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The Saturday Smoothie – Join Us on Your Fitness Journey

Welcome to the first edition of our new feature – the Saturday Smoothie. Each week, we’ll bring you our favorite health and fitness content from around the web. Got feedback, or an article suggestion? Tell us here!
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Can Food Heal?

Is your food harming or healingCan food serve as a medicine, and help you heal your body and improve the quality of your life?  Yes, it absolutely can.  Learn how you can take back control of your health, why you should listen to your body, and what you should do to kickstart your diet for newfound youth and vigor.

How You Can Take Back Control of Your Health

Ask-a-Trainer!  Is Nutrition or Exercise More Important?

We’ve also started a new video series, Ask A Trainer. Each week we take your questions to a certified trainer and video his advice. Watch the first video below, and click the button to submit your own question.

So which one is it!?  The two are tied very closely together, but is one that’s more important than the other?  If for some reason, I only wanted to choose one, which one would have the biggest positive affect on my health?  This week we met with Bill Mines, Washington D.C.-based personal trainer, to tackle the classic question of what’s more important, your exercise or your nutrition.

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Which Foods Will Help My Brain Function Better?

Who’s else loves going to the farmer’s market?  There’s something so satisfying about meandering through all the aisles, tasting the samples of fresh-picked produce, and purchasing a basket of healthy, local ingredients.  But what foods should you actually buy?  Well, the second resource we’re excited to share this week is from our friends at NutritionSecrets.com, and it provides you a list of foods that are great for your body and your brain!  A few of them may even surprise you.  (Hint: so you should stock up on dark chocolate!?)
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What’s an Exercise Routine I can Use Today?

Get out there and get moving!  Whether you are in the best shape of your life, or have been sedentary for weeks, months, or years, it’s never too late to exercise.  It increases your circulation, strength, longevity, quality of life, and well-being.  The benefits of exercising on a regular basis are truly limitless.  We wanted to share the 10 Best Exercises for women to get out there and get moving this weekend.
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Mental Toughness – What’s the Best Way to Improve it?

Self awareness is the key to mental toughness.  When was the last time you took the time to sit down, find a comfortable position, and just quietly observed your thoughts?  Do they race, or are you able to bask in the blissful calm of a still mind?  One of the absolute best ways to improve your physical, mental, and spiritual health is regular meditation practice.  Learn the Basics, so you can experience a peace and calm that carries over to every other facet of life.
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Can Food Heal Your Body and Help You Regain Health?

How the Food You Eat Effects You (it also affects you!)

Is your food harming or healingCan food heal your body, and help you regain your health, vibrancy, and energy?  “You are what you eat.”  It’s a cliché phrase that’s been said time and tie again, but there’s an incredible amount of truth to the idea that our bodies are made from what we consume.

The fact of the matter is; our diet is in our direct control.  Sometimes it may feel like our food controls us, but each day we face choices about what food to eat.  Even if for years on end we’ve selected the French fries over the salad, or the sugary cereal over the veggie omelet, it’s never to late to take back the control of our health through the foods we include in our diet.

Eliminate the Common Problem Foods – Members of the Food Mafiatoast

The first step in reclaiming your health is taking a break from the foods that commonly irritate our bodies.  Our ancestors all came from different parts of the world, and as such they likely consumed different diets.  This means that some of us are tolerant to certain foods, while others may irritate us.  What’s key is understanding which foods are your own personal kryptonite.

The foods that generally tend to be problematic are gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, soy, coffee, sugar, processed foods, nuts, alcohol, and nightshades.  You may be tolerant to some, but others might make you feel terrible. Sometimes even the wrong combinations of different foods can make your stomach upset, but by themselves they’re fine. Just how deep can this food rabbit-hole go?

By removing all of the foods that can tend to be problematic, it gives our bodies a chance to recover, detox, and reduce inflammation.  Many of us spend years and years feeding our bodies foods that may taste great, but actually irritate us and make us feel awful.

Eliminating the Common Problem Foods – Which Ones are The Worst?

