EZine MAY 2014
Summer…it is a coming! Hope you’re all enjoying some better weather!
I’m thrilled to share my SPRING INTO SUMMER Stressipes® EZine. Whether you’re trying to stay motivated to exercise despite roadblocks, inject a little more laughter into your day, protect and beautify your hair, or find new ways to eat or use some of your favorite foods, this issue has something for everyone.
After a few challenging months helping my mother recover from illness (see my USNews.com post, Food, Fitness, Sleep and Connection: Coping With a Mother’s Illness), I’m back into blogging and resuming my professional life. Hopefully, my work will help motivate and guide you to make changes that are sensible, practical and science-based.
Here are a few of my recent blogs:
Hope you have a great May and June. The Stressipes® EZine will be back in July. Until then, I hope you’ll make time to nurture your body and mind, #moveitorloseit, give back and find your happy! As always, let’s continue to connect on Twitter and on Facebook. If you enjoy this EZine, feel free to post it or otherwise share with your friends, loved ones and followers.
Stressipes® for all!
SPRING INTO SUMMER 2014 EZine COLUMNISTS
I’ve been a fan of Heather Frey’s tweets for quite sometime. I simply love her can-do and positive spirit, even in the face of challenges. The owner of SmashFit.com—a company that focuses on the mental and emotional side of getting fit by teaching, motivating and inspiring real, fit-in-your-life fitness strategy—Frey recently suffered a severe foot injury. Below she shares her experience and her tips to help anyone sidelined by injury to recover and stay motivated to move.
Back in May 2013, I had the opportunity of a lifetime and was invited to compete on the NBC hit TV show, American Ninja Warriors. I was one of only a handful of women picked and I was both excited and terrified. I was even selected to be taped for an individual interview, hero-shots and all, so the pressure was on. I didn’t have as much time to prepare for the obstacles as I had hoped but as I walked the course the day of the taping with all the other Ninja hopefuls, I thought, “I can do this!” The only thing that worried me was the quad steps because they are farther apart than they look on TV (about 4 feet from one to the next) and I’m only 5 feet tall. But they seemed closer than the ones I’d practiced on so I was pumped!
As I waited on the platform for the start beep, I could hear the crowd singing Happy Birthday…oh yeah, it was my birthday too. I was about to give myself the best birthday present ever. So I thought. I hit quad step 1…then 2… 3… and 4 and as I thought, “only one more,” smack—I hit that last step with such force and in such the wrong way, the pain shot up my body and I crumpled into the water and couldn’t get out. I was lifted out by a crew member and the only reason I didn’t pass out was because I could see the tears of worry in my little daughter’s eyes. I didn’t want to scare her, so I held on.
And so began my nearly yearlong adventure through surgery, crutches, boot and back to normal-ish. It turned out I had a severe lisfranc injury (torn ligaments and/or bone) in my midfoot. I couldn’t believe it when two different doctors told me I’d need surgery and would not be able to walk normally on my foot for 6 months. How could this be? I cried right there in the office. How would I take care of my family? How would I workout? How would I keep the physique I worked so many years for?
What got me through it? I was determined not to go backwards. After the shock eased, I stopped crying and simply got busy doing everything I could to keep moving in the most effective and safest way possible. I kept my eating clean, I worked out every muscle except the ones I couldn’t, I did supersets to get my heart rate up, and I counted crutching and hopping around the house as cardio. It worked! By the time I was out of the boot and cleared to get back to my normal routine, I was tighter and leaner than I’d been in years. Certainly I had lost a lot of strength and muscle in my left leg, but I knew if I built it once I could build it again. And I did.
A year later, I can say that I’m back to 100%. Although it’s not a route I would choose to go down again, I am grateful for the wonderful people I met and the extremely valuable lessons I couldn’t have learned any other way.
Here are my Top 5 Keep Going Tips to help you get through a current—or future—injury:
1. Eat clean. Eating well helped me keep my body tight, especially when I couldn’t workout at all for a few weeks. When you’re sidelined, it’s more critical than ever to kick in your best and healthiest eating habits making sure to take in enough nutrients to heal and to preserve as much as possible some of the fitness you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Eating clean and focusing on whole foods provides your body with key nutrients to help you fully recover.
2. Rest. I know it’s hard, but it’s an absolute MUST. Pushing a healing body isn’t going to further your goal; instead, it will slow it down or stop it altogether. Re-injuring an already injured body will only set you back further and may even do permanent damage. You will lose some traction, but that’ll be easy to reclaim once you’re well enough to get back to it. But be kind and patient with yourself. The better you are at resting and sleeping, the faster you’ll heal.
3. Remember: You will heal! Don’t let the time you’re injured be a pass to let down your fitness guard. Instead, use it as a time to rest, heal and stay healthy. You don’t want to lose all your hard work and you don’t want to sabotage your rehabilitation by gaining weight and feeling down. By keeping a positive frame of mind, you work to hold onto what you have until you’re well enough to move forward again.
