Monday, January 31, 2011

Fitness Professionals and Social Media, Part 2

 I am so glad that everyone enjoyed Part 1.  The topic has really sparked a great conversation (on and offline).  Hey, that is what social media is all about, after all (there is the PR girl again :).

In Part 2, I am going to dig into a few more tools that will help you connect with your clients and build your network.  













When you are trying to build your brand and promote your business, you need to go where the people are.  How many people do you know who use Facebook?  Almost everyone, right?  About 50% of my blog traffic comes from FacebookIt is a great platform that has the potential to reach a very large audience.  

A few Facebook tips:
  • Create a Page.  Most of you have a personal profile page, but I would suggest creating a page for your business. It is easy to do, people can 'like' your page and it allows you to focus your links, updates and questions solely on your brand.  You can also link this page to your website or blog.
  • Ask Questions.  Remember that social media is all about discussion.  Ask your followers health and fitness-related questions to get the conversation started.  The results could make a great blog post, where you can feature some of the answers.
  • Be Active.  Get people "liking" your page.  Invite your friends, family and fellow bloggers. Always respond to all comments and questions. Don't forget to visit other pages and get involved, remember it is not all about you.
  • Be Patient.  This tip applies to everything :) Creating a brand and building your readership doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time to get your name out there, so keep at it and don't give up.  
  • Proceed with Caution.  See Part 1














In my humble opinion, LinkedIn is one of the most under utilized tools in the social media world.  For those of you not familiar, it is essentially an online resume.  You can highlight your qualifications, describe your work experiences and get recommendations from colleagues and clients.  It is a great way to network with like-minded professionals.

Things to think about:
  • Give Details.  Your profile represents your professional experiences, so make sure you give adequate details about your skills, certifications and work experiences.  That being said, be strategic and concise.  No one has time time to read a novel about your life.
  • Personalize Connection Requests.  Do not use the generic form to invite people to join your network.  This is especially important if you are inviting people you do not already have a personal relationship with.
  • Join Groups.  A fantastic way to engage in conversation (there is that word, again) with other fitness pros, stay up to date on what is happening in the industry and to network.  Be selective about the groups you join.  It may be better to participate in a few groups with an active voice, rather than many groups with no time to get involved.
  • Proceed with Caution.  See Part 1

Do you use Facebook and LinkedIn?  What other social media platforms do you use and why?

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food, Friends and Fun!














After being sick for over a week, I was more than happy to go to a friends house for a much needed girls night.

We ate, laughed, watch movies and gabbed.  You know, girls stuff.

When you are feeling sick, stressed, or depressed, it is often tempting to isolate yourself from the rest of the world.  You want to be miserable and misery doesn't always love company.

However, spending time with friends and family can be just the medicine you need to raise your spirits and help the mind and body mend.














 It also helps when dessert looks like this :)

What do you do when you are feeling down to help you feel better?

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Chillout Playlist

My many thanks to everyone again for their well wishes.  I am slowly, but surely on the mend (fingers crossed).

Just as I am starting to feel better, I get side swiped with the news yesterday that our car won't start.  It seems that something is draining the battery.  Before I decided it was time to panic, I had to remind myself that this is beyond my control and if it doesn't get fixed right away, it is not the end of the world.

Then, I just spent the evening listening to some calming music and practiced some relaxation techniques.  It is amazing how soothing music can be in combination with breathing and focus.

In the fall, I shared my workout playlist with you.  Now, I thought is was a perfect time to share my chillout playlist.


















As you can see, it is a pretty ecclectic mix.  I find this kind of music is great when played in the background of a small get together.  I also use it to set the tone when teaching my pilates classes.

What kind of music do you listen to when you want to chillout?


Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 5: Supplements

Some additional supplements that could be helpful






















Next up in the Chronic pain series, I am going to talk about...

Supplements

Much like diet, there are many different thoughts out there about how supplements can improve your chronic pain, which ones are effective or if they make any difference at all.

I have found certain supplements to be quite beneficial and am going to share them with you today.  

As I mentioned, there are many different brands out there to choose from and it can be confusing.  I have usually found success trying the mid-range priced supplements. However, you may have to try out a few brands to see which one is right for you.   We all have a budget, and taking a cocktail of daily supplement can be costly, so keep that in mind as well.

Remember that they may or may not work for you.  I am not a supplement expert. Talk with your doctor and/or naturopath to learn about the different options to see what is right for you.

