Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/31/14

 The Stationary Bike of the Soul– If you have ever been to a Soul Cycle Spinning class then you probably already know what the draw is to it. I for one never thought I would be a person that would pay $30+ dollars to be pushed through a hard workout, however once you do it you find how addictive these type of classes are. “Not much different from other cult-like exercise programs, or even branding in general—the most successful companies create a sense that their product is part of a lifestyle, like the choosy moms who choose Jif. The twist with SoulCycle is what it calls the “mind/body experience.”

Meet CrossFit’s Fittest Man on Earth– Rich Froning just secured his 4th year in a row being titled the Fittest Man on Earth at the CrossFit Games.  The competition is 4 day event where you do everything from running, to hand stand push-ups, to squats, and even rope climbs to just name a few. In this interview with Rich you find out what it takes to be a 4 time champion and what he likes about cross fit.

The Dark Side of Almond Use– This article is interesting because it not only talks about the health benefits from Almonds, but also the rise in popularity of the nut and the farming practices of it. “The only state that produces almonds commercially is California, where cool winter and mild springs let almond trees bloom. Eighty-two percent of the world’s almonds come from California. ”

The Perils of Clean Eating– I for one have been quoted as saying I need to eat cleaner. In fact I said it this morning as a response to this last week of over indulging due to my family being in town, moving, and get together’s with friends. This lead me to look into an article on clean eating and is it really that good for you?

Why Junk Food Makes You Fat, NOT Fat or Carbs– This article shows the correlation between obesity and caloric intake. As a country we started to see this uptick in 1980 with the addition of more highly processed foods. It also touches on how our brain reacts to junk food.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Image from Huff Post

Advertisements

Things I am Loving This Week

 

photo 4

photo 5

One thing I love about new neighborhoods is finding new restaurants. Barrel Head Brewhouse is a restaurant/brewery I have been wanting to check out for a little while now. Dustin and I decided to go there for a late lunch/early dinner one day last week. Overall the place is awesome. Very roomy, open, casual, but still is able to maintain a hip and young vibe.  Of course I had to try the cheese plate, which usually I try to reserve for sharing with someone else, but not this day. It was all me! However I am not going to lie, I only ended up eating about half of it. Dustin ordered the burger with an egg and said it was very tasty. The only complaint I had was the beer was just ok, however I only tried a couple. I have a feeling this might be a new usual spot.

photo 6

I love a Saturday morning run when you come across something unexpected. I am obsessed with cactus and succulents. They have become a new fixture in my home for decorating. I love them for not only their beauty, but ease of care. Now if only I could bring this patch inside I would have it made.

photo

This week as a special treat for my parents I surprised them by taking them to go see Motown the Musical. Growing up my parents were season ticket holders to musicals in Denver, Colorado. So anytime a big musical came to the city my parents would get my brother and I tickets. I remember the excitement of getting to get all dressed up, driving up to the big city, seeing the show, and then going out to eat for dinner. All of this made the whole experience special and magical. Now as an adult one of my favorite things is going to see a musical. As for Motown, it did not disappoint! Obviously the music was amazing, the performers were fantastic, and the energy was contagious. I recommend seeing it while it is here or if it makes it to your city!

photo 2

This week with all of my cheese and bread eating, I decided a nice salad was in order. This is the tuna nicoise I ordered out for lunch at a little restaurant by the theater. It was light, delicious, and filling. I ordered it without the dressing since it was dairy based and would have added a ton of calories .Instead I put some balsamic vinegar on top and it hit the spot!

photo 1

Last night Dustin surprised me with a new pair of new running shoes since mine had started their gradual decent. I love that I find this way more romantic then jewelry or a nice dinner out. Also it is amazing how frequently I go through those suckers!  Brooks or Saucony are typically my running shoes of choice, however this pair is Mizuno. I have to say they were pretty amazing after my first run this morning.

