Friday, January 30, 2015

Getting ready for #gameday


Game on! This menu of healthy and satisfying dishes and drinks will be appreciated by hungry fans who want to stick with their healthy New Year habits.


  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups cooked black beans (or two 15-oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (80 to 85 percent cacao content), coarsely chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the onions, carrots, and bell peppers until softened. Add the spices, and continue to cook until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the tomatoes with their juice to deglaze the pan. Then add the broth, beans, and chipotle peppers and bring the chili to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Serve the chili with a drizzle of Mexican crema, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.


3 simple ingredients come together to make these succulent crowd-pleasing bites.

  • 24 pitted dates or dried figs
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  • 12 thin slices nitrate-free bacon, cut in half crosswise
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Make a lengthwise slit in each date with a paring knife and open just enough to stuff in ½ teaspoon of blue cheese. Wrap each date with a bacon slice and secure with a toothpick. Bake in the oven until the bacon is crisp and browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the dates on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve warm.


Roasting nuts brings out their rich flavor. Here are a few simple variations to try.

Sea Salt and Rosemary Roasted Almonds

  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the almonds with olive oil and place on a sheet tray. Roast for eight to 12 minutes until fragrant, then toss with salt and rosemary.

Curry-Roasted Cashews With Coconut

  • 1 tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole raw cashews
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) on a sheet tray in the oven and then toss the cashews in the oil. Roast for eight to 10 minutes until fragrant. Mix in the coconut flakes, curry powder, and salt, and roast for another three to five minutes to lightly toast the coconut.

Cayenne Maple-Glazed Pecans

  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the pecans in the olive oil and roast on a sheet tray for six to eight minutes. Toss with the maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and salt, and roast for another five to seven minutes to glaze the nuts.

Wasabi-Roasted Almonds

  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1 tbs. coconut oil
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. wasabi powder
  • Dash sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the coconut oil on a sheet tray in the oven and then toss the almonds in the oil. Roast for eight to 12 minutes until fragrant, and toss with the wasabi powder, sugar, and salt.


Veggies of your choice come together to create this fun & healthy Game Day recipe. We made ours with broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, radishes and snap peas for a variety of color, texture and flavor!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

10 Reasons to Consider Life Insurance (and When!)

We asked insurance professionals on our LinkedIn page and group to share their best tip on life insurance and getting coverage, and here is some of the great advice we got:

1. Start young.

Just because you don’t have a family, mortgage and larger financial obligations doesn’t mean that you have to wait to get life insurance coverage. Lock in your rates while you are young and healthier. You can always add more later in life. —Ivan I. Usero

2. A pasta dinner fundraiser...

after you’re gone will not raise enough money to take care of your minor children and spouse. Don’t let that be the legacy that you leave them with. —Suzanne Allison

3. Life Insurance is like a parachute;

if you don’t have it the first time you need it, there is no second chance. Luis A. Ortiz Haddock

4. Don’t underestimate

the “earning power” of your stay-at-home spouse! —Patrick O’Rourke

5. If you’re a small-business owner,

who takes care of your family in the event of your death? It’s not just about you. Sherrell T. Martin
is the best investment vehicle while you’re alive or deadtax-free access to cash values accumulated in the policy while you’re still alive and tax-free death benefit proceeds for your love ones when the inevitable happens. Put your money where your “life” is! —Czarina C. Barit

7. Until you buy it you’re not covered.

Thinking doesn’t protect your family, acting does! —Ed Rainier

8. It is better to have insurance

and not need it, than to need it and not have it. —Paul Arroyo

9. Buy when you’re healthy

it’s easier to get and less expensive. —Shannon Williams


11. It’s been said

You don’t buy life insurance because you are going to die, but because those you love are going to live. I agree 100% with this statement. Protecting your loved ones should be priority No. 1. —Scott Raab

Friday, January 23, 2015

7 Reasons Why You Can’t Count on Calorie-Counting for Weight Loss

Have you ever noticed how, in January and February, everyone seems to be a weight loss expert?
If you talk to the average nutritionist, or listen to some “celebrity” experts, you’ll probably hear that weight loss is just a simple equation of eating fewer calories than you consume. (Note: You probably won’t hear such a simplistic statement from a fitness professional at Life Time)

The conversation usually goes something like this:

“A pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories, so if you eat 500 calories less than you burn each day, in seven days you’ll lose a pound of fat.”

