March MATness – Single Leg Circles

Single Leg Circles

Single leg circles are a great example of the idea of “full body” movement. By the end of this exercise you should feel like every muscle in your body was worked! For those of you who have a lot of range of motion in your hips you might need to focus more on stabilization and anchoring your hips into the mat. On the other hand, those of us with tight hips should allow your body the freedom of movement and allowing your hips to move as long as you are maintaining your core connection!

1. Lie on you back with your legs full extended and engaged. Arms actively pressing into the mat by your side.
2. Bring your right leg up to the ceiling as straight as you can while pulling your abs and ribcage into the mat
3. Take your leg across the body toward your left leg, down toward the left ankle, around and back to your starting position (drawing a circle in the air)
4. Maintain control from your core, arms and leg that is anchored into the mat as you circle. Repeat 5x on each side

You can also visit to view a video clip of the single leg circles.



Most people know that adequate sleep is necessary for optimal health however; most do not realize that inadequate sleep can cause weight gain. Research shows that the number of hours an individual sleeps influences their risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle – eventually it will sabotage your waistline and your health!

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity. Sleep deprivation can influence two appetite hormones – leptin and ghrelin.
1. Leptin, is a hormone that is produced in the fat cells. Its main function is to signal the brain to reduce appetite and burn more calories.
2. Ghrelin, is a hormone released by the stomach that increases hunger, slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat.

Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle with your health and your waistline. It starts off with making poor dietary choices when you are low in energy, like going for some sort of comfort food (like cookies, sweets, or potato chips, etc.) just to try to stay awake. Those that are sleep deprived eat more possibly due to the decreased levels of leptin. The brain responds thinking it’s a sign of starvation and the body slows down its metabolism (burning fewer calories) as a result makes it easier to pack on the pounds or difficult to lose weight.

Obesity Can Also CAUSE Lack of Sleep
There is another connection between obesity and sleep deprivation – obstructive sleep apnea, or sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual’s airway becomes obstructed, often by a large amount of fat tissue in the neck. The result is a cutoff in airflow, causing one to wake up numerous times throughout the night. Obesity is thus a major contributing factor for sleep apnea, and is often listed as one of its main causes.
For those that are not getting sound quality sleep per night, start by getting a good’s night rest with a few tips from the Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorder Center.
• Establish a routine with going to bed and waking up around the same time – even on the weekends.
• Make sleep a priority
• Exercise is great to add to your daily routine. Exercise can help boost your energy but be sure to exercise earlier in the day or 4 hour before you go to bed so you are not too stimulated.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine as it can interfere with sleep. Especially with alcohol, make you feel sluggish the next day.
• Keep the bedroom free from distractions, such as watching TV, cell phone, lap top, home work, emailing, etc.
• Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing trouble with sleep apnea, insomnia or other sleep disorders. If untreated overtime can affect your overall health.

How to Get A Better Nights Rest

Sleep Disorder Center

Recipe: Citrus Salmon with Cannelli Beans

Servings: 1/Serving Size: 1
Weight Watcher pts; 7/Pts plus: 8

Calories: 345/protein: 27 g/ carbs: 24 g/ fiber: 7 gImage


3-4 ounces broiled Wild caught Atlantic salmon 1/2 c cannellini beans – boiled & drained (canned, rinse well) 1/4 c chopped Italian parsley 1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange zest (preferably organic)
1 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste


In a small bowl combine, beans, parsley, olive oil, 1 Tbsp orange juice, green onions; mix well. Transfer to serving plate.
Top the broiled salmon on bean/parsley salad. Top salmon with garlic, orange zest and remaining orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste if you like, serve with orange wedges for more flavor.

Nutritional Analysis: 345 calories/protein: 27 g/ carbs: 24 g/ fiber: 7 g/ sugars: 5 g/ total fat: 15 g/ saturated fat: 3 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 4 g/cholesterol: 53 mg/ sodium: 295 mg
% Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet for adults: vitamin k: 348%/ vitamin C: 75%/selenium: 56%/B12: 40%/ folate: 40%/ B3: 39%/ phosphorus: 38%/ B6: 35%/ B1: 27%/ B1: 32%/ manganese: 27%/ magnesium: 21% /iron: 19%/pantothenic acid: 16%/ copper: 16% B2: 12%/ calcium: 11%/zinc: 9%/ chromium: 2%


Commandment #7: YOU NEED WATER.

Water makes up about 60 percent of total body mass in adults and about 75 percent for infants. Water is the most essential nutrient the body needs, followed by electrolytes. The major electrolytes include sodium, potassium and chloride, they are essential to maintain normal fluid balance. Each cell must have just the right amount of water and electrolytes for normal function of our cells.