  • Mulitvitamin - This is great insurance for the days that you may not be able to get all the nutrients that your body needs (I know many of you have other issues such as digestive problems and IBS).  Adding a Probiotic can help with this as well.
  • MSM - This can be very helpful for those with joint pain and inflammation. Although these are not present in fibromyalgia, I have found this supplement has been very beneficial to me.
  • Relora - Expert believe this helps reduce excess cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body.  Many chronic pain sufferers have a great deal of tension and this herb has truly offered me some relief.
  • Omega 3's - Many people know that omegas contribute to healthy brain function, but some professionals feel it is helpful in treating lupus, colitis and arthritis.
  • Tumeric - Another herb that is believed to aid in inflammation.  I have found it very effective in combination with MSM.

Are you currently taking supplements?  Which ones work best for you?

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Healthy Cinnamon Swirl Muffin Makover

I am finally starting to feel better, It was so lovely to be able to sleep last night after days of lying in bed hoping that Mr. Sandman would just take me away.  We often forget how important sleep is to our overall health.

I have learned yet another lesson and I know better than to push myself (this time). So it is one more day of rest for me.  Although, I have to admit that I am so itching to go our for a run, but I won't :)

Enough about me, lets talk about these fantastic muffins I made.

This recipe was pretty healthy as is, but I make a few changes to decrease the fat slightly.  The result was a moist, flavourful muffin with just enough sweetness.  The cinnamon swirl gives them a great crunch.  You are going to heart these.



Cinnamon Swirl Muffins (Makes 12)

Cinnamon Swirl
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Muffin
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce (I used a berry blend)
2 flax eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray or line a muffin tin.

Prepare flax eggs and set aside.

To make cinnamon swirl, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream sugar, applesauce, flax eggs and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.  Add raisins.

Drop about a tablespoon of batter into each tin.  Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of the cinnamon swirl mixture on each muffin.   Add the remaining batter and top each with the cinnamon swirl mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fitness Professionals and Social Media, Part 1

Thank you so much to everyone for all of their well wishes.  This cold is just hanging on for dear life.  I am hoping a few days of rest will do the trick.  Read: no exercising.  I have been sick way too many times in the last few months and I truly need to take my own advice.

Speaking of advice, I have noticed that there have been quite a few lurkers (I love that word) over at a blog post I wrote back in the summer about social media and fitness.  

As many of your are in the fitness industry, I thought I would offer some tips on how to use social media to help build your business and your brand (there is the PR girl in me coming out :).







 Blogging
Many of you are already doing this and doing it well.  Blogging is a great way to connect to your clients and reach out to new ones.  If you are new to blogging, there are many great platform out there that are quick and easy to use. Two of the most popular are Blogger and WordPress.  

Here are some things to keep in mind for your blog:
  • Content.  Find your niche.  Who is your target audience and what would they like to know about?  Does your blog focus on your day to day life or will you offer tips about exercise and fitness? What ever your choose to write about, do it with passion, not out of necessity.  People will be able to tell if you are not being genuine.
  • Blog regularly.  You can decide what is regular for you (every other day, 3 times a week, only on weekdays etc.), but consistency is the key to get people coming back for more.  The most popular blogs (in my opinion) are the ones who have daily posts, but I understand that it is not an option for everyone.
  • Read other blogs.  Choose blogs that are similar to yours, show interest and join in the conversation.  What do you like about their blog?  What can you learn from them?  This can truly help you with your own blogging efforts.
  • Proceed with caution.  Whether your blog is professional or personal, be aware that all of the information your put online is permanent.  A great quote from my friend Sara is "you can write about whatever you want, just be prepared to own it."










Twitter is a fantastic way to meet new friends and make connections.  In 140 character or less, you can give tips, post links to your blog, or just share your thoughts for the day.  There are also some great discussions happening in Twitter about various fitness topics (just follow the hashtags # on TweetChat).  These include #fitblog, #runchat, #blogchat and many more.

Here are some tweeting tips:
  • Follow like-minded people.  Just like in blogging, it is important to see how other fitness pros are engaging their followers.  Ask yourself: What are they tweeting about?  Who are they talking to?  Why do they have so many followers?
  • It's not all about you.  Constantly pushing your product or service is not going to make you any friends in the Twitterverse.  In fact, many people might see this as spam and delete you all together.  Of course you want to share information about you, but you also need to find balance.
  • It's about them. If someone tweets a great tips, tell them.  If they ask a question you are interested in, answer it.  This is how you make connections and build relationships.
  • Proceed with caution.  See above.