The rule of thumb is cut out the most common problem foods for at a minimum of 3 weeks.  It takes somewhere between 21 and 25 days four our GI tract to heal from the foods that have caused it constant irritation and inflammation.  Cutting out all of these foods is no easy task! For someone who wakes up looking forward to his two cups of coffee each morning, and a glass of wine with my cheesy pasta in the evening, telling me to give up all these foods seems more difficult than climbing Everest! It’s critical to realize that strictly cutting the kryptonite foods out isn’t permanent. It’s an important first step.  It’s a part of a process, and a transformational one at that.  It’s a mindset shift where you pay attention to the way foods make you feel, rather than just how it tastes. When we’re ruthless with our elimination, our bodies have the chance to heal, and we’re able to figure out which foods are most problematic for our own health.

Identify Which Foods Negatively Effect You – What’s Your Kryptonite?

You’ve done it. You’ve diligently cut out all of the foods that tend to irritate, and likely you feel fantastic. The healthiest you’ve felt in years! But it’s been no easy task. The good news is that your body has had a chance to heal. Now comes the fun part – it’s time for re-introduction, so you can discover once and for all what foods act as your own personal Kryptonite. The key here is to re-introduce one food at a time.  This way, you can find out how it effects you, and whether it’s one of your problem foods.

Reintroduce one of the problem foods, for example, dairy.  Sprinkle some cheese on top of your meals that day, have a few slices as a snack, and drink a couple tall glasses of milk.  Over the next 24 hours, listen to your body so you can determine how the dairy is making you feel.  If there are no negative affects, then your body is most likely tolerant to dairy. Congratulations! This means you can keep it in your diet, because it’s not causing you any negative health consequences.  Wait another day before re-introducing the next food category on the list, and keep listening to your body.

But wait, the dairy is upsetting your stomach? If instead of feeling the newfound vibrancy and health you’ve grown to love over the past three weeks, and you have an upset stomach, feel bloated, have GI distress, or any stomach pains, your body is telling you that you should stay away from dairy! Does this mean that never again should you have that delicious gelato, melted brie, or glass of ice-cold milk? Absolutely not! It just means that you’re more in tune with your body and the signals that it sends you.  It means you can recognize when dairy or any other food makes you feel bad, so you can use that information to make better choices in the future.

What are Some of the Negative Effects of Foods?

The key to taking back control of our health is in listening closely to our bodies.  It sends us signals for all of the nutrients we ingest. Sometimes it may be a subtle energy and satiety that leaves us glowing for hours after the meal. Other times it may be a screaming headache with congested sinuses.

A few common symptoms of foods our bodies don’t agree with are:

-Skin breakouts

-Fatigue

-Stomach aches and GI distress

-Bloating

-Sinus congestion

-Headaches

-Joint pain

-Brain fog

What Foods Should I Eat – How Can I Feel Like Wonder Woman?

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Finish those veggies on your plate! We’ve all heard it, and we may have even told our children or grandchildren the same advice. It’s important to fuel your body with plenty of veggies, as well as healthy fats (think olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocados), and lean meats.  A good rule of thumb is 30% of your diet should be from lean meats like chicken, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed red meat, and the other 70% should be from veggies.

If weight loss is the end goal you have in mind, then limit your carbohydrate intake, especially the sugary, processed ones! Sometimes these are called simple carbs, or processed carbs – think sugary cereals, bread, and pasta. If it comes in a box or a bag, it’s probably not the most ideal staple to keep in your diet. The reason processed carbohydrates are bad is because the body easily breaks them down into sugar.   Too much sugar leads to fat gain, inflammation, mood swings, and that crash you’ve probably experienced 40 minutes after eating that (delicious) donut.

How it Feels When you Clean up Your Diet – Simply Amazing!

After you’ve committed to taking time to let your body heal, detox, and reduce inflammation, you’re going to feel fantastic. When we have vibrant health through our diet, it makes us feel downright amazing. It’s a mindset shift that takes place when we pay attention to the ways that foods make us feel, rather than simply how they taste. When you experience first hand a food or meal that truly satisfies you, it’s a liberating experience. We shouldn’t feel bloated, congested, and achy day-in day-out. Our diet is directly in our control, and our bodies and well being are directly related to the food we consume.

Even if we’ve let years go by with poor food choices, we can always commit to making a change.  By dedicating just 3 weeks to eliminating the foods that may irritate us, it lets our bodies begin the healing process.  From there, it’s all about making choices which promote health, and listening to the signals your body sends.  The information we learn by listening to our bodies, and paying attention to our diet ultimately helps us live longer, healthier lives.  It allows us to see our grandchildren grow up, and continue the hobbies we know and love.

