Steamy Creamy Cinnamon Milk

Looking for a yummy sugar free alternative to hot creamy drinks this winter. Try this super simple sugar free option.

As I write this, my town is predicted to get 2 feet of snow over the next few days – YEAH! And this is the perfect sugar free drink to sip while the blizzard roars outside my window.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Half and Half, Heavy Whipping Cream, or Whole Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Turmeric

The Cooking Part …

Mix all the ingredients to your liking. Heat on the stove or in the microwave. Drink while warm.

I like half and half. Heavy whipping cream is good too, but sometimes to heavy for me. You could also use whole milk and a little coconut oil to add more body and a little more silk to the drink.

What to serve with …

I like it all by it self. A great drink to sip, especially when it’s cold outside.

Walk Yourself Strong

When your body feels tired and overwhelmed, do not skip your workout … just shift your intensity. Try a walking workout with a strength set for a full body workout while controlling your intensity levels.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work portion.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up (Check out my YouTube Tutorials Here). There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.


Get to Walking …

This weekend’s workout is about getting a full body workout while walking. For this workout you can use items you can use body weight or you can use anything might find on the trail (like rocks and heavy branches), in the park (jungle gyms are great), or carry some rubber tubing with you. I have included some youtube videos using the rubber tubing. If you are inside – like in the mall – you can use your body to wrap the tubing behind for the low row and bend at the hip and step on it for the reverse flys if you cannot find solid structures or doors to hook it to. For the pushups you can you use any height, just make sure the structure or item you pick to work off is stable.

Begin by walking at a fast pace. After 2 min add the 1st strength interval in. Complete 10 repetitions of each exercise and then continue walking for 2min. Add the intervals in between walking sets until you finish the strength items. You can finish the walk or do a 2nd round.

Kbands Training

Strength Sets

  • Walking Lunges (alternate)
  • Push Ups (if not able to do them on the floor, do them on a wall)
  • Squats (knees over your ankles and behind your toes to keep your knees safe)
  • Reverse Flys
  • Backward Lunges (alternate)
  • Chest Flys
  • Signal Leg Squats (10 each side)
  • Low Row

Using Rubber Tubing …

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!

Cream Cheese, Cucumber, and Pepper Snacks

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

Get as much of each as you want to eat

  • Crisp Cucumbers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

The Cooking Part …

  • Slice the cucumbers
  • Slice the bell peppers
  • Spread a little cream cheese on each cucumber slice
  • Top with a pepper or two
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Eat and enjoy!

The Home Gym: Full Body Strength & Cardio Fun

When it comes to working out the thing that matters is – You Do It. Here’s a workout you can do at home, at the gym, or in the park.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work portion.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up (Check out my YouTube Tutorials Here). There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.

Warm Up Moves – 10 of each

  • Forward Arm Circles
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Elbows up and back with core rotation – like the self defense move
  • Backward Arms Circles
  • Air Squats with diagonal frontal arm raise
  • Super Slow Center Wood Chops

Cardio set 1 – 1 minute all out

  • Treadmill – 70-80% THR (not sure how to find your target heart rate? Read Here)

Full body Set 1 – 1 min each movement

  • Diagonal Lunge Back – Alternate legs
  • Side Lunge – Alternate sides
  • Diagonal Lunge Front – Alternate legs
  • Lat Pull Downs with Rubber Tubing – (need some tubing? Try KBands)
  • Butt Drops with push up in between – Think push up, flip to supine, drop butt, flip back prone and push up, lots of rotation with this one, keep your core tight and form good.

Free Athlete and Fitness Training

Cardio Set 2 – 1 min all out

  • Bike (spinner if you have access) – 75-85% THR

Full Body Set 2 – 2 sets / 10 reps each movement. Move all the way through set before repeating.

  • Med Ball Squat with Contra lateral over the shoulder lift
  • Single Leg Lunge with right leg kick through
  • Frog Jumps
  • Single Leg Lunge with left leg kick through

Cardio set 3 – 1 min all out

Cross Trainer – 70-80% THR

Core Set – 3 sets / 10 repetitions. Do full set then rest & repeat

  • Plank Set:
    • Alternating Knee Outside Elbow
    • Alternating Knee to Center
  • Alternating Table Top Lifts with side plank rotation
  • Plank Single Toe Rolls

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!