  • 1 pound of weight loss per week – 3500 calorie deficit | Eat 500 calories per day less than burned
  • 2 pounds of weight loss per week = 7000 calorie deficit | Eat 1000 calories per day less than burned
Ah…if things were only so simple. They’re not. And unfortunately, thinking so simply about weight loss can leave many people quite frustrated.
So why doesn’t this work? The human body doesn’t operate like a simple machine. Metabolism is extremely complicated. The energy our body burns each day changes based on a number of factors. If metabolism changes, the effects of calorie intake change.

The following are just seven reasons why calorie-counting is not a good long-term solution for weight management.

1. We can’t accurately measure our food

When people are asked about the quantities of foods they eat, they consistently underestimate what they consume. This is further complicated by eating out, when we can’t see what gets added to the foods we eat, and when plates are the size of serving dishes.
Unless someone were to weigh and measure everything he or she eats, it would be nearly impossible to get an accurate assumption of food intake.
That’s not to say there isn’t value in maintaining a food diary. Sometimes, just writing things down helps us rethink what we’re about to put in our mouths. However, in terms of counting calories, estimating the amounts of food eaten and logging it in a nutrition tracker won’t produce an accurate calorie measure.

2. All calories are not the same

One hundred calories from protein results in a dramatically different hormonal effect than eating 100 calories from carbohydrate.
When protein is ingested, it stimulates production of hormones that help reduce appetite. Protein helps to normalize blood sugar levels. Of course, protein also helps you hold onto muscle when you’re on a calorie-restricted diet.
Carbohydrate, on the other hand, stimulates production of insulin, which then shuts down the body’s ability to burn fat and increases fat storage. It also stimulates production of triglycerides, especially when it’s eaten in combination with fat.
If a “calorie was a calorie,” we should see the same effects of 100 calories from protein or fat. That’s not the case.
In fact, a recent study, led by Dr. Jose Antonio, showed that when people were overfed an average of 800 calories from protein, or about 200 grams, they didn’t gain a pound of body fat.
Interestingly, they didn’t gain extra muscle from eating twice their body weight in pounds, in grams of protein.[i] On the other hand, overeating carbohydrates by 800 calories per day could lead to some serious weight gain.
As for fat, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), common in coconut oil, may cause a slight increase in metabolic rate. The increase in metabolism doesn’t offset the calories in the fat, but if someone were to swap another source of fat, or even certain carbohydrates, with MCTs, it could positively impact weight loss efforts.
The point is, based on where calories come from, they can have dramatic differences in hormone balance. And hormones affect our ability to increase lean mass or gain or decrease body fat.

3. The body doesn’t lose only fat when it loses weight

When we use the “3500 calorie” rule for fat loss, it overlooks the fact that people don’t lose fat alone. They also lose water and muscle. On average, 25% of actual tissue loss is muscle, and 75% is fat.[ii]
Resistance training and higher-protein diets have consistently been shown to help reduce a loss in muscle. This is part of the reason we include FastFuel Lean Complex in our Lean & Fit weight management system.
Muscle burns about three times more calories than fat. By shedding fat and maintaining, or even increasing muscle, the reduction in metabolic rate can be minimized.

4. Metabolic rate drops when calorie intake drops

Researchers looked at a group of individuals on a calorie-restricted diet.[iii] Their goal was to see how closely their actualweight loss matched what was theorized, based on calorie balance equations.
They found that those on the weight loss program achieved a weight loss of only two-thirds of what would have been expected from the equations. That means, if the equations suggested individuals would lose 15 pounds, they only lost 10.
In the first month, resting metabolic rate dropped an average of 11%! Now, when people lose weight, their metabolic rate drops due to the fact that they have less tissue. But an 11% drop was much more than could be explained from a loss of muscle and fat.
When people eat fewer calories to lose weight, they usually see a plateau in weight loss, in which case, they need to eat even less to see continued weight loss. Then their body’s metabolism adjusts and weight loss slows again.
Another interesting effect seen in the dieters was a reduction in the thermic effect of food. The body burns a certain amount of calories just to break down and absorb the foods we eat. It seems that even the thermic effect of food was reduced from dieting.

5. We can’t accurately measure our daily calorie expenditure

Technology has come a long way in recent years. Activity monitors help track our activity, and heart rate monitors guide our cardio workouts and estimate our calorie expenditures, but they’re not perfect. They cannot precisely measure our calorie expenditure 24 hours per day.
Interestingly, there’s also evidence to show that the more you engage in exercise, the more likely you are to be less active later in the day, canceling out some of the calorie-burning advantages of exercise.
The only way to accurately track your calorie expenditure, 24 hours per day is to live in a metabolic ward. That’s not affordable, nor realistic, so we’re stuck with just estimating calorie expenditure. And estimating means there’s going to be a pretty reasonable margin of error.
An activity monitor is super-important to make sure you’re moving enough during the day, and getting enough sleep. A heart rate monitor is a must-have device to help you train in the appropriate heart rate zones. But don’t base your weight loss strategy on these devices accurately measuring your calorie expenditure each day.

