13 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes #539 11/14/2013
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13 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

By Denis Faye and Ani Aratounians


Glazed Yams


You may have survived Halloween with only a few minor transgressions, but get ready—Thanksgiving is when the holiday carnage typically begins in earnest. If you're like many Americans, Turkey Day often ends with the belt-loosened resignation that the next month is going to be a gluttony-fest.

But believe it or not, it's entirely possible to put together a mouth-watering feast that allows you to maintain your nutritional straight edge—while keeping Uncle Mortie coming back for seconds. (Although have you ever mentioned LES MILLS COMBAT to Mortie? He really should do something about that gut.)

The folks in the Beachbody® Kitchens, headed up by chef/dietician extraordinaire Ani Aratounians MS, RD, have come to the rescue. They've whipped up everything you need for the most delicious, nutritious meal ever—without breaking the calorie bank. Have a look at how the numbers compare with old-school Turkey Day fare:

Thanksgiving Recipes – Calorie Comparison

Traditional Recipes vs. Healthy Beachbody Recipes

Traditional Recipe Calories per Serving Beachbody Recipe Calories per Serving
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Curry 222 Curried Butternut Squash Soup 113
Roasted Beet, Arugula, and Blue Cheese Salad 263 Beet, Fennel, and Walnut Salad 124
Perfect Roast Turkey 322 Herb Roasted Turkey 219
Herb and Apple Stuffing 304 Quinoa Stuffing 156
Creamy Mashed Potatoes 207 Heather's Roasted Cauliflower Mash 46
Succotash 266 Succotash 192
Green Bean Casserole 185 Green Beans with Lemon and Thyme 42
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon 196 Glazed Yams with Cinnamon and Nutmeg 138
Homemade Gravy 49 Vegan Gravy 42
Cranberry Sauce 119 Spiced Cranberry Sauce 46
Pumpkin Pie 340 Pumpkin-Coconut Custards
or Creamy Pumpkin Pie
153
203
Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone Filling 464 Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone 169

Of course, we don't necessarily suggest you use this as an excuse to gorge yourself. "It's important to be portion conscious," explains Ani, "but if you decide that's not going to happen, with these recipes, you'll get less calories and more nutrition if you pig out."

Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving from all of us at Beachbody.

  • SALADS AND SOUPS

    Butternut Squash Soup
    Curried Butternut Squash Soup
    (Makes 12 servings, about 1 cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "You don't need to drench your veggies in oil to pull the flavors out. Instead, use minimal oil and 'sweat' the vegetables to increase flavor."

    Total Time: 36 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 26 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    2. 1 medium onion, chopped
    3. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    4. 1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, grated
    5. 10 cups cubed butternut squash (about 3½ lbs.)
    6. 1 tsp. sea salt
    7. 2 tsp. yellow curry powder
    8. 6 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
    9. 1 cup coconut milk

    Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
    3. Add squash, salt, and curry powder; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
    4. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until squash is soft.
    5. Place soup in a blender or food processor, in small batches; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
    6. Place blended soup back into saucepan. Add coconut milk; cook, over medium heat, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.

    Tip: Blend small batches of hot liquids in blender or food processor since they expand during the blending process, therefore increasing the chance of overflowing.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    113 5 g 4 g 0 mg 268 mg 17 g 3 g 4 g 2 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Vegetable Condiment
    1 1



    Body Beast® Portions
    Starch Fat
    1 1




  • SALADS AND SOUPS

    Beets
    Beet, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
    (Makes 10 servings, 1 cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "This is a quintessential 'fresh' salad. It's rich in phytonutrients—and the citrus-based dressing makes it lower in calories but high in vitamins and minerals."

    Total Time: 15 min.
    Prep Time: 15 min.
    Cooking Time: None

    Ingredients:

    1. ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    2. 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    3. 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    4. 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
    5. 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    6. 3 raw medium red beets, peeled, thinly sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
    7. 2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
    8. 2 medium carrots, grated
    9. 2 medium Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
    10. ½ cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts
    11. 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Preparation:

    1. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, oil, maple syrup, and mustard in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
    2. Combine beets, fennel, carrots, apples, walnuts, and cilantro in a large serving bowl.
    3. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to blend.


