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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jon's Rainbow Salad

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This Rainbow Salad comes from Jon Ham, who makes this divine concoction on a regular basis. In fact, this is a simple, yet delectable dish that I will now be regularly creating in my kitchen. Not only does this tout ease and tantalizing tastes, but it is chock-full of nutrients. Jon's Rainbow Salad includes high quantities of lutein, lycopene, vitamins C, A, B6, K, B2, B3, E, and folate; potassium, iron, manganese, molybdenum, chromium; fiber; protein; tryptophan; and thousands of phytochemicals that work synergistically to protect us from disease. All of that with minimal calories, fat and zero antibiotics, and hormones. Talk about nutrient density! This is maximal nutrition for a minimal buck!

We literally threw in the following ingredients:

1 red pepper, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

3 Persian Cucumbers, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

balsamic vinegar (amount to taste)

Toss together and enjoy.

Truly an easy meal and I loved the textures (crunchy and chewy) and flavors (acidic, sweet, basil-y). Good recipe, Jon!

To learn more about the hows and whys of plant-based nutrition, please see my website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bean, Baby Bean Chili! Jon and Julieanna in the Kitchen

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This is one of the simplest, heartiest meals that can be whipped up very easily, with minimal work. Plus, it is loaded with antioxidants (tons of various carotenoids which are great for heart and eye health and cancer protection), fiber, vitamins and minerals. Another benefit is that it lasts for days in the refrigerator which means tasty and quick leftovers. Jon Ham was able to learn about the beautiful rainbows of color found in nature and he was (fortunately) pleasantly surprised!

The chili can be eaten alone or with a chunk of cornbread, whole grain rolls, or on brown rice.

Recipe:
~1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 (red) bell peppers, chopped
1 bunch of (rainbow-colored) carrots, sliced

Let this simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Then add:
1 can pinto beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
~1.5 cups frozen (or canned) corn
~1 Tbsp Chili Powder
~1 Tbsp smoked chipotle powder (optional)
1.5 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 small can green chillies
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
~2 more cups vegetable broth

Let simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

TRX Workout with Cari Ham

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This is Workout # 8 where Cari Ham guides me through another great full body workout using the TRX which helps perform challenging, diverse, and functional exercises in order to build strength, balance and posture. This circuit workout consists of the following exercises:

1. TRX Side Lunge- 10 repetitions per side

2. TRX Push Up with Feet in Straps- 10 repetitions per side

3. Single Leg TRX Lunge- 10 repetitions per side

4. TRX Tucks- 10 repetitions

5. TRX T- 10 repetitions

In order to maximize benefits from this workout, be sure to:

1. Complete 2-3 sets of each exercise

2. Move through the exercises in a circuit training format (perform one right after the other without rest in between)

3. Practice the exercises regularly.



To learn more about training with the TRX, check out Fitness on the Run.

Friday, February 19, 2010

“TOXIC HUNGER” THE MAIN CAUSE OF OBESITY by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

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Hunger is good to experience on a daily basis. Hunger is important to aid in our enjoyment of food and get the precise signals from our body to know the amount of calories we need to maintain our lean body mass. When we eat when we are hungry food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again.

Consider that real hunger is not often experienced in our modern, overfed population. Most people no longer even remember or are aware what hunger even feels like. Most people are surprised to find that true hunger is felt in the throat and not in the head or stomach.

Instead of true hunger, people get detoxification or withdrawal symptoms that they mistakenly consider hunger. They feel shaky, head-achy, weak, fatigue, get abdominal cramps or spasms and other symptoms which they consider manifestations of hunger symptoms because they are relieved by eating. I call this “toxic hunger.” Toxic hunger is the symptoms a person experiences that are due to toxic wastes being mobilized for elimination. It occurs after a meal is digested and the digestive track is empty, and it could make us feel very uncomfortable.

Generally, we eat to get rid of these withdrawal symptoms and it works. In fact, this is one of the most important contributors to our population’s overweight condition. We eat the wrong foods and just a few hours later we feel ill, stressed out, shaky, weak, mentally dull, and we are driven to eat again to relieve the discomfort. Did you ever hear someone saying they needed to eat because they feel so shaky? The question is, are these symptoms “true hunger,” “hypoglycemia” or something else? I claim that these symptoms occur simultaneous to our blood sugar decreasing but they are not caused by “hypoglycemia.” Rather, they result from sensitivity to mobilization of waste products which is enhanced when most active digestion is finished.