To be continued...

Do you blog or use Twitter?  What tips could you offer to fitness professionals?


Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Move of the Month: Extended Side Angle Pose

I am still sick.  I dragged myself out of bed this morning feeling stuffed up, tired and blue :(

I looked up and saw these words on my Inspiration Board: "rejuvination of the body and soul".  

I can take a hint (again).  Time to take care of myself with some rest, kleenex and lots of fluids.

I also saw these words: "hot yoga." 

Yoga always makes me feel better and I knew at the moment that it would be a perfect theme for the Move of the Month.  

I present, the Extended Side Angel Pose (also known the Lateral Pose).

This post is a great workout for your legs, inner thighs, outer thighs, arms and sides.  The picture demonstrates the advanced level of the pose, but you can make it a little easier by:
  • placing the bottom hand on a block
  • placing the bottom hand on the shin or thigh
  • keeping the upper arm on the waist or behind the back
  • not bending as deeply into the posture

Lets begin!

Extended Side Angle Pose
  1. Stand tall in Mountain Pose.  Walk the feet out so they are separated about 3-5 feet apart.
  2. Turn your right foot out and your left foot slightly in.  Line up the heel of your right foot with the arch of your left foot and keep your hips facing forward.
  3. Inhale and as you exhale, bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel or almost parallel to the floor.
  4. Inhale deeply and exhale to lift the arms to shoulder height, reaching through your finger tips and keeping your shoulders away from your ears
  5. On your next exhale, bend at the side waist to drop your right fingertips to the floor and extend your left arm to the ceiling.  Open up your chest, keep your shoulders back and your arms in a straight line.  Relax your neck and look at the floor.
  6. On an inhale, look at your top hand as you energize through your fingertips keeping your legs strong.
  7. Hold the pose for a few breaths and on an exhale, reach through the top hand and come back to standing with the arms at shoulder height.
  8. Straighten the knee and turn the feet back to a parallel positon.  Exhale to release the arms, walk the feet back and stand in Mountain Pose.

What is your favourite yoga pose?

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Monday, January 24, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Monkey Squares Makeover

I got this extremely cool pan for Christmas and decided it was time I tried it out.

I had some banana's that were looking a little past their prime, so I decided to tackle banana squares.  I gave this recipe a makeover by reducing the sugar, eliminating the butter and increasing the fibre.

Oh, the lessons I am learning this week in the kitchen.  Half way through the baking time, I realized that this recipe was way to much for my brownie pan.  It was overflowing with banana goodness.  I decided to increase the bake time (to about 40 minutes) and go with it. 
As a result, my square were huge (as you can see) and they didn't quite come out of the pan as easily as they should have.  They still tasted delicious.  Lots of flavour with just enough sweetness.  Although next time, I am going to half the recipe when I use this pan. :)

The recipe below is what you should do, if you want perfect squares :) 



Chocolate Monkey Squares (25 squares)

3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup applesauce
2  large ripe bananas, mashed
2 flax eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease an 9x13 pan

 Prepare flax egg and set aside.

Cream sugar, buttermilk, applesauce and banana.  Add flax egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir flours, wheat germ, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.  Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Nutritional Information  (Approx.)
86 calories
1.1 g fat
17.4 g carbs
2 g protein
1.1 g fibre

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Post: A Happy, Healthy Hike

It is a very cold and sunny day in Toronto and if some of you are planning to venture outside, you may want to check out my guest post at Christine's blog about healthy hiking.  

Speaking of happy and healthy, I had the opportunity to meet up with some fellow bloggers yesterday for lunch at Commensal in Toronto and had a fantastic time!
















It was so nice to finally meet some of the wonderful ladies whose blogs and tweets give me me such pleasure and inspiration!

Big hugs to Samantha, Sara, Candice, Lisa, Susan, Meghan, Lily, Nancy, Danielle, Angela, Claire, Preena, Callie, Kristin, Therese and Morgan.

I am already looking forward to the next time :)

Stay Healthy,
Tracy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fitness is Free!

As many of you know, I do my workouts at-home.   I have said this many times before, but you don't need to join a gym, invest in fancy clothes or buy expensive equipment to get in your daily activity.

Exercise doesn't cost a thing.

Well, maybe a few hours of your time, some motivation and a little bit of sweat.
















 Exhibit A:  This is an example of what I might wear for an outdoor run.  Layers of clothes I already own and 90-120 minutes of my time per week.  That's it.