Cilantro Lime Butter Chicken

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Heat oven to 350 degrees if you are going to bake. You can also do this on the stove top with a frying pan.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breasts – thawed, trimmed if you want, and enough for each person in your party to have 1 servings (3-4oz).
  • Limes – 1/2 sliced and 1/2 for squeezing
  • Cilantro – leaves chopped, stems removed
  • Butter or coconut oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, extra if you want it melted on top of chicken for serving
  • Melt the butter in the pan of your choice.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts in the pan
  • Squeeze 1/2 the lime over the chicken
  • Sprinkle with 1/2-3/4 of the clinantro
  • A little salt and more pepper than salt for cooking

The Cooking Part …

  • Cook until Chicken is done. I usually bake for 30 min or cook stove top for 10-15 min on med each side. I use a meat thermometer because it is easier for me to make sure it is done. I also set a timer to remember to flip or check.
  • Once done I cover and let rest about 5min while I finish prepping the sides, salad, and get the service ware ready.
  • Serve hot with extra slices of lime on top of each piece and a sprinkle of cilantro. Sometimes I add a dollop of butter too.

What to serve with …

I usually serve with any of these: roasted/baked potatoes, rice, asparagus, cauliflower, salad, and/or black beans. Enjoy!

Delicious and Simple Baked Salmon

In this easy to make main dish, I often stick it in the oven – make sure the timer is set loud enough – and then I work out while it cooks. Helps balance my life – good food and healthy body.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

This one is super easy and allows you to go do something else while it cooks … Like Workout!

Ingredients Needed: Salmon filets, butter or coconut oil, rosemary in whatever form you have, I like ground for this dish, black pepper – I like the kind I can grind

  • Get some salmon – make sure it is thawed out (I often forget this step and end up with frozen items :). Enough for everybody to have a portion (3-4oz piece, size of a deck of cards).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking dish with foil (if you want easy clean up)
  • Melt some butter or coconut oil – enough to cover the bottom with a little layer of liquid. I just put the oil in the baking dish and throw it in the oven while I get the salmon ready.
  • Arrange the salmon in the baking dish skin side down
  • Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the filets.
  • Sprinkle Rosemary over the tops of each piece
  • Grind fresh pepper over them
  • Cover with a piece of foil and bake for about 30 min depending on the thickness of the fish. Should be flaky and light pink inside.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon slices from the 2nd lemon half cut earlier

Pair with salad, roasted vegetables, rice pilaf, or baked potatoes to make a full meal.

Note: if it is to dry melt some butter over the top and note for next time cooking. Shorten the time.

Movement is Expression of the Soul

Have you ever finished a hard physical activity and savored the physical sensations in your body? The tired muscles, the satisfied feeling of accomplishment, the mental clarity of being fully present to your experience in the moment?

This is spirituality in action. The body is the vehicle for the soul’s expression. Movement is the language. We are made to move. The body and mind need movement to form clarity in our being. We want to ground our experiences in physicality so we better understand them in their entirety. If we can find a movement, gesture, sound, or other form for our experience it becomes more concrete.

Grounding our experiences in physical movement allows us to express ourselves more fully. We tend to follow through on goals better if we have written them down. We tend to remember details more clearly when we have jotted down a note or spoken them out loud (writing and speaking are movement). Studying becomes easier if we pair it with movement, we remember better. This is because our learning is anchored in our doing. It offers another pathway to wire knowledge inside our brains.

Movement helps us do. Movement helps us take the abstract concept of being and make it real by showing the concept in our physical bodies. When we finish a physical task we can see the product or accomplishment and feel the good feelings associated with doing something. This gives us a concrete example of our strength. Today I saw mine as I stopped to rest my tired legs on my ski poles. I looked up and back over the powdery mogul field I had finished traversing and felt pride I made it as far as I did.It is a hard task for me and the challenge both physically and mentally left me soaring with positive moods the rest of the day.