A Tale Of Cheese In Pictures

photo 3

I have an obsession with cheese. I love it all! Goat or cow’s, hard or soft, creamy or salty; the list can go on and on. I love how you can make an experience out of eating it. It can be consumed with fruit, meat, bread, crackers, or nuts. Want something more dessert like, add jam or honey to it. On the flip a touch of mustard can satisfy a salty craving.

photo 6

Now this should not come as a shock to anyone. If you have read my blog you will see my food pictures and quite frequently a cheese plate is somewhere to be seen with a glass of wine standing by for company. Every person has there vice and those few indulgences you can’t give up. For me that is wine, cheese, and bread. Life without those things is just not life at all.

photo 7

My parents have been in town visiting this week and on Monday they mentioned wanting to go for a drive down the coast. I started my research and found a little town called Pescadero not too far away that had a cheese farm. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to make this our day trip.

photo 4

Pescadero is about an hour outside of the city and the town is only about a city block long, well at least the main drag I could see. However there is so much charm in this little community it is worth a detour if you are making the drive down south.

photo 9

We stopped at a little farm called Harley Farms where they specialize in Goat Cheese. However they also make other various products from goats including amazing lotions and other body products. Pulling up to the farm the scenery was absolutely picturesque. We parked behind the old weathered barn and walked up the little path leading to the cheese shop.

IMG_0685.JPG

 

photo 8

On our walk we passed along the barn area where we were able to see the goats enjoying the sun as it started to peak out from the morning fog. They butted heads with one another in a playful way and paid absolutely no attention to us.

photo 1

Upon walking into the cheese shop you felt that relaxed feeling you can only get at home or when entering a small town. We were greeted by a young girl with a bright smile and encouraged us to start trying samples, my kind of hello.

photo 13

We tried everything from ricotta to a lavender cheesecake, all were completely different in taste, but delicious regardless. Next we wandered up the stairs to the top of the barn to look out at the view. As you would assume, it was breathtakingly simple. Not much to note but old buildings and a meadow with bursts of color from the various fresh flowers growing.

IMG_0688.JPG

photo

Of course before leaving we had to make a few purchases, I cant wait to try mine later this week. Next up my parents and I stopped for  lunch on the main drag of town before heading back up the freeway to San Francisco. It ended up being a perfect day trip. I love how in only an hour’s drive you can remove yourself completely from the bustle of the city and enter the quietness of a farm.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/24/14

Is Breakfast Overrated?-To eat breakfast or not to, that is the question? It turns out according to research there is not a significant difference in terms of weight loss for those who skip the meal vs those that eat it. The biggest difference was those that eat breakfast tend to move more in the morning which leads to higher caloric expenditure, however this is also off set by the additional calories eaten. Moral of the story is eat breakfast if you like to, but not to worry if you dont.

Smart Fuel: Mushrooms– I for one hated mushrooms until about a few years ago. However once you learn to love them, they can be pretty amazing. This article does a great job of breaking out all of the different varieties out there. Also who knew they grow everywhere, including the dessert and Antarctica.

A Nice Tall Glass of Camel’s Milk-Another new interesting alternative to cow’s milk. “A syudy published in an alternative medicine journal that found that 25 autistic children who were given camel’s milk, as opposed to cow’s milk, had lower levels of oxidative stress and showed improvements in behavior.”

Fun with Food Trends-Food is trendy, it is true. I find it very fascinating. I mean who knew what Kale, farro, or being gluten free was just a decade ago. This article shows the spikes and trends of some popular foods over the last few decades.

Fixing Your Pushup with 2 Simple Corrections– This article is short and to the point. A basic push-up is a great workout for the upper body. Mastering it’s technique is the key to it’s success.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Photo from Huff Post

Things I am Loving- Colorado Edition

This past week for the first time in the 8 years I have been with my company I was able to go to Denver, Colorado for a work trip! Nothing like being able to fly home for free and see friends and family. My meetings were only for 2 days, so I took a day off and had a long weekend with my family.

Image-1

My meeting’s were held at the Denver Convention center just down by 16th street mall. It was so nice to be at a hotel within walking distance of where we were meeting. I have been in a lot of convention centers over the years, but never one quite as big as this place. Also did I mention the giant bear looking in. Not something you see everyday, but I have to say it put a smile on my face every time I passed by. The highlight of the meeting was a special guest performance from Leann Rimes, which was entertaining even though she is not my favorite artist out there.

Image-3

After my first day of meetings I went to dinner with my dear friend Kerstin at a restaurant called the Squeaky Bean. We split a cheese plate, a side of brussels sprouts, and an amazing seaweed salad. Overall the food was fantastic, but more like San Francisco pricing and portions. I left still feeling like I needed a little bit more to eat. Luckily the next place we grabbed a drink had a bread basket, so I went to bed feeling full and content.