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Best Exercises to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

Falling is a serious concern for many aging adults. An estimated 28-45 percent of elderly people fall each year. When an older person falls, the risk of injury isn’t the only concern; for most elderly people, it can take months to recover from injuries sustained in a fall, and such lengthy convalescence can lead to more physical problems.

However, studies have found that exercise helps reduce the risk of falls, and can also help minimize injuries sustained in a fall. Here are the best exercises to improve balance and prevent falls:

  • Weight Shifting: Standing with your feet about as wide apart as your hips, shift your weight to one side and then the other, lifting your opposite foot off of the floor. Hold the position as long as you can (about 30 seconds). Alternate to the other side, and repeat.
  • One-Legged Balancing: Take weight-shifting a step further by balancing on one leg. Start with your feet placed hip-width apart on the floor and your hands on your hips. Lift one leg, bending at the knee, and hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Alternate with the other leg, and repeat.
  • Heel-Toe Walk: Stand with your arms straight out, and feet side by side. Take a step, positioning your lead foot directly in front of the back foot, so that your lead foot heel is touching the toe of your back foot. Pick a spot straight ahead to keep yourself steady, walking heel-to-toe.
  • Single-Legged Squat & Reach (higher difficulty): Stand on one leg, with the opposite foot lifted a couple of inches off of the ground. Bend the standing leg 90 degrees to reach the opposite arm toward the outside of the standing leg – keep your back straight the whole time. Return to the starting position, alternate legs, and repeat.
  • Perpendicular Bends (higher difficulty): Standing with your feet together and your arms straight at your sides, bend forward with your back straight, lifting one leg, and raising your arms. You should end with your torso, lifted leg and arms parallel with the ground. Slowly lower your arms and leg toward the ground (keeping your back straight and parallel with the ground). Switch legs and repeat.

Tai Chi is an excellent method of balance and fitness training as well. Need some extra guidance? Here are 12 great balance exercises, with videos to help you follow along.

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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5 Easy, Healthy Crock Pot Soup Recipes

These cold winter nights get the cravings going for comfort foods, and unfortunately, many comfort foods are high in unhealthy starches and fats. However, there are plenty of satisfying meals that are good for you, while being super simple to make! Here are five easy and healthy crock pot soup recipes – make them for a dinner and enjoy the leftovers for lunch, or prep the ingredients to freeze and cook up later. Psst: All of these can be made without the meat for a delicious vegetarian option!

Smoked Turkey-Lentil Soup (featured image)

Ingredients:

  • 8-ounce smoked turkey leg
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ lb. dried lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 8 ounces of pre-chopped onion, celery and bell pepper mixture
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano (chopped)
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • plain fat-free Greek yogurt (optional)
  • sprigs of oregano (optional)

Instructions: Place the first six ingredients into a 3- or 4-quart crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8- to 10-hours until the turkey is falling off the bone and the lentils are soft. Remove the turkey leg, discard the skin and bone, shred the meat and return to the pot. Serve garnished with the yogurt and oregano sprigs (optional).

 

sweet-potato-chicken-and-quinoa-soupSweet Potato, Chicken & Quinoa Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed well)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • Parsley (optional)

Instructions: Put the first 8 ingredients into a 3- or 4-quart crock pot. Cover with a lid and cook on high for 3-5 hours. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Serve with fresh parsley (optional), salt and pepper to taste.

 

slow-cooker-beef-stewHarvest Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. beef chuck roast (cubed)
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups carrots (sliced)
  • 3 celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 cups russet potatoes (diced)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Combine the beef cubes with flour in a large bowl, then saute in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat until the meat is slightly browned. Transfer the beef to a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker, and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

 

crockpot-african-peanut-soupAfrican-Inspired Vegetarian Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup green onion (sliced)
  • 2 red bell peppers (seeds removed and chopped)
  • 1 TBSP garlic (minced)
  • 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes in juice
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 TBSP Ancho chile powder*
  • 1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder*
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper*
  • ½ cup brown lentils (uncooked)
  • ¼ cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (all natural, no added sugar)

*Use any mixture of chile powders or spicy red pepper flakes

Instructions: Place the first 12 ingredients (through the brown rice) into a crock pot, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours, OR on high for 4 hours (if cooking on high, reduce heat to low after 4 hours). After the applicable cooking time has passed, add the peanut butter and cook for about one more hour on low. Serve hot, and garnish with chopped green onion (if desired).