Some of the important functions of water include:– Aids in weight loss
– Helps transport nutrients (vitamins, minerals, oxygen, etc.)
– Removal of waste and toxins
– Helps suppress appetite
– Helps with metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
– Improves muscle tone
– Promotes bowel regularity
– Helps with muscle recovery

How much water should you drink? There is no one size fits all to water needs. It basically depends on your age, gender, weight, activity level, and the environment you live in (hot humid conditions, etc). The Food and Nutrition Board recommends an adequate Intake (AI) for men to consume about 3 liters (~13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liter (~9 cups) of total beverages a day. Some experts believe drinking half your body weight in ounces is a good estimate. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds then your goal is to drink about 75 fluid ounces of water or liquids per day.

How to check your hydration status? There are two ways to measure hydration status. One way is to monitor your urine. If the urine is plentiful and colorless or pale yellow, this means you are well hydrated. The second way to measure hydration status is with the sweat test. The sweat test is a great tool to use to give you an idea of how much fluid you lose during an hour long workout. First, weigh yourself naked before your workout, then after you are done working out weigh yourself again preferably naked because the sweaty clothes will give you an inaccurate reading. For every one pound lost during the workout, (one pound equals 16 ounces) your goal is to drink 16 fluid after your workout to replace the fluids you lost through sweating.

What if you are tired of drinking plain old water? Water is the best source of fluid intake but other sources count towards your fluid intake too. Be sure to include a variety of foods with a high water content and other beverages such as: smoothies, milk, coffee and tea, 100% fruit juice, soups, coconut water, popsicles, jell-o, fruits and vegetables.

What about sports drinks are they necessary? The main purpose of sports drinks is to replace the lost fluids along with replacing electrolytes and carbs (see below on how you can make your own homemade sports drink!). Sports drinks are best for individuals that have lost electrolytes during high intensity exercises exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. If you find that you have salty sweat on your skin from an intense workout, it means you lost a lot of sodium.

Can drinking too much water be harmful? Yes, it is possible to drink too much water – though it is uncommon. It can be detrimental to your health if you drink too much water especially if your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water because the electrolyte content of the blood is diluted. The sodium levels are diluted (low), this condition is called hyponatremia.

Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake for Water and Electrolytes.

What Should I Drink While Exercising?

water with cucumber 2

DIY Homemade Sports Drink

Servings 3/ Serving Size ~ 16 fluid ounces
Weight Watcher Points Plus: 2 pts
Calories: 70 /protien: 0 g/ fat: 0 g/ carbs: 19 g/ fiber: 0g
sodium: 204 mg / potassium: 40 mg

• 1 quart of water or your choice of liquids such as green tea or herbal tea, or coconut water
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt (I prefer pink Himalayan salt for the trace minerals)
• Your choice of 1/4 cup or more of juice for flavor – I used a combination of fresh squezed lime and lemon juice (other juices work well too)
• 2 Tbsp to 4 Tbsp of honey or your choice of sweetener – I used 3 Tbsp to cut down a bit on the sugars
• optional add fresh cut herbs, fruits and vegetables – I added 1 peeled and cut cucumber with a handful of fresh mint leaves.

1. In a large pitcher add water or your choice of liquid.
2. Add salt, fresh lemon/lime juice, and honey; mix well.
3. Add cucumber slices and fresh mint leaves.
4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator when ready to drink.



Fat is an important part of your diet because it provides energy, helps absorb fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) found in cell membranes, helps insulates your body and organs among other things. There are three types of dietary fat – unsaturated, saturated and trans fatty acids. Each type of fat plays a different role in the body, some are beneficial and some are not.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are the healthy fats that are an important part of our diet. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. There are two types of unsaturated fatty acids – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs): MUFAs may help lower your total “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and maintain or increase your “healthy” HDL (high lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Also, research has shown MUFAs may help lower your risk of heart disease and normalize blood clotting.
Sources of MUFAs: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): PUFAs may help lower the risk of heart disease, may protect against type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other age related brain decline. There are two classifications of PUFAs: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential fats because our body cannot make them.
• Omega 3 fatty acids: Two crucial types of omega 3’s are – DHA (docosahexaenoic acid and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). They are primarily found in certain fish. Some plant sources also contain omega 3’s but this plant form is called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is a precursor to DHA and EPA in the body.
– Sources of DHA and EPA: fatty fish (anchovies, salmon, mackerel, herring, mackeral)
– Sources of ALA: chia seeds, flax seed meal, walnuts, most seeds and nuts, and vegetable oils such as flaxseed, canola and soybean oil. Go for GMO free oils.
• Omega 6 fatty acids: sources such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds. The America Heart Association recommends consuming at least 5% to 10% of food calories come from omega-6 fatty acids.

