Thursday, December 30, 2010

Healthy Apple-Berry Crumble Makeover

I am happy to report that my healthy Christmas treats were pretty well received (for a first try).  Thank you so much to my guinea pigs (i.e. family and friends) for being taste testers and giving me great feedback to improve my recipes.

Well, there was no debate on this next dish, it was the true winner, hands down:  Apple-Berry Crumble!

I modified this recipe slightly to lose some of the sugar, and focus on the natural sweetness of the fruit.  My family had this after Christmas dinner and it was light, crunchy and so easy to make.  Try it for yourself!

Apple-Berry Crumble (Make 15 servings)

6 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
4 tbsp lemon juice
5 cups of mixed berries (I used 1 bag of frozen strawberries, blackberries and raspberries)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp oat bran
1/3 cup butter

Preheat over to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix apples with lemon juice and spread across the bottom of the pan.  Top with berries.

To make the crumble, combine oats, sugar, cinnamon, bran and butter until it clumps in pea-size pieces.

Spread crumble over apples-berry mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm with frozen yogurt :)

Nutritional Information (Approx.)
131 calories
4.6 g fat
22.4 g carbs
1.1 g protein 
4 g fibre


Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post-Holiday Plan

The last five days have been a whirlwind of family, friends, gifts, food and drink.  I had a fantastic holiday (and I hope you did too), but I have to admit I am glad to finally have some down time to relax.


 And get beck to my regular workouts and eating habits.

Like me, you probably ate more treats than you care to mention.  It is alright to indulge every once in a while.  Enjoy it and savour evey bite!

It can also be challenging to keep up an exercise routine during the holidays.  I snuck a run in on Boxing Day (lovely) and some weight training, but it is nice to be back on schedule.

Whether it has been two days or two weeks, here are some tips to get you back on track after the holidays.

Don't Be To Hard On Yourself
So, you may have had a bit too much to eat over the holidays.  Healthy living is measured over time, not a few days.  Dust yourself off and jump back in to your regular meals.

Start Slowly
If it has been a while since you have exercised, take it easy.  Start with a walk after dinner, maybe some light weight training and gradually build up to your normal schedule.

Drink Water
If you enjoyed a few (or many) beverages over the holidays, make sure you drink lots of water.  Alcohol is very dehydrating and your body will thank you.

How did you do over the holidays?  Did you get your workouts in?  Any other tips for getting back on the wagon?

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Healthy Holiday Makeover, Part 2

And away we go...

I originally wanted to make macaroons, but I didn't have enough coconut (silly me, only bought one bag).  I decided to use oats make some balls! (Inspired by Mama Pea).  Verdict:  Conditional pass.  They taste pretty good, but turned out a bit doughy.  Perhaps I will make them a bit smaller next time.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!














Chocolate Raisin Oat Balls (Makes 25)

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/8 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup coconut milk
3 tsp honey
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.

Mix flour, oats and salt.  Add milk, honey and maple syrup.  Batter will be very sticky.  Add raisins and chocolate chips.  Mix up by hand.

Use hands to form 1.5 inch balls and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

Nutritional Information (Approx)
81 calories
3.1 g fat
12 g carbs
2 g protein
1.2 g fibre

It was my job to make something for Chrismas dessert this year.  I wanted to bring something uber Christmasy:  aha, gingerbread!  Cookies just didn't seem special enough so I decided on a cake.  This recipe was super easy and I make a few minor adjustments :)  A little bit higher in calories and fat, but it is Christmas! I will give you the verdict next week and let you know what the family thought. 










  




Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 
 (Makes 20 slices)

1 1/4 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup low fat butter milk*
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup molasses
2 flax eggs

Preheat oven to 2350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 pan/

Combine flour, bran, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, mix milk, applesauce and molasses until smooth.  Add flax eggs.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool and top with icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light cream cheese

Nutritional Information (Approx)
181 calories
7 g fat
28 g carbs
2 g protein
1 g fibre
*No buttermilk, no problem!  Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of skim milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Happy Holidays!

