Saint Mary’s Fitness Center Celebrates American Heart Month!

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February is American Heart Month and we’ve got a bunch of ways to help bring awareness to the issue of heart disease here at the Fitness Center!

Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, accounting for roughly 23% of all deaths in the US each year. There are a lot of things you can do to take control of your health and heart to prevent having issues in the future.

Luckily, by coming to the gym regularly, eating a well-rounded nutritious diet, and keeping to a healthy weight, you are already doing the right thing for your heart!

Here are some of the ways that you can participate with us this month and do a little extra to take care of yourself in the years ahead!

  • Friday, February 1st: National Wear Red Day – Wear red to the fitness center– we will be!
  • Join the Cardio Challenge! Anytime you participate in any of our cardio based classes (aqua fitness, cycle, cardio dance/Zumba, or a Cardio Quickie) and log it on our trackers (on the 3rd Floor by group ex and 1st Floor in the hallway to the pool!) The top 3 cardio hours logged will win some great prizes!
  • Try a Cardio Quickie Class – New in February! Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from noon-12:30 pm we have some brand new fun Cardio Quickie classes for you! Tuesday is Plyometrics with Christina, Thursday is Boxing Drills with Zach, and Friday is Mixed Bag Cardio Quickie with Rori! These classes begin February 1st and will run all month long! Let us know how you like them and maybe we’ll add them to the schedule!
  • Join us for the Hands Only CPR clinic on Wednesday, February 13th from 9-10 am in our lobby. This is free and open to the public. Learn the basics of CPR and be prepared to save a life if needed!
  • Sweat with your Sweetie Week! February 10-16th, members may bring their non-member sweeties to any Group Exercise classes (reformer Pilates & master swim excluded) for FREE! Be sure to check them in as a guest at the front desk on the way in!
  • HIIT it with Hanna begins on Friday, February 15th! Morning people looking for a quick pre-weekend morning workout on Friday mornings are welcome to join us in the group exercise studio from 6:30-7:15am. A combo of HIIT & Plyo drills, this class is not for the faint of heart and is designed to be an intense way to end your work-week!

Whatever you do, we hope you’ll use American Heart Month as a reminder to take care of your ticker, and to take preventative measures now, so you can live a long, active, and healthy life!

 

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3 Ways to Save on Groceries & Eat Healthier

Don’t break the bank by choosing to eat better and more wholesome foods. More importantly, don’t let large grocery bills keep you from feeding your family with good, nourishing food. Grocery stores as well as food producers have become more health conscious and put out more products that are made with better ingredients. Though these better options can be very convenient, the bills can add up quickly.

You can offset these costs by choosing to make some of your weekly staples at home. A dollar saved here and there can really add up over the course of a week, month, or even year!

In our household, our lunches consist of a lot of sandwiches, peanut butter, almond butter, and granola bars to keep us energized.

Let’s do a little accounting….(Depending on where you shop prices may differ slightly, however the prices listed below are the average prices in your most common grocery store or value supermarket)

Comparison #1 – Bread:

1 loaf of whole grain seeded sandwich bread                               $4.99

Vs.

1 loaf of homemade whole grain seeded sandwich bread                      $1.23

Breakdown

13.4oz Flour                                                                                      $0.66

10g Yeast                                                                                           $0.09

7g Salt                                                                                                 $0.05

2oz Flax seeds                                                                                   $0.15

1oz Pumpkin seeds                                                                           $0.35

 

Comparison #2 – Fruit & Nut Bars:

5-pack 1.7oz natural fruit and nut bars                                         $5.00 or $1.00/ea

Vs.

5 1.7oz homemade fruit and nut bars                                            $2.50

Breakdown

(This makes 24 1.7oz bars)

200g rolled oats                                                                                $0.68

625g pitted dates                                                                              $9.77

50g peanuts                                                                                       $0.21

100g agave                                                                                        $0.89

100g quinoa                                                                                      $0.40

Total                                                                                                   $12.02

Price per bar                                                                                     $0.50

 

Comparison $3 – Nut Butters:

16oz jar of natural unsalted peanut butter                                 $3.29

Vs.

16oz bulk unsalted dry roasted peanuts                                       $1.88

or

16oz unsalted natural almond butter                                             $6.37

Vs.

16oz bulk unsalted raw almonds                                                    $4.60

Total cost of grocery store products                                          $26.60            

Vs.