Saturated Fat. This type of fat is considered “unhealthy” because it may increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to MayoClinic. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. There are about 24 different saturated fats. They are categorized into three classifications – short, medium and long chain. Not all of them are equally bad for your health. According to Dr. Mercola, “your body needs some amount of saturated fat to stay healthy. It is virtually impossible to achieve a nutritionally adequate diet that has no saturated fat.” Just keep in mind too much saturated fat and the wrong kind is what is detrimental to our health. American Heart Association recommends, consume less than 7% of your calories come from saturated fats. Sources of saturated fats include: tropical oils (coconut and palm oil), dairy products, meat, and organ meat, just to name a few.

Trans Fat. This is the most unhealthful type of fat because it can increase both your “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease your “healthy” HDL cholesterol, thus increasing your risk of heart disease. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, for every 2-percent increase in daily calories from trans fat, risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent! There are no set guidelines for trans fat consumption. However, the American Heart Association advises to avoid or limit trans fat to less than 1% of daily caloric intake. For example, one gram of fat has 9 calories, so an example of 1% recommended intake looks like this:

2,000 calorie diet, 20 calories or 2 grams or less of trans fat/day
1,500 calorie diet, 15 calories or 1.5 grams or less of trans fat/day

Don’t be fooled by those labels that advertise, “0 Trans Fats!” Read the nutrition facts label and ingredient list. The FDA allows food manufacturer’s to label their products “ zero trans fat” as long as one serving is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Start reading ingredient labels. Look for partially hydrogenated oils. Most trans fat in the average American’s diet comes from commercially baked goods, margarine, snack foods, fried foods and other processed foods.

The bottom line is that “good fats” are an integral part of heart-healthy diets, especially when they replace the unhealthy saturated and trans fats in our diets. Fat is important part of our diet, it provides essential fatty acids to help support heart and brain health, helps deliver fat soluble vitamins and is a source of energy. Goal is to consume 10-30% of your total calories from healthy fats per day.

7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fats
American Heart Association
Dietary Fats: Know Which Ones to Choose
Fat and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad in with the Good


Nuts make a great every day snack. It’s a great way to sneak some healthy fat into your diet, but watch the portions. Fat contains 9 calories for every gram compared to protein and carbs which contain 4 calories per one gram. Fat is a more concentrated source of energy, so watch the portions.
Buy raw nuts in bulk at the health food store or at Costco. Eat them as is or try this cinnamon vanilla coated nut recipe below. Nuts are high in manganese, copper, magnesium phosphorus and zinc. So eat up!

Servings: 16/ Serving Size: ¼ cup
Weight Watcher points plus: 5 pts
Calories: 188/ protein: 6.5 g/ carbs: 6 g/ Fiber: 2 g/ Sugars: 1 g/ Total fat: 16.5 g/ saturated fat: 2.8 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7.5 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 6.2 g

• 4 cups of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.)
• 1 egg white
• 2 Tbsp of water
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon – or more!
• ¼ cup of vanilla whey protein – optional
• 2 packets of stevia in the raw or you can use ¼ cup of your choice of sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
3. Place mixed nuts in a medium bowl.
4. In a small bowl, add egg whites, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and pour over the nuts. Using your hands or spatula to coat the nuts.
5. Add one packet of stevia (or half of the sugar), half of the whey vanilla protein and the salt, stirring well into the nuts coated with egg white mixture.
6. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, making sure to stir the peanuts on the edges in to prevent burning.
7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir the peanuts, scraping the honey from the silpat to coat the peanuts.
8. Sprinkle with 1 packet of stevia (or remaining sugar), add the remaining whey protein; stir again.
9. Taste and sample one nut, add more cinnamon or more stevia (sugar) to taste. Let cool completely. Before storing in an airtight container. Yields 4 cups.



Protein is the basic building block of a healthy diet. Protein in the body helps build muscles, tendons, skin, enzymes, hormones, bones and other various protein structures in the body. Protein also plays a role in keeping a strong immune system and can be a source of energy by converting amino acids to glucose. Protein is primarily used by the body to build and repair tissues. Protein is filling, so eating a protein rich meal or snack will help with satiety.

