March MATness – Spine Stretch Forward

Spine stretch forward is an amazing exercise when executed correctly. A great tool for the spine stretch forward is to sit up against a wall. The wall will give your tactile feedback for where you are moving. Also, if you are really tight and feel all the work in your hip flexors you can sit on a block or roll up your mat and sit on the mat. Remember think FULL BODY!

Spine Stretch Forward 

  1. Sit on your mat with a tall stack spine, legs extended hip width, feet flexed at the ankle joint and arms extended at chest height
  2. Inhale as you squeeze your glutes and pull your abdominals in
  3. Imagine you are lifting your torso away from your hips
  4. Maintaining your core connection and as much height as you can, exhale and begin to round forward creating a “c” curve with your spine
  5. Create as much oppositional movement within your own body as possible (abs and lower back pulling one way, as the arms, crown of the head and legs reach the other way)
  6. Inhale and stack the spine back to your starting position. Repeat 3-5x


March MATness

Happy Friday! Today we will add the last 3 of the “series of 5.” The single straight leg stretch, the double straight leg stretch and the criss cross. These 3 exercises are not part of Joseph Pilates original mat repertoire but are great core strengtheners. Your ultimate goal is to perform the “series of 5” without rest in between.

Single Straight Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back with your knees into your chest and your head and shoulder blades curled off the mat
2. Extend both your legs up to the ceiling and walk both your hands up your right leg towards your ankle
3. Left leg lowers down a few inches away from the mat
4. While keeping a strong stabile center scissor kick and switch legs
5. As the legs are moving focus on keeping the tailbone and shoulder blades anchored into the mat. Repeat 6-10x








Double Straight Leg Stretch

1. After you have completed the single straight leg stretch, interlace your hands and place them behind the base of your skull, legs lengthen long and squeeze together as straight as you can up to the ceiling
2. Inhale, stretch your legs away from your body as you actively pull your rib cage and abs into the mat
3. Exhale, deepen the abs and pull your legs back up to your starting position. Repeat 6-10x








Criss Cross

1. After completing the double straight leg stretch, keep your hands interlaced behind your head, bend your right knee into your chest and lengthen your left leg a few inches away from the mat
2. Inhale, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left armpit towards the right knee
3. Exhale as you maintain control and twist to the left bringing the left knee into your chest
4. As you alternate side to side try to curl up deeper into the work each time
5. Focus on the rotation of the spine as you are twisting. Repeat 6x each side

IMG_1566 IMG_1563

March MATness – Rolling Like A Ball

Rolling Like A Ball 

  1. Have a seat on your mat with your knees bent into your chest
  2. Tightly grab on as close to your ankles as you can with the elbows broad
  3. Your goal is to get your thighs perpendicular to the mat
  4. Bring the weight of your head toward the knees and pull your abs away from your thighs……..your body is in the shape of a ball!
  5. Maintain this position, inhale and roll onto your upper back without letting the weight of the body go onto your head and neck
  6. Pulling your abs in even deeper, exhale and roll back up to your starting position. Repeat 6-10x

The most challenging part of this exercise is maintaining the “ball” like shape as you move and initiating the movement by curling the tailbone under. With daily practice and thoughtful movement you will be “rolling like a ball” in no time!

IMG_1549 IMG_1551









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.

March MATness – The Roll Over

Here we are on day 3 of March MATness and that brings us to the rollover. The roll over is a “rolling” exercise and requires a lot of control. A very important component of this movement is to remember the “full body” connection. Before you practice the roll over, make sure that you feel strong and in control when performing the prep below.

Roll Over Prep

1.  Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and engaged, arms long by your side actively pressing into the mat

2.  Inhale and begin to lift the legs away from the mat using the deep squeeze of the thighs, glutes and abs

3.  Lift the legs up to a 90 degree angle

4.  Continue the active engagement of the legs and press the upper body into the mat as you peel the tailbone away from the mat

5.  Keeping a strong center lower the legs back down to the mat. Repeat 3-6x









Roll Over

1.  Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and engaged, arms long by your side actively pressing into the mat

2.  Inhale and begin to lift the legs away from the mat using the deep squeeze of the thighs, glutes and abs

3.  Continue the active engagement of the legs and press the upper body into the mat as you begin to peel your spine away from the mat and bring the legs overhead (Use the support of the strong arms and core to support the weight making sure it is not in the head and neck)

4.  With the legs overhead, exhale and open the legs hip width and flex the feet

5. Inhale, begin to roll the spine back into the mat as you lengthen the legs away in opposition

6. Exhale as the legs lower down and together to the mat as far as you can control. Repeat 3x

7. Reverse the pattern of the legs and repeat 3x






Deciding how often to indulge in your favorite treats can be a difficult choice. Do you indulge in a treat every day or just on the weekends? If you are too strict with your eating plan, it can backfire, resulting in binge eating or worse yet uncontrollable binge eating. A single binge is not the end of the world, as long as you get back on track with your diet. But regular binges could definitely interfere with your progress and damage what you are trying to accomplish – balancing a healthy eating lifestyle.

When it comes to allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite foods, you always hear the phrase, ‘moderation is key”. What does that even mean? For the foodie, it may mean eating a few bites of fries every day or eating pizza once a week. For the extreme health nut, it might mean eating pizza everything three months with light cheese and no pepperoni! Most nutritionists agree it’s about finding that balance of eating healthy and allowing some indulgences.