Don't like running? (Neither did I, but I converted :).  How about a walk with your family after dinner?  Stair climbing? Skating? Skiing? You get the idea.


















Exhibit B:  This is my workout room.  Now, I do have some purchased equipment, but you don't need it. You just need about 60-90 minutes a week.

See that chair?  Great for tricep dips. The floor?  Drop and do some crunches, push ups, lunges and squats.












  






Exhibit C: My iPod.  I am sure many of you have one and use it daily.

Why not download some free podcasts?  Yoga, pilates, stretching, you name it!  Great for working out and keeping you motivated.

What are your favourite free fitness tips?
 
Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Post: 8 Tips for Better Blog Images, Part 2

Much thanks again to Christine @ Photographic Ramblings of a Photo Nut for sharing her professional knowledge and tips. (In case you missed it, click here for Part 1).



 










 5.     Change Your Perspective!
Images starting to look the same? Even boring, or too familiar? Change where you shoot from. Pros rarely get the killer shots shooting from eye level.  Find your subject or scene, decide what the most important feature is, then get above it, slightly below it, shoot from the ground up, or shoot along the length of it. The award winning image above is of a much photographed historical location, but instead of including the whole building the way most people see it, I shot from beneath one of its most beautiful elements and found a whole new perspective. Give it a try!
 



 









6.     The Golden Hours!
If you’re going to shoot outdoors for any reason, the ideal time is during the “golden hours”. The first light in the morning until about 10 am and the last light of the day until about a half hour after sunset starting from dinner time depending on the time of year. This is when you get the warmest, nicest light from the sun. Skin tones are softer, and scenes have a magical quality.
 


 















7.     Use Portrait Framing More!
Look back through your picture files. Most people hold their camera at eye level and lengthwise. Turn your camera on its side more; it’s not just for people portraits. Composing a shot in your lens on the vertical creates a different energy and adds a new dynamic. The example above demontrates this. I chose to compose this way to accentuate the pillars on the chapel, the lines of the architecture, and include some of the brooding sky. And it works!
 


 










8.     Keep it Simple! The best way to compose is to find what you really want to feature, then shoot it. Don’t try to include so much into the scene. This only creates more distractions when viewing the shot and a viewer can get lost in the image, totally missing your intent. This goes hand in hand with tip #3. The example here is a massive stack of baskets at the market. I remember I tried to include the entire 12 foot high stack, but to do so meant other things started seeping into the composition and the shot was no longer about the baskets.  I also began to lose the details I was drawn to. The end result still tells you this is a cool stack of baskets, but is simple, more powerful, and has great detail.
  

There you have it, 8 ways you can improve your blog images without having to buy new gear or use general pics from stock. My very deep thanks to Tracy, for letting me shed some light on this topic and being asked to be a guest on one of my favourite blogs! 

Whether needing images for the latest exercise, the best recipe, or your latest family outing, my wish is that you now feel confident enough to get shooting!  

Have fun and thanks again!

Christine 
C. Duncan's Photography



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthy Rosemary Almond Crisp Makeover

I tried these wonderful crisps the other day and instantly fell in love.  Who new the combination of savoury rosemary and sweet rasins could be so fantastic.  At that moment, I knew I had to make them.


This recipe is pretty healthy the way it is so I only made a few small changes (by adding whole wheat flour and germ and exchanging almonds for pecans.) I have never make anything like this so it was definitely a learning experience.  

Lesson 1:  Allow loaves to cool completely before you put them in the freezer.  Mine were still warm and the bottoms were a bit soggy when I took them out.  

Lesson 2:  Doing this will allow you to cut really thick slices.  My slices were about twice as thick as the recipe notes.  As a result, they needed to bake a bit longer and were not quite as crispy as I would have liked.

However, they tasted fantastic and overall I am pretty happy with my effort.  I hope you enjoy them too.


Rosemary Almond Crisps (52 slices)

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup  ground flax seed
1 tbsp dried rosemary
6 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk*
2 tbsp honey
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 2 4x8 loaf pans.

Combine flour, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, flax and rosemary.  Mix in brown sugar, butter milk and honey.  Add raisin and almonds and stir until just combined.  (Mixture with be quite runny.)

Divide batter evenly between 2 pans and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Place pans in the freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Set oven to 300 degrees.

