Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fat Facts

This post is about “good fats vs bad fats”. I have had a few people ask me about this and I hope to keep it simple and clear some fat confusion.

When it comes to consuming fats, many people are concerned with weight gain, clogged arteries, and high cholesterol. It is true that people who get little physical activity and eat a diet high in calories are going to gain weight. Keep in mind if you have little fat in your diet and if you overeat carbs, protein and/or alcohol you will gain weight, however fat can play a role in weight gain if you eat too much. It is easy to overeat fats because they lurk around in many of the foods we love. Overeating fats can increase the waistline but also overeating the wrong types of fat can increase the risk  for stoke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.  Choosing the right types of fats is very important in reducing the risk of developing these types of things and you just might reduce the waistline as well.


People need fats – we can’t live without them. Fats are an important part in a healthy diet because they provide essential fatty acids (such as omega 3’s & 6’s), deliver fat soluble vitamins throughout body, keep the skin soft, great source of energy, and they play an important role in proper eyesight and brain development in babies and children.

Dietary fat has 9 calories per gram. It does have more calories per gram than carbs (4) and protein (4) but you can’t equate dietary fat with body fat. Like I said earlier, you can get fat by eating carbs and protein even if you have very little fat in your diet. Excess calories from any source can promote weight gain.

Consuming the wrong types of fats can contribute to clogged arteries which can lead to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Also consuming a diet high in “bad” fats has been linked to certain cancers.

Ok. Let’s break it down.


Unsaturated fats should be the dominant fat in a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends to get 20-35% of our daily calories from fats(most Americans get 34%  total fat or more daily- yikes!) There are two types of unsaturated fats.

  1. Monounsaturated fats have been found to help in weight loss. Yay! Olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, avocado (my favorite), nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts(a legume) all belong to this group.
  2. Polyunsaturated fats have been found to lower total cholesterol and LDL . Corn, cottonseed, safflower oils, sunflower seeds and sunflower oils, flaxseed and flaxseed oils, soybeans and soybean oils, walnuts, and seafood such as salmon, trout and mackerel belong in this group.

A few good fats found in my house


Saturated and Trans fats are in this category.

  1. A high saturated fat diet is worse than dietary cholesterol when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels. It is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These need to be limited to <7% of your total daily fats. Saturated fats can be found in meats, butter, cream, ice cream and other foods with animal fats. Also, highly saturated vegetable oils like coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oil and cocoa butter are unhealthy and will be found in packaged foods such as milk chocolate, cookies, crackers, snack chips etc.
  2. Trans fat is in a league of its own. Trans fat is man-made fat found in some margarines and packaged foods. This type of fat has been linked to certain cancers and contributes to clogged arteries. Most of the trans fat we eat is an end product of hydrogenation (process of converting oils into a firmer and tasty product with a long shelf life). This is bad stuff. It is gradually being removed from most packaged foods but is still found in some stick margarine, shortening, fast food, cookies, crackers, granola bars, and microwave popcorn. Beware! Products labeled “trans fat-free” can still have up to about 1/2 gram per serving by law. This can add up if you regularly eat packaged and processed food stuff.

    Bad fats found in my house; not sure why they are there. Yuck!

There you have it. Good fats vs bad fats. Bad fats scare me so I try my best to eat wholesome foods with healthy fats. If you are having trouble choosing your fats then avoid processed packaged foods and cook whole foods with healthy fat at home. Eat lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Remember your health is your wealth so pay attention to the types of fats you are consuming. It is not just about counting fat grams. Do you prepare your food at home with healthy fats? Are you concerned about your health and where it is going? Let me know, I would love to hear from ya!:)


Top 10 Reasons You Should Practice Iron Yoga

Iron Yoga is one of my favorite types of yoga to practice and teach. I have been doing Iron Yoga for about a year and I can definitely feel the difference it has made. It is a blend of Power Yoga and strength training. I use 3 lb dumbbells during this practice. These are my top 10 reasons why you should at least try it. If you have a chance to try it, you will not regret it.

  1. It is two workouts in one, which is more efficient and less time-consuming than training body parts separately
  2. It strengthens and tones all the major muscle groups combined with deep stretching
  3. It improves muscular endurance
  4. It increases functional strength
  5. It promotes lean muscle mass which can increase metabolism
  6. It improves body awareness
  7. It sharpens concentration and mental focus
  8. It improves coordination, balance, and body symmetry
  9. It produces a sense of calmness and strength at the same time
  10. It increases flexibility and range of motion

This is an example of an exercise I do in Iron Yoga. This is chair pose combined with an arms extended reach and pull. Combined with steady rhythmic breathing this pose tones and strengthens the lower body, the core, the back, the shoulders and increases mental focus.  After about 5-6 steady yoga breaths, a forward bend is done to deeply stretch the body and calm the mind.

