Stir-Fried Beef with Asparagus

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds chuck eye steak
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup gluten-free hoisin sauce
4 green onions, sliced

Directions

Cut steak into 1/2-inch-thick slices against the grain and cut slices again into thin strips. Place in a bowl and toss with tamari, vinegar and ginger. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to overnight.

Remove steak from marinade and discard any extra marinade. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. When very hot, but not smoking, add steak and cook until just browned. Remove steak and set aside. Add garlic and asparagus to the wok and stir 1 minute. Add hoisin and 1/2 cup water and stir 1 minute. Return beef to wok, cover, and cook until asparagus is tender, about 4 minutes. Top with green onions and serve.

Cauliflower Rice:

Chop cauliflower into pieces add a 1/4 cup of water and microwave for 8 minutes. Mash into tiny “rice like” pieces and serve under steak mix.

Enjoy!

Fit Chic

A Workout for a Cause….

Thank You to Lt. Murphy and all the other soldiers who fight for our country day in and day out!

In CrossFit we have what we call “Hero” workouts. These are workouts honoring military, police and fire personnel, that lost their lives in the line of duty.

The most famous of these workouts are “Murph” many CrossFits around the world perform this workout on Memorial Day to pay tribute to him and the many other armed forces that lost their lives protecting our country.

Here is some more information about the who, what and why of Murph.

“Murph”

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Here is a link for a list of other “Hero” workouts that CrossFit has created check it out and perform one today in honor of  Memorial Day.

http://www.networkfitness.com/affiliates/CrossFit%20Named%20WODs%20–%20The%20Heroes.pdf

Post your times and thoughts in the comments below.

3….2….1…. GO!

Fit Chic

6 Common Herbs and Why You Should Eat Them

I found this article on Mark’s Daily Apple and  found it to be very interesting.

I cook with these herbs a lot, and had no idea of the wonderful benefits they are having on my body.

For the full link go to http://www.marksdailyapple.com/#axzz1yIQX6LIt

We typically think of culinary herbs as useful flavorants. They round out flavor profiles, add complexity to otherwise basic dishes, meld with other herbs to form novel taste compounds that you can’t quite place and cannot be replicated with any other combination, and, used with a subtle, skilled hand, simply make food taste incredible. Oh, and like most seemingly inconsequential things people have been adding to food for thousands of years, they also happen to have some fascinating health benefits. Huh – how about that? Things that taste good and have a long and storied culinary history might also be good for you? Amazing how that works out!

Let’s get down to it.

Rosemary

rosemary

Rosemary goes well with just about anything, in my experience, which is odd, because it’s one of the most pungent, powerful herbs in existence. Some herbs just kinda linger in the background, maybe adding a slight change to the bouquet of a dish but never really distinguishing themselves, but when rosemary’s around, you know it. You can’t avoid it. Heck, even walking around most neighborhoods you’re liable to find a massive rosemary bush trying to evolve into a rosemary tree.

What’s so great about rosemary, besides the flavor and smell? Rosemary-infused olive oildisplayed the strongest resistance to oxidative damage and rancidity, beating out herbs such as thyme, lemon, and basil (although both thyme and lemon improved stability, too). In healthy volunteers, oral rosemary extract improved endothelial dysfunction (perhaps due toup-regulation of glutathione, eh?). Rosemary extract also improved the oxidative stability of butter, and it inhibited the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (a potential carcinogen) in fried beef patties.

Thyme

thyme

Rosemary’s great, but I find it even greater with a bit of thyme involved. If you have the time, I’d definitely use both in concert. Okay, that was bad; I apologize.

Thyme, however, is worth using, awful jokes aside. I mean, what else but thyme could stave off the oxidative damage done to corn oil under deep-frying conditions for a couple extra hours? Sure, you’re not eating corn oil, but that same lipid-stabilizing accumen would probably work awfully well for, say, butter. And for those who enjoy the classic rosemary/thyme/garlic rub on your lamb, keep an eye out for lamb borne to thyme-fed pregnant ewes, which exhibits greater oxidative stability, lower bacterial counts, and better color. No word on whether it influences taste.

Sage

sage

Sage is under appreciated. Brits have always used it in their cooking, and Mom probably uses it to season her turkey stuffing, but that’s about it. I like it, but I’ll admit that it can be overpowering; you only need a pinch, or a few leaves, meaning most of the bunch you bought for $2 at the market goes to waste. One solution is to grow your own. Another is to freeze or dry the leftovers. Either way, it’s worth using on poultry and fatty cuts of meat (think big juicy roasts).