    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    124 7 g 1 g 0 mg 67 mg 16 g 4 g 8 g 2 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Vegetable Condiment
    1 1/2 1





    Body Beast® Portions
    Vegetables Fat
    3 1




  • TURKEY AND STUFFING

    Herb Roasted Turkey
    Herb Roasted Turkey
    (Makes 24 servings, 4 oz. each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "Typical turkey recipes have butter under the skin or they're deep fried. Instead, we used herbs and spices for flavor—and suggest you avoid the skin entirely."

    Total Time: 4 hrs. 35 min.
    Prep Time: 15 min.
    Cooking Time: 4 hrs.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 (18-lb.) raw whole turkey
    2. 1½ tsp. sea salt
    3. 2 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
    4. 1½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
    5. 1½ tsp. dried ground sage
    6. 1½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
    7. 1½ tsp. dried basil leaves
    8. 6 cups low-sodium organic chicken (or turkey) broth, divided use
    9. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    10. 18 fresh marjoram sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped, stems discarded
    11. 18 fresh parsley sprigs, finely chopped
    12. 2 medium onions, cut into ¼-inch slices
    13. 2 medium carrots, cut into ¼-inch slices
    14. 2 medium celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch slices
    15. 2 medium leeks, cut into ¼-inch slices
    16. 1 garlic head, halved crosswise

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Place rack in lowest position in oven.
    2. Remove turkey neck and giblets from inside turkey; rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
    3. Combine salt, pepper, thyme, sage, oregano, and basil in a small bowl; mix well.
    4. Slide your hand under the skin of the turkey breast to loosen. Rub the pepper mixture inside turkey cavity, under skin, and on skin.
    5. Pour ¼ cup broth into turkey cavity.
    6. Combine ¾ cup broth and chopped garlic in a small bowl; pour over turkey.
    7. Combine marjoram, parsley, onions, carrots, celery, and leeks in a large bowl; mix well. Place in turkey cavity with garlic head.
    8. Tie turkey legs together with cooking string. Place turkey breast side up on cooking rack set in a large, heavy roasting pan. Pour 2 cups broth into bottom of roasting pan. Tent aluminum foil over turkey and sides of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
    9. Reduce heat to 325° F. Bake for an additional 3 to 3½ hours, basting with remaining 3 cups broth and pan juices every 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil after 2½ hours. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180° F, and juices run clear.
    10. Let sit for 20 minutes before carving. Discard skin before serving.

    Nutritional Information (per 4 oz. serving of meat without bone or skin):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    219 6 g 2 g 83 mg 379 mg 3 g 1 g 1 g 35 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Proteins
    2



    Body Beast® Portions
    Proteins
    5




  • TURKEY AND STUFFING

    Quinoa Stuffing
    Quinoa Stuffing
    (Makes 16 servings, 2/3 cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "No white bread here, and it's nutrient dense. The colors, the flavors, it's just so much better."

    Total Time: 42 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 27 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    2. 1 medium onion, chopped
    3. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    4. 8 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 4 cups)
    5. 2 medium green apples, with peel (about 2 cups)
    6. 4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
    7. 2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed
    8. 1 tsp. sea salt
    9. 1 tsp. ground cumin
    10. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
    11. ½ cup dried cranberries
    12. ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    13. ½ cup pine nuts

    Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
    3. Add celery and apple; cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
    4. Add broth, quinoa, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
    5. Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
    6. Add cilantro and pine nuts; fluff with fork and serve.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    156 6 g 1 g 0 mg 196 mg 22 g 3 g 6 g 4 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Vegetable Carbohydrate/Legume & Tuber
    1 1/2





    Body Beast® Portions
    Starch Vegetables
    1-1/2 2




  • SIDE DISHES

    Heather's Roasted Cauliflower Mash
    Heather's Roasted Cauliflower Mash
    (Makes 8 servings, ¼ cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "A non-starchy veggie, no cream and butter—and yet it's every bit as yummy as your traditional mashed potatoes. So yummy, in fact that Beachbody VP of Development Heather Church demanded we include them."