Total cost of equivalent homemade products                         $10.38

Total savings                                                                                       $16.22

 

Let’s say you consume these items in 2 weeks (our average for a 2-person household), this adds up $422 in savings per year!

If this doesn’t convince you to try making some of your weekly staples at home, maybe these recipes will…

Homemade Whole Grain Seeded Sandwich Bread

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When making bread, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/8 cups whole grain flour (375g)
  • 1 1/8 cups room temperature water (272g)
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast (10g)
  • 2 tsp salt (7g)
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (56g)
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds (1 oz)

Directions:

Mix flour and water until well combined. Cover and rest for 30 minutes – 2 hours, the longer the better! Add remaining ingredients and knead by hand for 12-15 minutes or by mixer on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Cover and let double in size for 45 minutes.

Note: The temperature at everyone’s house is a little different, therefore the time it takes for your bread to double in size may also vary.

Preheat oven to 425.

Transfer dough onto floured surface and punch down to flatten into a square. Roll dough into a smooth 3”x 8” log and place seam-side-down into a greased 5” x 9” bread pan. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes until ½ above pan edge.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then drop temperature to 375 for another 25 minutes.

Note: Oven temps also vary, bread is done when golden brown all around.

Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

 

Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pitted dates (625g)
  • 2 cups rolled oats (200g)
  • ¼ cup peanuts or preferred nuts/seeds (50g)
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (100g)
  • ½ cup agave (100g)

Directions:

In a food processor, process dates until sticky paste forms into a ball. In a separate bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix oats, nuts/seeds, and quinoa. Wet hands and break up date paste into smaller chunks over dry ingredients. Pour agave over all ingredients and mix using paddle attachment or hands until fully mixed. If using hand, make sure keep slightly wet to repel the sticky dates. Remove dough and press into a 9”x 13” baking sheet line with parchment paper or plastic wrap until evenly dispersed to all corners of pan. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut into 24 bars. These bars don’t need refrigeration, however they keep their shape better when cold.

 

One-Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

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Peanut Butter:

Ingredient:

  • 4 cups (1lb) unsalted, dry roasted peanuts

Directions:

In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree peanuts until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 5 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it.

Almond Butter:

Ingredient:

  • 4 cups (1lb) raw almonds

Directions:

Preheat over to 350. Place almonds on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, mixing/flipping almonds half way through baking time. Allow almonds to cool completely.

**Tip: You can use roasted almonds to save time, however roasted almonds are typically a little more expensive that raw almonds**

In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree cooled almonds until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 7-10 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it. Stop food processor after 5 minutes and allow to rest before resuming.

Samira Bouldt, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

kNOw Fad Nutrition

MichaelPollanQuote

As quoted by Michael Pollan, bestselling author and huge source of influence in the world of health and food, we are living in the “the age of nutritionism”.  There is a recent preoccupation with only eating food for it’s specific nutritional properties, function, or health claim – rather than simply just eating real food.

With the uprising epidemic of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc., it is perfectly understandable why this diet mentality shift is taking place. People are beginning to realize that the food they are consuming is making them sick instead of giving them life.

The food and diet industries have taken advantage of this and have flooded the markets with books and products promoting weight loss and health claims, many of which are not founded by scientific evidence. It is easy to get lost in all the craze with so many different fad diets being introduced… paleo, low-carb, vegan, atkins, plant-based, ketogenic, gluten-free, carnivore, raw, the list goes on.

I am not here to tell you that these diets are good or bad. I’m here to de-clutter your brain, to give you the unbiased evidence-based facts, and to make things a little more simple when it comes to eating FOOD.

Create energy balance. Eat whole foods. Eat your veggies.

Simple, right? Not so much, let’s dig a little deeper into what this means.

Energy balance is achieved when the number of calories eaten is equal to the number of calories burned. Calories IN = Calories OUT. The time of day, type of food, or even nutritional properties do not affect your weight. Whatever “diet” you embark on, it will always come down to energy balance. Want to lose weight? Create a calorie deficit. This means burning more calories than you consume. Want to gain weight? Consume more calories than you use.

Eat whole foods. The more refined and processed a food is, the further it is from it’s natural state. Nature has a magical way of creating the perfect food. When you take away parts of it or change its composition, you are taking away from its perfect balance.