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 4.28.16 PMTuscan Chicken Stew

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cubed)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 celery stalks (sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 12 baby potatoes (halved)
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP white wine
  • ½ tsp. fennel seeds (crushed)

Before Serving:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 ½ TBSP cornstarch
  • 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Parsley (chopped)

Instructions: Place all of the initial ingredients into a 4- or 5-quart crock pot and toss to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, mix the cornstarch and water together until there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture, vinegar, rosemary and salt to the crock pot.

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Secrets for Aging Well

Most of us can agree that the Fountain of Youth is a myth, and no method yet exists to completely stop or reverse aging. However, we can also likely agree that there are steps we can all take to slow down the aging process. The following are the top ten secrets for aging well, to enjoy your life and live a healthier one for many years to come…

  1. Eat nutrient-rich foods. With your diet, set a plan in place to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, minimum. In addition, consume three servings of whole grains, and stay away from processed foods, and items that are high in saturated fats or starch. Focus on fresh, organic, and colorful as you fill your grocery cart.
  2. Get lots of antioxidants. Experts have found that most age-related diseases are triggered or intensified due to free radicals. Antioxidants are the key to neutralizing them, and can be found in supplements as well as darkly-colored veggies and berries.
  3. Drink lots of water. Hydration is important no matter what your age! A good rule of thumb is to drink about 5-8 glasses (8 oz.) per day.
  4. Reduce alcohol intake. While moderate intake of alcohol (one beverage per day for women, or two beverages per day for men) has been found to lower risk of heart disease, heavier drinking can be harmful to your health in significant ways.
  5. Exercise regularly with aerobics and strength training. This is a must for slowing down the aging process! By exercising your muscles and keeping them moving, you will slow down the muscular deterioration that comes with aging naturally, and avoid any deterioration that could have resulted from sedentary living.
  6. Stimulate your brain. Studies have exhibited the importance of mental health in addition to physical well-being. Doing puzzles and challenging your brain with additional stimulation can prevent declines in cognitive function, keeping your memory and more in shape.
  7. Follow a healthy sleep schedule. Your body needs to rest in order to function optimally and bolster your immune system against disease. If you are not getting at least six hours of sleep each night, you are at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
  8. Don’t forget sunscreen! Regardless of the weather or season, sunscreen is necessary to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that damage the skin, cause wrinkles, and put you at risk for skin cancer.
  9. Strengthen yourself to prevent falling. Falls can cause minor and severe injuries that are not only painful, but take far longer for aging adults to recover from. If you make a point to walk three times each week for as little as 30 minutes, or participate in other physical activities like cycling, dancing, and hiking, you will strengthen your bones and muscles to reduce your risk of falling.
  10. Check your meds. With each visit to your doctor, bring along your medications, supplements, and vitamins (or a complete list) for them to review. As you receive more prescriptions (a normal part of aging), you’ll want your doctor to ensure they interact safely together and don’t have harmful side effects.

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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New Year’s Resolutions: Keep Up With These Nutritional Tips

Consistent exercise isn’t the only New Year’s resolution to make for the benefit of your health! Your diet is equally important for a well-rounded, successful fitness regimen. Keep up with your resolutions for better fitness and health in 2016 with these nutritional tips…

Make small steps, and stay consistent. A recent report noted that while most New Year’s resolutions fizzle by the end of February, consistently following small behavioral changes in your diet can have a lasting impact.

Choose water as your beverage of choice. Regardless of whether your habitual beverage is a soda or coffee, try to switch at least one beverage/serving per day to water instead. Bored? Lemon, cucumber or strawberry slices (and/or some mint) are a healthy way to add some flavor, or you can purchase unsweetened flavored seltzer water to drink.

Make sure to eat one serving of fresh fruit or vegetables with every meal. Fresh produce is key to a healthy diet, both for nutritional value as well as for all of the vitamins and minerals they contain. Plan a variety of fruits and vegetables to have on hand to enjoy with your meals or as a healthy snack.