Basic over view of protein – Structurally, protein is made up of a chain of different amino acids. Our body has 20 different amino acids to choose from. Humans can produce 11 of the 20 amino acid known as nonessential amino acids (see list below). The remaining amino acids must be supplied from the diet because the body does not make them; these are called essential amino acids.

Essential: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine

Nonessential: alanine, arginine, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine

Conditionally Essential: Normally made in the body but can be essential depending on certain circumstances for example at certain life stages or if you are genetically unable to make a certain amino acid. Arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline, tyrosine

Complete vs. non-complete proteins, what is the difference? The quality of protein differs in plants and animals. Animal protein generally contains all the nine essential amino acids in approximately the right proportions that the body needs. These are called complete proteins. Some examples of complete protein include: fish, chicken, pork, beef, dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt). Plant proteins are not considered complete proteins. They lack one or more essential amino acids and are called incomplete proteins. There are a few plant sources such as quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed and amaranth that have been rated as complete proteins. To make a complete protein, you can combine two incomplete proteins to consume all nine essential amino acids. It’s not necessary to eat complementary proteins together with each meal in an effort to make complete protein. By eating a variety of plant foods with “incomplete proteins” throughout the day, we can easily get enough “complete protein.”

How much protein do we need for good health? If you are unable to build or retain muscle, that’s probably because you aren’t getting enough protein; so instead your body will take it from your muscle tissue. Protein requirements vary based on age, gender, size, body fat percentage and activity levels. The following are general guidelines for men and women over the age of 19:

Average adult: 0.8 g protein/kg body weight (or 0.37 g protein/ pound) per day. For example: 130 pound lady will need at least 48 grams protein / day.
Strength training athletes: ~ 1.4 to 2.0 g protein/kg body weight (or 0.63g to 0.9g/ pound) per day. For example, 130 pound lady will need about 82 to 118 grams protein / day.
Endurance athletes: ~ 1.2 to 1.4 g protein/ kg body weight (or 0.54 g/pound) per day. For example, 130 pound lady will need about 70 grams/ protein/ day.

Keep in mind, if you eat too much protein, your body will store the excess protein as fat.

Is it important to consume protein after a workout? Depends on your training. If you are maximizing your workouts and hitting it hard, such as training for a marathon or taking a metabolic conditioning class 3 to 4 times a week, it will be important to consume both protein and carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes post workout. This will definitely help to build and repair muscles. However, if you just went for a leisure walk/jog for 30 to 60 minutes three times a week, you will be fine eating a balanced diet an hour or two after your workout.

No doubt about it, protein is good for you — and can even help you shed those unwanted pounds. But it’s important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get the lifelong weight-loss results you want. Variety is the key to acquiring all of the essential amino acids that the body needs. Below are some clean, whole food recipes that include this variety.
Featured Recipe – Spicy Turkey Sausage Three Bean Chili

Lisa’s Spicy Turkey Sausage Three Bean Chili
Servings: 5 adult sized servings/Serving size: 2 cups
Weight Watcher pts: 8/New Points Plus:9
Calories: 398/Protein: 24 g/Fat: 6 g /Carbs: 64 g /Fiber: 19.5 g
1 Tbspn canola oil
1 lb spicey turkey sausage, such as Jennie-O spicy turkey sausage
1 small white onion finely diced ~1 cup
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can diced tomato, low sodium
1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
Chili spice: I like to make my own
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ tsp ground red pepper (cayenne powder)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1, 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1, 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1, 15 ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup Original Tabasco Sauce
1. In a large sauce pan, heat canola oil over medium – high heat. Add onions, sautee for about 5 minutes or so until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic, sautee for another two minutes or so.
2. Add turkey sauge that is removed from the casings. Using a wooden spoon to break it up into small crumbly pieces. Cook stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or long or until no longer pink. Add the spices, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans. Cover the sauce pan, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, stir in tabasco sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Nutritional Analysis for 2 cups of chili:
Calories: 398/ protein: 24 g/ total carbs: 64 g/ dietary fiber: 19.5 g/ sugars: 10 g/total fat: 6 g/ saturated fat: 1 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 1 g/ monounsaturated fat: 1 g/cholesterol: 14 mg/ sodium: 268 mg
% Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet for adults:
folate: 83%/manganese: 61%/magnesium: 36%/ vitamin C: 53%/magnesium: 36%/ B1: 35%/copper: 35%/ B6: 29%/ vitamin K: 30% vitamin A: 30%/ zinc: 17%/ B3: 14%/ B2: 13%/ calcium: 11%/chromium: 9%/selenium: 9%/pantothenic acid: 6%/ biotin: 1%