We can make inferences about people based on posture, physical stature of their bodies, and the way they move in the world. Often these inferences are accurate and help communicate important parts of our being to others. As a result we are more connected.

In many traditions we are represented to be parts of Goddess, God, Mother, Father, etc. If these claims are true our bodies are direct and unique expressions of the divine. And if that is true are you giving your divinity its due?

Today move your body with the goal of feeling fully embodied to give full expression of your soul, and honor your divine nature.

Photo Credit: Moguls under Legends Lift 8 at Purgatory. Durango, Colorado. Brave Ski Mom


Body Weight and Machine Cardio Blast

Ready to hit the gym and need to let go of some steam? This workout will blast through any stress you have hanging around. You’ll leave feeling strong, powerful, and ready to take on the world.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work portion.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up (Check out my YouTube Tutorials Here). There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.

Workout Warm Up Movements – Do 10 to each side

  • Arm Circles
  • Elbows Jabs (up and back) with core rotations – pay attention to pulling the bellybutton toward the spine and allowing movement through the torso without straining the spine.
  • Diagonal Front Arm Raise with Unweighted Squat – knees over ankles & butt back, like you are using a porta-potty at a music festival and determined not to touch any surfaces or soil yourself 🙂

Body Weight Set 1 – repeat the list 3 times for 30 seconds each movement

  • 180 Jump Squats
  • Froward / Backward Jumps
  • Leg Overs
  • Lateral Walking Pushups

Machine Set 1 – 1 minute as fast as you can

Treadmill Hill Climb – set incline at level high enough to maintain your target heart rate at 60-70%

Body Weight Set 2 – Repeat the list 3 times for 30 seconds each movement

  • Power Burpees
  • Plank Clocks to each side
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Side Plank Drops
  • Lateral Shuffle
  • 1 Leg 4 Square Hops

Machine Set 2 – 1 minute as fast as you can

Cross Trainer / Elliptical – Set level to maintain 60-70% target heart rate

Body Weight Set 3 – Repeat the list 3 times for 30 seconds each movement

  • Oblique Crunch Right Side
  • Center Sit Ups
  • Oblique Crunch Left Side
  • Boat Pose 30 Second Hold
  • Quadruped Knee to Opposite Elbow – Alternate sides

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!


Quantify All Your Movement Using Metabolic Equivalents (METs)

Want to know an easy way to count all your movement? Try using METs. These are metabolic equivalents and they help you determine how hard you are working when you do movement.

A MET is an absolute value used by exercise physiologists to help us understand how much work is being expended by any given activity based on how much oxygen you are using to complete the activity.

The measurement is based on your weight. Once you have determined your personal value based on your weight and oxygen needs, you can then determine all sorts of caloric values for a number of activities. This helps you count all the household chores, shopping, activity at work, play, and daily living activities you do everyday toward your exercise goals.

You can find the caloric burn of things like sleeping (.9 METs) or working at my desk (1.8 METs) to things like vigorous exercise and high intensity workouts.

When we think about moving for mental health and brain function lots of things count. It does not have to include an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment. It is a simple as standing up and sitting back down 10 x right now or marching in place while swinging your arms, ok that one may be a little hard, but not expensive! It really is just the mindset that I have to move everyday. Movement IS medicine.

As you exercise you help build the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of our brains active in memory formation. During periods of high stress the hippocampus is damaged by glucocorticoids (stress chemicals in the body) and as a result does not function as well. Research shows that those with mental health disorders related to emotional dysregulation may be operating with a smaller hippocampus. Physical exercise has the benefit of increasing brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Increasing BDNF is a factor in neuroplasticity and helps build the hippocampus, thus increasing your ability to regulate your emotions, focus, and remember. Not so bad for something so free, huh?

Movement for mental health doesn’t have to be hard … it just has to be done.

Resources

Want a quick and easy way to see how hard you are working? Check out the Compendium of Physical Activities

Want more info on METs? National Public Radio just did a story on using METs to reach your fitness goals: Read the NPR story here.

Interesting in calculating your own activities? Check out this calculator to help you determine your calories burned: MET Calculator

Read past blog posts on METs and using them for cardiovascular exercise. 

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