Sage is rich with rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant found in many common culinary herbs that (surprise, surprise) protects fats against oxidative damage. In humans who drank sage teafor several weeks, endogenous antioxidant defenses were up-regulated and the lipid profile was improved (HDL increase). Perhaps most interestingly, a sage extract was used toimprove memory and attention in healthy older subjects. It also seems to work on memory in healthy younger subjects, too.

Mint

mint

Everyone loves something about mint, in my experience. They may hate the classic spearmint, but love peppermint (a hybrid of spearmint and watermint). They may hate the taste, but love the smell (or vise versa). They might be scared of Santa and his creepy elves, but the allure of the candy cane draws them to his expansive lap. They may hate getting hair cuts, but cannot resist the hypnotic swirl of the barber’s pole.

As for its health benefits, peppermint oil was more effective than placebo at treating irritable bowel syndrome, a meta-analysis of the clinical literature found, and it was equally effective as pharmaceutical treatments. Also, though it was a very brief trial, spearmint leaf tea showed promise as an anti-androgen treatment for hirsutism (abnormal hairiness) in polycystic ovarian syndrome in female subjects.

Basil

basil

Ah, basil. Pesto uses it. Thai cooks will sometimes stir-fry it. I like nibbling on raw leaves, from time to time. It’s one of those herbs with a flavor so distinct that its usage is severely limited. That is, you can’t just add basil to everything and expect the dish to taste good, but when it works, it’s a thing of beauty. Go get yourself a plant or a bagful. The good thing about basil is that it freezes well, so don’t worry about wasting it.

And basil does some cool stuff, too. In hypertensive rats, sweet basil reduced blood pressure. In diabetics, holy basil reduced both fasting and post-prandial blood glucose. And as is usual with the herbs, basil displays some protective attributes against fatty acid oxidation.

Oregano

oregano

US soldiers returning home after World War II carried with them a fondness for the “pizza herb” – oregano. We at MDA prefer to call it the “meatza herb,” but you get the point: it’s a good ally in the kitchen.

Oregano is a strange herb in that its dried form confers a more potent taste than the fresh leaves, so don’t feel too bad about using the dried stuff. It works just fine, and it retains most of its antioxidant capacity even when dry as a bone. And a bountiful, impressive antioxidant capacity it is, what with its ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic and atherogenic compounds when added to cooking hamburger meat. Malondialdehyde levels were also reduced in plasma and urine samples taken from those who ate the meat.

What can we gather from this quick look at just a few of the most common culinary herbs? Well, herbs confer a lot of benefits to the cooking process. They make it taste good for one, but they also protect the fats from oxidation during cooking, making them perfectly paired with fatty foods – like herbed cheeses, herbed butters, lamb legs studded with rosemary and thyme, butter or cream sauce reductions with a dash of herbs, and herb-infused olive oils.

A Few Herby Tips

  • Use a wide variety of herbs.
  • Never use too much of any single herb at once.
  • Try different blends.
  • Grow some fresh herbs and keep plenty of dried on hand.
  • Let your taste buds guide you.
  • Add herbs when cooking fats; this won’t just protect the fat from oxidation, but it will also provide the best flavor.
  • Feed your pregnant ewe plenty of thyme.

Now you can enjoy the benefits of these wonderful herbs on the inside and out.

Fit Chic

Baked Walnut-Cinnamon Apples

This recipe is delicious and perfect for a Memorial Day Barbeque treat!

Baked Walnut-Cinnamon Apples
4 Apples
1 cup raisins
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup water
¼ cup walnuts

Heat oven to 375 F. Core and piece apples with a fork in several places around the center, to prevent them from bursting. Mix raisins, nuts, cinnamon and vanilla in a small bowl. Fill center of each apple with this mixture. Place in a glass-baking dish and pour water into pan. Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes or until tender.

Enjoy!

Fit Chic

Go With Your Gut…..

We have all been in situations where we said “I wish I would have just gone with my gut”.

Why do we think like this, and more importantly why do we continue to ignore it?

It seems that every time I listen to my gut, it always turns out the way that it is supposed to.

When I choose to ignore what my gut is telling me I stay in the same mundane place, never moving forward and never doing what truly fulfills me.