How does eating too many carbohydratess that pass your lips end up on your hips? When you eat carbohydrates, it gets broken down to its simplest form, glucose. Your body can’t tell if the source of glucose came from a complex carbohydrate (ex. sweet potato) or a simple carbohydrate (ex. table sugar). Whatever the carbohydrate food source is, it eventually gets broken down to its simplest form, glucose (just note that the type of carbohydrates matter for fat loss, keep reading). The body does a great job of budgeting its energy needs. The glucose circulating in the blood will be used as immediate energy for your body’s daily energy needs. Anything in excess the glucose will get stored in muscles and the liver as glycogen stores – stored away for later energy use. If your diet provides more carbohydrates than your body needs, the excess will be converted to fat and that is how it ends up on your hips (and belly too).

What about low carb diets, do they work? Low carbohydrate diets work initially because most of the weight lost is water weight. Once you cut out carbs from your diet, you notice the number on the scale goes down. The body holds about 3 grams of water for every 1 gram of carbohydrate you eat. Low carb diets work for those seeking aggressive weight loss efforts, but it only works for short term. When you eat a low carb diet, your body will begin to pull energy out from fat stores – what most of us want. However, if you continue to eat a low carb diet over a long period of time your body will continue to pull energy out from fat stores BUT it will also begin to pull energy out from its own protein tissue (muscles). The last thing you want to do is break down your hard working muscles. Many people who follow a low carb diet, end up gaining the weight back and more weight once they stop.

Your goal is to have 40 to 60 % of your total calories come from slow burning carbohydrates per day. If you tend to carry more belly fat then you would want to keep your carbohydrate intake on the lower end around 40%. If you are lean and active, you can go on the higher end 60% or higher. Basically you have to find what works for your body, play around with your carbohydrate intake, use a food journal to keep track of food portions, including carbohydrate counting. Below is an example of what a 1500 calorie diet looks like with varying percentages for carbs in one day. Carbohydrate intake again varies based on age, activity level, male/female and other factors.

What are slow burning carbs? Keep in mind the type of carbohydrates you eat can make all the difference in the world when it comes to transforming your body and fueling your body The main idea is to get in the habit of consuming carbohydrates that are from whole food sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, beans and legumes. Basically eat clean and choose foods without a label and/or multiple ingredients (less than five to six ingredients in them). Choose carbs that have a low glycemic index (meaning they do not raise your blood sugar) since they contain fiber, digest slowly, and are full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to enhance your health.

How many grams of fiber per day should I aim for? There are many excellent sources of complex carbs that have fiber in them. Most health organizations recommend eating 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 35 grams per day for men. Just eating a few of these good-for-you foods can easily add up to that:

• Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds is about 4.5 grams – add it to your smoothie or cereal!
• One half-cup of beans contains 6 grams – blend it to make a bean dip, serve with veggies!
• One cup of broccoli has a little over 5 grams – perfect side dish for dinner!
• Twenty almonds have about 3 grams – makes a perfect mid afternoon snack!
• One-third of an avocado has 4 grams – add some to your green smoothie or salad!
• A medium apple has 5 grams – pair it with almonds for mid afternoon snack!
• Whole grains are good too, a half cup of cooked quinoa 3 grams – add it to salads, egg whites, side dish, etc.

If you are still confused about what to eat, and how much to eat; schedule an appointment with Core Sport nutritionists, Lisa P and Lisa Marie. They are here to help educate clients that want to take their nutrition to the next level.

Every Sunday and/or Monday, I try to prep my meals to last for the next few days. This is a time saver for me as I can use quinoa as a side for just about any meal. I’ll add it to my egg omelet in the morning for some good carbs after my weight training or I’ll add it to my salad for lunch for filling fiber. Today, I’ll be sharing with you how to make the perfect fluffly quinoa. It’s super easy and the best part, it’s super good for you too.

quinoa box

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) comes from South America. Thousands of years ago this super grain was an important grain during the Inca civilization. The Inca’s referred quinoa as the “Mother Grain” because of it’s health benefits.

Five interesting facts about quinoa:
1. Quinoa is a high quality protein. Is one of the only grains that stands alone as a complete protein grain. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. Most grains are not considered “total protein” sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Quinoa has a significant amount of both lysine and isoleucine making it a great choice for vegetarians who may have trouble getting in all their amino acids.

2. High in vitamins and nutrients. Quinoa is rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium. Quinoa is one of the richest sources of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure.

