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Book Giveaway– Giving the Gift of Fitness with Jessica Matthews’ “Stretching to Stay Young”

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While you probably are well aware that we are veggie loving twin sisters who are registered dietitians and personal trainers with quite the sweet tooth that we work hard to keep in check, you may not realize that we’re also girls who thrive on endorphin rush of a good workout and rely on it daily to energize us and to keep us happy.  We’ve played sports ever since we were knee-high to a cockroach, as our Dad used to lovingly describe us 🙂 but it wasn’t until we were in college that we really began to realize how important stretching is when it comes to health, fitness & physical well-being.  After a handful of injuries, we try to take every opportunity to stretch!  So when our fab friend and highly-respected colleague, Jessica Matthews wrote this awesome book Stretching to Stay Young, we knew we had to share it with you!  And let us tell you, we’ve been following Jessica’s stretching guidelines, tips and routines, and this book is a game changer! And Jessica, is incredibly generous in offering a book giveaway!

Below, Jessica gives more details about the book and philosophy:

My intention in writing this book was to create a simple, easy-to-follow guide to flexibility training that was rooted in science, yet made practical so it could easily be put into practice. To me the idea of “staying young” has nothing to do with age or appearance. Rather, staying young refers to the feeling of liberation in your mind and in your body— it’s the ability to move with ease and  to enjoy and appreciate the experience.

Flexibility, as one of the five health-related components of fitness, plays a vital role in creating this sense of liberation in the physical body, yet sadly it is one of the most overlooked aspects of physical fitness. My hope is that this book will serve as a guide to help people, no matter what their fitness experience or ability level, to navigate what can often be the muddy waters of stretching, filled with misinformation that can confuse even the fitness professionals (and for my fellow health and fitness pros, I hope this book will serve as a great reference for their students and clients for use outside of the time they spend training together).

The book is divided up into three sections for easy reading and also logical progression. Part I focuses on the science of stretching— how it works, why it works, and what the research says, all written in a way that you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand. This section also addresses common myths and misconceptions about stretching and provides practical tips and strategies for structuring your flexibility training routine using several different approaches to stretching and improving mobility.

Part II provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to perform dozens of different static stretches, dynamic stretches for the entire body (including yoga-inspired moves because what else would people expect from me), and also some self-myofascial release exercises using a foam roller. For each stretch or movement, options are provided for how to tailor the move to make it more accessible or to add more sensation, depending on what serves you best on that particular day, as well as general tips to get the most out of the stretch.

Finally, Part III provides complete workouts using the various stretches featured in Part II of the book. From everyday activities like working at a desk or watching TV, to leisure activities like running and hiking, each time-efficient routine is designed to be completed in about 10 minutes.

Leave a comment below telling us your favorite stretch and you’ll be entered in the raffle to win a copy of Stretching to Stay Young!

Eat More to Weigh Less, Really!

If you’re like most of our clients, you’re looking for something you can eat when you’re hungry that won’t cause you to gain weight.  The answer, surprisingly, is something that you can and should eat all of the time.  It’s true; there actually is something that if you eat more of it, it can assist in your weight loss efforts!

 

Veggies!  You may realize that you need more veggies but tend to leave them out of your meals; you’re not alone!  This is one of the most common struggles of health-minded people!  You simply need a little help or encouragement to actually get them!  Once we show our clients how easily vegetables can be deliciously incorporated into their lives, they start to bump up their intake!

 

Check out our 3 Top Reasons you’ll wanna get your veggies:

 

Veggie Bonus #1: Fill up on veggies and you’ll have less room in your stomach for the heavy stuff and you’ll lose weight!

 

Veggie Bonus #2 (a.k.a. our constipation & flat-belly cure): The high water and fiber content of the veggies flushes bloat and waste and brings on a flat belly—oh yeah!

 

Veggie Bonus #3 (a.k.a. our bloat-be-gone cure!): The high water and potassium combination in veggies helps to flush out salt and the extra water and bloat that it holds with it for a flatter belly!

