New beginnings…

Though soon we’ll be upon the two year anniversary of Yellow Turtle Fitness’s inception, I would like to announce today that I am moving on to bigger things. I have decided to focus the majority of my attention on education, as I look forward to moving into the Clinical side of my profession.

As some of you may already know, while I have loved every second of being a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, I am working towards a career as a Clinical Rehabilitative Exercise Physiologist.

What does this mean for clients?

I will continue training with my current clients for as long as they desire, but will not be accepting new clients at this time.
However, I may not be giving up individual fitness training completely! In the future, if I decide to take on new training clients, it will be through my professional profile at IDEAfit, under my name — not through this website.

What does this mean for Facebook/Twitter fans and Blog readers?

All blog archives that are currently available will remain available to read, but the domain name(YellowTurtleFitness.com) will be set to expire later in the year. When it does, the archives will be found at its former wordpress blog address (yellowturtlefitness.wordpress.com).
I will no longer be updating the Twitter feed, but may be updating Facebook on occasion.
I will continue to write, but not on this blog. You will probably still see me in various health and fitness related publications in the future.

Sometime soon, I will also begin to teach Senior group fitness classes(Silver Sneakers) on the side locally. This kind of work is close to my heart, as well as relevant to my career path. Silver Sneakers helps to improve the range of motion for everyday tasks, health, and fitness of older adults, while providing them social opportunities and fun.
So you’ll still see me around, just not under the Yellow Turtle Fitness name.

Thank you all for supporting me in my first few years as a professional trainer. I have learned a lot, met many wonderful people, and will continue to spread the message of good health with my future endeavors.

~Karen

Peanut Sesame “Zoodles” (Zucchini Noodles)

Peanut Sesame Zoodles ( Zucchini Noodles )Clearly, I’m still having a great time playing with the Spiralizer I got for Christmas. If you don’t yet have one, you can still make this recipe, but you’ll have to find another way to make the noodles(ribbons/cutting). It’ll probably be a LOT more time consuming(and the noodles will not have that perfect noodle roundness) that way, so I recommend getting a Spiralizer if you enjoy these sorts of recipes.
I’ve found that any noodle based recipe, any type of cuisine, work perfectly with the zucchini noodles – all for fewer calories, with the same flavour. The zucchini seems to take on the flavour of whatever sauce you put on it, so it isn’t overly veggie-like. They also have the same texture of a perfect al dente noodle – and the same dishes can be made in mere minutes. This is also a great way to sneak extra vegetables into your diet.

I’ve always loved cold Peanut Sesame Noodles, so I decided to try this take on it. It turned out great – so I’m sharing it with all of you. I miss absolutely nothing(except calories) by switching out the noodle base for zucchini, and you can even add chicken or chickpeas for a little extra protein. This is easily my favourite recipe I’ve made with the Spiralizer so far.

If you have trouble finding the PB2 listed in the recipe, you can switch it out for a tbsp of Peanut or Almond Butter. Just heat and thin it with water first. Don’t use too much water, however – the recipe has other liquid ingredients that may throw off the base, making it too watery. So I recommend the PB2 if you can find it.

This recipe makes a HUGE bowl of noodles; so you can make a meal of it, or split it in two to four portions as a side. You’re probably looking at approximately 300-350 calories total, for the entire recipe(as written).
It’s super easy, and takes less than 10 minutes, start to finish. Hope you enjoy it!Peanut Sesame Zoodles ( Zucchini Noodles )

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large zucchini(larger zucchini have less flavour, so these are ideal for zoodles)
  • 2 tbsp PB2 (if no PB2 available, see text for alternate instructions)
  • 1 tbsp water, to thin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Spiralizer, to make Zoodle Noodles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all powdered ingredients into a bowl with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Mix well.
  2. If sauce is not thin, add tbsp of water of water slowly, stirring, making sure that it becomes thin, but NOT watery.
  3. Cut ends off of your 2 zucchini, and Spiralize both into a large bowl.
  4. Add sauce to bowl, along with sesame seeds and desired amount of red pepper flakes(I only use a pinch or two).
  5. Toss thoroughly, being sure to coat all noodles well with sauce. You may use extra sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

Plant Based Protein Sources

You don’t have to be a Vegetarian to appreciate that reduced meat consumption can have a positive impact on your health. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to reduce your intake, or if you just want more protein options overall, refer to my handy, printable chart below. Feel free to share the chart with your friends and family on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Plant Based Protein Sources from www. YellowTurtleFitness.com

A Simple Tool to Help with Your New Year’s Goals

A Simple Tool to Help with Your GoalsThe New Year is upon us, and one of my favourite Christmas gifts this year inspired me to make a post about it. I thought many of you could use this item to help with your New Year’s goals. You may have even heard of it before: The Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer.