3. Gluten free grain. Contains no gluten so it’s perfect for those that follow a gluten free/wheat free diet. Plus, quinoa is so versatile in many recipes. (see below some of my favorite quinoa recipes).

4. Great source of iron. One serving of quinoa contains 12% Daily Value of iron.

5. Source of heart healthy fats and fiber. One serving of cooked quinoa contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2.5 grams of fat. Perfect for keeping you full and satisfied.

Most conventional grocery stores carry it, you’ll find it down the rice aisle. You can for sure find it at any health food store. At one point Costco use to sell a big bag of quinoa, recently I haven’t seen it on the shelves. They come in a variety of colors, such as ivory (white), red and black.

1 cup quinoa (any variety — white or golden, red, or black)
2 cups liquid, such as water, broth or coconut water
1 Tbsp of Olive oil (optional) or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Kitchen tools:
Fine mesh strainer
2-quart saucepan with lid


quinoa 1 cup

1. Measure quinoa and liquid. Measure out 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups liquid.

quinoa rinse

2. Rinse the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing, and rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water. Drain.

Why rinse quinoa? Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although the boxed quinoa I purchased says pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

quinoa sauce pan

3. Add rinsed quinoa and liquid in saucepan, bring to a boil. Add quinoa, stir in the liquid and the salt (if using) and bring to a rolling boil.

quionoa lid

4. Lower heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.Let stand covered for 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered.

quinoa cooked

5. Fluff and eat! After 5 minutes, remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve. (You should see tiny light green spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa.

Some of my personal favorite recipes:
Black Bean Quinoa Salad Stuffed in a Pepper
Burger {Keen}
Mini Broccoli Quiches
Grain Free Tabouli Salad


images - fruitveggies

Commandment #3: You Need To Clean Out Your Pantry

Start by going through your pantry, fridge and freezer and read your food labels. Can you pronounce all the ingredients? Notice that the foods that come from the ground do not have an ingredient lists at all! Your goal is to eat foods with 5 to 6 ingredients or less most of the time or follow the 80/20 rule. Intentionally selecting foods that are more nutritious and filling will result in consuming fewer calories overall and keep your stomach from rumbling for longer periods of time.

What is the 80/20 rule? There are many interpretations to this rule, but for the most part the 80/20 rule, basically means to eat clean wholesome foods 80% of the time and eat the “dirty” foods 20% of the time.

What are “dirty” foods? “Dirty foods” includes restaurant foods/carryout food, alcohol, processed foods (includes the organic foods too – snack bars, protein shakes/bar, chips, etc). Pretty much anything that is processed. If you follow the 80/20 rule most days of the week and are consistent, you will see a change in your body – physically and mentally. If you are looking to lean-up and drop body fat, try changing up your diet to 90/10 (90% clean wholesome foods/10% processed foods). For most people, their eating habits change from season to season. For example, during the summer months it’s easier to eat less processed foods, because fresh fruits and vegetables are available, their diet may look like 90/10. However, during the holidays, especially from November to December, your diet may look more like 70/30 or 60/40 with all the family get together and holiday parties. Your goal is to BE CONSISTENT with the 80/20 rule. Allow some indulgences as long as it’s in moderation.

A few tips on how to clean out your pantry:

  • Start by saying goodbye to a few main evils: all white stuff (including sugar, white flour, etc.), caffeine, alcohol. This doesn’t mean you can’t detour every now and then – you decide what works for you. Choose whole grains that are full of fiber and minerals.
  • You don’t have to go toss everything and start from scratch in one day. Switching to 100 percent clean foods can be challenging and even costly at first. Give it time, don’t’ be so hard on yourself. Try replacing one food item at a time. Sub in raw zucchini noodles for plain white pasta, or skip the Snickers and make your own “healthy candy treat”.  As you continually add in the good, your taste buds will change, and you will naturally want good, clean, whole foods.
  • Less IS more. The fewer ingredients an item has, the “cleaner” it is, as in less processed. Try to purchase items with five or six ingredients at the most.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you’ll generally find fresh clean healthier foods. The middle aisle is were you’ll find the ready to eat food that are processed, most often filled with ingredients you should avoid. Try avoiding foods that contain high sodium, trans fat, MSG (monosodium glutamate), food preservatives, unnecessary food coloring and other food chemicals that are unhealthy for your body.
  • Learn to create meals made with just a few items on hand. Try mixing and matching the foods from what you have in your pantry/fridge. For example, boil some whole grains, such as quinoa. Add some roasted vegetables, such as carrots, asparagus, or butternut squash. Add some protein, such as hard-boiled egg or a veggie burger. Be creative, add 1/2 sliced avocado for healthy fat or drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar for dressing. To add some crunch, sprinkle with seeds/nuts, add some chopped fresh herbs or a pinch of cayenne. Simple, fresh, fast and delicious!