Have you practiced yoga lately? If so what is your favorite?

Have a great day:) Namaste.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

This is my Arugudew Salad. It is Arugula mixed with honeydew melon, raspberries, and I tossed it with a little sea salt and pepper. It is great this time of year with its vibrant colors and freshness, it just screams summer. When I think of the word merge,  I think of things blending and sharing as one. I think these ingredients merge well together because they have opposite flavors and you know the saying “opposites attract” right? Since Arugula is a bit bitter, I thought the honeydew and berries lend it the sweetness it deserves. The salt and pepper just made it all pop with flavor. It turned out to be a successful merger with taste and with its snazzy name:)

Fun Times, Tennis and Fitness Inspiration

Fun times were had this past weekend at the Western & Southern Open. Men and Women’s tennis at its best. I have been away from the blog because I was there, but if you are a tennis fan, or just like sports in general, you may appreciate this post. I have been to this tournament in Ohio many times and it gets better every year. It has always been just the men playing but last year it was combined with the women.  This year things have expanded, a little more crowded, but overall the tourney was great.

I flew into Ohio on Thursday with no delays. I also got to see the new additions to the ATL airport. Things went very smooth with no long line on the runway for takeoff. Question; when boarding began, the gate-keeper asks all the skymile,  first class, etc. people to board and then directed them to the left side of the rope to enter the gate. When all of us regular flyers were asked to board, we were asked to go to the right side of the rope. It is all the same little space, maybe a foot difference. Is that what they pay extra for and is that the perk for being a skymile member? Does it really matter which side of the rope we enter on? It is kind of funny really when you think about it because no one cares at security if you’re a special skymiler or first classer. We are all herded through like cattle at a cattle factory farm. No special treatment there unless you just like getting the pat down. Another question and then I will be off of the airport thing. Is first class really that great? I get it, maybe on an international flight, but for a short 1 and 1/2 hour?  I have never flown first class so maybe there is something I do not know. I do see it, I waddle through it to get to my little seat. Yes, they look a little wider and they all have their drinks early but other than that not too much of a difference. That little curtain never gets pulled, so it is not private either. Hmmm.  Anyway, enough of airports. Oh, I always feel dirty when I have been there.

The weekend started great with this fantastic meal from the Northstar Cafe. This is the Northstar burger which is vegetarian made with beets. It was sided with their simple salad. I must say this is one of the best vege burgers I have ever had. The flavors were mouth watering. I had a treat and topped it off with Jenis Splendid Ice Cream which was next door. I have had Jeni’s before. A special person had it shipped to us around the holidays. Sounds crazy but the sweet potato ice cream was my favorite:)

Friday was a great day. It started with a healthy breakfast from First Watch, another of my Ohio favorites. I had the Tri Athlete Omelette. It makes me feel strong just ordering it. I wish I had a picture of it. It was egg whites filled with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, green chilies served with salsa and a side of fresh fruit and an English muffin. Breakfast is my most important meal of the day. And of course, no morning is complete without a Starbucks pick me up.

So we made it to the tourney for day 1 (the quarterfinals). It was glorious. Good parking, 70 degrees and sunny. First stop, clean clean clean restrooms. Yay! Then off to the practice courts. You can always catch a big name player warming up on a side court about 2 hours before their match. Lucky me,  I found Venus Williams:) I have never seen her play live so this was a treat. She is tall and slender. I just don’t know how she practices with her hair down. She ties it up during a match like I do when I teach (high and tight).

What could be better than seeing a Williams sister? Another one I have never seen live. It’s Serena! This is where the fitness inspiration starts. When I see the matches and the practices of all these athletes, it really gets me motivated because I can see how hard they have worked to get to where they are. It makes me want to workout more. As you can see, Serena is all muscle. I wondered if she was hot practicing in sleeves? Anyway, Serena lost that day but Venus moved on to the semifinal against Na Li.

Well, at this point I am lunchy. Lots of vendors to choose from. This is Aladdins. This became my place for lunch and dinner because of the healthier options. I had several wraps. This is the grilled chicken wrap with Aladdins sauce. So delicious. Their hummus was awesome and I did sneak a baklava (I am on vacay anyway).

Look who I ran into. My favorite player, Rafael Nadal. He was so kind to shake my hand. I guess he was shaking everyone’s hand that would stop. This was a fun wall of players where you could stop and get a cool photo. I missed Rafa playing. He is injured. I have seen him play live several times and it is always a treat. He is full of energy and such a great sport. He also loves his fans. I am not sure if he will be playing in the U.S. Open.

We finished up seeing lots of matches that day. We also saw doubles matches too. We went back to the hotel, so tired, watched a little of The Karate Kid and went to sleep to rest up for day 2.