6. As you get in better shape, you burn less calories at the same relative intensity

Remember how those three flights of stairs at work used to leave you winded? After a while, they’re not such a big deal. Doing a pushup might have once felt impossible and today you can do dozens.
Losing weight can make these and other activities and exercises easier, but the body also becomes more efficient with movement over time. Muscles better coordinate and energy is generated more efficiently. As a result, the body may burn fewer calories to carry out the same activity.
The “calories out” part of the calorie balance equation may drop as you become more fit. Of course, if you’re following a well-designed training program, like we recommend with our Core 3 Training method, your intensity will increase each week. In that case, you’d end up burning more calories than in the past.

7. Hormones regulate metabolic rate and what type of tissue is lost

Hormones may be the most overlooked factor in successful long-term weight loss. When people follow a low-calorie diet for an extended period of time, or when they exercise at an extreme, cortisol levels rise. Chronically elevated cortisol can elevate blood sugar levels and break down muscle tissue. It can also increase belly, or visceral fat.
While cortisol levels are elevated, testosterone levels may fall. Falling testosterone makes it difficult to recover from workouts and can lead to a reduced motivation to exercise. Low testosterone also makes it difficult to build or maintain muscle.
Thyroid levels fall with calorie restriction. Thyroid is the primary regulator of metabolic rate, making it more difficult to drop body fat. Low thyroid levels reduce exercise capacity and strength, so workout performance decreases as well, making it difficult to maintain higher calorie expenditure. Fat metabolism drops as well.
A low-calorie diet isn’t the only thing that contributes to hormonal imbalances, so we always recommend people get acomprehensive lab test done at the beginning of any fitness or weight loss program. It would be a shame to spend months trying to lose body fat, only to find out later that it will be almost impossible until you resolve some internal metabolic issues.

So now what?

From our experience, people have tremendous success by focusing their diet on better food choices rather than counting calories. We generally recommend a higher-protein diet with plenty of fresh or cooked vegetables.
We also recommend moving throughout the day, strength training at least a few times per week, doing a reasonable amount of cardio, and getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Does calorie counting work for some people? Yes. Is it a good long-term solution? No. There is a better way.
You can learn more about our methods for fitness and weight management programs in our e-book.
Source: Lifetime Training- Core 3: 7 Reasons Why You Can’t Count on Calorie-Counting for Weight Loss

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 Motivational Tips to Keep You Healthy

Experts explain how small steps can help you stay on track to meet your diet and exercise goals.

Find yourself losing interest in exercising and eating a healthy diet?

Maybe you were gung ho for a few weeks and then your get-in-shape determination quickly faded -- and you went back to your old, bad health habits.
What if instead of making mega-changes with the all-or-nothing approach to weight loss and good health, you resolve to tackle a few simple changes at a time? Studies show that the health and weight loss habits that have the best chance of lasting are the ones that call for minor, doable changes.
According to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, a nutrition professor at Penn State University, the key is to take small, positive steps and move ahead consistently. "People need to be realistic about the changes they can achieve."
Consider the following ten motivational tips to help you make small, positive steps each day.

1. Feel Good About Yourself Today

Be sure the people around you make you feel good about you -- no matter what your size or health condition. In addition, if close friends encourage you to smoke, overeat, or drink too much, find some new friends who have good health habits and also want a healthier you.
Elaine Magee, MPH, Rd, author of more than 20 books, says don't get hung up on pounds or what size dress you are wearing.
"Instead, focus on being healthy from the inside out," Magee says. "Eat well, and exercise regularly. And remember that you can be sexy and look and feel fabulous and not be thin."

2. Rethink Your Role Model

Barbie's still the first role model many young girls are drawn to. But let's be honest. For most of us to look like Barbie, we'd have to be nearly 6 feet tall, shrink our waist size by 8 inches, move the excess inches up to our chests, and then pose in the "suck in the gut/high heel" position all the time. Come on! There's a better way to live our lives than pretending.
Select positive role models. Choose role models that help you feel good about who you are, rather than ones who make you feel bad. Find a female role model who is strong, healthy -- and real!