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Healthy Holiday Makeover, Part 1

 I am usually a traditionalist when it comes to holiday baking.  Every year I make lemon squares, butter tarts and shortbread.  This year, in light of my recipe makeovers, I thought I would try something a little different.  

And in the spirit of holiday giving, you are getting two recipes today for the price of one! :)

For the first recipe, I came across this and used it as inspiration.  I swapped the butter for bananas and replaced the raspberry jam with chocolate chips.  For a first attempt, not too bad.  The coconut-banana-chocolate combination is a true winner.  On the down side, the crust turned out a little tougher than I would like.  I may under cook it next time.  Enjoy!


  












Coconut Banana Bars (Makes 30 bars)

1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 ripe bananas)
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup light coconut milk
 2 flax eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 pkg unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

Mash bananas with a fork.  Add flour, bran and coconut milk.   Mix until combine and spread batter into pan (if it seems a bit to thick, add a few more tablespoons of milk).

Bake crust for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Cream sugar with the flax egg.  Add the coconut and chocolate chips.  Spread coconut mixture over crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Nutritional Information (Approx.)
85 calories
2.6 fat
15 g carbs
1.6 g protein
1 g fibre

For the second recipe, I was inspired by Oh She Glows and Angela's delicious blondies.  I couldn't find any candy canes anywhere, so I improvised.  I doubled the recipe and gave it my own twist, replacing the Earth Balance with applesauce and walnuts with almonds.  These are fantastic!  The combination of mint and white chocolate reminds me of the peppermint bark that I so love.  These are my new holiday favourites and I hope you like them too!















Peppermint Almond Blondies (Makes 50)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
3 tsp baking powder
2 flax eggs
I cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup scotch mints, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 2 8 inch pans.

Combine flour, bran and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, mix flax egg, sugar, applesauce, extract and milk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Add chocolate chips, almonds and mints.

Divided batter into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Nutritional Information (Approx.)
52 calories
1.8 g fat
8.3 g carbs
1 g protein
1 g fibre

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Stay Healthy,
Tracy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 3: Exercise

Warrior III
Parts 1 and 2 talked about different options to help you try and manage your pain.  In the next few installments, I would like to go into more detail for each option and offer some tips that I hope you find helpful.  First up...

Exercise
As a sufferer myself over the past five plus years, I have found regular exercise to be one of the most effective ways to manage my pain.  

I didn't always feel that way.  Moving hurt too much.  Then depression set in and what do we do when we are depressed?  We eat.  So I was moving less and eating more.  Not a good combination.  

Then I realized that I had to change the way I looked at exercise.  I went from teaching ten fitness classes a week plus my own workouts to nothing.  I couldn't do it all anymore, but I had to do something.  Here are some things to think about when it come to chronic pain and exercise:

      • We have good days and bad days. If you need to rest, rest.  If one kind of exercise is not working, try something else.  The important thing is that you keep trying. 
      • Often we are in so much pain that we don't want to move at all.  As I mentioned in the first post, exercise is a slippery slope for us so we need to find balance. 
      • If you have never exercised regularly in the past, start off slowly.  You may also want to enlist a personal trainer who is able to teach you correct form and modify exercises.
      • If you are an avid exerciser, you may find that you are not able to workout at the same level of intensity you once could.  It can be very frustrating, but don't get discouraged.  You can be active, you may just have to learn to do things a little differently and listen to your body a little more.
      • Yoga is a sufferer's best friend.  There are poses to help you build strength and stretch your muscles.  Meditation and relaxation are also fantastic to help with some of the depression that comes with the pain. 
      • Although it can be intimidating for some, pilates is also very helpful.  All of the exercises can be adapted to your level and it really helps you connect with your body - how it feels, what muscles are working, how movement and breath work together etc.

        Which kinds of exercises work for you?  What didn't work and why?

        Stay Healthy, 
        Tracy

        Friday, December 17, 2010

        Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bar Makeover

         This week I have given peanut butter bars a healthy makeover in a guest post for my friend Mara at What's For Dinner.