When we eat a nutrient-dense diet, rich with lots of colorful vegetables, we will better meet the nutrient needs of our body and reduce free radicals and other toxins that build up in our tissues from a diet of poor quality. When we have a lower level of waste on our tissues as a result of micronutrient adequacy people no longer feel those (withdrawal) symptoms of “toxic hunger” leading to overeating behavior.

When our diet is low in nutrients, we build up intra-cellular waste products. So when digestion stops, our body goes through a period catabolism or breakdown and this results in, and is accompanied by, the release of toxic substances into circulation for removal. Our cells harbor toxic products that build up in the body when our diet is relatively nutrient-poor. Phytonutrients enable cellular detoxification machinery. When we don’t eat sufficient phytochemical-rich-vegetation and consume excess animal proteins (creating excess nitrogenous wastes) we often exacerbate the build up of metabolic waste products in our body.

The confusion is compounded because when we eat the same heavy foods that are causing the problem to begin with, we feel so much better. This makes becoming overweight inevitable, because if we stop digesting food, even for a short time, our bodies will begin to experience symptoms of detoxification or withdrawal from our unhealthful diet. To counter this we eat heavy meals, eat too often and keep our digestive track overfed to lessen the discomfort from our stressful diet-style.

When our bodies have acclimated to noxious agents it is called addiction. Try to stop taking the heroin and we will feel ill. In fact, we must have it or we will become terribly sick. This is called withdrawal. When we stop doing something harmful to ourselves we feel ill as the body mobilizes cellular wastes and attempts to repair the damage caused by the exposure.

If we drank 3 cups of coffee or caffeinated soda a day, we would get a withdrawal headache when our caffeine level dipped too low. We could take more caffeine again (or other drugs) or we could eat food more frequently which can make us feel a little better as it retards detoxification or withdrawal. In other words, the caffeine withdrawal symptoms can contribute to our drinking more caffeine products or eating more frequently as a means of managing the symptoms from caffeine withdrawal.

Likewise, a few hours after eating the standard low-nutrient diet most people begin to feel "hungry". They feel weak, headachy, tired, mentally dull, and have stomach spasms. I call it "toxic hunger" because these symptoms only occur in those who have been eating a toxic diet. True hunger would not have occurred so early after the meal.

True hunger signals when our body needs calories to maintain our lean body mass. If we ate food demanded by true hunger and true hunger only, people would not become overweight to begin with. In our present toxic food environment, we have lost the ability to connect with the body signals that tell us how much food we actually need. We have become slaves to withdrawal symptoms and eat all day long, even when there is no biological need for calories.

Fortunately, this cycle of eating, and then avoiding the symptoms of detoxification by eating again, does not have to continue. There is a way out. When you restore the nutritional integrity and relative cleanliness to your tissues, you simply will not have the desire to eat. You will naturally desire less calories.

In an environment of healthy food choices, we would not feel any symptoms after a meal until the hormonal and neurological messengers indicated the glycogen reserves in the liver were running low. Nature has made it so that our body has the beautifully orchestrated ability to give us the precise signals to tell us exactly how much to eat to maintain an ideal weight for our long term health. This signal I call "true hunger" to differentiate it from the “toxic hunger" everyone else calls hunger.

Feeding ourselves to satisfy true hunger does not cause weight gain and if people were better connected with these normal signals it would be almost impossible for anyone to become overweight. True hunger is felt in the throat, neck and mouth, not in the stomach or head. It is a drawing sensation. It is not very uncomfortable to feel real hunger, it makes food taste much better when you eat, and it makes eating an intense pleasure.

We do not have to carry around a calculator and a scale to figure out how much to eat. A healthy body will give us the correct signals. So in order to achieve superior health, maximize our longevity potential, and achieve our ideal weight, we have to eat healthy enough to get back in touch with true hunger and rid ourselves of this “toxic hunger”.

Every cell is like a little factory, it makes products, produces waste and then must compact, detoxify and remove waste. If we don’t ingest sufficient antioxidants and phytonutrients from our food choices, our cells are unable to effectively remove self-produced waste. If we let waste metabolites build up, the body will attempt to mobilize them (discomfort) when it can; but it only can do that effectively if not actively digesting food. Eating makes one feel better because it halts or delays the detoxification process.

My books, Eat to Live and Eat For Health explain how eating for health is the most effective way to reach our ideal weight and stay there permanently when you get there. There are lots of ways to lose weight, but only by eating lots of nutrient-rich foods as a method of choice for weight loss will we not have to fight off cravings and ill feelings.