Eat fish twice weekly. Fish, particularly salmon, is rich in the healthy, important Omega-3 fatty acids. Balance your red meat and poultry consumption with fish – twice weekly is a good benchmark. Take it a step further and try going totally meatless for one meal each week.

Don’t avoid all fats, just the unhealthy ones. Speaking of healthy fats like Omega-3s, plan your diet to include more unsaturated fat (good for your heart) and less saturated fat. Here is a helpful article about good fats vs. bad ones.

Clean your cupboards of sugary foods. Get rid of that high fructose corn syrup! Go through your pantry and cupboards to rid yourself of foods that are high in sugar. Check the labels for sugar’s pseudonyms: fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltodextrin and fruit juice concentrate. Note: Sugar hides in non-dessert foods as well, such as tomato sauce, so look closely.

Start your day with lots of protein. Not only does protein help keep you full (reducing unhealthy snacking), it energizes, rejuvenates cells, and helps you maintain a healthy weight, according to studies. Start your day with a nutritional, delicious healthy smoothie, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, etc.

As you plan your new nutritional diet for the New Year, try one (or several!) of these healthy lunch recipes. Need some more help keeping up with the nutritional tips above? Here are some additional suggestions.

Good luck!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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Winter Fitness Tips: Why & How to Stay Active This Season

Most of us will admit that exercising in the cold, wet weather is a challenge, if not downright impossible. But it’s important to maintain a regular, healthy schedule of workouts and activity during the winter months. However, this doesn’t mean you have to go it alone and suffer through the nasty winter weather without support! The following winter fitness tips will explain why, and provide suggestions for how to stay active even when snow, rain and cold might discourage you from exercising.

Fitness professionals of all genres and types will tell you that exercise must be consistent to be the most effective. Don’t put your fitness regimen on hold, just because of rain or snow!

Walking in the snow is actually a great method of winter fitness, since it requires more cardiovascular exercise than walking unhindered on the sidewalk or street. And playing in the snow with your kids and grandkids is both a fun and healthy way to fit in some activity. More restorative activities such as tai chi and yoga can help increase your strength and flexibility, while helping you relax and improve mental and emotional health.

By working out during this season, you can also help reduce weight gain from drinking and eating the rich foods that are so readily available throughout the holidays this time of year. Make eating choices with your health in mind, such as enjoying a couple of satsuma oranges instead of a cookie.

Additional Winter Fitness Tips:

  • Be sure to warm up before your workout! Stretching and preparing your muscles for movement (particularly in cold weather) is important to avoid strains and other injuries.
  • Drink plenty of water. This is important any time of year, but can be harder to remember during the winter, when the rain is coming down or there’s snow on the ground. Follow these tips for staying hydrated during winter workouts.
  • Layer your workout clothing. Dress well for the weather. The first layer should be thermal to keep the heat in, then add more layers and an outer shell that are lightweight and easy to peel off as you get warmer during your workout.
  • Wear safety devices and reflective accessories. Days are shorter and darker this time of year, so if you’re going to be outside for your workout, make sure to wear items that will ensure cyclists and motorists can see you.

How do you stay active during the winter season? We’d love for you to share your tips!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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8 Great Healthy & Easy Winter Recipes

By Janet Luhrs, www.simpleliving.com

Mmmmm. Winter is the perfect time to nourish yourself with healthy comfort food. I’ve pulled together a few easy recipes that you can make ahead, so you’ll always have something hearty and warm on hand. I suggest making big batches and then freezing the leftovers so you’re always prepared.

All of these recipes give you great nutrition before a workout, and some adapt really well to a wide mouth thermos, so you can bring them along to the slopes or on a winter hike. 

  • This Slow cooker Root Vegetable Stew is a wonderful way to take advantage of the winter veggies and do it all simply in the crockpot.
  • Need a mid-winter pick-me-up? This Lime Jalapeño Chicken will do that for you during those dark days of winter with its wonderful citrusy flavor.
  • Packed with protein and power greens, the Pork, White Bean and Kale Soup is easy to make and pour into a thermos for a day at the slopes.
  • Although this one is a side dish, the Honey Glazed roasted Root Vegetables are a winner if you have a crowd coming over for the game. You can prep the veggies ahead and toss in a gallon zip lock to season and then just pull out and roast as directed.
  • No winter recipe list would be complete without a chicken chili recipe. With just 8 ingredients, things couldn’t be simpler
  • This one is super hearty and satisfying – French Beef Burgundy Stew. Another winner made easy in the crockpot and would do well in a wide mouth thermos after your vigorous winter snowshoe adventure.
  • This won’t do well in a thermos, but the protein packed Quinoa Enchilada Casserole is too yummy and too easy to make, so I had to include it on this list. Using quinoa and black beans not only adds important protein but both are really great sources of fiber. This one is easy to freeze ahead before baking.
  • This crockpot recipe makes you look like a top chef. The French Basil Chicken recipe is easy to make for a crowd or just two of you. You can mix all ingredients in gallon zip locks, freeze uncooked, and pull out and toss into your crockpot in the morning.