    Total Time: 50 min.
    Prep Time: 5 min.
    Cooking Time: 45 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 (2-lb.) cauliflower, cut into small florets, discard stem
    2. 4 tsp. olive oil
    3. 1 tsp. sea salt
    4. ¼ tsp. granulated garlic (optional)
    5. 2 Tbsp. low-sodium organic vegetable broth

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    2. Wash cauliflower and pat dry.
    3. Place cauliflower in large baking pan. Drizzle with oil; toss gently to coat.
    4. Season with salt and garlic.
    5. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender.
    6. Place in food processor; add vegetable broth. Pulse until smooth.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    46 3 g 0 g 0 mg 319 mg 5 g 2 g 2 g 2 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Vegetable
    1



    Body Beast® Portions
    Vegetables
    2




  • SIDE DISHES

    Succotash
    Succotash
    (Makes 10 servings, about ½ cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "This one is as healthy as similar recipes, except we've cut down on the fat. With all these flavors, there's no need to make it so heavy. Trust the other ingredients!"

    Total Time: 31 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 21 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    2. 1 medium onion, chopped
    3. 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
    4. ½ tsp. sea salt
    5. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
    6. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    7. 2½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears of corn)
    8. 2 cups lima beans (or shelled edamame)
    9. 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil

    Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
    2. Add onion and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until soft.
    3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
    4. Add corn and lima beans. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until corn and lima beans are tender.
    5. Add basil before serving.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    192 2 g 0 g 0 mg 126 mg 35 g 10 g 7 g 10 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Carbohydrate (P90X) Legume & Tuber Grain (P90X2)
    1 1/2 1/2




    Body Beast® Portions
    Starch Legume
    1 1




  • SIDE DISHES

    Green Beans with Lemon and Thyme
    Green Beans with Lemon and Thyme
    (Makes 12 servings, about ¾ cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "The fried onions, cream, flour, and butter of a green bean casserole have been replaced by more refreshing fare. Lemon and thyme pair beautifully with green beans."

    Total Time: 14 min.
    Prep Time: 5 min.
    Cooking Time: 9 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    2. 2½ lbs. green beans, trimmed (about 10 cups)
    3. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    4. ½ tsp. sea salt
    5. ¼ cup water
    6. 1 tsp. finely chopped lemon peel
    7. 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    8. ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme

    Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
    2. Add green beans and garlic. Season with salt; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes.
    3. Add water; cook, covered, for 2 minutes.
    4. Remove lid; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until water evaporates.
    5. Add lemon peel, lemon juice, and thyme. Serve immediately.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    42 1 g 0 g 0 mg 101 mg 7 g 3 g 3 g 2 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Vegetable
    1



    Body Beast® Portions
    Vegetables
    2




  • SIDE DISHES

    Glazed Yams with Cinnamon and Nutmeg
    Glazed Yams with Cinnamon and Nutmeg
    (Makes 12 servings, 2/3 cup each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "This one is still decadent, but we've tried to keep the indulgences a little more holistic. Say no to marshmallows!"

    Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 60 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 2½ lbs. medium yams, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
    2. 1 tsp. sea salt, divided use
    3. 2 tsp. grated orange peel
    4. 2 Tbsp. 100% orange juice
    5. 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    6. 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
    7. 2 Tbsp. raw honey
    8. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
    9. ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
    10. ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Arrange yams in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season evenly with ¼ tsp. salt. Set aside.
    3. Combine orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice, butter, and honey in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
    4. Pour orange juice mixture over yams; toss to coat.
    5. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ¾ tsp. salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
    6. Bake yams, stirring occasionally, for 50 to 60 minutes, or until fork tender.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    138 3 g 2 g 8 mg 198 mg 27 g 4 g 3 g 1 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Carbohydrate/Legume & Tuber Condiment
    1/2 1




    Body Beast® Portions
    Starch Carb Liquid
    1 1




  • SIDE DISHES

    Vegan Gravy
    Vegan Gravy
    (Makes 20 servings, 2 Tbsp. each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "Most vegans and vegetarians I know miss gravy. This one is for them. And the nutritional yeast provides the B12 missing from many meat-free diets."