 

The key is to keep the non-starchy veggies (nearly all veggies with the exception of peas, potatoes and corn) low in calories (by avoiding adding sauces or oil) and then you can simply mix steamed veggies into your meal and eat less of the waist-puffing stuff!  This means your plate will be just as full, but there will be less room for the higher-calorie fare and you’ll fill up on lower calorie, veggies! And when you’re hungry, fill up on veggies.  You’ll get more nutrients that keep you healthy and prevent disease and constipation while helping you to eat less of the heavy stuff and lose weight!

 

Check out our top ways to do it below:

Easy Peasy Brussel Sprouts

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  • Before any meal or cocktail party, have a Veggie Pre-Meal™ with a cup of tea. The Veggie Pre-Meal™ is one-and-a-half to two cups of steamed veggies. (See below for ideas and keep foods such as these Easy Peasy Brussel Sprouts on hand). You’ll be in better control around high calorie foods and won’t be overly hungry. It will be easier to resist eating too many of the foods that pack on the pounds because you’ll already be satisfied.
  • At lunch and dinner order (or microwave from frozen at home, if short on time) a side of steamed veggies without added butter or oil. Simply mix them right into whatever dish you’re eating and you’ll add great texture, flavor and color to your meal and the veggies will pick up the flavor from the sauce in the meal.
  • Use our Red, Green and Orange rule to include one red, green or orange vegetable or fruit in every meal. When you concentrate on getting one of these colors at each meal, you won’t forget. Vegetables are an excellent source of disease-fighting nutrients and are high in fiber and low in calories, and great for helping maintain a healthy weight and fighting aging.

 

Colorful_detox_saladColorful Veggie Detox Salad

  • Make/ order omelets, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps and burritos with veggies added
  • Chinese chicken and rice? Pasta and chicken? Mac ‘n cheese? You end up eating less of the heavy stuff and fill your stomach with the lower calorie, fiber-and nutrient packed veggies. Added bonus: If you’re a fan of large helpings you can bag a third of the meal for later and mix the veggies right in the portion you have; you’ll fill your stomach with nutrients and fiber but with fewer calories. This way you won’t feel cheated or deprived because your meal won’t appear smaller, only your waistline will!
  • Use nori or lettuce for traditional sandwiches or wraps rather than carb-rich bread.
  • Eat your rice and other grain-based meals/ snacks by putting them in cups made with veggies-like scooped out tomatoes and bell peppers, zucchini and cucumber boats—these are delicious shells for the dish and help to keep the carb portion in check.
  • Make dips, spreads and salsas with veggies—veggie based dips like these below can double as sauces for grains and meats and are perfect for dipping veggies in.

 

  • If you still feel hungry after eating –or like munching–eat non-starchy vegetables (all vegetables with the exception of peas, potatoes and corn).
    • Go for them raw or steamed with spices, lemon, or flavored vinegars. You can even try our ultra low-calorie recipes like our Easy Crunchy Braised Cabbage, Colorful Detox Salad, Caramelized Cauliflower with Olive Oil & Lemon Juice, Spicy “Fried” Broccoli, and more! As an alternative, try the Kale Recharge Smoothie.
    • Be sure to avoid options that are cooked in butter or any other calorie-loaded item (like many sauces are)—and even in oil (100 calories per little tablespoon!), as they may thwart your weight-loss efforts and defeat the purpose of low-calorie veggies.
    • For dressing options, consider trying this Raspberry Vinaigrette or this Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing (stick to the suggested serving sizes) or consider putting your salad dressing in a spray bottle to spritz your dressing on your veggies and disperse the flavor with minimal calories.
    • Try to eat some raw veggies, as current research has shown that a special protein, glutathione, is found in raw veggies and clings to toxins, helping drag them out of the body. For example, enjoy some fresh carrots and sliced bell pepper with hummus!
    • Try these Roasted Detoxifying Veggies!
    • Defrost frozen veggies in the fridge during the day. When you get home, make a quick cold salad by mixing the veggies with one of the dressing options mentioned above or toss them right into a hot meal, as they’ll already be “cooked” and you’ll simply warm them up!