We need food for energy – food is what fuels our body.  Conversely, we tend to choose our food choices based on taste and convenience, not necessarily on how good they are for us. Equally important, we need to consider how many calories or “how much fuel” does our body need in a given day? Generally, the more active you are, the more energy your body needs for daily life. For example, a marathon runner will require more calories per day than a desk jockey that doesn’t work out. When fueling your body, it’s important to keep in mind, when you over eat, your body will reserve the extra energy as fat.

Why is fueling your body important? It’s so important to keep your fuel intake moderately even throughout the day. If you wait until the last minute to eat after so many hours, there’s no denying you may over eat or worse yet eat the wrong foods to fuel your body. When you start this cycle of over eating at one meal, not eating enough at the next meal or skipping meals all together is has a huge affect on your energy level. This up and down eating cycle can leave you feeling tired, irritable and make it more difficult for you to lose weight. When you eat small frequent meals you avoid overeating. Stick with foods that help keep the edge off hunger. Be sure to include protein and fiber rich foods at each meal.

How to fuel your body? The first thing is to figure out how many calories you need to eat per day? Check out ACE Fitness Daily Caloric Needs Estimator to get a general idea of how many calories to consume per day. Let’s say you need to consume a 2,000 calorie diet. Your goal is to eat even sized meals every four hours. Your diet may look like this:

  • Breakfast (7 to 8 a.m.): 500 calories
  • Lunch (11 a.m. to noon): 500 calories
  • Mid afternoon snack (3 to 4 p.m.): 400-500 calories
  • Dinner (7 to 8 a.m.): 500-600 cals

If you need more of an individualized nutrition plan make an appointment with Lisa Paparelli or Lisa Marie, They both have degrees or certifications in nutrition and both are passionate.

What are the best foods to fuel my body? There is no such thing as the “one, two or five perfect foods” to fuel your body. The key to fueling your body is variety. The more varied your diet the better because each food has its own unique nutrient profile. Plus adding variety in your diet, will help you stay more consistent with your healthy eating plan. In general, you want your meals to contain both complex carbohydrates and protein. Choose plenty of colorful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein sources at each meal.

How often should I fuel my body? Eating more frequently throughout the day can help you to avoid binge eating and/or food cravings because your body is constantly being fueled at more frequent intervals. Your goal is to eat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day. Basically eating 3 meals and one snack or 3 meals and two snacks, depends on what works for you.

References: ACE Fitness Caloric Needs Estimator        

Asian Salad with Peanut Ginger Lime Dressing – By Lisa Marie

Ingredients for Asian Salad:

1 medium zucchini shredded – 4 cups or more

2 cups of shredded red cabbage

1 cup red bell pepper diced

1 cup of diced carrots

1 cup of diced golden delicious apples

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds

4,4 oz cooked chicken breast cut into bite size cubes

Ingredients for the Peanut Ginger Lime Dressing:

1/2 cup of peanut butter (almond butter works well too)

1/4 cup of fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. Bragg’s Soy Sauce

1 inch piece of ginger root or 1 tsp of ground ginger powder

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp of ground cayenne or more for a kick!

Place ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick add 1 Tbsp. of water at a time to thin it out. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Enjoy!

Assemble all the ingredients in a large bowl and fold in the dressing

asian salad pic




I’m sure we have all heard the saying at one time or another that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. We all know that food is fuel and energy for our bodies, right? Without food we would spend the day in a fog, fighting off a headache, feel tired and probably not in a very good mood.

Why is breakfast so important? When we wake up, our last meal was from the night before. Depending on what time your last meal was and what time you wake up there could be a 10 to 12 hours span of no food intake. While you are sleeping your body is busy being active, it’s a time for your muscles to recover and rebuild using the stored nutrients from the last meal you ate. Your brain is busy too, it’s using glucose (from glycogen stores from your liver) as a source of energy to keep the body functioning while you are sleeping – keeps your lungs breathing, heart pumping, etc. When you wake up in the morning, your body is in a caloric deficit, especially after 10 to 12 hours of fasting. It burned some fuel over night in the form of glucose (glycogen stores from liver that was broken down into glucose so your brain can use it as energy) but now your body is ready for food.