In a portion controlled (calorie counting) diet it is likely that the body will not get adequate fiber or nutrients. The body will have a compounded sensation of hunger and craving which for most is simply overwhelming. It invariably results in people losing weight then gaining back their weight. Calorie counting simply doesn't work in the long run. Diets based on portion control and calorie counting generally permits the eating of highly toxic, low nutrient foods and then requires us to fight our addictive drives and attempt to eat less. This combination undernourishes the body resulting in uncontrollable and frequent food cravings.

Without an adequate education in superior nutrition and solid principles to stick to; these individuals are forced to flounder and fail bouncing from one diet to another, always losing a little and regaining. Frequently regaining more than they lost. With the right knowledge base, we can get more pleasure from eating and protect our precious health. So for superior health and our ideal weight, don’t diet, Eat For Health.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D is a board certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. He is the author of the acclaimed books Eat To Live and Eat For Health. Visit his website at: drfuhrman.com and his blog at: diseaseproof.com.

Monday, February 15, 2010

TRX Suspension Training...Workout 1

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The TRX Suspension Trainer takes in-home fitness to another level. It is the latest fitness craze that has trainers, athletes and everyday people up in arms...and legs! In this video, which is the first in a series of three, Cari Ham has me doing squats, pushups, rows, hamstring curls and a "W". The TRX is challenging yet simple in concept, adding a fresh and creative element to fitness.

Chocolate Almond Green Smoothie

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Here is perfect dessert smoothie or one to make when you are in the mood for a treat that won't wreak havoc on your health, but is actually health-promoting. It is a sweet smoothie that can be made more or less sweet by adjusting the ingredients. Play with it until you find your favorite ratios. Here is my favorite way to make the Chocolate Almond Green Smoothie:


Blend the following ingredients together:

2-4 cups spinach, washed


1/2 cup natural almond butter (no added ingredients besides almonds ideally)


1 cup frozen chunks of banana (this is the key to success with green smoothies...Take bananas at their perfect state of ripeness that you prefer, peel them, divide them into pieces and freeze them in a freezer bag. They increase the sweetness, remove any bitterness from the greens, and enhance the frosty and creamy texture.)


2 Tbsp raw cacao nibs (optional)


2 cups ice


4 cups chocolate almond milk


This will serve 2-4 people, depending on their appetite.


Cheers!



Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Greatness of Greens

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If I were stuck on an island that was beautiful and peaceful; filled with my friends and family; abundant with new books to read, movies to watch, beaches for walking and playing; but I had to choose only one type of food that would sustain and nourish me for a long healthy life of relaxation and bliss, what would I choose? That's right! Of course, it is the only choice...leafy green vegetables. (Did you really think I would say chocolate???)


Leafy green vegetables are modern medicine in the magnificent quantity, quality and variation of nutrients it provides. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants that are critical for warding off heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and inflammation. Greens are genius at promoting weight loss, immunity, eye health, and hormonal balance.

In terms of nutrient density, greens win with the greatest amount of nutrients per calorie. They are high in fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K, C and folic acid. Additionally, they are swimming in a plethora of phytochemicals including lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. With all of this nutritional punch, they provide minimal calories and fat.

As Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn says, the goal is not to drip, but to shower your body with greens as much as possible. There is an abundance of methods of increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables. They are easily hidden in smoothies and soups and they make a delicious accent to salads, all cooked entrees, as well as being fantastic on their own.

I recommend testing your creativity and finding ways to incorporate green leafies into every meal of the day. With such a variety, this is not at all difficult. To name a few, there is curly kale, black kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, bok choy, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, rainbow chard, beet greens, romaine lettuce. And this is just the beginning! Imagine the possibilities!

Here are two videos of my two favorite green smoothies. I have one for breakfast every morning and it is the perfect way to start the day. Experiment with these recipes to make your favorite version. There are no rules...just mere guidelines.

Greens are magic that can save your health, prevent disease, reverse disease, fuel energy, help recovery and repair, protect the GI tract, boost immunity, slow aging, and enhance beauty more than any other food, drug, supplement or cosmetic. Cheers to greens!



Friday, February 12, 2010

Deana Ferreri Guest Blog: Bok Choy!

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Dr. Deana Ferreri earned her Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Sciences in 2008 from Albany Medical College . Her research on endothelial cell-cell adhesion has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and she has written a chapter on endothelial cell-cell junctions in a graduate textbook. Dr. Ferreri has taught undergraduate biology courses, graduate cardiovascular physiology lectures, and medical student cardiovascular and respiratory physiology labs; she received the Leonard Procita Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Albany Medical College in 2007. As a scientist, Dr. Ferreri embraced Dr. Fuhrman’s dietary recommendations as the best practical application of the collective current knowledge in nutrition science. Now, as a part of Dr. Fuhrman’s team, she writes for Dr. Fuhrman’s website and blog, where she spreads the word about the powerful effects of nutritional excellence and the science that substantiates it.