Give some a try and let us know your favorites, or did you try some variations? We would love to hear.

Featured photo source: GimmeSomeOven.com

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Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

We’re at that time of year again, when we’ll be celebrating with loved ones, enjoying special food and gifts, and then making plans to make 2016 even better than this year. New Year’s resolutions will make up a decent portion of conversation at many a holiday table. And although lots of people will be planning to lose weight, learn a new language, or cut back on the coffee, seniors have some special priorities.

So as you look toward January 1st and think about how you will make your life better in the New Year, here are the top resolutions for seniors…

  1. Make fitness a priority. We say all of the time that fitness makes everything better, and it truly does! Regardless of whether you have had your health and fitness at heart and just need to enhance it, or you’re just beginning to look at this crucial part of living, make fitness a priority in the New Year. From consistent exercise, to eating healthier, any steps you take toward your health and fitness will be beneficial.
  2. Proof your home against falls. One in three aging adults falls each year, leading to painful injuries that can take months to recover from, or even death. Fall-proof your home by removing things that may put you at risk for falling, such as throw rugs, and install things that may help you prevent a fall, like handrails in the shower.
  3. Challenge your emotional and mental health. I know that I’ve mentioned this several times before, “Use it or lose it!” Your mind works better the more you use it. Do puzzles, crosswords, and engage your mind in social situations like bridge club (this will also help keep you from becoming depressed).
  4. Document your memories. You’ve lived a long, full life! While you probably don’t expect it to come to a close anytime soon, now is the time to document your stories and memories for your legacy, so that your children and grandchildren (and beyond) can appreciate them too. At very least, make an effort to label every photo or memento you have. Another great project to start in the New Year is to put them all into an album – craft stores have fun paper, stamps, cut-outs and more to make a beautiful scrapbook.
  5. Get things in order. This may be a morbid concept, but getting your affairs in order and informing your loved ones of your wishes now will save a lot of heartache and complication after your passing. It can be hard to face this project, or to even know where to start. The National Institute on Aging has some guidelines – click here to learn more.

Happy New Year!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Health & Fitness

According to the numbers, 45 percent of Americans usually make resolutions, but only 8 percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. A lot of adults choose this time of year to make a step toward better fitness (38 percent of resolutions are about weight loss). However, a general New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more often probably isn’t enough to keep the motivation going for more than 8 weeks. Unfortunately, only 14 percent of those over the age of 50 who make resolutions achieve them. Let’s change that!

This year, follow these tips to keep your resolutions to improve your health and fitness:

  • Make specific resolutions (i.e. “I will exercise 3x per week” vs. “I will exercise more often”) with manageable, short-term goals
  • Schedule time on your calendar to complete the goals you set
  • Stay accountable with a friend or loved one
  • Keep track of your progress, and celebrate your successes
  • Reassess your resolutions if needed, but don’t give up!

Now that you have the tools, here are some good New Year’s resolutions to improve your health and fitness:

  • To start exercising, schedule workout/active sessions for 3-4 days each week based on things that you already enjoy doing (hiking, playing tennis, golfing, etc.).
  • To lose weight, resolve to exercise on a regular basis and change your diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables, and less/no processed foods, sugars, or starchy carbohydrates (such as bread and pasta).
  • To improve strength and balance, start a weekly resistance training workout regimen.
  • To reduce high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, schedule cardiovascular exercise (jogging, cycling, swimming, etc.) at least three times each week for 30-minute (minimum) segments.
  • To increase workout intensity and effectiveness, schedule workout time with more frequency or variety (such as adding a day each week, or adding a new activity) or extend the amount of time you spend working out through the week.

Have a very happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com