What happens when you skip breakfast? If you skip breakfast after a long time of not eating, a few things happen inside your body that will make losing weight more difficult. One of the things that happens is your blood sugar will drop. When this happens you might start to get a headache, feel irritable, can’t think clearly and feel grumpy. You are more likely to have out of control sugar cravings and feed your body the wrong foods. Bottom line, your body is telling you to feed it.

What happens after you over eat? Your hunger increases causing you to over eat at your next meal. Now your blood sugar rises as well as insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. It acts like a key to open up your cells to let glucose in for energy. However, high levels of insulin circulating in your body will cause your body to store more fat, making it harder for you to lose weight.

What if I’m not hungry for breakfast, what should I do? Your goal is to eat something within at least 2 hours of waking. So if you wake up at 6am, try to eat something by 8am. If you are not one to eat a large breakfast, start out small. Start out with eating one or two bites of breakfast in the morning. Think outside the box, if you do not like traditional breakfast foods, try eating left over’s from the night before.

What is considered a balanced breakfast? According to Idea Fit Journal, breakfast should account for about 25 to 30 percent of your daily calorie needs. For example, if you eat 1500 calories a day, multiply that by 0.25 and you get 375 to 400 calories. For breakfast your goal is to have about 375 to 400 calories with a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats to make it a complete meal. Remember adding protein and fiber will make breakfast filling.

What are some grab and go options for those busy mornings? The best advice is to always plan ahead of time and prepare your meals to make things easier in the morning. Some breakfast grab and go ideas:

  • Quiche muffins (see recipe below)
  • Oatmeal (or other whole grain cereal) with your favorite toppings, such as berries, banana slices. To add some healthy fats and bump up the fiber add some nuts and/or seeds. Pair it with a hard-boiled egg or mix in a scoop of protein powder.
  • Protein bars make a great gab and go meal. Some things to look for in a bar, 15 grams or more of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts label, find bars that have no “added sugars.” A few brands that are good choices. Quest nutrition bars and Isagenix Bars
  • Protein Smoothies or Green smoothie, make sure you add a protein to balance out the natural sugars from the vegetables and fruit – don’t want the blood sugars to spike!
  • Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and other nutritional  mix-ins: flax meal, hemp seeds, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg etc.), seeds and nuts.
  • Leftovers from the day before


IDEA Fit website

 Quiche Muffins

quiche muffins

Servings: 6  Serving size: 1 quiche (made with one egg + one egg white per tin)

Weight Watcher Points Plus:3

Calories: 125 Protein: 13 g Fat: 7 g Carbs:3 Fiber: 1 g




  • 1, dozen eggs ( 1 whole egg + egg white per tin or just use all whites)
  • 1 cup of broccoli chopped into tiny pieces or veggies of your choice
  • optional: cheese, I like to use 2% low fat cheddar or grated Parmesan cheese
  • vegetable oil to coat muffin tin

equipment: 6cup popover pan non stick


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray each popover tin with vegetable spray so they quiche will not stick. Crack one whole egg and one egg white into each cup, add about 1-2 tablespoons of chopped broccoli and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Take the end of a wooden spoon to mix and blend it all up.
  3. Place the popover pan filled with egg mixture into oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked – insert a toothpick and make sure it’s clear.
  4. Let it cool a few minutes before removing from popover pan. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for a few days.
  5. Note: make these with egg whites only if you want a lower fat quiche. I’d add an extra egg white per popover cup.
  6. Serving suggestions, eat as is or add a small side of oatmeal or cereal.  Another idea, add whole grain sandwich thins, turkey breakfast patty, one egg quiche for your own version of Egg McMuffin!

Big thank you to Lisa Nocera for her valuable information and recipe! For more yummy recipes and tips visit her website at


Refueling After Your Workout

What you put into your body post workout is just as important as the workout itself. Post exercise nutrients restore energy, repair and protect muscles. The body’s optimal time for refueling is termed the “metabolic window” and falls between 30-45 minutes after exercise. During this time your muscles are in their greatest state for nutrient absorption and in the greatest need of replenishment. Refueling properly will help to ensure that you have energy for the next workout, and recover quicker from exercise. Your body needs fuel to repair and restore the energy from the workout. Protein is needed to repair muscles and carbohydrates are needed to restore glycogen (energy stored in the muscle). So what’s a healthy and optimal balance?

Research suggests that a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein is ideal (
Examples include:

Banana or apple with a table spoon of almond butter (or your favorite nut spread)
Whole grain bread with a slice of turkey or water packed tuna and hummus
Protein shake
Low fat chocolate milk 🙂

Remember…………..You can’t out train a bad diet!