    Total Time: 25 min.
    Prep Time: 5 min.
    Cooking Time: 20 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1/4 cup olive oil
    2. 1/2 medium onion, chopped
    3. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    4. 1/2 cup arrowroot
    5. 4 tsp. nutritional yeast
    6. 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
    7. 2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
    8. ¼ tsp. ground black pepper

    Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent.
    3. Add arrowroot, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce; mix well to form a smooth paste.
    4. Slowly add broth; whisking constantly to blend. Season with pepper.
    5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    42 3 g 0 g 0 mg 120 mg 4 g 0 g 0 g 0 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Condiment
    1



    Body Beast® Portions
    No soy for you!




  • SIDE DISHES

    Spiced Cranberry Sauce
    Spiced Cranberry Sauce
    (Makes 32 servings, 2 Tbsp. each)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "Skip the canned version! This one is easy to make and much more nutritious."

    Total Time: 25 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 15 min

    Ingredients:

    1. 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
    2. 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
    3. 1 tsp. finely chopped orange peel
    4. 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    5. 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    6. 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
    7. 1 (12-oz.) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
    8. 1 cup chopped raw pecans
    9. 1/2 cup raisins
    10. 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, packed in juice
    11. 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

    Preparation:

    1. Bring orange juice, apple juice, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Add cranberries. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes.
    3. Add pecans, raisins, and pineapple; cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat.
    4. Add maple syrup; mix well.
    5. Cool before serving.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    46 3 g 0 g 0 mg 1 mg 6 g 1 g 4 g 0 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Fruit
    1/2



    Body Beast® Portions
    Fruit
    1




  • DESSERTS

    Pumpkin-Coconut Custards
    Pumpkin-Coconut Custards
    (Makes 8 servings)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "Cutting the crust is a huge calorie saver. And raw honey instead of sugar means you can use less because it's sweeter."

    Total Time: 1 hr.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 50 min

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    2. 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    3. 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    4. 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
    5. 4 large eggs, beaten
    6. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
    7. 1/2 tsp. pure coconut extract
    8. 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
    9. 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
    10. 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
    2. Combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
    3. Combine eggs, maple syrup, and extract in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
    4. Add spice mixture and pumpkin.
    5. Gradually add coconut milk and almond milk; whisk to blend.
    6. Pour mixture evenly into eight 6-oz. custard cups. Place cups in 13x9-inch baking pan; fill pan with 1-inch hot water.
    7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in custard halfway between center and edge of ramekin comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    153 7 g 5 g 93 mg 202 mg 19 g 2 g 14 g 5 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Single Snack
    1-1/2




    Body Beast® Portions
    Vegetables Starch
    2 1




  • DESSERTS

    Creamy Pumpkin Pie
    Creamy Pumpkin Pie
    (Makes 9 servings)

    Total Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 1 hr. 10 min.

    Ingredients for Crust:

    1. 3/4 cup dry quinoa
    2. 1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
    3. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    4. 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
    5. 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)

    Ingredients for Filling:

    1. 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
    2. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    3. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    4. 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
    5. 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    6. 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    7. 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
    8. 2/3 cup evaporated nonfat milk

    Preparation for Crust:

    1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    2. Grind quinoa in a clean spice or coffee grinder until finely ground.
    3. Place quinoa, walnuts, and cinnamon in a food processor; pulse until well mixed.
    4. Combine quinoa mixture, oil, and maple syrup in a medium bowl; mix well.
    5. Press mixture into 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

    Preparation for Filling:

    1. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
    2. Combine pumpkin, eggs, extract, and maple syrup in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.
    3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and milk; mix until just blended.
    4. Pour pumpkin mixture into cooled crust.
    5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    203 8 g 3 g 41 mg 108 mg 28 g 3 g 15 g 6 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Double Snack
    1



    Body Beast® Portions
    Vegetables Starches
    2 2




  • DESSERTS

    Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone
    Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone
    (Makes 12 servings)

    Ani's Chef Notes: "This is one of my signature dishes. It's an easy-to-make crowd pleaser."