Image-2

After my meetings were complete my longest and closest friend Kristen made the hour drive up to Denver to pick me up before heading back home to Colorado Springs. We did our usual tradition of breweries and salads. On this sunny, summer afternoon we made it over to Great Divide my favorite brewery in all of Colorado, along with the Denver Beer Company. I really wanted to try the Graham Cracker Porter at the Denver Beer Company, but alas it was not on tap. This place had a great vibe and ambiance. It was just a shame their beer was lack luster.

photo 12

The following day I went to lunch with my parents at an  adorable restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs called Shuga’s. Now I am going to be honest here…….Colorado Springs food is not amazing. After living in San Francisco for so long, I have become more of a food and beverage snob. Yes I hate to admit it, but it is true. At least now being in my thirties I can accept where I have become picky. Food is one of those things, if I am going to pay to eat somewhere I am going to love it.

photo 11 photo 13

With all of that said, I have to say Shuga’s is amazing! And not just for Colorado Springs. If it were in San Francisco I would say the same. Walking into the restaurant you automatically get this hip, throw back vibe. Who knew there was such a young, eclectic crowd lurking around. My mom and I split a cuban sandwich and I got a cup of the spicy brazilian coconut shrimp soup. My dad ordered the tomato soup with the Brie and Apple bruschetta toast.

photo 14

photo 15

Just one bite of the cuban and my mouth immediately was enthralled by all of the different flavors. It had roasted pork, black forest ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle, garlic citrus mustard, and all of this deliciousness grilled on a french loaf bread. Lastly there was some sea salt sprinkled on top just for that extra flavor pop. This is one of the best sandwiches I have eaten in a long time. In fact I am still thinking about it and craving it.

Image-0Of course while on my trip I had my daily workout routine still in motion. One morning Kristen and I did back to back yoga classes at Core Power Yoga. We started off with an hour long yoga sculpt class where you use free weights while doing your poses and add in blasts of cardio in between sets. Think jumping jacks, burpees, and high knees. All of this is done in a hot room just in case you were not going to sweat enough as is. The class was awesome, hard, and you would have thought you had just done 2 hours of spinning after walking out. After yoga sculpt Kristen and I did an hour of regular vinyasa yoga, still challenging, but nothing compared to what we just had done. The best part is since it was my first time my classes were free and I received a week long pass. They have locations in the bay area, but nothing close to where I live so unfortunately I was not able to go again.

photo 3

All in all it was a great trip for work, friends, and family. I came home feeling re-freshed and ready to start a new week. Although I am already looking forward to my next trip home.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/17/14

The Restaurant Menu That Nudges People Toward Healthy Food– This is just a short article on how menu food placement affects the way we order and how it could potentially be changed to get people to eat the healthier options. “Americans get more than a third of their calories from food prepared outside the home, and these meals tend to be more caloric, by a lot. The popularity of restaurants has risen in tandem with the obesity epidemic.”

How Exercise Helps Us Tolerate Pain– “The longer we continue to work out, the new findings suggest, the greater our tolerance for discomfort can grow. The brain begins to accept that we are tougher than it had thought, and it allows us to continue longer although the pain itself has not lessened.”

The ‘fattest’ chain restaurant meals win a dubious honor– Although I am one who believes people should have the choice to eat how they please, I also do not agree with the insanely un-healthy foods restaurants make now days. The winner this year comes from Red Robin where the meal clocks in at 3,540 calories. This is almost two days worth of  food for me. I would be curious what your thoughts are on this subject?

Will Losing Weight Really Make You Happier– “Resisting the ever-present temptations of unhealthy food in modern society takes a mental toll, as it requires considerable willpower and may involve missing out on some enjoyable activities. Anyone who has ever been on a diet would understand how this could affect well-being. However, mood may improve once target weight is reached, and the focus is on weight maintenance. Our data only covered a 4-year period so it would be interesting to see how mood changes once people settle into their lower weight.”

The Art of Avoiding Injuries– This article is long, but I think it really does a great job of capturing how to best take care of your self when it comes to fitness. It starts by categorizing injuries into three main groups, overuse injuries, sudden acute injuries, and accidents. It then goes on to explain ways to help prevent them. “Be sensible when you train. Make sure you spend time stabilizing your joints and core, as well as strengthening your tendons. Those who constantly stay away from injuries tend to see slower strength gains at first, but they can stay in the iron game longer so it eventually pays off.”

