Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Wonderful Effects of Green Tea!

Hey!!! J'Wana here, coming at you with some info on GREEN TEA!

For the past week or so, I have been sick:( Never Fun and Never Wanted.
Sore throat, chills, body aches, just everything. I am such a big baby when I am sick. I didn't want to eat or drink. It hurt too much. But I remembered whenever I would get sick, people would always suggest tea with lemon and honey. It would at least help with my sore throat, right? So I drag myself into my kitchen and whip out some green tea, with honey and lemon.   
I did start feeling better, thank goodness! But this got me thinking.....Green Tea is freakin AMAZING! Its so good for you and has a LOT of benefits! If you don't drink green tea, you should!!!

Benefits of Green Tea:
  1. Its full of antioxidants, which are known for their anti-aging properties among other things.
  2. Green tea can prevent and treat cancer!
  3. Stress Relieverrrrr!!!! Enough said there! Lol!
  4. Improves heart health and lowers high blood pressure.
  5. Green tea is anti-diabetic so it helps regulate blood sugar.
  6. It boosts immunity and fights off the cold and other viruses. It contains antigens that builds up your immune system.
  7. Green tea is also a FAT BURNER! and it also allows you to exercise longer by reducing carbohydrate utilization, or how the carbohydrates are being used.
And those are just some of the benefits!  Like I said earlier, if you don't drink green tea, you definitely should start!!

What's you favorite kind of tea? What type of At-Home remedies do you like to use when you are sick?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Staying on Track While on Vacation

Hey everyone! Rachel here! I'm a little behind schedule because I've been on vacation! The last 5 days were spent with my family in Disney World, thanks to Beachbody!  That's one of the benefits of being a Beachbody coach, by the way. Beachbody gives coaches an opportunity to win amazing trips!  Anyway, staying on track while being in Disney was very challenging but I managed and I wanted to share with you all how I pulled it off!

Beachbody was awesome and flew out Shaun T from Insanity and Leandro from Brazil Butt Lift to work us all out first thing in the morning but because I am currently training for the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon, I had to pass on those workouts and instead, had to fit in runs.  Because I knew that the entire day each day was going to be dedicated to being with my family and walking the different parks, I set my alarm each day for 6:00 am so that way my workouts would be done and over with and I would have the whole day to spend with my family.  It was incredibly difficult, especially since there is a three hour time difference between Florida and Seattle.  So when my phone went off at 6:00 am telling me it was time to get off, I had to have that debate in my head for fifteen minutes.

"How will I feel if I don't get my run in?"
"How will I feel at the end of the week if I don't hit my mileage goal?"
"How will I be able to make up for the lost mileage?"

Those questions got me out of bed because I knew that if I didn't hit my goal, I'd feel disappointed, frustrated, ashamed, guilty, etc.  A whole lot of negative emotions that can trigger binge eating. No thanks!

The scenery definitely made getting a run in more palatable and I was able to feel good about myself the rest of the day.

In between run days, I lift weights because it gives my legs a break.  Since I wasn't able to pack my P90X DVD's or a weight set and I wasn't sure what options the hotel fitness room would provide, I packed a resistance band and the door attachment so I could fit in a full body resistance workout in the hotel room.  I wrote myself a list of exercises from P90X and ChaLean Extreme that I could do with just body weight or with the resistance band and I managed to get myself quite a calorie burn!

The rest of each day was spent walking at least six miles around each park.  I did what I could to make the healthiest meal choices possible but it's difficult since it's hard to know if what I was eating included true serving sizes or more and how much of each ingredient went into each meal... Plus I was on vacation so I wanted to be able to live a little and enjoy!  Making time to fit in a workout each morning gave me peace of mind so I could relax and enjoy myself a little bit food wise.  All I ended up gaining was some water weight from the extra sodium.  Restaurants pack a lot of salt into their food!