Bok Choy: Nutrient Dense and Delicious

Bok choy (or pak choi) is a relative of cabbage, scientifically named Brassica chinensis. It is most often associated with Chinese cuisine, and has been grown in China for over six thousand years. Today, bok choy is also grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S, and is available almost year-round – it is said to be most tasty in the winter months.
Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are over twenty different varieties of bok choy – the two most common seen here in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy – however, if you visit your local Asian market, you may see several more of these varieties.1-2

Bok choy provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium.3 A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. Some of these were more concentrated in the leaves, and some in the stems.4 The most abundant polyphenol these scientists found in bok choy was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties.5

Bok choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking.

Bok choy scores an impressive 819/1000 in Dr. Fuhrman’s ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scoring system. Only a few other vegetables, all leafy greens, score higher.

Bok choy is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.

Bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes.

Braised Bok Choy
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional
1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Instructions:
Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).
Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.
Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently.

To learn more about Dr. Fuhrman please visit his website at DrFuhrman.com and his blog at DiseaseProof.com.



References:

1. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablesrecipes/a/bokchoy.htm
2. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=3002
3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2377/2?print=true
4. Harbaum B et al. Identification of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in pak choi varieties (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) by HPLC-ESI-MSn and NMR and their quantification by HPLC-DAD. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 3;55(20):8251-60. Epub 2007 Sep 12.
5. Luo H et al. Kaempferol inhibits angiogenesis and VEGF expression through both HIF dependent and independent pathways in human ovarian cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):554-63.

Guest Blog: Joel Fuhrman, M.D. on Sodium, Acid-Base Balance, and Bone Health

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I am honored to introduce my readers to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in his first Guest Appearance on my blog:

Joel Fuhrman M.D. is a board-certified family physician, nutrition researcher, best-selling author, and one of the country’s leading nutritional medicine experts.

Dr. Fuhrman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and he is presently involved in research trials of his high micronutrient, plant-based diet with physicians and scientists at the University of Pennsylvania health system as well as other researchers.

Dr. Fuhrman created the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scoring system that evaluates the levels of micronutrients and antioxidants in food to aid people in making healthier food choices. Dr. Fuhrman is on the medical advisory board of Whole Foods Market.

Dr. Fuhrman is the author of six books, including Disease-Proof Your Child and his best-selling book, Eat To Live which has gone through 18 printings and several foreign language translations. His most recent book, Eat For Health was published in April 2008.

Dr. Fuhrman teaches nutritional excellence which is not only preventative, but is also the safest and most effective therapeutic intervention for most chronic medical conditions. Dr. Fuhrman is on the board of directors of the American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine and active in educating physicians and health professionals on nutritional medicine. His lectures have been approved for CME credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians.


To learn more about Dr. Fuhrman please visit his website at DrFuhrman.com and his blog at DiseaseProof.com.





Sodium, Acid-Base Balance, and Bone Health

We’ve known for years that excessive sodium intake contributes to hypertension, and a new meta-analysis of 13 studies has confirmed that high sodium intake is associated with increased risk of stroke and overall cardiovascular disease.1 Salt consumption is also associated with kidney disease, and a new study suggests that reduced sodium intake could benefit bone health.

Women 45-75 years old with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension were assigned to either a low-sodium diet or a higher sodium, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Both diets supplied the same amount (800 mg) of calcium, but the low-sodium diet was designed to have a lesser acid load than the high-carbohydrate diet.2

Western diets, generally high in animal protein, produce acid in the body, forcing the body to buffer this acid in part by the release of alkalizing salts from bone (e.g. calcium citrate and calcium carbonate) – this is associated with urinary calcium loss and is thought to contribute to osteoporosis. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes have favorable effects on acid-base balance, since the acid-forming effect of their protein content, which is lower than that of animal products anyway, are balanced by their mineral content.3-4

After 14 weeks, the women on both diets increased markers of bone formation and reduced their calcium excretion – those on the low sodium diet had a greater reduction in calcium loss. The authors concluded that this diet was protecting the mineral reserves in bone, and that this could have long-term implications for bone health. Future studies will likely measure bone mineral density and fracture incidence in response to these diets.2

The average daily consumption of sodium for Americans is around 4000mg, almost double the U.S. recommended maximum of 2300mg. The low sodium diet in this study provided a maximum of 1500mg of sodium per day, but included up to six servings of red meat per week, limited the consumption of nutrient-rich legumes to 4-5 per week, and was based on high-calorie, nutrient-poor grain products - 7-8 servings per day.5 The high-carbohydrate low-fat diet was likely based on grain products as well.