Research has suggested that indulging in your favorite foods during a “diet” can have some benefits. For instance, it can help eliminate binge eating because you are not adhering to a strict unrealistic diet plan. In addition, research has found that it can help speed up your metabolism. If you tend to eat the same clean eating healthy foods over and over without over indulging, your body gets kind of lazy metabolizing the same foods. Your body starts to recognize the same foods you are eating and this decreases the amount of work needed to metabolize it. Getting a tasty treat in once or twice a week during your diet may actually be helpful in allowing you to reach your long term weight goals.

This holiday season, allow yourself a treat that that you truly enjoy and love and forgoe the others. If you don’t have a weak spot for cake, don’t eat it. Just because the people around you are eating it doesn’t mean you have to as well. If your weakness is pizza, have a slice just keep in mind to skip something else to make room for that pizza slice. It’s all about finding balance in exercise and eating a variety of nutritious foods.

** Recipe ***


1 (16 ounce) box linguine (such as Barilla linguine)
1 (ounces) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 ¼ c broth (I used low sodium)
2 ¼ c. water
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch (about 10 to 12 leaves) basil, diced
optional: Parmesan cheese for garnish
Optional: add your choice of protein: shrimp, fish, meat balls, chicken, etc.

1. In a large stock pan or 3 quart sautee pan, place un-cooked pasta, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a large stock pot. Pour in broth and water. Drizzle top with oil.

2. On medium heat, cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 8 to10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so with tongs or large fork. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired.

3.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add basil leaves and stir pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot evenly throughout the pasta as you are serving.

4. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese. Top with your choice of protein.


Commandment #8: YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL

Over the last few weeks of the Prevent the Pudge Challenge, we have covered various nutrition topics from eating clean to macronutrient consumption but little focus has been shed on how we eat! The purpose of mindful eating is to have a reconnection with food and enjoy the experience of eating. Mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but instead being aware of what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating is to base meals on physical cues, such as hunger pangs versus emotional triggers like stress eating.

Strategies for Beating Mindless Eating:
Whether you’re at your computer munching on a bag of pretzels or watching television chomping on a bag of potato chips, or a few bites of your kid’s leftover meals, mindless eating is one definite way to pack on the pounds. In addition, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, can lead to consuming an extra 700 calories at the end of the week. Worse yet, keep eating an extra 100 mindless calories a day and you’ll be gaining up to 10 pounds in a year!

To prevent mindless eating and unintentional weight gain, follow these mindless eating strategies:

Write it down. Food journaling is a great tool to use because it helps you discover the emotions that lead you to over snack or to overeat at meals. If you note in your food diary that you did overeat, ask yourself why, without being judgmental. What events or emotions triggered your eating?
Savor the silence. Our daily lives are full of distractions. Consider making mealtime (especially with families), an electronics-free zone this includes silencing the cell phone. Focus on the taste of your food as well as taking the time to enjoy your family. This will allow you to check in with yourself so that you can stop when you’re satisfied.
• Know your trigger foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a rule to keep your trigger foods out of your grocery cart and out of your house! Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes
• Slow Down. Take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Try to slow down your eating my chewing your food about 15 to 20 chews or just enough number of chews to really savor the food in your mouth. Another technique is to eat with your non dominant hand because it requires more attention to coordination and placement. Set your fork down and take a 30 seconds to determine if you are still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
• Eat only when hungry. Eat only when hungry. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before reaching for something. Try drinking a glass of water or some hot tea. If you are still hungry then eat, but try to eat until about 80% satisfied, not until you are stuffed. Aim to eat until your 80 percent full – any more will make you feel stuffed and any less will make you feel deprived.
• Smaller Plates. Portion sizes have increased in size over the years, just like our waistlines. To avoid this, check in
Avoid the Stomach Growls. When you are ravenous, the more likely you are to overeat and consume more calories than your body needs and before your brain can register all the food you devoured. Try eating smaller frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours with a small snack in between meals if need. This way you are less likely to experience the powerful stomach growls.

Start out by practicing mindful eating by taking on one or two of these strategies and gradually add them into your eating plan. Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits – the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat. You may find what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too. It can be practiced with chocolate or salad, cupcakes or oatmeal. You can practice mindful eating at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go. Chances are, you’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your habits changing in the process too. In no time, you will see, feel and taste the difference.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Five Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer, You

*** recipe***

Gingerbread Granola
Servings: 10 / Serving size: 1/2 cup
Weight Watcher Points Plus: 7
Calories: 205 / Protein: 5 g/ Fat: 8 g/Carbs: 40 g/ Fiber: 1 g
4 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp maple syrup (add a bit more if you like your granola sweet)
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I added a bit more after I toasted the granola)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried apples
1. Pre -heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silpat mat or parchment paper, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add rolled oats. In a small bowl add: molasses, maple syrup, and spices; mix well. Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl of oats. Get ready to get your hands dirty by mixing until the oats are all covered with the molasses mixture.
3. Evenly distribute the oat mixture on the baking sheet, put into the oven to bake for about 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown, stir every 5 minutes or so.
4. Remove granola from the oven, let it cool. Add dried fruit, nuts or seeds.
5. Store in an air tight container, keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
6. Package them into cute containers such as mason jar or treat bags to give away as gifts!
Check out other granola recipes that make awesome holiday gifts!
§ Pumpkin Cranberry Granola
§ Cherry Coconut Granola
§ Banana Walnut Granola


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%