When you go with your gut, even though it may be so scary and very uncomfortable it will take you to places that you never thought possible and make you go places that take you far beyond what you think is possible today.

For example,  3 years ago my husband and I felt stuck (or me more than he). I was in a job that wasn’t fulfilling me or using my talents in the way I should have. I was not happy where I was living and wanted something bigger for my life.

I kept having this intuition that we needed to move, but wasn’t sure where or why?

My husband Chris was working out at a CrossFit gym and was really interested in starting a gym like this of his own. He was persistent about wanting to do this; and that is when I went with my Gut!

I knew at the time that South Dakota had no CrossFit gyms, and fitness and health were a big priority for most people who live in Sioux Falls.

This was our chance, and we went with our “Gut”. I remember people thinking we were out of our minds to move from the sunny beach to the cold tundra. Most of the people we told didn’t even know where South Dakota was.

We didn’t care, we had a mission and knew that if we went with our gut the rest of it would fall into place; and boy did it!

Not only did we build a successful CrossFit gym, we found a community of hardworking, caring, fit conscious, family and goal oriented people who were full of life and love!

These people impacted our lives, and I know I will look back on life and say “those were some of the most fun times we had”! We not only opened a gym, we gained a community and a family that was so positive, encouraging, and motivating!

I am better because of them and I will be who I will be because these people helped me to believe in myself in all aspects. They supported me and loved me for me!

Chris and I went with our gut and gained a body of people, who will be in our lives for years to come!

What is stopping you? What are you afraid of?

There is a saying that I love, “What would you attempt to do, if you knew that you would not fail?”

So that is my question to you fit ones…

answer in the comments below and live a life from your gut instinct!

Fit chic

Zucchini and Squash Casserole

I found this recipe at:

http://www.ultimatecrossfit.com/forum/topic.php?id=97

It looks delicious and would be great as a side dish!

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
thyme (about 1 tsp)
pepper (to taste – about 1 tsp)
1 garlic clove pressed
3 medium yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds
3 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
3 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup of sprinkled goat’s milk cheese (found at trader joes or a natural foods market) for added taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. Add the onions, pepper, thyme and cook until onions are soft. Add garlic, cook until onions/garlic are slightly browned. Add squash and zucchini and cook until tender. Remove from heat. Transfer the squash to a baking dish. Reserve any excess liquid from veggies.

Whisk eggs and coconut milk together. Whisk in the cooking liquid. Pour the
mixture over the squash/onions in baking dish. Using a spoon, gently shift the
squash around so the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Mix in almond flour and cheese if desired. Bake until the mixture sets, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle pine nuts on top and
bake for another 5 mins.

Enjoy!

Fit Chic

How Stress Can Keep You from Your Weightloss Goals….

Stressed or not Stressed, which side would you rather be on?

I often deal with Cortisol issues a lot with my clients.

As a society we have stressful jobs, family life, and not a lot of time to just relax. In this high stressed world we live in, cortisol levels in the body are through the roof, which makes it much more difficult to take that weight off.

Here is a great article from about.com on the effects that stress actually has on our body, and how a few simple changes could get us that much closer to not only our weight loss goals, but a healthier, happier, lifestyle!

Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

  • Proper glucose metabolism
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
  • Immune function
  • Inflammatory response

Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night.  Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.  Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

  • A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
  • Heightened memory functions
  • A burst of increased immunity
  • Lower sensitivity to pain
  • Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event.  Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
  • Decreased bone density
  • Decrease in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
  • Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body.  Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs.  You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place.  The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in  maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

  • Guided Imagery
  • Journaling
  • Self-Hypnosis
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Listening to Music
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Meditation
  • Sex
  • Other Techniques

Cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress.  One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation.  Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food, and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol.   If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.

Here is the link for this article and other articles related to cortisol:

http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

3…2…1… RELAX!

Fit Chic

The Top 5 Reasons NOT to Stop Drinking Coffee…..

I recently read this article in the LA Times and thought it would be of great use to my readers.

I have a lot of clients that are under the impression that coffee is not beneficial to us, when in actuality it is or can be.

This will help you to understand the “why” for all you coffee questions.

5 health reasons to not quit coffee

1. It protects your heart: Moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of stroke than noncoffee drinkers, an effect linked to coffee’s antioxidants. Coffee has more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, making it the biggest source of antioxidants in American diets. All those antioxidants may help suppress the damaging effect of inflammation on arteries. Immediately after drinking it, coffee raises your blood pressure and heart rate, but over the long-term, it actually may lower blood pressure as coffee’s antioxidants activate nitric oxide, widening blood vessels.