The Spiralizer I received was a basic 3 blade model – which is probably all you really need. However, they also have a 4 blade, if you are interested.

It comes with 3 blades, which make noodles, ribbons, and quick work of shredding. It can be used on any fruit or vegetable – including cabbage, carrots, zucchini, apples, potatoes, and more. I made Zucchini Noodles my very first time using it, and in LESS THAN A MINUTE, I had an enormous bowl full of noodles that I topped with marinara. I didn’t even bother to cook or heat it – but those noodles were textured like, and tasted like, real spaghetti. It was amazing. All for less than 150 calories(with the marinara!).

Simple switches for New Year's Goals

Use the ribbon blade to make roll-ups with your zucchini – fill them with sliced meats, pesto, herbed goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, or anything else you like. It would make for a healthy and reasonably low calorie snack.

It shreds heads of cabbage quickly, and you can make healthy baked apple chips/rings, or your own sweet potato curly fries, plus much more.

This is an easy, quick, and relatively low-cost tool that you can use to make healthy and low-calorie dinners, lunches, and snacks that taste great, but don’t make you feel as if you’re suffering. I hope you all give it a try.

I’ve found a few cookbooks dedicated to recipes for the Spiralizer, as well. You can finds links to a few of them below:

– The Spiralizer Cookbook: 70+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Delicious, Satisfying Main Dishes, Soups, Salads, Side Dishes and More…

– Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals

– The Skinny Spiralizer Recipe Book: Delicious Spiralizer Inspired Low Calorie Recipes For One. All Under 200, 300, 400 & 500 Calories

– The Spiralizer Recipe Cookbook: Over 30 Recipes for your Spiralizer Spiral Slicer – Zucchini Noodles, Paleo and Wheat Free Recipes and much more (Spiralizer Series) (Volume 1)

If you have a Paderno Spiralizer, let me know in the comments what kind of healthy recipes you’ve been making with it. I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Fat Loss Truths for 2015

Fat Loss Truths for 2015 from YellowTurtleFitness.com

 

A few months back, I was out around town, and met up with someone who knew me(and what I do for a living) from some of the local commerce websites.

She took the opportunity to ask a question that I hear all the time:

“Which exercises can I do so that I can eat whatever I want, but still lose weight?”

I responded with my usual – along the lines of, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”.
She seemed taken aback by this, and exclaimed, “I thought you were supposed to be encouraging!”. I then went on to explain that I’m all for encouragement and motivation, but will never lie, or make false promises, to someone who asks my advice.
We laughed about it, but this conversation really stuck with me since.

At the start of every new year, everyone is on their best behaviour… only to quickly be discouraged when they don’t get the results they think they will receive.

It’s not difficult to see why they would be so crestfallen; we are inundated daily with false promises, quick gimmicks, and headlines about weight loss miracles. It’s in our Facebook feeds, on the covers of magazines, in articles or telecasts written by supposedly legitimate news organizations, and on TV – often touted by celebrity doctors who are supposed to have our best interests at heart.

Many times, these falsehoods are even proclaimed by those in the fitness and nutrition industry, either out of a lack of legitimate education, poor research methods, or greed for your money.

Here, I want to simplify things for you – to lay out some facts to keep in mind as you navigate 2015 in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, or the body of your dreams.

“I want to lose weight”

This is the most common reason that someone comes to me for help. Many of those whom I connect with are very overweight, to the point where it affects their health. I also have worked with those who only want to lose a little weight(usually post-baby), or to become metabolically healthier.

There are many different factors that can affect weight loss, and results can be highly individual(a good reason to consult with a doctor, professional trainer, and/or nutrition coach), but these basic guidelines can be key to your success.

Your strategy:

Build lean muscle with resistance exercise, add moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise, and most importantly, watch what you eat.

The less you weigh, the more your food intake will make a difference in weight loss.
You don’t want to eat too little(which may permanently alter your metabolism for the worse), but eating too much will drastically slow or stop progress. A certified Nutritionist or Dietitian can help you figure out what, and how much, you should be eating to attain your goals.

Quality of calories does matter – and no, it is not as simple as the number of calories in v/s out.
When trying to reduce fat, aim for 90%(or better) of healthy, whole foods that are low in added sodium or added sugars.

That last sentence can help many people with that “last 10 lbs”. The average person tends to carry around 5-7 lbs of water bloat due to the quality of the food they’re eating.
This is why so many tend to be duped into thinking that detox diets and juice detoxes are causing them to lose fat quickly. It’s not fat they’re losing, and they could easily lose those same pounds by eating healthier on the whole.

This is why weight loss tends to slow down drastically after that first 5-7 lbs is gone.