        Check out these delicious bars here and have a great weekend!
         
        Stay Healthy, 
        Tracy

        Wednesday, December 15, 2010

        Move of the Month: The Hundred

        The Hundred

        I have decided that it is time to bring back the Move of the Month.  (Maybe next time I will have a video post :)

        This month I have chosen the pilates hundred.  Even people who don't practice pilates are familiar with this exercise.  It is wonderful to use as a warm-up for the abdominals and lungs. 

        The hundred can be taught in stages until the participant is ready to to do the full exercise.  This description is of the advanced exercise (pictured above).



        The Hundred
        1. Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor.  Line up your knees with your hips and your heels with your glutes.
        2. Ensure that your back is neutral (there is a slight space between your lower back and the floor), your chest is open and your shoulders are away from your ears.  
        3. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Contract your abdominal muscles and use your pelvic floor (Kegel muscles).
        4. Inhale and as your exhale, lift your right knee over your hips with your shin parallel to the floor, toes pointed.  Repeat with the left leg.
        5. Inhale and exhale to extend your right leg to the ceiling.  Repeat on the left leg.  Turn the hips out slightly and squeeze the inner thighs together.  The heels should touch with the toes to the ceiling to form a "V" shape.
        6. Inhale and as you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and slowly peel your spine off the mat with your arms at your side until your shoulders are off the floor.  Make sure you use your abdominals to lift, not your head or neck.  You should be looking at your thighs.
        7. Pump your arms as you quickly inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts (one cycle).
        8. You are aiming for 10 cycles, but do as many as you are comfortable
        9. To finish, exhale to bend your right knee and place the foot on the floor.  Repeat on the left.
        10. Keeping your chin tucked in to your chest, exhale to slowly lower your upper body back to the floor.
         What is your favourite pilates exercise?

        Stay Healthy, 
        Tracy

        Monday, December 13, 2010

        I (Do) Heart Running

        My trusty running shoes.
        As you may recall in this post, I talked about my dislike for running.  How I gave it the college go and it just wasn't for me.

        Well, I may have changed my mind.  I am totally hooked.  I now understand what everyone is talking about.  The freedom, the "runner's high", the solitude.

        How did I get there?

        After I wrote that post, I realized that I still needed a way to work on my cardio.  I don't currently belong to a gym and I wanted to get outside and enjoy the fall weather, so I kept on trekking.  

        I had always done a combination of walking and sprinting, but noticed over the past few months that I was running more than I was walking.  The clincher happened this last week.  I have been sick I was unable to run for a few days and I realized that I missed it.

        Me, the anti-runner missed running?

        I just had to admit it:  I like running and I am looking forward to the day when I can run 5k without walking.

        I am not sure what changed in me.  Maybe I am more open to it?  Perhaps it is because running gives me a clear fitness goal?  Maybe it happened when I noticed a change in my body and energy levels?  All I know now is that running works for me and I am so glad I stuck it out.

        What I said in my last post is still true, you do need to find and activity you enjoy.  I have learned to keep my mind open to different ways of challenging myself.  You never know, what you "hate" may turn out to be the best thing you ever did.

        Have you every done a workout that you hate and now you love it?  Share away!

        Stay Healthy, 
        Tracy

        Saturday, December 11, 2010

        Natural Cold Remedies

        Ah, Choo!






















        I wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes, you have all made my heart smile:)

        Unfortunately, I have been battling a nasty cold all week (I have lost my voice too, which I am sure will make some people happy.)  I have been trying over-the-counter medications, but they don't seem to be working for me so I thought it was time to get creative with some home remedies.

        While there is no cure for the common cold, I have done some research, got some great suggestions from fellow bloggers and came up with the following list of remedies you can try for yourself.


        Healing Foods
        Drinking keeps the body well hydrated. There seem to be a consensus that warm liquids are good for soothing the throat and treating a cold. This includes warm water or tea with ginger and/or honey and chicken soup.  You may want to avoid coffee, alcohol or milk products as they can be irritating.  Salt can also be helpful for a throat and the nose.