Slice loaves as thin as possible and place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, flip and bake for another 20-25 minutes (Time will depend on the thickness of the crisp)

Allow to cool and enjoy!
* If you don't have butter milk, you can just add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

Nutritional Information (approx.)
45 calories
1 g fat
8.3 g carbs
1.3 g protein
o.6 g fibre

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Monday, January 17, 2011

Guest Post: 8 Tips for Better Blog Images, Part 1

I have to admit that I am not the best at taking pictures for my blog.  This is why I am stepping away from the norm today for a special guest post!  My good friend Christine @ Photographic Ramblings of a Photo Nut is going to give you some amazing tips to make your blog as pretty as a picture.  Here we go...

So you love writing for your blog, and often times you need to produce an example of what you’re blogging about.  Maybe a new recipe that turned out great, a fun location to take the kids, or something more instructional, like how to re-stain an old dresser.  You either have to search free image sites for a picture that comes close, or you’re brave enough to take your own. 

But you don’t have the studio lights, the backdrops, or the camera knowledge to get anything other than a “snapshot”. Well, I hope the next eight pointers will inspire you and improve the way you get that blog image without all the “stuff” mentioned above.  

   







 








 1.    Natural Light is Your Friend!  
Either sunny or cloudy, indoors or out, natural light will always give you better light. Who needs professional lighting when you can sit your subject near a window and get some lovely sidelight across them, or take them outside and get naturally diffused light on an overcast day. Seems really sunny? Find some shade against a wall, or a cluster of thick trees. Keep the sun behind or beside you, but when photographing people, keep the sun beside or behind them to avoid squinting. 



















2.     Aim for Color!    
Find a way to make the most of color within your composition. Blogs for the most part should be bright and eye catching, unless you specifically use B&W images. For example, this image was from a farmers market. I also had a great shot of piles of rustic potatoes and heads of garlic... but for a blog about fresh produce, the image of the green beans won hands down because of their bright, fresh color throughout the shot. 



Before

After


























 3.     Get in close.... then get in closer!  
Ever wonder why you see a finished shot and your subject or scene still looks far away or ineffective. You need to get closer. I realize when you shot the image you thought you were quite close already but trust me, get really close! A tight shot can produce a professional composition... so when you think you’re close enough, get even closer. This example is two shots I took over the holidays, one was from a good distance to include most of the cat... but there’s objects in the background that distract and clutter the composition. The final image looks markedly improved simply because I made a decision to scoot even closer and frame him tightly. 


Before

After























4.     Stay Away from Flash When You Can!  
Flash is always tricky, even for professionals. Most prefer to stick with that natural light mentioned in the first tip if they can. And the reason is this: when used casually without knowing the properties of lighting, it’ll make your images look flat every time. Flash can wash out any real color, and heaven forbid if you have reflective surfaces like glass, it bounces the light back at the camera causing spots of white light and blown out areas you can never get back. 

Here are two examples: the before I took of some soft pretzels I made one day, and thought I'd get a quick pic of my efforts... but the kitchen had been dark, and naturally the flash went off. Looks dull and not too tasty. For the after shot, I placed the plate near a natural light source, got closer, and shot without flash. Big difference right?  

Stay tuned for more of Christine's tips in Part 2.  Meanwhile, check out her website, C. Duncan's Photography, for inspiration!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Over Training and Rest

Kitty knows how to relax
It is great to push ourselves to the limit when we are working out.  It gives us a real sense of accomplishment to feel our muscles working with the sweat pouring down our faces. 

However, sometimes we over do it.  Many of use feel guilty if we take a day off.  Tired and sore, we still continue to exercise until our bodies fight back.  We get injured.  We are so fatigued that we can't even move.  We get sick.

This is what has happened to me.  

The body needs to rest and recover to get healthier and stronger.  This is what I tell my clients.  I didn't take my own good advice and now I am paying the price.

So why is rest so important?

  • Muscle Recovery - Rest allows muscle tissue time to repair itself and replenish energy stores. If you over train, the body might continue to breakdown muscle instead of rebuilding it.  Do some gentle stretching on your rest days to stay flexible and limber.
  • Better Sleep -  While it is true that regular exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep, too much exercise can have the opposite effect.  Sleep is so important to good health, don't jeopardize it.
  • Avoiding Injury - As I mentioned above, over training can result in injury, fatigue and illness.  It can also trigger depression and decreased performance.  Not so good.
  • Life Balance - You need to ensure that you are making time to focus on family, friends and work.  Too much time spent exercising can take away from time spent with the people you care about or engaging in other activities you love.

Have you ever over trained?  How did you feel?  Do you schedule weekly rest days?