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Spicy “Fried” Broccoli

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Mini Vegan Carrot Cakes

Yes, you better believe we have a sweet tooth!  This always makes our clients smile with relief to hear as they just assume that since we love veggies that we just must love all healthy food and never be tempted by anything that is even remotely indulgent.  Poppycock! If only!  Yes, we definitely know what its like for it to be 9pm and to be craving something sweet, (why do you think we came up with our Skinny Oreo Balls , our Strawberry Mint Ice Cream and our 5-Minute Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies? :)) even when you’ve eaten so healthfully all day… you just don’t want to blow it now.   After all, you just need an hour and a half more of strong willpower… but you know exactly where those cookies are in the pantry (for us it’s chocolate– and anything chocolate– chocolate pretzels, chocolate covered raisins, that chocfro yo in the freezer– if it has chocolate we’re game!). Just one cookie won’t hurt, right?  Read on if you know well enough you won’t stop at just one cookie.

 

Here’s your solution! These mini carrot cakes! There are only 5 ingredients and this treat is sweet and decadent. Plus, there’s no sugar added! Yes, it is true. You’re welcome. 🙂

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Sure, this feels like an indulgent dessert, but carrots are nutrition super stars. They improve vision, promote healthy, young- looking skin, prevent infection, protect your heart, and fight plaque build-up. So essentially, eating this yummy dessert is doing more good than harm!

 

Dates are sweet, gooey and taste better than most candy, but they pack more than deliciousness. They’re rich in fiber, phytonutrients, potassium (goodbye bloat!) and magnesium (hello, relaxation). So prepare for your mind to think it’s getting a sugary treat. But pssst… your body knows it’s doing something good for itself!

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After all, 1 cake is only 65 calories! Make them ahead so you don’t overeat them while baking (yep, they’re that good!), because even raw they are yummy! Keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days or keep them in the freezer if you make a bunch!

Mini Vegan Carrot Cakes

Makes 3 Cakes

 

Ingredients:

1 ripened banana

1 large 7” carrot (or 1 cup of baby carrots)

1 pitted medjool date

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup raw oats

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and steam carrot in microwave for about 2-3 minutes (or until soft).
  2. Grate or grind carrot into tiny shreds. Finely chop date.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly (make sure the date is thoroughly mixed evenly into the mixture—it tends to clump up). You can eat this raw, but when you cook it, it releases more syrupy flavors and holds better.
  4. Turn on stovetop to medium heat and spray a pan with cooking spray. Portion out the batter into 3 servings and cook the mixture like a pancake, flipping continuously for about a minute.
  5. Remove from heat, and eat immediately—or store them in the fridge/freezer if you have the self-control. J

 

Nutritional Information per mini cake:

Calories 65; Fat <1g; Saturated Fat 0g; Carbohydrates 22g; Protein 2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 16mg; Fiber 3g

Mini Vegan Carrot Cakes
 
Author:
Serves: 3 cakes
Ingredients
  • 1 ripened banana
  • 1 large 7” carrot (or 1 cup of baby carrots)
  • 1 pitted medjool date
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raw oats
Instructions
  1. Peel and steam carrot in microwave for about 2-3 minutes (or until soft).
  2. Grate or grind carrot into tiny shreds. Finely chop date.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly (make sure the date is thoroughly mixed evenly into the mixture—it tends to clump up). You can eat this raw, but when you cook it, it releases more syrupy flavors and holds better.
  4. Turn on stovetop to medium heat and spray a pan with cooking spray. Portion out the batter into 3 servings and cook the mixture like a pancake, flipping continuously for about a minute.
  5. Remove from heat, and eat immediately—or store them in the fridge/freezer if you have the self-control. ☺
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cake Calories: 65 Fat: <1g Carbohydrates: 22g Sodium: 16mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 0mg

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Egg & Spinach Avocado Soup

Do you dream of rich and satisfying comfort food and think it’s out of the question when you’re trying to eat healthfully and get into that bathing suit? If so, this recipe is for you. At only 124 calories, you won’t believe how creamy and satiating this soup is.

 

And guess what? Even if you’re not a wiz in the kitchen you can whip this soup up in a cinch. In fact, this soup is so easy to make that the hardest part is boiling an egg!

 

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This light dish is the perfect, creamy blend of spinach, avocado, potato and cilantro. The cherry (um, well, egg ;)) on top of this delightful soup is garnishing it with a hard-cooked egg.