4. Modify* (but keep up) workouts. They may not even be close to your regular workouts, but modified versions of your usual routine can still be effective. Since I had a foot injury and wasn’t able to do any standing cardio work, I worked my upper body, abs, and did lots of supersets to get my heart rate up. It worked brilliantly while forcing me to be creative. It also kept me from getting bored or down.
5. Keep your mind forward. Stop worrying. You WILL get through this and it will be over. Living in what’s already done or what could be (but probably won’t) does nothing but steal your time from solving, moving, and staying positive.
*If cleared by your doctor.
Last year, I met one of my mom’s fantastic friends (she has since become my friend, too). Shortly after, I had the pleasure of (finally) meeting her twin sons, Adam and Todd. Known as Stone and Stone, the hilarious brothers do stand-up and have been featured on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. They really deserve to have their very own series, so if you’re interested…
A big fan of laughter, I asked the brothers to share their top tips to help us all inject a little more laughter into our lives. Here’s what they had to say.
We all know laughter is the best form of medicine. Unless you have a fever, asthma, seizures, diabetes, etc., in which case, medicine is the best medicine. That said, laughter makes any medicine more effective. And if you’re physically fine (which we hope you are), just think of laughter as a vitamin! And TAKE YOUR VITAMINS!
Below are 6 tips to help you laugh more this summer:
1. Send a sext (a sexy text) to a good friend with whom you clearly have a platonic relationship. (An example: “Great hanging out last night. By the way, I noticed you staring at my chest. And I liked it.”) If this becomes awkward rather than funny, just direct your friend to this post to prove that you weren’t hitting on her/him. Then sext us: 917-453-9001.
2. Eavesdrop. If you’re in a restaurant or on a subway and you’re not in a rush to send an email or a text, don’t. Instead, keep your ears open. The things people say can be really funny.
3. Learn “How to Irritate People.” Click through YouTube clips of “How to Irritate People,” a little-known 1968 British TV series created by the legendary English comedian, John Cleese, and his brilliant team. Start with the video on how uniquely irritating parents can be. Then move on to irritating moviegoers, car salesman and waiters.
4. Introduce your fake date. If you’re single, tell a few friend(s) about someone you’ve been seeing. Be vague about him or her. Next time you meet up with them, arrive casually with someone 20+ years older or younger. Keep a straight face for as long as you can as you introduce your fake lover. If you do happen to be dating someone 20+ years older of younger, that’s cool. When we were in 9th grade, we had a threesome with our Latin teacher. It was fun!
5. Watch these pranksters. Go on YouTube and enjoy real LOL clips of “The Impractical Jokers,” four best friends who play ingenious pranks on strangers. Here’s a good place to start, at the shoe store. Better yet, watch their show on tru TV.
6. Talk to your stuffed animal. If you don’t already have one, buy a stuffed animal and talk to it. Give the animal a funny voice and have a conversation with it. Eventually, you’ll laugh at yourself about the whole thing. Just be sure not to cry immediately afterwards. Seriously, sometimes laughing to yourself, for whatever reason, can be fun. Like Paul in the first episode of my Stressipes® video series.
See the Stone and Stone Show live in NYC on Tuesday, May 27th at 7pm at The PIT (123 E. 24th Street, between Park and Lexington). Tickets are $10 each and there’s no drink minimum. For more information, click here.
To learn more about Stone and Stone, visit their website or follow them on twitter @stoneandstone.
As summer draws near, many of us can’t wait to shed our layers and enjoy plenty of time in the great outdoors—soaking up the sun (hopefully with plenty of sunscreen on), working up a sweat and even playing in the sand with our kids, friends or significant others. But the elements can take a tremendous toll, especially on our hair! To prevent all that sun, sweat and sand from getting the best of our tresses, here are 7 tips for fabulous hair from celebrity hair guru Ted Gibson:
1. Sweat in style. Who says you can’t look stylish while sweating? A chic topknot can take you from the office to the yoga studio and then out for sushi. Let ’em wonder how you do it all.
2. Be smart when you blow dry. When blow drying your hair, it’s important to have a good blow drying agent or serum. It will add texture and volume to the hair and also add UV protection and fight humidity.
3. Clarify. Summer weather always makes it enticing to jump in the ocean or pool for some refreshing water therapy. However, it is not so kind to your locks. Make sure to use a gentle clarifying shampoo to remove the impurities and salt from your hair, resulting in hair that is fresh and detoxed.
4. Save your tresses from the sun. Protect your hair from sun damage by using a UV protection/antioxidant shampoo and conditioner.
5. Pony up. Part your hair on the side and put your hair in a low ponytail at the nape of your neck for a easy, chic and sexy summer look!
6. Get glazed. Get glazed with a color gloss—the softness and shine will make you happy and the color will look great in the summer sunlight.