        Rest and Stay Warm
        Take a few days off of work to avoid spreading your cold around the office.  The body is run down and needs to rest.  Keeping warm will help make you more comfortable and perhaps allow you to get more sleep.

        Natural Supplements
        Many people have found that echinacea, zinc lozenges and Cold FX are very beneficial if  taken, as directed, at the first signs of a cold.  Organo oil, garlic and vitamin C may also be helpful to take during your cold to shorten its severity and duration.


        What do you think? Have you tried any of these remedies? Do you have any ideas that you can share?

        Stay Healthy, 
        Tracy

        Wednesday, December 08, 2010

        Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 2

        
        Source
        





















        In Part 1, I talked about how diet, exercise and natural supplements can help you deal with your chronic pain to make your daily life a little easier.

        In Part 2, I am going to tackle sleep, medications and alternative therapies.


        (Note: Everyone is different and some of these treatments may not be right for you. Talk with your doctor or health practitioner just to be sure).

        Sleep
        If you suffer with any kind of pain, you know that good quality sleep can be difficult to achieve. It is thought that some patients with chronic pain do not achieve REM sleep and therefore, do not wake up fully rested. Better sleep can help improve your mood and reduce pain. There are natural (melatonin and valerian) and prescription (Ambien and Lunesta) medications available that may be helpful. A few other tips include:
        • Sleep in total darkness
        • Avoid stimulation (like the TV or computer) at least 30 minutes before bed time (This has worked best for me)
        • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day

        Medications
        For some people, prescription medications are a last resort, but they do have their place in treating the pain and depression that come along with your chronic disorder. I am currently taking Cymbalta and Elavil, which seems to be helping me so far (knock on wood). Some other medication that have been shown to be helpful are: Savella, Paxil ,Zanaflex, Flexeril, Ultram and Lyrica



        Alternative Therapies
        I my experience, I have found many alternative therapies helpful. When dealing with pain, you may need more frequent treatments than a healthy individual and it may take many weeks so notice any changes. The good news is that many insurance providers cover these kinds of therapies. The bad news is that we often need more treatments than our insurance covers, so it can get costly. Here are some treatments to that I have tried, which provided me with some relief:

        Have you tried any of these treatment options? Did they work for you? Am I missing something? Let me know by posting below!


        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Monday, December 06, 2010

        Fast Fitness Q & A: Back Fat and the Plateau

        It has been a long time since I have done a Fitness Q&A and I want to thank everyone for their great emails. Keep them coming!

        And without further ado...


        Q: I have "Back Fat". What can I do to target that area?

        A: Unfortunately you cannot “spot reduce”. When you exercise, your body with burn the fat from the area where it is most readily available.

        By adding some type of cardiovascular exercise to your routine (such as running, dancing and group fitness classes) to tap into fat stores AND some strength training exercises (including some for your back and abdominals) to tone and build muscle, you will rev up your metabolism and lose overall fat (including that area on your back!).

        Diet is also a very important in overall health so consult a dietitian if you need help with your meals planning.



        Q: I have bee
        n exercising regularly for many years. I usually do a combination of cycling and weight training at my local gym. I have noticed that my body hasn't really been changing over the last few months and I was wondering why. Is there anything you can suggest?

        A: First, let me congratulate you on maintaining an exercise program and staying active. It sounds like you have hit an exercise plateau. What does this mean? If you keep doing the same routine from month to month, your body will get used to these demands and no longer respond by changing. You will simply maintain the same level.

        If you want to see changes in your body, you need make some changes to your routine. A few of my previous post have some ideas about what to do when you hit a plateau adding intensity and mixing up your workouts.

        Got more questions? I am all ears!

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Friday, December 03, 2010

        Healthy Brownie Makeover


        I have been sick the past few days and what better way to pass the time (and make me feel better) than to try another recipe makeover!

        I take back what I said about my Chocolate Chip Cookies. Although they were delicious, this brownie recipe absolutely wins the prize for my favourite treat!