Day 2 was full of fun. Semifinal action. Watched Djokovic, Federer, Del Potro, Wawrinka, Li and Venus practice and play. Saw more doubles matches. Ate lunch and dinner at Aladdins which was still my favorite. Finished the day with a treat. I wanted coffee and a cookie but both vendors had closed. So lucky us, our hotel was next to Graeter’s Ice Cream , which I have never had. It was around 10:30ish and there was a long line. It moved quick and I got what I wanted. Not a cookie, but coffee ice cream. It was dreamy:)

Day 3 is the Final. Started off with sleeping in because the gates did not open until 11:00am. Of course I had another chicken wrap from Aladdins. Also, we did try the Baba. It was like hummus but made with eggplant. So spicy and so delish. Excited seeing Federer and The Joker play in the final since they are #1 and #2 in the world right now. I was glad to see Federer win. I am a fan.

As we were strolling around waiting on the women’s final to start, look who we saw. This is what it is like when a top player comes out of the players area before and after matches. I can’t see a thing. It is loud and people push.

This is what it looks like when you are patient and are in the right spot at the right time. Funny, it looks like we are just hanging out with Roger:)

Well, the tourney ended and we had to exit, boo:( but time to go home. Our dinner was so good on Thursday (beet burger from Northstar) we had to get it again, minus the ice cream. I slept and then off to the airport Monday morning. Smooth flying again. I was lucky but still felt dirty after the airport visit. Home at last!

I had a great trip and fun times, but I sure missed The Husband and The Supermodel. There is no place like home. Like I said, I am inspired by all of the athletes with their passion and determination for what they do. Now I am going to workout hard. Maybe I will start with a Tabata session tonight.

Who or what inspires you to workout with more passion and determination? Have you flown recently and if so, have you noticed what I was talking about?

The Cellulite Project-Revisited

This is a post that I have on the yoga blog at . Some of you may have seen this, but I know a couple of people who are interested, so ignore it if it bores you:)  It was a little experiment I did with myself called The Cellulite Project. For 21 days I only consumed non-processed foods to see what the effect would be on the cottage cheesy look on my thighs. Well I can tell you, it does work. I followed the program almost perfectly except for a couple of weak moments with a graham cracker,

English: A Graham cracker.

English: A Graham cracker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

but overall it was not that hard. Now keep in mind I eat alot of whole foods anyway so it was not that difficult for me to take out the junk that I was eating. And anyway, 21 days is not forever right?

So go on over and take a peek at and click on The Cellulite Project under the labels. Let me know if you have questions and I sure appreciate your comments too:) Thanks Y’all!

Where Is The Beef?

Not in this recipe. This is a great Mexican stuffed pepper recipe for our Meatless Mondays. A couple of times a week The Husband likes to do vegetarian dishes incorporating beans and such. This week black beans, quinoa, and brown rice were our “meaty filling”.

I was so inspired by this recipe I got from (you have to check out her blog). I changed just a couple of things but overall it is similar.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Black Beans, & Quinoa

  • 4 peppers (use any color) sliced in half stem to tip with the seeds removed
  • I used this box of brown rice & quinoa (b/c all I had on hand)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1(15oz) can black beans drained & rinsed
  • 1(4oz) can diced green chiles (not drained)
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  •  1 jar of your favorite taco sauce

    Before it went in the oven

  1. Cook rice and quinoa according to package. If you are not using the box kind, cook according to package of 1 cup uncooked quinoa and/or brown rice.
  2. Microwave pepper halves 2-3 minutes to soften a bit.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine rice and quinoa mixture with black beans, green chiles (with their juice), cilantro, salt, and pepper. If the mixture is too dry, drizzle tiny bit of olive oil into mixture.
  4. Spread the taco sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Divide the mixture among the peppers. Place the peppers into the pan. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with diced Roma tomatoes and some of the taco sauce drizzled on top:)

You will not even miss the meat. The texture was so good. This recipe was very easy and you will love it as leftovers. I hope you like this and incorporate it into your Meatless Mondays. I would like to thank again for such a great recipe!

Do you ever try vegetarian dishes? Do you like quinoa? Have a great day:)

It’s Tempo Week

Hello Everyone,

The weekend was great. Quiet time at home with The Husband and Piper. She has decided she likes fruit trees. We know she has been eating the figs off of the little fig tree we planted not long ago. I have proof of her trying to steal a mini orange:)

We were just grilling and having fun in the backyard. It is fun to watch her run around chasing bugs and birds. Full of energy. I need her energy on some of my runs.