If you're traveling, make sure you pack some extra snacks with you. Protein bars, Lara Bars, almond packs, things like that are great quick bites for when you're feeling a little hungry between meals.  Investing in something like a pack of resistance bands can also be really helpful because you never know what your options will be in a hotel or if there will be enough machines available at the time you try to get a workout in.  And getting up early so that way you have the rest of your day to enjoy also makes a difference! I know, I know, on vacation you want to sleep in but life is short! Sometimes, making a few small sacrifices can be all you need to enjoy yourself while also maintaining a healthy body image!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sweet Potatoes~ Are you eating them?

Hi everyone, it's Pam again and I want to talk Sweet Potatoes!

As many of you who follow me, know that I have chosen to eat Vegan ( no animal products). This is a choice I have made for my reasons!  I eat clean, real foods without preservatives.

I have found many great vegan recipes from other blogs, books and restaurants and sometimes I just get creative and do my own.

I eat a lot of sweet potatoes these days as they are a staple in my pantry. They make a quick meal or snack by just baking them or microwaving them.

Here are a few benefits of sweet potatoes:

1.  They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies.  Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
2. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
3.  They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin Dplays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
4.  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
5.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

I love Mexican food and sweet potatoes so I got creative and came up with sweet potato tacos.  YUM!!
Here is the recipe:
2 large sweet potatoes cubed
1 head of cabbage ( i used half for 2 people) shredded or chopped
4 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of basil
Chopped cilantro
1/2 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 cans of black beans ( drained and rinsed)
Avocados sliced
corn tortillas

Toss potatoes with olive oil and season with cumin and chili powder. Roast at 400 until tender

Place shredded cabbage in bowl. Mix lime juice and basil in separate bowl and stir well. pour over cabbage and then add cilantro. Toss to mix and set in refrigerator. 

Meanwhile add olive oil to skillet and cook onion and garlic until tender and golden, Then add drained black beans and heat until warm.

I used these tortillas from Sprouts, but any corn tortilla would work ( just read your labels )
To assemble:
fill tortilla with bean mixture, then potatoes and then cabbage mix. Top with avocado slices and salsa and enjoy!

Are you eating your sweet potatoes on a regular basis? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Have Support, Get Educated! You can do this!!

Hey Folks! Ashleigh here!! Today I want to talk about how important it is to have support when you are working out.

There are a lot of reasons why this is important. Working out should be a lifestyle change not just a temporary fix to your weight loss problems. So lets think about this.. How can you make a lifestyle change without your family being in it with you!? Your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife has to be a part of that lifestyle change with you.. And you should involve your children in the changes too! Encourage them to workout with you! And of course you shouldn't be cooking two meals (one for you and one for them).. Thats just silly!

No matter what you will need a support group.. Someone you can be completely open with about your journey.. Someone you can go to when you don't feel like working out that can help lift you up.. This is KEY to your success! If you feel alone and don't have anyone to turn to you are likely to give up and we definitely do not want that to happen!

This is something that I fell INLOVE with when I started Beachbody. I hadn't done any kind of working out since high school. And this was a BIG step for me.. So when I signed up I was given a coach.. Whom I never heard from lol! But then this amazing coach found me.. And has been such a huge part of my success.. She has always been there for me! And I have always had the support from my man.. He is always there to listen to me complain and has always been by my side. We have made the Nutritional changes in our lives as a whole family. Educate yourself, ask people questions, find the right things for you! 

Never underestimate how important it is to have SOME KIND of support for your journey.. There are many keys to your success and this is one of them!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy Snack Ideas

Roxie here with some cool awesome Healthy Snack Ideas!!  
Do you have your 3 square meals figured out, but are lost when it comes to snacking?  I'd love to share a few ideas with you to help get you started TODAY!  Plus a bonus recipe from Tony Horton (creator of P90X) himself!
  • Apple with String Cheese
  • Brown Rice Cake with Almond Butter and 1/2 Banana
  • Plain Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit
  • Orange with a handful of Raw Natural Almonds
  • Broccoli or Carrots with Hummus
  • Cottage Cheese and an Apple
  • 1 Slice of Whole Wheat Bread with Sliced Hard Boiled Egg and Mustard
  • Smoothie                                                                                                                                            
I've made it twice, but devoured it before I could get a picture!  OOPS!