 

Eggs are a great source of protein (toned muscles, shiny hair and nails are relying on you!), vitamin D (stress fracture-free bones are counting on you, D!),and B vitamins (hello energy). We use Eggland’s Best eggs because they outshine other eggs with their nutrients—they are the only egg with 4 times the vitamin D of other eggs, double the Omega 3s, and 3 times more vitamin B12. Plus they contain 25% less saturated fat than other eggs.    So whatcha waiting for? Grab a spoon and tantalize your taste buds with the memory of creamy, wicked goodness and get your nutrition on too with this Egg & Spinach Avocado Soup!.

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On top of the Omega-3’s from the eggs, this green goddess soup also delivers a velvety source of:

  • bloat-fighting potassium (thanks to the avocado and spinach). Most people aren’t getting enough and it helps to restore normal fluid balance, especially if you’ve overdone it with sodium and it helps to keep your blood pressure in check.
  • monounsaturated fat, rich in avocados, and a “good-for-you—and your heart” fat

in blog2 and Facebook

Don’t let your plans to get in that bathing suit crush your dreams of indulging in creamy, delectable soups. Creaminess is only a matter of texture and not fatty calories; so try this soup for size and see what you’ve been neglecting your taste buds.

 

Egg & Spinach Avocado Soup

(Yields 4 servings)

 

Ingredients:

1/4 onion, chopped

2 cups packed frozen or fresh spinach

A sprig of cilantro

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 avocado

1/2 large white sweet potato

2 hard-boiled eggs (We use Eggland’s Best since they are the only egg with superior nutrition like 4X vitamin D and double the omega 3’s of other eggs)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Fill saucepan with water and put on the stove top. Place eggs in water; be sure the eggs are fully submerged in the water. Bring water to a boil. Cover the saucepan, turn off heat, and allow eggs to sit for about 20 minutes. (Or alternatively, we often purchase Eggland’s Best hard-cooked eggs—if so, you can skip this step)

2. Skin and microwave the sweet potato on a plate with a teaspoon of water until soft, about 4 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.

3. Put onion, spinach, cooked sweet potato, avocado, cilantro, garlic powder, and vegetable broth in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Chill soup or serve slightly warmed, it’s up to you! Cut hard-cooked eggs in half and place one half on top of each bowl of soup

5. Salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

Per 1 serving

Calories 124; Fat 8g; Saturated Fat 1.5g; Carbohydrates 9g; Protein 5g; Cholesterol 105mg; Sodium 83mg; Fiber 4g

 

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people lead healthier lives.

 

Egg & Spinach Avocado Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups packed frozen or fresh spinach
  • A sprig of cilantro
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ large white sweet potato
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (We use Eggland’s Best since they are the only egg with superior nutrition like 4X vitamin D and double the omega 3’s of other eggs) (www.Egglandsbest.com)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Fill saucepan with water and put on the stovetop. Place eggs in water; be sure the eggs are fully submerged in the water. Bring water to a boil. Cover the saucepan, turn off heat, and allow eggs to sit for about 20 minutes. (Or alternatively, we often purchase Eggland's Best hard-cooked eggs—if so, you can skip this step)
  2. Skin and microwave the sweet potato on a plate with a teaspoon of water until soft, about 4 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.
  3. Put onion, spinach, cooked sweet potato, avocado, cilantro, garlic powder, and vegetable broth in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Chill soup or serve slightly warmed, it’s up to you! Cut hard-cooked eggs in half and place one half on top of each bowl of soup
  5. Salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 124 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 9g Sodium: 83mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 5g Cholesterol: 105mg

Thigh Blaster! Easy, At-Home Thigh Toner: No Equipment Needed!

 

The Nutrition Twins’ Easy, Effective, At-Home Thigh Toner from Tammy Shames on Vimeo.

 

Thigh Blaster! Easy, At-Home Thigh Toner: No Equipment Needed!

Keep your abs tight as you do this and lean back about 45 degrees.  Squeeze your quadriceps to pull your body forward and back. Complete 20 repetitions, take a short break and do three sets.  Hello Sexy legs, is that you we see sporting Daisy Dukes?! 😉

 

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3 Exercises You Can Do At-Home, at the Office & While Traveling- No Gym Necessary!

3 Exercises You Can Do At-Home & Office to Tone The Abs & Arms- No Gym Necessary!