        I found this recipe and made a few substitutions. I added wheat germ, milk and chocolate chips. I increased the amount of cocoa and applesauce. Then I substituted mint for the vanilla and a flax egg for a regular egg.

        The result: An oooey, gooey, minty brownie that is not too sweet, and very chocolatey.

        Enjoy!

        Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

        3/4 cup whole wheat flour
        1/2 cup wheat germ
        3/4 cup cocoa powder
        1 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp salt
        1 cup applesauce
        1/2 cup sugar
        1/4 cup milk
        1 tsp pure peppermint extract
        1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more :)

        Preheat over to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

        Mix flour, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl add applesauce, sugar, flax egg, milk, peppermint and beat until smooth.

        Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. (The batter will be thick). Add chocolate chips and stir.

        Spread batter into dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Try not to overcook as you want brownies to be just slightly underdone.

        Nutritional Information (Approx.)
        56 calories
        1.4 g fat
        10.6 g carbs
        1.6 protein
        1.5 g fibre

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Wednesday, December 01, 2010

        Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 1

        Source


























        Chronic pain. It exists in many forms. Arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome and the list goes on. Roughly one in every three people in North America suffer.

        Do you? I do.
        I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about four years ago. I have posted about it a few times, most notably here. It has been a long process and I am currently seeking a second opinion because I feel I might have something in addition to/instead of fibro. (I will keep you posted.)

        So why am I talking about it today?

        I have learned a few things over the years about managing pain and I thought it might be helpful to share them.

        In part 1, I will talk about exercise and diet. (Note: Everyone is different and some of these treatments may not be right for you. Talk with your doctor or health practitioner just to be sure).

        Exercise
        This is always a tricky one when you suffer with pain. If you do too much, you may end up sore for days, but if you don't move at all, you run the same risk. Start off slowly by devoting 15 minutes a day of light activity (such as walking) and gradually increase the time and intensity of your exercises week to week. I have found yoga to be a great way to stretch out my muscles and relax my mind.

        Diet
        Some studies have shown that dairy and gluten are linked to chronic pain, and may people have found much relief from removing them from their diet. I tried this, but it didn't make a difference for me. I found that eating a clean diet of whole grain, fruits, vegetables and avoiding sugar works best for me.

        Natural Supplements
        There are many supplements that can be beneficial in treating chronic pain. There are many great brands out there, so do your homework before you invest. The ones that I have found most helpful with my condition are:
        • Multivitamins
        • Omega 3
        • MSM
        • Relora
        • Probiotics
        Stay tuned for Part 2...

        What diet and exercise changes have worked for you? Please share your stories!

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Sunday, November 28, 2010

        3 More Crazy Fitness Gimmicks

        Source
        Last winter, I did a post about some of the crazy fitness gimmicks that I have come across online and on TV. Since there are so many great gadgets out there, I thought I would do another installment.

        And away we go...

        Craziest Gimmick # 3: The Thighmaster
        One of the biggest informercial products of the 90's, the thighmaster promises to tone your thighs, abs and even your arms. While the product does offer some resistance, there are no options to increase the intensity of the workout or allow for a greater range of motion in exercises.

        Craziest Gimmick # 2: The Hawaiian Chair
        The Hawaiian Chair "takes the work out of your workout" while you sit in a swiveling seat that is meant to simulate a hula-hoop. As appealing at it may seem to have a sit-down workout, I have to say that I am a bit skeptical (to say the least) about its ability to provide any aerobic benefits.

        Craziest Gimmick #1: The Shake Weight
        What can I say about the Shake Weight that hasn't already been said? Even if there were any benefits to using this product, no one could ever get over the "ridiculous" factor.

        What do you think? Did I miss your favourite fitness gimmick? Post away!

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Thursday, November 25, 2010

        Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Makeover

        This could be my most favourite makeover yet! Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?