2. It diverts diabetes: Those antioxidants (chlorogenic acid and quinides, specifically) play another role: boosting your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. In fact, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee each day may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to some studies. Other studies have shown that caffeine can blunt the insulin-sensitivity boost, so if you do drink several cups a day, try mixing in decaf occasionally.

3. Your liver loves it: OK, so the research here is limited, but it looks like the more coffee people drink, the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One analysis of nine studies found that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake reduced liver cancer risk by 43 percent. Again, it’s those antioxidants—chlorogenic and caffeic acids—and caffeine that might prevent liver inflammation and inhibit cancer cells.

4. It boosts your brain power: Drinking between 1 and 5 cups a day (admittedly a big range) may help reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies suggest. Those antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better.

5. It helps your headaches: And not just the withdrawal headaches caused by skipping your daily dose of caffeine! Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches, including migraines. Exactly how caffeine relieves headaches isn’t clear. But scientists do know that caffeine boosts the activity of brain cells, causing surrounding blood vessels to constrict. One theory is that this constriction helps to relieve the pressure that causes the pain, says Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the Headache Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical School.

Here is the link if you would like to see the full article:

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/5-health-reasons-to-not-quit-coffee-2460820

Now I am NOT saying go out and start drinking frappuccinos, (or as I like to call them crappacinos), or caramel macchiatos. Just straight coffee, espresso, or Americanos will give you these benefits (the real deal), not the fancy stuff!

One of my favorite coffee’s is an Americano with cinnamon and nutmeg….

What is your favorite coffee brand, type, or place?

Answer in the comments below….

Fit Chic

Salmon Burgers

Ingredients

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds salmon fillets, skinned and chopped

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon of gluten-free hoison sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cooking spray

Olive Oil Lemon Mayonnaise (recipe below)

8 lettuce leaves

8 slices tomato

1 avocado sliced thinly

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine peppers, garlic, and salmon.

In a small bowl, combine egg, soy sauce, hoison, and lemon juice,add to pepper mixture, tossing gently to combine. Form mixture into 8 patties.

Lightly coat a grill pan or skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Grill or cook patties, 5 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness. Spread Olive Oil Lemon Mayonnaise evenly over burgers. Top each with a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, and sliced avocado.

Olive Oil Lemon Mayonnaise:

1 cup  olive oil mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon lemon

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.

 

Enjoy!

Fit Chic

Tune Out the “Noise” in your Head!

This guy is having a hard time shaking his “noise”!

I have been reading Bethanny Frankel’s new book, and for those of you who do not know who that is she was on the NY Housewives, all the Bethanny series on Bravo, and she is the creator of the “skinny girl” margarita.

In one chapter of her book she talks about the “noise” in our head, basically it is the negative comments or thoughts that go through our head that make us believe or try to believe that we can’t accomplish what we want in life.

Shut off the “noise” and believe in yourself and what you are doing! Be who you want to be, and don’t let your “noise” stand in the way of your potential!

I used to have a lot of “noise” that went on in my head! I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough, and I definitely wasn’t thin enough. I always felt that I wasn’t smart enough to accomplish the things in life that I wanted. When I married my husband I figured he would be the successful one, and I would be there to support him; that was my noise!

I slowly (very slowly at some points), began to overcome my noise. I started to believe in myself and my accomplishments and really face challenges head on. Sure enough, I was good enough, smart enough, and in shape enough and all I had to do was over power my noise.

It has taken many years, but I am now at the point in my life where I believe in myself and my cause so much that my noise can no longer get to me.

I am not going to lie and say that I don’t have bad days, or days where I want to quit on myself and settle but my positive days have many more deposits than the negatives and my “bank” is full of accomplishments, goals, and dreams; not a pity party of cannot’s and wont’s.

So make today your day to shut off the “noise” in your head and focus on the great person you are and are going to be!

Your “noise” will change throughout your life, and when situations or life gets hard your “noise” sometimes sounds like a blow horn! Shut it off and have the confidence in yourself to get through it. The more you over come these trying situations, the more the noise becomes powerless.

Fit ones, recognize your “noise” and over power it with who you are and who you want to be…..

What noise do you want to shut off?

Fit Chic