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Photo from Huff Post

Curry Shrimp Recipe

photo 5

Let me say, I love curry! Indian and Thai food are always some of my favorite take out dishes on a cold winter night. Something about the warm dish mixed with full bodied spices creates a very comforting feeling. Now although I have to say I crave curry more in the winter, it can also be a great summer dinner as well.

photo 1

 

Yesterday my mom and I went to see The Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren. What does this have to do with curry? Well the movie is all about food, with an emphasis on Indian cuisine. The food dishes were visually impact-full and stunning. It made you leave with your mouth watering and a strong desire for some good Indian Food.

photo 2

 

This lead me to want to make my easy curry shrimp recipe and share it with all of you. This dish is a lot lighter then most curry fare you find out, but hits the spot all the same. It is easy, filling, and delicious. You can add in other vegetables then what I have mentioned below, this just happened to be what I had on hand.  Hope you enjoy!

photo 4

Curry Shrimp Recipe

1 lbs of Green Beans Trimmed

1 pound cooked shrimp

1 Can Water Chestnut’s

1/2 Onion Chopped

1 cup light coconut milk from a can

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool; transfer to a serving bowl.

2.  In a large skillet add olive oil and onion. Cook until slightly brown. Add in coconut milk and all of the spices. Next add the shrimp and green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat

3. Ready to serve! I added mine on top of brown rice

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/10/14

CrossFit Flirting: Talk Burpee to Me– I have shared articles in the past on cross fit and although I have not done it myself I admire the comradery that is built from those who do participate in it. I love the idea of everyone stretching the limits of their own body with the goal of just helping and supporting one another. This article is more of a nice read then it is informative.  “Perhaps more than disciples of any other type of exercise, people who participate in CrossFit can’t help being drawn to people who do the same. This is partly because the exercise regimen inspires near-religious devotion.”

Men Say ‘Uh’ and Women Say ‘Um’– Interesting the differences between men and women and how it also correlated to age. “Back in 2005, he found that usage of “uh” increases with age, but at every age, men say it more than women do. Meanwhile, usage of “um” decreases with age, but female speakers said it more than male ones at each stage in life.”

Women Pace Marathons Better Then Men Do– Maybe it is because I am a female runner, but I found this article fascinating. “As it turned out, men slowed significantly more than women racers did. In aggregate, men covered the second half of the marathon almost 16 percent slower than they ran the first half. Women as a group were about 12 percent slower in the second half.”

How To Reset Your Metabolism With Diet Breaks- I think this article highlights something really important, taking a break. I wish I had done this more when I was in dieting mode. I would be so strict with myself and never let myself indulge or take a break. This lead to binge eating when I would finally allow myself something I craved. Letting yourself have what you want occasionally will make a big difference to your body and your mental well being. I in fact still have to learn to take breaks from my hardcore eating ways otherwise I find I will still binge.

10 Things All Beginning Lifters Should Know– If any of you know my boyfriend you will hear him emphasize the importance of strength training. This article is great at answering some common myths and giving good information.  “At any rate, in a caloric surplus, strength training will cause the weight that you gain to consist of a higher proportion of muscle and a lower proportion of fat. At a caloric maintenance, strength training will cause your body to recompose so that you gain more muscle, lose fat, and improve your bodyfat percentage. At a caloric deficit, strength training will cause the weight that you lose to consist of a higher proportion of fat and a lower proportion of muscle.”

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Photo from Huff Post

A Week In Photos In New York City

A couple of weeks ago I went out to the East Coast for my typical work trip to Providence, Rhode Island. I usually make this trip a couple of times a year, but often it is coupled with other work trips so I never get to take extra time and make my way to New York City. This time the trip happened to coincide with my birthday so I decided I needed to tack on a few days at the end to go see two of my best ladies and celebrate in style.

photo 19

Now how is one to get from Providence to New York City? The first option that came to mind for me was flying. However after seeing a one way plane ticket would be over $200 I had to quickly re-consider. After some research I found I could take a train ride to the Big Apple for only $80, I was sold. So after spending a Monday-Wednesday in Providence I embarked on my journey Thursday morning.

photo 13photo 12

I started my morning with a nice 7 mile run before getting ready and heading over to the train station. The train ride was 3 hours and I loved the whole experience. Looking out the windows upon every little East Coast sea town was quite delightful. I fantasized about wearing a striped dress, drinking champagne, and eating lobster at some quaint little bed and breakfast. I also used the time to just enjoy some magazines and get caught up on life. Once arriving at Grand Central station I made my way to my girlfriends office to unload my luggage before walking a mile to the Chelsea Market.