Click the title above for recipe

Top reasons you should add Healthy Snacks to your diet - 
1.  Gives you extra energy
2.  Boosts metabolism all day long
3.  Curbs cravings
4.  Pre-workout fuel
5.  Post-workout nutrition

Now, go get your Healthy Snack on, you'll be so glad you did!!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cortisol - The Stress Hormone

Hey there!  It's me Erica again, and today I'm going to talk to you about CORTISOL.  Now some of you may be familiar with this and some of you may be thinking, "What the heck is that and why do I want to know about it?"  Well cortisol is one of the many hormones in your body that helps regulate your body's functions, and it can influence your weight.

Basically cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal cortex, and it is released in times of stress.  You could say that it is released as a result of your body's "Fight or Flight" response.  The problem is that your body does not distinguish between physical stress and emotional or mental stress.  What does this mean?  The release of cortisol gives you a quick burst of energy, heightened memory, and lowers your sensitivity to pain.  This would be great if you were being attacked and had to make quick decision and get away.  And it might even be good if you are at work and your boss just assigned you a new project and told you to have it planned by the end of the day.  You would have the energy and brain power to get a lot done.

However, if you are stressed all the time because your house is messy, and your kids are whining at you, and you have to get to work, and you need to be home between 2-5 to let in the cable guy, and you...well I think you get the picture.  Your body responds the same way to any kind of stress.  So cortisol is being released more often and reaching a sustained level in your system.  Why is this bad?  Because high and sustained levels of cortisol cause suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalance which can lead to diabetes, lowered bone density, lowered muscle tissue, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, can cause stomach ulcers and accelerated aging, and it can even lower serotonin levels.  But one of the problems you are probably most familiar with is that it causes an increase in abdominal fat.  And one of the biggest problems is that once you start in a cycle of stress, it can be hard to stop.  You get stressed, your blood sugar goes up with out having a physical outlet, then your blood sugar drops, and you start to feel hungry and crave what your body just lost - you got it, starchy and sugary foods.  And then the jump in sugary starchy foods stresses you body in a different way, causing the cycle to repeat itself.  And in the meantime, your body is storing all of those extra unneeded calories as fat in your belly.
 So what can you do to help reduce your stress and lower your cortisol levels.  You can cut down on some of the things that increase cortisol levels.  Caffeine, sleep deprivation, calorie restriction, overly intense or prolonged physical activity (otherwise known as "over training"), and alcohol can all increase cortisol in your system.  So cutting down on these can help.  But there are a lot of things you can actively do to help too.  Regular exercise, yoga, massage therapy, laughing more, listening to music, meditation, breathing exercises, SEX, and having a low glycemic diet can all help lower the amount of cortisol your body pumps out. 

My favorite way to lower mine is to snuggle with my kids and play with them.
What is your favorite way to relax?


Thursday, March 7, 2013

You Can Eat More When You're Balanced

Hey guys, Rachel here! Writing to you today about how you can eat more and lose weight.  Yep, you got that right. Eat more and lose weight.

Let's talk about hormones.  I know, I know, I am always talking about hormones but this is something I think that is not understood nearly enough in the weight loss world.  Our bodies use hormones as messengers.  Hormones tell us we're hungry or that we're full, that we're tired, that we're aroused, that we're happy or sad.  Hormones also tell our bodies to store food as fat or to use stored fat as energy.

Ever noticed that on some food wrappers, it says 'low glycemic index' on the label?  The glycemic index of a food basically determines the level of impact that food will have on your blood sugar levels and, more specifically, how much insulin (one of your hormones) your body will pump out in response.  If a food has a high glycemic index, a lot of insulin is going to be pumped out from your pancreas and that insulin is going to signal to your body to store that food as fat.  If a food has a low glycemic index, it's more likely that insulin will signal your body to store that food as glycogen (basically, muscle food).  And here's the kicker:  it doesn't matter how many calories that food consisted of.