        I did some surfing and found a great recipe here. I reduced the amount of sugar and chocolate chips, replaced the butter with applesauce, omitted the coconut and vanilla (I didn't have, but I am sure they would be fantastic with them) and came out with a beautifully moist and delicious cookie. This one is a keeper and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

        Here is the skinny:

        Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 30 cookies)

        3/4 cups rolled oats
        1 cup whole wheat flour
        1/2 cup ground flax
        1/2 cup wheat germ
        1/2 tsp. baking soda
        1/2 tsp. salt
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
        1/2 cup sugar
        1 egg
        1/2 cup chocolate chips

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with oil or use a silicone pad.

        Mix together oats, flour, flax, wheat germ, baking soda and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, cream applesauce, butter and egg.

        Pour half of the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until flour is gone. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips.

        Drop by the teaspoon full on to cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

        Nutritional Information (Approx.)
        74 Calories
        12g Carbs
        2g protein
        2g fat
        1.5g fibre

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Tuesday, November 23, 2010

        Do It With Intensity!

        One of the biggest complaints I get from women (and men) is that they are doing everything they can to get fit, yet are not seeing results. (Read: weight loss).

        When I ask them about their exercise routines, I often get answers like, "I walk every night", "I use light weights at home" or "I do fitness classes a couple times a week."

        While all of these activities are great ways to contribute to overall health, there is one thing missing. Intensity.

        Intensity is the key to decreasing fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
        Many people just don't push themselves enough to see the changes in their body that they are hoping for.
        So, how do you increase the intensity of your exercises?

        Here are some ideas:

        Walking
        Try doing sprints. Walk for 5 minutes, jog for 1 minute. As you build your endurance, reduce your walk time and increase your jogging time.

        Weight Training
        Increase the weight. If you are doing arm curls with 3lb weights, try the exercise with 5lbs. Do as many repetitions as you can until your muscles are fatigued.

        Fitness Classes
        Take it to the next level. If you are in a beginner pilates class, switch to intermediate. Ask the instructor for options to make the exercises even more challenging.

        Still have questions? I will be doing a Q & A post about everything health and fitness in the next few days, so ask away!

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Saturday, November 20, 2010

        Healthy Lemon Bars Makeover




















        More delicious made over treats!

        Today I tackled lemon bars, one of my staple desserts. I have a family get together this afternoon and thought they would be a perfect addition to the party.

        While my usual recipe is fantastic, it is quite high in sugar. I found this recipe today and decided to give them a try.

        These lemon bars are much more lemony and less sweet than my normal batch. The crust is very cookie-like, while my usual recipe is more flaky.

        They weren't better or worse, just different than what I am used to in a lemon bar. The jury it still out, maybe I better sample a few more :)

        Let me know what you think! Click here for the full recipe and nutritional information.

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Tuesday, November 16, 2010

        Healthy Raisin Cookie Makeover


        This is my third attempt to build a healthier dessert, and I must say I am very impressed with the end result. (if I do say so myself :)

        I found a great recipe here and modified it slightly to increase the protein and decrease the fat content.
        These cookies are moist, cakey and perfect with my morning coffee. The sugar content may seem a little high, but when you break it down per serving, it is not too bad. I may try my next batch with half of the sugar and see how they turn out. You could also substitute with more applesauce. What do you think?

        Enjoy! (Don't you love my dinosaur plate?)

        Applesauce Raisin Cookies (Makes 48 cookies)
        1 cup brown sugar (can use white sugar with 1 tbsp molasses)
        1/4 cup butter
        1.5 cups applesauce
        1 egg
        1.5 cups enriched white flour
        1 cup whole wheat flour
        1/4 cup ground flax seeds
        1/2 tsp baking soda
        1/2 tsp salt
        3/4 tsp cinnamon
        1/2 tsp nutmeg
        1/2 cloves
        1 cup raisins

        Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookies sheets with a silicone baking mat or lightly spray with oil.

        Cream together the sugar, butter and applesauce. Add the egg. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until combined then add the raisins.

        Drop cookies by the teaspoonful on to the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on wire racks.