photo 14 photo 15

I love the Chelsea Market. It reminds me a lot of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The market is all about food, drinks, and people. There are also various shops for local artists, which I appreciate. I wondered from shop to shop just exploring everything the building had to offer. I decided this would be a perfect place to stop and have a late lunch. Of course I could not make up my mind on what to order so I got a soba noodle salad and a couscous salad. Both were delicious!

photo 6 photo 7

The evening consisted of drinking wine back at my girlfriend Lauren’s beautiful apartment in Bed-Stuy where we caught up on life. We then walked to a small neighborhood Italian restaurant for dinner. I don’t let myself indulge in pasta very often, but every time I come to New York it is a must. Nothing beats their Italian Food. We have nothing in San Francisco that even compares in my opinion. I ordered an eggplant bolognese and ate every last bite! After a long day of walking and a run I felt I deserved all the wine and pasta my body wanted. Although I did skip on the bread and olive oil, some regulation still needed to happen.

photo 16

Day two started with a journey over to my favorite workout place in NYC, Flywheel. The 45 minute intense spinning class was just what I needed after a night of good food and drinks. After the class  I found my obsession Whole Foods and got some yogurt and fruit before finding a quaint little coffee shop to sit and read at while enjoying my morning treat. Next I spent the day roaming around the city popping into little shops that caught my eye and of course I had to venture over to Soho for some shopping.

photo 10

Later that evening I met up with my girlfriend Katie at her new apartment in the East Village where we packed a picnic of cheese, bread, fruit, and veggies for a night dinner on her roof. The warm weather was perfect and sitting overlooking the city lights glistening with champagne in hand made for a fantastic start to the night.  Next was a night cap at a neighboring bar which was soon followed by bed.

photo 9

Day Three started with a 5 mile run along the water. Nothing beats an early, warm east coast morning. After getting ready and grabbing some amazing coffee I met back up with my girlfriend Lauren again for a day at the spa.  I was able to find us an amazing deal that included a 2 1/2 hour manicure, massage, and facial all for $130. I checked in on Yelp and was able to get 30% off bringing my grand total to $90! Did I mention they gave us free champagne?

photo 23

Next on the agenda was an afternoon at a wine bar in the East Village where Lauren and I enjoyed some Vino, salad, and cheese. All of my favorite things! The portions were huge so Lauren and I no matter how hard we tried were not able to polish off the plate. After our late and leisurely lunch we made our way back to Brooklyn and relaxed before getting ready for dinner. For my last night  Lauren and I went out to eat at an amazing Venezuelan restaurant in Brooklyn.

photo 11

The next morning I went on a 5 mile run around Lauren’s neighborhood before heading to the airport. All in all it was a great few days and I can’t say how nice it was to spend time with my girlfriends! New York City is always such a special place for me, but I have to say I am always glad when I get back to the city by the bay!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/03/14

The Link Between Birth Control Pills and Breast Cancer– “A new study out today suggests that having recently taken birth control pills increases breast cancer risk by about 50 percent. Women who were on a formulation of the pill with an especially elevated level of estrogen nearly tripled their risk of getting breast cancer, and a pill with even a moderate amount of the hormone increased the risk by about 60 percent.”

Why High-Impact Exercise Is Good for Your Bones– Being a runner myself and having had a back injury I completely understand the importance of making sure I am keeping my bones healthy. I have always wondered how high impact exercises affect my body, so this article is interesting to see that there are a lot of benefits from doing high impact exercises.

What Makes a Superfood?– Superfood is a new buzz word out there. Are there foods that can give us everything we need? This article is short and sweet but try’s to add a simple perspective to the topic. “And while marketers are at liberty to label anything a superfood, Dr. Hagen doesn’t believe any one food can be super.”

What to Look For in a Fitness App– Although this article does not give you any specific apps to download it does give some good rules of thumb to look at when downloading a Health and Fitness App. I can say I would not have been able to do my weight loss without My Fitness Pal. This has been by far the best App I have personally used for tracking food. In terms of fitness I really like Map My Run for running. It has various versions for biking, walking, etc. They are all the same so all you need is one and you get the same use from it.  However I would love to hear thoughts on what has worked for others.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Photo from Huff Post