3. Know What Makes You Overeat

The key to staying motivated is to know where your problem areas are and have a plan for dealing with them. Do you use food to cope with disappointment, rejection, boredom, or even personal success?
Brainstorm some healthier ways to cope with mood swings that do not involve food. In addition, control your environment to avoid bingeing on high-calorie foods when you do feel disappointed, rejected, or bored. Keep your kitchen stocked with lots of healthy options such as chunks of fruits and veggies, low-fat yogurts, flavored waters, and sugar-free gum

4. Make Simple Daily Change

Who said health-related lifestyle changes had to be all or nothing? Start small and make a few simple weight loss and exercise changes each day. These small changes can add up over time to give you a big health boost. Here are some suggestions:
  • Add 5 more grams of fiber to your daily meal plan.
  • Cut out refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, and sweets
  • Avoid foods with trans-fats
  • Add two more servings of veggies at lunch and dinner
  • Drink three more glasses of water each day
  • Add 10 minutes of walking to your daily exercise regimen
  • Take a break every hour at work and walk 500 steps in place (2,000 steps burns 100 calories)
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier and walk before work
  • 5. Find a Cheering Section

We all need a cheering section -- having to account to someone else gives you a reason to hang in there when you can't muster determination from within. It doesn't matter where the support comes from -- a spouse, friend, co-worker, or online "buddy," or others.

Think of five people who might be in your cheering section. Talk to these people about giving you support and holding you accountable as you work to reach your weight loss or health goals. Call upon your cheering section when you're having trouble sticking with good health habits. When you do reach small weight loss or exercise goals, invite your support group to celebrate with you.

6. Forgive Yourself

If you slip up on vacation and overeat, drink too much, or fail to exercise -- forgive yourself. Don't beat yourself up! Instead, say, "I really enjoyed my vacation," and let it go at that.
Allowing yourself time to enjoy a few indulgences occasionally is OK. If you start to feel guilty for having dessert on a special night out, forgive yourself and start back on your more disciplined program the next day.

7. Never Go Hungry

Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, author of Diet Simple, says the biggest cause of overeating is undereating. "People go too long without eating, and then pig out when they are ravenously hungry."
Rigid diets don't work for anyone. Include planned snacks in your daily diet to prevent binges. Make sure you allow for treats once a week without feeling guilty. Have a brownie every Friday, and enjoy every bite.

8. Remember That Change Takes Time

It's easy to see thin people and think how lucky they are. But here's the truth: If a thin person is over 30 -- or even over 20 -- chances are they are working hard at being thin each day. Learn from them. Find out how they stay thin. Is it through more exercise? Eating fewer snacks?
According to Kathy Kater, a LSW and psychotherapist in St. Paul, Minn., the research on body diversity is conclusive. "Even if we all ate the same optimal, wholesome diet and exercised to the same high degree of physical fitness, we would still be very diverse in our shapes. Some quite thin and some quite big, but most in the middle."
Make the commitment to change some lifestyle habits and allow yourself plenty of time to see your goal. In addition, accept the fact that your body is meant to be a certain size -- even if that size isn't skinny -- and feel good about it.

9. Move Around More Today; Sit Less

Make healthy choices by being more physically active. Park at the end of the lot when grocery shopping. Change your TV channel manually. Take the stairs at work. Go on a long walk with your kids or grandkids. Raining outside? Walk or run in place while watching TV. No excuses!
According to Christopher Wharton, PhD, a certified personal trainer and researcher with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, the more time spent exercising and the more vigorous the exercise, the more calories you will burn.
"Studies have shown that with increases in exercise time, the elevation in resting metabolic rate is prolonged," Wharton says.
Make a deliberate effort to move more and sit less to increase physical activity and good health.

10. Celebrate Each Day's Journey

In the midst of your exercise and weight loss goals, don't forget to enjoy each day's journey. Most women agree that their lives and dreams for the future are so intertwined with reaching a specific goal or destination that any derived pleasure is disregarded. Problems arise when the "goal" becomes the sole purpose of living and overshadows our daily lives.
While having healthy weight loss/exercise goals are important, make sure to take time to celebrate each day's journey. Live for the moment and savor some of life's simple pleasures -- every day.
Source: WebMD: 10 Motivational Tips to Keep You Healthy

Monday, January 19, 2015

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2015...

15 of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Most Inspiring Motivational Quotes

1. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

3. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

4. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

5. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

6. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

7. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

8. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

9. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

10. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

11. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

12. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

13. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

14. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

15. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Source: Parade's 15 of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Most Inspiring Motivational Quotes