She is striking a pose in this picture. That’s what good supermodels do of course:)

So tempo week started. My goal is to get 2 tempo runs and 2 steady runs this week. Tempo runs will help me increase speed and strength. First I warm up with any easy pace for about 10 minutes. Then I increase the pace to just below my 10k race pace and do that for about 20-30minutes. Finish with a 5-10 minute cool down of easy pace. Then stretch. It is going to be a tough week but I will give it my best.

This is me ready to go! How was your weekend? How is your running going?

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Just a few items in our house:)

I have had a few requests to do a post about carbohydrates.  Most of us know there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Remember when The Atkins Diet and The South Beach Diet was all the rage? It was a common thing for someone at the gym see me enjoying some brown rice or fruit and freak out a little because I wast eating a “carb”. Fad diets tend to demonize important things, like carbohydrates, that our bodies actually need to function. You may guess I am not a fan of “diets.” I know, people lost weight on these diets. I knew people who did. They cut out all carbs for some period of time, started losing weight, then gradually started adding carbs back in so they could “maintain” their new weight. The trend I saw was that these people started drifting back into their old habits of eating the wrong carbs and the wrong amounts, and they started to gain the weight back. There are people who do not know the difference, so they still think all carbs are evil and will cause them gain weight. Not true. It is what you choose to eat, and the amount that you eat that will cause this weight gain.

I think ads about diets and the marketing on so-called “healthy foods” have fooled society to really understand what is nutritious to maintain a healthy body. I think everyone needs to start reading labels to find out what you are really eating. I will say it over and over and over, the key to losing weight is to have a balanced, nutritious diet along with physical activity on a daily basis! If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. But that does not mean taking out a whole macronutrient to do so.  And this does not mean depriving yourself of having some indulging foods for the rest of your life either. It just means educating yourself and adopting a nutritious and healthy plan that you can maintain and be happy:)

There are three macronutrients the body requires to fuel necessary processes in order for it to function properly. They are

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Protein
  3. Fat

People believe carbohydrates make you gain weight. Well, like I said above, all carbs are not equal. Some carbs will lead to weight gain, but others provide important nutrients your body needs for energy and many processes in the body.  It is very important to learn to distinguish between unrefined carbs (good) and refined carbs (bad).

Refined carbs are highly processed. The fiber and many nutrients have been stripped out. Examples are white bread, white rice, cakes, and candies. I consider these empty calories because they provide no nutritional value and may lead to weight gain.

Unrefined carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, fruits and vegetables contain fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They tend to stabilize blood sugar levels while promoting a healthy weight.

The question I hear often, “What are good carbs?”

Good Carbs:

Whole grains

  • 100% whole wheat bread – look at the ingredients to be sure
  • brown rice – preferably the kind you have to cook yourself
  • quinoa – try it out, very tasty
  • whole oats – not the “quick” instant kind
  • whole grain barley
  • bulgur
  • 100% whole grain cereals – be sure to look at ingredients/should contain very little sugar

Fruits and Vegetables – They contain many important nutrients. They are good because they are packed with fiber and vitamins and minerals. They help you feel full:)

Legumes – Beans, lentils, dried peas and peanuts are all examples of legumes. They are good because they have protein and are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals which will keep you feeling full longer.

Bad Carbs:

White carbohydrates – this category contains many different foods such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta, foods made with white flour etc. (refined carbs). Any food that contains sugar such as candy, chocolates, cakes, muffins, cookies and sugary drinks are refined carbs. They have no nutritional value and should be limited. They provide empty calories which may lead to weight gain.

I hope this helps if you are confused about carbohydrates. Remember, a balanced diet that includes quality nutritious foods is ideal. Remember, these are my opinions and are not meant to substitute for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor for nutrition and exercise changes.

What carbs are in your pantry?

Stone Ground Mustard Crusted Salmon

So delicious! So easy! Wild caught Sockeye Salmon.

Such a quick and healthy dinner. We love fish and finding ways to spice it up is always a plus. This is what happened.

  • 4 wild caught salmon filets with skin on
  • Stone Ground Mustard
  • Panko bread crumbs

Brush salmon filets with mustard (not skin side). Coat the side with mustard with the Panko bread crumbs. Bring a lightly olive oiled skillet to medium high heat. Cook salmon skin side up for 3-5 minutes until golden and crispy. Turn salmon and continue cooking until skin is crispy and sizzling. Done! Served with a side of wild rice and a lovely salad=Happy Husband and Supermodel:)

I hope our little fish had a happy home like this.

English: Spawning Salmon in Becharof Stream wi...

English: Spawning Salmon in Becharof Stream within the Becharof Wilderness in southern Alaska, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

My backyard green tomatoes

These little tomatoes are going to be included in a special Southern recipe, but healthed (is that a word?) up a bit. Just waiting and watching the beautiful growth for just the right time to harvest. Excited!

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