    Total Time: 45 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 35 min.

    Ingredients:

    1. 2 cups red wine
    2. 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
    3. 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    4. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    5. 6 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, cut in half
    6. 12 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese

    Preparation:

    1. Bring wine, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon to a boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add pears; gently boil, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn pears and continue cooking for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until pears are fork tender.
    3. Remove pears from liquid; gently boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until reduced in half.
    4. Serve 1/2 pear with 1 Tbsp. cheese topped with wine sauce.

    Nutritional Information (per serving):

    Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
    169 7 g 4 g 18 mg 11 mg 21 g 3 g 14 g 1 g


    P90X®/P90X2® Portions
    Double Snack
    1



    Body Beast® Portions
    Fruit Fat Protein
    1 1 1






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Mind Over Matter: How to Use Meditation to Combat Stress

By Denis Faye

Like many a poor sap trying to make the most of this hectic world, my mind tends to churn like a washing machine filled with ferrets. Even in the most tranquil of moments, dozens of thoughts scrape and bite to get to the top of my consciousness—and most of the time, it's the big ugly ones that win the race.

Rodents and household appliances aside, you may know this phenomenon simply as "stress." You have a million things to do and a billion things to worry about. We all do. It's the curse of the modern age.

Woman Meditating


Unfortunately, most of us look to pursuits to take the edge off; they may seem to help, but actually compound the problem. There's nothing wrong with the occasional cocktail, or a little mindless television from time to time, but activities like this don't solve anything. They just cover up your issues and make your thought process all the more unruly.

If you're looking for a serious solution, meditation is a far more effective way to cut through the cerebral clutter—and unlike a booze bender or a reality TV marathon, it only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day

The Benefits of Meditation

Woman Listening to MusicPeople tend to associate meditation with Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, but Judeo-Christian fans may be surprised to learn that there are references to meditation in the Old Testament. And, in Islam, meditation is an important part of Sufism. Although there are certainly connections to religion, meditation, in the modern sense, can be completely secular. No blue deities, no transcending this earthly form, no incense (unless you dig that, then it's, like, totally cool)—just an opportunity to organize your thoughts and take back your brain from the laundry list of external forces pulling you in a million directions.

The science on the benefits of meditation is super strong, especially when it comes to stress reduction. Research appearing in the Journal of Biomedical Research shows that meditation does this by increasing parasympathetic activity. Your nervous system is divided into two parts—sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system controls your "fight or flight" reactions. It's the predominant nervous system when you're under the gun. The parasympathetic nervous system controls your "rest and digest" functions. In other words, when things are mellow, the parasympathetic takes charge—and meditation makes that happen more often.1

But that's just part of the story. A consistent meditation practice has been scientifically linked to improved cardiovascular health, focus, and information processing.2 In fact, if you pick a malady at random, odds are that there's a reasonably credible study showing that meditation either improves symptoms or acts as an effective way to manage symptoms. There's really no reason not to do it.

How to Meditate

Woman MeditatingMany people mistakenly think the goal of all meditation is to "turn off your brain." This is one technique (sort of), but in truth the definition of meditation shifts depending on whom you ask. In some circles, it's a matter of reading a philosophical/religious text and contemplating the key passages (suggestions: the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, or Winnie the Pooh). Tony Horton often refers to yoga as "moving meditation." When I'm cycling alone, I often focus so intently on my breathing and the cadence of my peddling that it becomes a form of meditation. Some people consider sitting on a favorite park bench and breathing deeply for five minutes to be meditative.