It is also not unusual for someone who is severely obese to carry 15-20 lbs of that same water weight. If you’ve ever seen the first few episodes of any season of The Biggest Loser, you’ve seen that water weight loss in action. Ever seen someone on a low-carb diet get really excited on their first two weeks? It’s because they had a rush of water weight loss, due to eating fewer carbs(which hold on to some water). However, most of what they lost was probably not fat.
Water weight loss is nice, but it’s also the type of weight that will come right back, the second you eat a normal meal. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat balanced long-term.

If you are maintaining a loss, or are okay with fat loss being slower, aiming for healthy/whole foods 80% of the time is perfectly acceptable. You’ll lose weight, but it will be slow going. If you add in the aforementioned exercise, it will go faster.

“If Nutrition is most important, why should I bother exercising?”

There are many reasons I could give here, but this is paramount:
Exercising will make you healthier, no matter your size.

A morbidly obese person who exercises will be healthier than a morbidly obese person who never exercises. Ever hear of “skinny fat”? This is the term often used when someone is technically not overweight, but is still flabby, and/or metabolically unhealthy due to lack of exercise.
That resistance exercise I mentioned? You need it because body composition matters. There is a myriad of benefits to adding extra muscle, most notably that it helps you burn extra calories, makes your body look more toned when you DO lose weight, provides stability in old age, and goes a long way towards making you metabolically healthier. You don’t have to be Ahh-nold to get those benefits. Every bit of muscle that you add counts towards a healthier you.

(I have mentioned many of these things before, most notably here and here.)

Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercise should be part of your life. You don’t need to be over the top – you can start with something as simple as the act of walking your dog daily, and build from there. When you’re ready for the next step, consult with a professional trainer.

Make 2015 the year that you take control of your health using facts – not lies, half-truths, gimmicks, and pseudoscience. Things really are a lot simpler when you keep in mind these basic tenets.

I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season, and the best of luck in the coming year.

 

 

Oven Roasted Balsamic Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

Roasted Balsamic and Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

If you pay any attention to my In Season Produce charts, you probably know that December’s chart has Brussels Sprouts listed.

I had been holding on to this post for a while, so I thought December would be the perfect time to post it.

I know the title of this is looooooooong, and probably sounds overly complicated. Not so!
If you’ve been reading my website for a while, you’ve probably realised that I do not do complicated.

This fancy sounding healthy side dish is simple to make, and doesn’t take very long to compile. Let’s get to it!

INGREDIENTS:

herbs

  • 1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts, halve the small ones, quarter the large ones
  • 1-2 lbs of cut baby organic carrots (you can use carrots you cut yourself, but this is much faster/easier)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Herbes de Provence(available in most grocery store spice aisles)
  • Balsamic Reduction for drizzling over the vegetables
  • Sea Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Place all ingredients except balsamic into large baking or roasting pan
  3. Mix everything together until vegetables are nicely coated, then drizzle balsamic reduction generously on top. It should look something like this:
    beforecooking
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until vegetables are nicely crusted, and browned to the degree you prefer. Serve warm.

Recipe: Roasted Balsamic and Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

 

Quick & Easy Recipe: Homemade Hummus

Quick and Easy Creamy Homemade Hummus Recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com I have very specific preferences when it comes to Hummus, and often times, the store-bought stuff just doesn’t cut it. I like my Hummus to be mild, creamy, with lots of garlic, plenty of tahini, and a generous touch of cumin, paprika, and parsley. I also like it to be light and fluffy, as opposed to the pasty, glue-y stuff you find in stores.

Lucky for me, not only is it easy to make Hummus at home, but it’s also cheaper and (usually) healthier.
I like to make a batch whenever my tahini canisters(which I go through fairly quickly) get down to about 1/3 of a cup left. Then, I can refill the can with the Hummus I just made.

You can see exactly what’s going in there, and spice it exactly the way you enjoy it. If you prefer spicy hummus, just add the spices you like. Don’t like Cumin? Don’t use it. Want a black bean hummus? Switch them out with the chickpeas.
Want it to look extra fancy for a party? Throw some extra olive oil drizzle, a dash of paprika, and some extra sesame seeds on top when serving.

Serve it alongside fresh cut vegetables, cut pita bread pieces, etc – One of the easiest party appetizers ever.

Best of all, you can make a big batch of Hummus in less than 10 minutes. What are you waiting for?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini (doesn’t have to be exact – eyeball it)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp water (approx)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • OPTIONAL: extra sesame seeds for garnish/crunch, other spices, hot sauce, black pepper, etc

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until creamy, fluffy, and the texture you prefer. Add more water to thin it, use less water for a thicker hummus.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container if not using right away. Will keep approximately 2 weeks in the refrigerator.