The other thing about the glycemic index: high glycemic index foods trigger your hunger signalling hormone grehlin to kick into gear earlier than necessary.  Ever notice that when you eat a lot of pasta or simple carbs, you feel full but after a while, suddenly you're hungry again? That's because A. you've only eaten from the carb family and B. you've eaten a high glycemic food.  When a lot of insulin has to be pumped out to decide what to do with the food you've eaten, it triggers grehlin to pump out earlier than it needs to.  Does that mean that pasta or carbs in general are bad?  Not at all.

This is where the need for balance comes into play.  Your body wants all macronutrients to be represented in your meals.  Your macronutrients consist of fat, protein and carbs.  Fats will trigger your happy hormone, serotonin to pump out.  This hormone is also responsible for feeling 'satisfied' from your meals.  Protein will slow down your digestion so you feel physically fuller longer. Having all 3 macronutrients will help your hormones stay level so even though you may eat more in one single meal, you eat less throughout the day.  Better to eat 400 calories all in one meal than to eat 200 calories in one meal, 200 an hour later and 200 an hour after that, right?

Ultimately, our overall calorie number is important (and you can calculate what your daily calorie intake should be using this post) but even more important is keeping our hormones balanced. Need some ideas for some healthy, balanced snacks? Check out this list:

  • Kiwi slices dipped in Greek Yogurt
  • Apple slices and nut butter
  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Hard boiled egg with a piece of fruit
  • Protein shake with protein powder, berries and ground flax or chia seeds
  • Yogurt parfait: plain yogurt topped with honey, sliced almonds and berries
  • Home made trail mix (almonds, seeds, raisins, dried fruit - check ingredients to make sure no added sugar!)
  • Whole grain toast with nut butter 
  • Larabar
  • Shakeology!!!
  • Zucchini, celery, other sliced crunch veggies dipped in Trader Joe's yogurt based spinach dip (seriously off the hook!)
  • Tortilla chips and hummus

Monday, March 4, 2013

Making the Time to Work Out, Even on your Busiest Days

HELLO THERE!!! My name is J'Wana, here to talk to you today about making time to work out and get healthier, even on your busiest days! 

We all live such hectic, chaotic lives and yet some of us struggle with finding the time for ourselves to work out. Work. School. Kids. Keeping up with the house. It never seems like there is enough time in the day. Then we ask ourselves how anyone else has the time? Well they make the time. I am a single mother that also works full time. Its not always easy, but I know that making excuses isn't going to change anything in my life. So I found a few ways to make sure I get my exercise in each day!

  1. Believe it or not, scheduling your workout will help out a lot-- If you go ahead and schedule your workouts for the week in your to-do lists and schedules, you will have already set that time aside for it each day and you will be less likely to skip it.
  2. Get your workout in before your brain can stop you!-- if you are anything like me, and aren't a morning person, this one can be a bit tough. Set your alarm earlier, and set it across the room. That way when that alarm buzzes, you HAVE TO get up and turn it off.  There. The hardest part of it all- the actual getting up- is over. Either already have your workout clothes ready, or you could even sleep in them lol.  Do you know how great it feels to already be done with your workout before most are even out of the bed?! No one is up to distract or interrupt you. It feels AWESOME! And you have also boosted your mood for the day! 
  3. Exercise as part of your nighttime routine-- If the morning workout is out of the question for you, then try it before bed. I know I tend to sleep better when I work out at night. I don't know if its just where I am able to clear my mind, or work out that extra stress but it still feels good. Everyone is in bed, once again, no distractions or interruptions. Try some Yoga.
  4. Nap Time/Lunch Time = Great Opportunity to workout-- If you have enough time during your lunch break like myself, or while the kids are napping, get your workout in at that time. Perfect way to de-stress midday! 
  5. Get the kids involved!- If you have kids, take them outside and go for a walk or a bike ride. If weather doesn't permit that, you can always have fun inside with Wii Fit and all the cool dancing games, have a friendly family competition and see who can hold a plank the longest,  a workout DVD for kids. As long as you are having fun and being active, that's all that matters. My little one loves to do planks and squats with me and she LOVES TURBO JAM!!