However you do it, the key to any good meditation practice is to quiet the noise in your brain—not drown it out or dope it up, but actively calm it down.

All those options aside, if you're looking for something more specific, there are a few meditation techniques that have been shown to be especially effective.

First, it's important to find a quiet place with minimal distractions. Here in Los Angeles, lots of people prefer the beach. Frankly, I find the waves, the birds, and the beauty of it all just too distracting. My favorite place to meditate is the middle of my living room, at about 6 AM before my daughter and my dog wake up demanding waffles and kibble (in that order).

Next, sit comfortably, but up straight. You want to be comfy because, once you master it, you'll be there for a while. You want to be upright for a couple reasons. Many experts claim it's necessary because a straight spine allows energy to flow better. Personally, I think sitting up straight is a good way to avoid accidentally falling asleep. If you have back issues, do what you need to do. I elevate my rump by sitting cross-legged on a yoga bolster. I also support my spine by sitting with my back against a wall.

Finally, start with five minutes a day and increase gradually as it becomes easier. Odds are, your thoughts are going to be all over the map the first few times you do it. That's cool. Even if your practice felt like a complete mess, it benefited you given it took you one step closer to learning how to calm your brain. You'll get there. Just try again tomorrow.

From here, there are a number of practices to experiment with. You might want to try a variation of Transcendental Meditation (TM), developed by Maharashi Mahesh Yogi, who you might remember as that yogi guy who hung out with the Beatles. In this practice, you pick a mantra to focus on—a word that has meaning to you and feels right, such as "love" or "heal" or "beer." (It could happen.) Armed with your mantra, sit quietly and repeat it silently to yourself. When your mind wanders—which it will—simply steer it back to your mantra.

StonesAnother technique is mindfulness meditation. Like the TM variation above, start with a focal point—typically your breath. That'll hold your attention for a little while, but soon thoughts or sensations will try to take over. Don't try steering away from these things. Instead, accept them without judgment and let them pass by, like waves on a beach or clouds in the sky. If it helps, you can also assign "tags" to help you observe thoughts passively. For example, let's say you're in the middle of meditating and suddenly you remember how one of your coworkers stole your lunch out of the fridge yesterday. Instead of following that path and letting your anger consume you, assign it a tag that describes how you feel, like "anger." Now, just repeat "anger" in your head, distancing yourself from both the thought and the emotion. It should soon pass.

I've found this technique to be an incredibly powerful tool for managing my emotions. It can also be used for pain management, by isolating and passively accepting pain instead of letting it consume you—which can be a massive benefit when Shaun T's got your legs searing in the middle of an INSANITY® workout.

If you're looking for a more in-depth look into mindfulness meditation, I strongly recommend Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield.

The modern world is a stressful place. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do about the barrage of stressors that make up daily life. You can, however, change how you—and your body—react to them, so take a deep breath and take back your life.

Have you ever tried meditation? Has it helped you? Where have you struggled? Tell us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Sources:
  1. Wu, S.-D., & Lo, P.-C. (2008). Inward-attention meditation increases parasympathetic activity: a study based on heart rate variability. Biomedical research Tokyo Japan, 29(5), 245-250. J-STAGE. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18997439
  2. 4 Scientific Studies on How Meditation Can Affect Your Brain and Creativity

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"Ask the Expert: Can Stress Make You Fat?"
"30 Ways to Relieve Your Stress"
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The 7 Dirtiest Places in Your Home

By Sarah Stevenson

What's the filthiest spot in your house? The toilet? The dirty clothes hamper? Your teenager's increasingly profane mouth? Nope! These places are just the start of your problems! Bacteria can divide every 20 minutes and has the ability to mutate in ways that our immune system can't recognize —in other words, it gets everywhere and we need to be mindful of it.1 You might be unpleasantly surprised when we tell you where these dirty little things hide. But don't worry; we're also going to show you how you (or your teenager) can clean them up.