Although both of these diets had favorable effects when implemented in place of a standard western diet, they both have room for improvement. By minimizing the high-protein, high-saturated fat animal products, and replacing grain products with mineral- and phytochemical-rich vegetables, fruits, and legumes as the base of the diet, both acid load and sodium would be further reduced, presumably leading to further benefits on bone health.

To learn more about this topic and more, please visit his website at DrFuhrman.com and his blog at DiseaseProof.com.

References:
1. Strazzullo P et al. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2009;339:b4567
2. Nowson CA et al. The effects of a low-sodium base-producing diet including red meat compared with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on bone turnover markers in women aged 45-75 years. Br J Nutr. 2009 Oct;102(8):1161-70. Epub 2009 May 18.
3. Welch AA et al. Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid-base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and
Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1335-43. Epub 2007 Nov 28.
4. Massey LK. J Nutr. Dietary animal and plant protein and human bone health: a whole foods approach. 2003 Mar;133(3):862S-865S.
5. http://dashdiet.org/
http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/Publications/Food-Beverage-Nutrition/FoodNavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Salt-reduction-may-also-benefit-bone-health/?c=9EU3KtLmkBBxmwtf4jYClA%3D%3D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf

Mardi Gras Red Beans and Rice...Vegified & Nutrified!

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It is Mardi Gras time again and this year we are going to take a traditional Louisiana dish- Red Beans and Rice- and we are going to veg-ify and nutr-ify it. Instead of using the traditional ham hock and bacon grease, great sources of saturated fat and cholesterol, I have created a low fat version that is filled with flavor and texture.

Here is the recipe:

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1/2 cup vegetable broth

4 carrots, sliced

2 bell peppers, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped


Saute these together in the vegetable broth until the veggies soften and onions become translucent. Then add the following:


2 cans red kidney beans

1 Tbsp Cajun/Creole Spice blend (contains pepper, thyme, paprika, etc.)

1 Tbsp hot sauce of your choice (optional)

1 Serrano chili, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley (or 1 tsp dried)

Mix together and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, until all the flavors blend. Place on a bed of brown rice and enjoy. It serves about 2-4, depending on hunger level :)!


It is a Mardi Gras party of color, texture and flavor...delish! The recipe is filled with fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, and a concoction of phytonutrients that will leave you satisfied and boosted with an antioxidant boost!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quirky Quinoa

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I love quinoa. It is a supergrain that is versatile, delicious, and easy to use. Quinoa is an ancient grain that was once considered gold by the Incas because of its superior nutrient value. It is a complete protein (rare in the plant world for a single food) and, specifically, it is high in lysine, an amino acid that is less common in grains. Quinoa is also high in minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron and phosphorus as well as fiber. Truly one of nature's superfood.

Jon and Cari Ham had come up with this recipe and I was eager to try it. Overall the recipe is low in calories, but very high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. In other words, it meets my criteria for a perfect meal, where there is a lot of nutritional buck!

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup rinsed quinoa

1 can chopped tomatoes with sauce

1-2 serrano peppers, chopped

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed

Add this to 1.5 cups boiling water. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Then add the following:

1 cup pre-cooked rice

tsp minced garlic

1 green and 1 red bell peppers (or 2 of one color), chopped

1 cup chopped broccoli

Let simmer for another 10 minutes, before the vegetables get soft. Add hot sauce if you desire some extra heat.

Plate it and enjoy. Serves 2 hungry or 4 not-so hungry. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Workout 6: Swiss Ball & Dumbbell Challenge

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This workout is the last in the series utilizing a Swiss Ball and dumbbells. It is the most challenging of the three and it builds upon the previous two: workout 4 and workout 5 with Cari Ham from Fitness on the Run. The five exercises Cari taught and I performed were the following:

1. Ball Bench Press (feels good on entire body)

2. Ball 1-Arm Row (fun with a good balance challenge)

3. Ball 1-Leg Hamstring Curl (nice for the tushy and back of the legs)

4. Ball Prone Shoulder Press (hated this one...but great for the posture)

5. Ball Single-Leg Split Squat (total klutz with this one...talk about a tough balancing act!)

Similar to all of our simple, but challenging workouts, it is necessary to perform 15 reps of each of the five exercises. Then, without a break, repeat the series three times. This provides a cardiovascular benefit along with the musculoskeletal advantages of performing resistance exercises.

Enjoy! This one really is a great, full-body workout!