7. Moisten up. Summer hair deserves a moisture surge! Treat your tresses to a hydrating mask. Think of it as a facial for your hair. The result: hair that screams “touch me”.
Here are two recipes, lifted (with permission of course) from the pages of the new book, Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD. You can easily and deliciously use either (or both) to please guests at your next party or get-together.
BLACK BEAN HUMMUS
This twist on the usual hummus uses black beans instead of chickpeas. It’s rich in fiber and protein, making it more satisfying (and nutritious) than a lot of standard party and picnic food.
Makes 8 servings (1 serving = 3.5 tablespoons hummus and 3 pita wedges)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
3 (6-inch) pitas
1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.Place 1/4 cup cilantro, tahini, and the next 8 ingredients (through jalapeño pepper) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon into a bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro.
3.Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes, turning once.
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Total fat: 4g
Saturated fat: 0.5g
Star nutrient: Iron (10% DV)
SPEEDY SPINACH DIP
This normally high-damage dip gets a makeover with Greek yogurt (for a great calcium and protein boost) and reduced-fat cream cheese. You can serve it with baked pita chips and fresh vegetables.
Makes 8 servings (1 serving = 1/4 cup)
¾ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about ¾ cup)
2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened (about ¼ cup)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place yogurt, feta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and crushed garlic clove in a food processor; process until smooth.
2. Spoon yogurt mixture into a medium bowl; stir in spinach, fresh dill, and black pepper. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Total fat: 5.5g
Saturated fat: 3.5g
Star nutrient: Calcium (10% DV)
Source: Adapted with permission from Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD.
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from its publisher.
Hungry for breakfast? This Greek twist on a popular egg dish from Toby Amidor’s beautiful new cookbook, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen, will no doubt provide you with a nutritious breakfast or brunch to satisfy your palate and power-up the start of your day.
EGGS BENEDICT WITH LIGHTER HOLLANDAISE
Makes 4 servings (1 serving = 1 muffin half).
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
4 large eggs
2 whole-wheat English muffins
4 slices turkey bacon (about 1/4 pound)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 medium asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the vinegar and lower the heat until it is no longer at a rolling boil.
2. Crack an egg into a small cup, dish, or wineglass. Holding it near the surface of the water, gently slide the egg into the hot water. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
3. Cover the saucepan and allow the eggs to cook for exactly 6 minutes.
4. Remove each egg carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
5. Toast the English muffins.
6. Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat. Cook the bacon until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place a slice of bacon on each toasted English muffin half.
7. In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus, cover the pan, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
8. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with the yogurt, egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and salt. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler, set it over simmering water, and heat it, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.
9. To assemble the dish, place 3 asparagus spears over the bacon on each muffin half, and top with 1 poached egg and 2 tablespoons of the hollandaise sauce.
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Total Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 6g
Total Carbohydrates: 16g
Source: Adapted with permission from The Greek Yogurt Kitchen by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from its publisher.
Photo credit for all of Toby Amidor’s photos = © Hollan Publishing, Inc.
How to Stress Less and Eat Better at Your Next Event.
With holiday barbecues, graduations, weddings and other festive events on the horizon, the mere thought of all the temptations might make you sweat just a little—especially when you’re trying to spring clean your eating and lifestyle habits.
Don’t sweat it! Here are some simple Stressipes® to help you enjoy yourself before, during and after your next event.
Before the event:
Dress for success. Wear a fitted outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks. If you do, you’re likely to carry yourself with confidence at the event and be less likely to drown your sorrows in food or drink.
Fuel up. Never go to an event hungry—that sets you up to eat with your eyes rather than your stomach. Instead, have a protein- and produce-rich snack an hour or so before you arrive at your destination. Examples: one tablespoon of peanut spread onto 5-6 Triscuits and a piece of fruit or one cup nonfat yogurt topped with fresh berries and a tablespoon of nuts. For other snack ideas, check out a post I wrote when I was a Bel Brand advocate.
During the event:
Friends and family first, then food. Instead of heading straight to any plate, take some time to socialize with friends and family first. Getting caught up with and enjoy chatting with everyone will likely help food become less of a focus.
Keep a healthy beverage in hand. Whether its water or seltzer or some other low- or no-calorie beverage, having a drink in hand will give you only one free hand to eat with!
Pick produce. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. Eating these water-rich picks first—as long as they’re not drowned in fat and/or sugar—should leave less room (but still some room) for higher calorie, higher fat foods and desserts.
Choose alcohol or dessert–but not both. Pick your poison by choosing one or the other. They both count as extra, nutrient-poor calories, so if you’re watching your weight and health it’s wise to choose the one that means the most to you and that you can moderate.
After the event:
Put on some lipstick. Or rinse with mouthwash. Or pop in a strong mint or a breath strip. Do something—anything—that signals in your mind the end of eating for the day. This really works, so give it a try! You can do this at the event or afterwards, but just do it, especially if you’re a “just one more bite/sip” kind of person.