Gloves cleaning the shower


#7: The Shower/Bathtub

Ironically (and logically), the place set aside for the sole purpose of cleaning is pretty darn dirty. It's a moist environment—ideal for mold and bacteria. Researchers from NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation) found staphylococci—a bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections and skin lesions–climbing all over baths and showers in domestic homes.2,3

What to Do:
- Clean your shower with a bleach solution at least once a week.
- Dry your shower or bath after each use.
- Leave a window open and/or turn on the bathroom fan while bathing and for up to an hour after.
- If you use a shower curtain, throw it in the washing machine on hot with laundry detergent and bleach once every week or two.

#6: "Clean" Laundry

Folded Sheets on a Wicker Basket on top of a BedDo your clothes ever have a sour smell to them? It's likely they sat in the washing machine too long. If wet clothes sit longer than 30 minutes, they become a breeding ground for mold and germs, which can cause skin rashes, itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing. Long-term effects of mold can cause issues as well as permanent damage to your upper respiratory system.4

What to Do:
- Remove clothes from the washer right after the cycle is done.
- Wash hands before and after transferring wet clothes into the dryer.
- Wash clothing in very hot water; this kills mold spores and germs.
- Dry clothes on hot or hang them from a clothesline in the sun.
- If clothes have been contaminated with mold, use a detergent with bleach like Clorox® to clean them. Run through several cycles before transferring to the dryer.
- Dissolve half a cup of Borax® along with regular laundry detergent in very hot water.

#5: Carpets and Rugs

It is going to take a really good cleaning before you roll seductively around on your shag carpet after reading this one. Most vacuums aren't strong enough to get deep into the carpet's fibers and base. So no matter how many times you vacuum in a week there are still over 200,000 bacteria crawling around—in every square inch—feeding on dead skin, food particles, pet dander, and pollen.5,6 Still feel like rolling around on your shag carpet?

What to Do:
- Remove shoes before entering your home.
- Vacuum twice a week. Move furniture around so you can get to every area in the house. Vacuum baseboards and hard to reach corners as well.
- Don't eat food dropped on the floor. The 5-second rule is a myth.
- Treat spills immediately with a damp cloth and carpet cleaning solution. Pat dry with a towel.
- Have your carpets steam cleaned professionally every year.

#4: Knobs, Switches, and Handles

According Dr. Joseph Mercola, one of the most common ways to catch a cold is through contact with these oft-touched—and oft-infected—objects.7 Even worse, if you handled raw meat or other food—which can contain E. coli and salmonella—and then opened your fridge or turned on your oven, you could be spreading dangerous bacteria around your kitchen.

What to Do:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, especially when handling food in the kitchen or after using the restroom.
- Clean knobs, switches, and handles weekly with disposable disinfectant wipes.
- Consider replacing them with copper ones. Research has found that copper suffocates germs and prevents them from spreading.8

#3: The Cup That Holds Your Toothbrush

ToothbrushesIn most modern bathrooms, the sink is near the toilet. Each time you flush your toilet (with the lid up) you splash fecal matter in a six-foot radius. You do the math on how that impacts your exposed toothbrush.9 Adding to this, the cup is a very moist environment, which is absolute heaven for bacteria averaging a whopping 2 million cells including: staph, yeast, coliform, and mold.

What to Do:
- Store your toothbrush in a dishwasher-safe plastic, glass, or stainless steel cup. Run the cup through a dishwasher cycle at least once a week.
- Always close the lid to the toilet when flushing. In fact, keeping it closed all the time is a pretty good idea. (Except when you're using it.)
- Wash hands before and after you brush your teeth.
- Dip your toothbrush in rubbing alcohol before each brushing.
- Store toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible. Linen closets are a good spot or even your bedroom.

