March’s produce celebrates All Things Green, bestowing healthy blood, and building cells to make a healthy body from the ground up.
Vote for your favourite below.
My Baked Apple Dessert is healthy and delicious, using inflammation reducing Cinnamon and Coconut Palm Sugar – an alternative to white sugar that provides vitamins, minerals, and doesn’t spike blood glucose levels the way conventional sugar would.
At around 150 calories for the entire dish, you can use this recipe as a quick and easy snack, or as a simple and healthy alternative to traditional desserts.
Since you aren’t using chemically laden sugar alternatives, it’s also safe for your kids. My kids love it, and the Coconut Sugar has a touch of brown sugar-like sweetness that provides extra magnesium(which many kids AND adults don’t get enough of)!
The end result will be sweet, delicious, and slightly soft, with just enough “sauce” to keep your apple from being too plain. If you prefer a much softer(mushy) texture, bake for 10 minutes longer than listed.
EDITED 01//23/2014 to add that I have been informed by a YTF follower that Doctor Oz recently had a segment on Coconut Sugar.
Now, knowing Doc Oz, and his tendency to hyperbole(not hating on him… just sayin’), he very likely touted it as some sort of cure all, or miracle food.
Let me say that you’d have to eat tons of it (please don’t!) to really make a huge dent in your nutrition profile, and calorie for calorie, it is the same as white sugar.
The difference is that it’s not nutritionally empty, and doesn’t spike blood sugar as much.
So while I wouldn’t call it any sort of miracle food, in small amounts, it’s a great alternative to white sugar, and the cumulative effect of dietary tweaks here and there can make the difference overall.
1 – Preheat oven to 350F
2 – Place apple pieces in an oven proof glass bowl(Pyrex or similar)
3 – Sprinkle coconut sugar and cinnamon over the apples; drizzle evenly with lemon juice and water. Stir until evenly coated.
4 – Bake in bowl for 20 minutes, on a cookie sheet to catch any bubbling over.
5 – Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and enjoy!
Makes 1 large serving, or 2 small.
OPTIONAL: You may try adding a tbsp of unsweetened dried cranberries before baking, as well.
In the past few years, Chia Juices have been springing up everywhere as well… usually with a hefty price tag of $4 or more for a single serving. There’s no need to shell out so much money to get Chia Seeds in your diet. You can make these juices at home for pennies on the dollar.
An added bonus is that you are only limited by your imagination. You can make mixes of juice, tea, and chia, or just use a tea/chia, or a juice/chia combo.
Combine different juices and teas to make a wide range of flavours. Hibiscus, green tea, white tea, black tea, pumpkin spice tea – it all works the same, and you can vary your flavours by the season.
Chia Seeds are gaining popularity now that their health benefits are finally being recognised.
One of their greatest assets are the huge amounts of the Omega 3 Fatty Acid ALA that they contain. These Fatty Acids are wonderful for the brain, potentially warding off cognitive decline in aging, as well as providing some benefits to counteract depression.
The Tryptophan content in Chia Seeds helps boost Serotonin and Melatonin levels, providing sound sleep and even more protection against depression.
Chia Seeds also boast a high fiber content, and helps to stabilize blood sugar. This combination helps to prevent insulin spikes, and helps digestion.
These are only a few of many fantastic health benefits that Chia Seeds provide.
A small glass of this Chia Drink recipe makes a perfect post-workout snack. Keep some premade in your refrigerator to hydrate and restore essential nutrients to the body after a hard exercise session.
Remember that the tea and juice amounts can be substituted by any juice or tea you have available. I recommend juices and teas that have NO added sugar.
Pomegranate-Green Tea Chia Drink Recipe:
In a heat proof container, stir your Chia Seeds into the hot water. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine your green tea and pomegranate juice in a gallon sized drink container. A cleaned out milk jug will work, if you don’t have one already.
When the Chia Seeds have plumped up, spoon and stir the seeds into the juice/tea mixture. If your container has an airtight cap, you can shake it for better dispersion.
I recommend letting your Chia Drink chill for a few hours. Making it a day ahead is perfect.
Always stir or shake before pouring into a glass.
Other flavour ideas to try:
There really is no limit to the flavours you can concoct. Have fun and experiment frequently!
Karen Lloyd, the NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, and Women’s Fitness Specialist behind Yellow Turtle Fitness, is a featured writer in the January 2014 edition of Natural Triad Magazine!
You can pick up a copy at grocery stores, newsstands, and natural food stores around the Triad of North Carolina, or you can find a downloadable version at Natural Triad Magazine’s Website.
Hope everyone had a great time over the Holidays, but now it’s time to buckle down and see your goals through!
Inevitably, new workout routines will put extra stress on your body, leading to some initial muscle pain.
Take heart that it does get better when you keep a regular routine, and doesn’t happen anywhere near as often.
In the meantime, some of my favourite ways to relieve sore muscles are the following:
1- Stretching/Warm Up/Cool Down - One of the best ways to prevent most of the pain in the first place is to ensure a proper warmup, and to stretch.
Some dynamic (controlled, but moving) stretches and light cardio before your workout is the best bet, as well as good static(held/not moving) stretches afterwards. This can also help prevent many injuries!
2- Light workouts - Those initial workouts can really put the hurt on if you jump right into something over the top. While healing from that you can still work out, but keep it light.
Some fast walking or light jogging – yoga, pilates, or even just a weight routine focusing on the the parts of the body that aren’t hurting. A light workout will help circulate some blood through the area while you recuperate, and believe it or not, help ease muscle soreness.
3 – Massage and/or Foam Rolling - Massage is the obvious one. Like a light workout, it will help circulate some of the pooled blood in the muscle.
Foam rolling triggers a release of the tight muscle, when done correctly. Buy a good beginner’s roller, and have your personal trainer show you how to roll.
When buying, keep in mind that the more high density a foam roller is, the more aggressive it will be in attacking the tension. Beginners may want to go with a lower density roller until they get more accustomed.
You can also use foam rolling before and after a workout, as part of your regular warm up and cool down. This may prevent some of the soreness before it happens!
Don’t overdo it – just a small juice glass(6-8 oz) will do, and make sure it doesn’t have tons of added sugar, or other ingredients to muck up the works. The fruit itself may not be as concentrated, but certainly has potential to help.
Watermelon or cherry juice should be the first ingredient. At the very least, it should be the second ingredient, after water. If not, put it back on the shelf.
Coffee is another drink that may help in reasonable amounts. Again, don’t overdo it.
I rarely use any other pain reliever besides aspirin, but any anti-inflammatory pain reliever can help, as well.
5 – REST! - Sometimes, it’s just better to rest the painful areas. This doesn’t mean to lay around for days, doing nothing. You can still exercise other parts of your body, or do light stretches and walks until you’re feeling better. Completely skipping workouts is a good way to backslide in your motivation, so try to keep moving, one way or another.
However, be sure to get adequate sleep, and take care of the parts that hurt for a day or two. If you overdid it on squats one day, do upper body, calf, and/or core exercises in the meantime.
Remember that if you are in pain, LET YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER KNOW! You won’t be seen as “weak” or a complainer. Your trainer wants to help, not hurt you.
They are educated to help you work around the painful areas, can give you more pointers on how to handle the soreness, and if they know their stuff, will refer you to a doctor when it’s more than a little post-workout muscle pain.