        Nutritional Information (approx.)
        54 calories
        8.5 g carbs
        1.9 g fat
        1.2 g protein

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Saturday, November 13, 2010

        No Gym? No Problem!

        Source
        "I don't have time to get to the gym."
        Sound familiar?

        Many people feel that the only way to exercise is at a gym. This is simply not true. I haven't worked out at a gym for almost two years.

        Don't get me wrong, your local health club is a great place to get motivated and stay fit, but it is not your only option on the road to health.

        I wrote this article a few years back with some ideas for an at-home workout. It includes basic exercises and inexpensive equipment that you can use anytime, anywhere.

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        P.S. How do you like the new look of my blog? Post away!

        Tuesday, November 09, 2010

        Say Om

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        Focused relaxation is vital to our well-being. It helps counteract the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical health. There are many different ways to relax – massage, visualization, meditation, and exercise. Here are some easy ways that you can incorporate relaxation into your busy everyday life.

        Practice Yoga – It is a great way to develop a balance between the mind, body and spirit. The physical postures help to relax tense muscles and the breathing will help calm the spirit.

        Visualize Yourself Calm – Visualizing a peaceful atmosphere, soothing sounds and colours can help slow your mind and create an overall sense of well-being.

        Get Pampered– Never underestimate the power of touch! A gentle massage will help to ease tension and improve circulation. 

        Just Breathe – When you are trying to relax, take long, slow deep breaths. Place your hand on your abdominals to feel it rise and fall as you expand your lungs and diaphragm.

        The Sweet Scent of Serenity – Aromatherapy has been used for many years to stimulate the senses. Essential oils can be calming and soothing or invigorating and uplifting. Lavender, jasmine and vanilla are especially helpful in relaxation.

        “Give your thoughts a chance to settle down. Then feel you mind clear like a still forest pool”
        - The Buddha

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Wednesday, November 03, 2010

        Achieving Holistic Health

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        I am sorry for the lack of postage last week. I was without the internet (I know, the horror), but I am back now and ready rock :)

        In the fitness world, we are always talking about different approaches to exercise, the best gear to get you through your workout and the benefits of a balanced diet.

        Is this really enough to achieve overall health?
        Now don't get me wrong, staying active and healthy eating are vital to our well-being, but there are other factors.

        Oral health, for example. If we neglect our teeth, it can cause infections and other serious problems that could affect our body as a whole.

        Another one that come to mind is skin care. Do you think about the kinds of products you use? Any chemicals that are in our makeup, shampoo or body lotion will get absorbed into our skin and impact our overall health.
         
        What do you think? What else do we need to consider when looking at holistic wellness?

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

        Sunday, October 24, 2010

        A Boost of Protein

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        While I try to meet my body's nutritional needs through actual food, this is not always possible. Life gets busy and sometimes a girl needs to supplement, especially at breakfast.

        Enter protein powder.

        Breakfast was a meal I could never get into. The last thing I wanted to do when I first got up was eat. Knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I was so happy when I discovered that I could "drink" my meal. Smoothies are one of my best friends in the morning and adding protein powder gives them an extra boost.

        My all-time favourite is TrueSTRENGTH. It is a whey protein powder with a nice vanilla flavour, no aftertaste and blends beautifully.

        What is your favourite protein powder? Do you prefer whey, soy, rice or hemp protein?

        Stay healthy,
        Tracy

        Wednesday, October 20, 2010

        Looking For Inspiration

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        I have been thinking all day about what I wanted to post. I spend a lot of time looking at magazines, chatting on Twitter and scanning health forums to see what everyone is buzzing about in the world of health and wellness.
        I am always looking for inspiration.


        Today in my travels, I came across this quote that really seems quite fitting.


        "Inspiration does not come like a blot, nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly all the time."
        - Brenda Ueland


        In our fast-paced world, we are often looking for (and sometime getting) instant everything. This quote is a great reminder about all the inspiration that we can find in everyday life.

        Sometimes we don't have to look for inspiration; it is all around us.

        Stay Healthy,
        Tracy

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