#2: Your Coffee Maker

Has your brew tasted a little off lately? You may be drinking a lot more than java. The damp, dark environment of your coffeepot is a breeding ground for mold, germs, and bacteria, according to Saint Louis University assistant professor Donna Duberg. Seasoned coffee drinkers speak of coffee's antibacterial effects, but these properties only kill 50% of the mold that gets trapped in your machine's tubing. Another misconception is that the hot water that brews the coffee will kill the germs, but water must be boiling and in contact with mold for at least a minute to kill it.

What to Do:
- Clean your coffee maker every month with a solution that is one part vinegar, and two parts water. Place your filter in as if you are making coffee. Pour the solution in where you would usually add water. Run a brewing cycle, remove the filter, and allow the solution to sit in the pot for 20 to 30 minutes. Run several more cycles with clean water until the smell of vinegar disappears.
- Soak coffee maker parts and pot in soapy hot water for 30 minutes each week—or run the parts through a dishwasher.

#1: Your Kitchen Sponge

Sponges on a Counter TopIt turns out the kitchen is the dirtiest place in your house—and your sponge may be the dirtiest item in there. Research conducted by NSF International found salmonella, E. Coli, and fecal matter on dish sponges in more than 75% of homes tested.10 And remember—bacteria is not only in the sponge, but also on the stuff you wipe it with.

What to Do:
- Clean up kitchen messes with biodegradable disinfectant wipes.
- Replace your sponge at least every 2 weeks.
- Microwave your wet sponge for 2 minutes to kill all the germs—but be sure to let it cool before touching it so you don't burn your hands.

There's no need to get obsessive about germs. However, it is important that you are conscious of your environment and how it affects your health. Flu season is upon us and being aware of these dirty little spots will decrease your chances of infection. So get yourself some rubber gloves and get busy.

Sources:
  1. Microbiology Online: Bacteria
  2. Foster T. Staphylococcus. In: Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996. Chapter 12.
  3. Scott, Elizabeth, Susan Duty, and Karen McCue. "A critical evaluation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria of medical interest on commonly touched household surfaces in relation to household demographics." American journal of infection control 37.6 (2009): 447-453.
  4. Hardin, B. D., B. J. Kelman, and A. Saxon. "Adverse human health effects associated with molds in the indoor environment." Journal of occupational and environmental medicine/American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 45.5 (2003): 470-478.
  5. Philip, M. The Secret Life of Germs: What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them. Atria Books, 2003.
  6. Rice, Daniel H., et al. "Household Contamination with Salmonella enterica1." Emerging infectious diseases 9.1 (2003): 120.
  7. Grass, Gregor, Christopher Rensing, and Marc Solioz. "Metallic copper as an antimicrobial surface." Applied and environmental microbiology 77.5 (2011): 1541-1547.
  8. What Door Handles Actually Kill Bacteria?
  9. Janse, Allison. "The Germ Freak's Guide to Outwitting Colds And Flu: Guerilla Tactics To Keep Yourself Healthy, At Home, At Work And In The World." HCI, 2005.
  10. The 2013 NSF International Household Germ Study

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"Go Spring Cleaning Crazy: 9 Time-Saving Checklists"
"Tidy Up Yourself: 7 Tips to Spring Clean Your Body and Mind"
"5 Great Tricks to Ward Off a Cold"

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Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushroom Ragù

(Makes 2 servings)


 Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushroom Ragù
Serve savory mushroom ragù in acorn squash bowls for a dramatic dish that is surprisingly filling.

Total Time: 1 hr. 8 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 58 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided use
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (15-oz.) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano (or thyme), finely chopped
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Brush the interior of each squash half with ½ tsp. oil.
  3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven. Set aside.
  4. Heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until onions are translucent and mushrooms are lightly browned.
  6. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper if desired; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  8. Spoon half of the sauce mixture into each squash half.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
239 7 g 1 g 0 mg 152 mg 38 g 8 g 9 g 7 g


If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


Body Beast and P90X®/P90X2® Portion Information

P90X/P90X2 Nutritional Information:
Vegetables
Fat
4 1/2


Body Beast Nutritional Information:
Vegetables
Fat
1 1


If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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