Eat your veggies. We all know this one. The USDA has been providing research founded, evidence based dietary guidance for over 100 years now, and even though much has changed over the years and new conflicting research surfaces constantly, one thing has not changed; vegetables are good for you. The USDA recommends eating AT LEAST 5 servings of vegetables per day.

These three facts are timeless. Take this bit of information and use it as your new platform to educate yourself on the facts, not the fads.

And one last tip from me, enjoy the foods you eat.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”- Michael Pollan

Samira Dilles, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

Our kNOw Fad Nutrition course which goes more in depth about the above principles runs from February 11-April 1, 2019. Contact our nutrition team at 775.770.3632  or jwickens@primehealthcare.com to learn more or to sign up!

Winter Kohlrabi Salad

Winter Kohlrabi Salad

Try this delicious and healthy seasonal salad with all the crunch and flavor you’re craving!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium purple or white kohlrabi
  • 1 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale
  • ¼ head red cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • juice of half an orange
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave (optional)
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Shred or julienne kohlrabi, the skin can be eaten! Add thinly sliced kale, cabbage, almonds, and sesame seeds. In a small blender, add all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour over veggies and massage the dressing into the veggies for a few minutes. Allow salad to marinate for at least 1 hour for best flavor. Salad stores really well in the fridge for 2-3 days!

*Not sure what kohlrabi is? Kohlrabi is a vegetable in the brassica family, meaning it is related to broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Brassicas are cruciferous vegetables that are known for their protective qualities against cancer.

The vegetable looks like a root but it actually grows above the ground. Its flavor and texture are very similar to broccoli stalks. This vegetable is very hardy and can be grown in Reno winters. It actually prefers cold weather! Check out this picture of a freshly harvested purple kohlrabi from my 2018 winter garden.

Kohlrabi1

Recipes developed by Samira Dilles, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. For more information on nutrition, recipes, or meal prep, please contact our Nutrition team at 775.770.3632.

Good-For-Your-Gut Hot Cocoa

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The snow has hit the valley floor! Let’s welcome the season with a cup of hot cocoa that has a gut-healthy twist! Hot cocoa tends to have quite a bit of sugar and a whole lot of calories. This hot cocoa is low in calories and high in protein, so get your blender and whip up this frothy cup of comfort in less than 10 minutes!

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp collagen or unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or ¼ tsp stevia (for no sugar)
  • 2 cups hot but not boiling almond milk or water

 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. The proteins in the collagen/gelatin mixed with the healthy fats of the almond butter will make a wonderful foam that will have you skipping the whipped cream on top!

Recipes developed by Samira Dilles, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. For more information on nutrition, recipes, and meal prep, please contact our Nutrition team at 775.770.3632.

Creamy One-Pot Squash Sweet Potato Soup

SamiraSoup

The cold weather has arrived and what better way to warm yourself up than with this fall-themed soup. A perfect blend of seasonal herbs and veggies to hit all the right spots! This is a perfectly light soup to make after a weekend of feasting!

Creamy One-Pot Squash Sweet Potato Soup

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha)
  • 1 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pumpkin seeds for topping (optional)

 

Directions:

In a medium sized pot, preheat oil with whole garlic cloves on medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add squash and sweet potato and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.

Add broth or water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (can also be done in a blender).

Serve warm, topped with pumpkin seeds and more parmesan if desired.

Recipes – Eggplant Pie

Eggplant Pie

Cooler weather has us reaching for comfort food, and this lightened up lower-carb version of Eggplant Parmesan (or Eggplant Pie as Samira calls it) has us ready to go home and cook!

Don’t worry, this isn’t some weird way of sneaking vegetables into your dessert. This eggplant pie is a perfect side dish. Warm, savory, and full of nutrients!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium/large eggplants, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • cheese for topping (mozzarella)

Preheat oil in a small pan. Saute onion and garlic on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside. In a large pot, cover egg plant with water, only covering half-way. Bring to a boil and simmer until all water is evaporated. Using a potato masher, mash egg plant until creamy. Add sauteed onions and garlic, basil, and Parmesan. Mix well and remove from heat. Mix in one raw egg.

In a 10-inch pie dish, spoon egg plant mixture and smooth the top. Top with tomato slices and cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy with your favorite protein and a side salad. Yum!

Recipes developed by Samira Dilles, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. For more information on meal prep, please contact our Nutrition team at 775.770.3632.