Stay Healthy,
Tracy

Friday, January 14, 2011

Healthy Granola Bar Makeover, Take 2

As you may have read, my first batch of granola bars just squeaked by with a pass. (OK, maybe closer to an epic fail as they were still sitting on the counter days later).  I did not let that discourage me from giving it another go.  If at first you don't succeed, bake, bake again!

I modified this recipe to create a
true winner.  The bars are a good size and the calorie count isn't off the charts.  I reduced the sugar and used a flax egg to up the protein.  These bars are crunchy with just enough sweetness.  Without further ado...












































Peanut Butter Granola Bars (Makes 20 bars)

2  1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup whole wheat  flour 
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 flax egg
1/4 cup skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

Combine oats, wheat germ, flax, flour, salt and chocolate chips. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, mix honey, sugar, peanut butter and maple syrup.  Heat for 30-40 seconds and stir.

Add peanut butter mixture, flax egg and milk to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. (You may want to use your hands for this :)

Press mixture into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

Nutritional Information (approx.)
128 calories
4.7 g fat
18.2 g carbs
4.5 g protein
2.6 g fibre

Have you ever failed at a recipe only to come back with a masterpiece?

Stay Healthy,
Tracy

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stylish Blogger Awards


I was so surprised and pleased to be given the Stylish Blogger award from my friend Sara @ Keep Moving.  Thanks Sara!


Here is how it works:


First: Make a post linking back to the person who gave you the award
Second: Share 7 (random) things about yourself
Third: Award 15 recently discovered bloggers with this award
Then: Contact these bloggers and tell them they've won you're award
7 Random Things About Me
  1. I don't always like to exercise.  As a matter of fact, sometime I dread it, but I always feel better after I workout.
  2. I like to watch the same movies over and over.  My mom thinks I am crazy, but I love it.  If it is a great movie, who wouldn't want to see it again?
  3. I have a short attention span when it come to reading. This is why I love blogs, articles and magazine.  They are short and to the point.  I CAN read an entire book, but I have to really love it.
  4. I love ice cream.  I could eat it everyday (and sometimes I do).  There is just something about the cold, creamy sweetness that is so appealing.
  5. I collect records.  Yep, vinyl.  I love the album art, the printed lyrics and the sound. Not sure how many have have, maybe about 200 or so.
  6. I used to bite my nails.  A nervous habit since I was a kid.  I finally stopped and now I actually enjoy getting a manicure as I am no longer embarrassed about my fingers.
  7. I love social media.  I would love to help other fitness professionals utilize the power of web. 
My Bloggie friends (It was hard to narrow down to 15 :)


Please check out all of these bloggers for great stories, tips, support and inspiration.

Stay Healthy, 
Tracy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 4: Diet

The next installment in the Chronic Pain Series is...

Diet
I am going to talk about some specific changes that I have made to my own diet and offer some other options that may work for you.

There are many different schools of thought when it comes to chronic pain and diet.  Some experts believe that excluding certain foods from your diet is the key.  For me personally, there are no absolutes when dealing with pain.  Every person is different.  Every condition is different.

That being said, I think it is important to try different options.  As long as you are eating a balanced, healthy diet, there is no harm done (just be sure to consult with your doctor).  There could also be some other potential health benefits by reducing/eliminating some things from your diet.

Here are some ideas to consider:
  • Consult with a nutritionist and/or naturopath.  There are many of them out there that deal specifically with chronic pain.  They are also able to do some testing to see if you have any food allergies that might be working against you.
  • Go dairy, gluten and wheat free.  I know that I mentioned that this didn't work for me, but it might work for you.  Many experts believe that eliminating these food will reduce inflammation in the body.  If you are going to try this, start with one food at a time to make it a little easier to adjust.
  • Eat whole foods.  You can't go wrong when you eat grains, vegetables, fruits and lean meats.  I must admit that I did noticed a difference when I reduced the amount of processed food I consumed.
  • Limit your sugar intake.  Sugar has also been associated with inflammation.  The more sugar I eat, the worse I feel.  You don't have to give it up, just reach for a piece of fruit more often than a chocolate bar :)
  • Get your Omega-3's.  Flax seeds, walnuts and fish oil are great sources.  Omega-3's are anti-inflammatory and I make sure to include them daily.

What diets have you tried to deal with your chronic pain?  Have you eliminated/reduced any foods from your life?

Stay Healthy,
Tracy

P.S. What do you think of the new blog?

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