Add a little salt, pepper and garlic powder to the egg.
  • On a big plate pour bread crumbs, and some BBQ powder and mix well with a dry fork. If you like you can add the sesame seeds to the crumbs.
  • Take a baking pan large enough to hold the amount of chicken you have and spray with oil so it won’t stick.
  • Take each of the chicken parts, drench in the egg by rolling it around a few times.
  • Next dredge the chicken in the bread crumbs. Roll it around a few times to make sure it is covered well and put in the baking pan.
  • Continue until all the chicken parts are coated in bread crumbs. It’s ok to put them tight in the pan.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and put in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Take the pan out and remove the aluminum foil. Spray the chicken with oil, increase the heat to 400 degrees and continue baking till the chicken is cooked through and has a nice brown crust on top. You can put it under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes for extra crunch on the top (careful not to burn it).

Put on a plate with salad and enjoy a great healthy meal.

Mar 23 2012

Stress is a Choice – An Empty Pickle Jar

As I’m working on my schedule for spring break week, trying to juggle everything and fit it all in – my girls, my client’s sessions, doctor appointments, other things that must be done and also find some time to have fun. I feel overwhelmed and this little story just came to me and helped me to get my focus back and remember what is really important.

I’m sharing this with you all – it’s worth reading and worth taking the time to think about it. It’s from the book “Stress Is a Choice” by Dave Zerfoss.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty pickle jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

The Moral of the Story – The professor waited for the laughter to subside….

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things…your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home, your car.”

“The sand is everything else…The small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are critical to your happiness.”

“Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.”

This story is a wonderful reminder to focus on what is most important in our lives.

Many of us hurry through life going from one place to the next, focused on conquering the next mountain, making the next deal, running the next errand, and believing we will never have enough time to do all the things we need to get done, yet, there is all the time in the world if we just realize that we are the creators of this life we choose to live. That’s right. Life is a series of choices and being free from stress is one of those choices.

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