Modern moms work hard. Not only does today's matron need to manage a home, but she also has to stay competitive in her chosen career and make quality time with her children and partner. So it's not surprising that, until recently, your mom has looked at Mother's Day as little more than a day off—a time for lazing in bed and eating a big, rich meal or two.
But something weird happened this year. Last July, Mom got a copy of TurboFire®. And she changed. She's lost weight, her energy's up, she's eating great—so sitting around and eating junk food are the last things on her mind. What do you do for this new, improved Mom 2.0? We're here to help. Here are three easy steps to celebrate the day with that off-the-couch, super-healthy lady you call "Mom."
Our Moms deserve so much more than a crowded breakfast spot accompanied by a card and a box of chocolates. Here are a few options.
Moms today deserve gifts that are tailored to their own unique lifestyle. If you want to get brownie points for a thoughtful gift that makes it clear you spent some time thinking about your Mom, here is a guide to select the perfect fitness gift.
Moms are always the ones who stand by us no matter what, but the truth is, they need our support as much as we need theirs. Offer to be her support buddy this year. Agree to set time aside for each time she needs to go to the doctor for a checkup or whatever else she needs. Moms won't always ask but they would love to have you there.
The truth is, Mom 2.0 deserves a heck of a lot more than a single day off! But, unless Congress makes Mother's Day a multi-day holiday, this is your only official day to let the love flow. So make the one and only Mother’s Day, the best day ever.
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And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.
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Why is it that advice on healthy eating usually seems to center on what not to put in our mouths? With the endless ways we're taught to limit calorie intakes and watch out for "bad" fat and carbohydrates, it's almost easy to forget that there's a whole world of foods out there that don't threaten to give you heart disease, diabetes, or an expanded waistline.
Rather than focusing on what you shouldn't eat, let's take some time to focus on a few beautiful, flavorful, and health-building foods you should eat—specifically, foods rich in phytonutrients, the naturally occurring pigments that lend color and chemical protection to the plant kingdom, while also offering astounding health benefits.
The study of phytonutrients ("phyto" meaning "plant" and "nutrient" meaning, well, "nutrient"), also known as phytochemicals, is a relatively new field in nutrition, with more research unfolding on these substances than can be covered in one article. However, it's fair to say that what is currently known lends powerful credence to that ageless maternal advice "eat your vegetables."
Scientists have categorized classes of phytonutrients that offer different properties and benefits and it just so happens that many of these classes are represented by their colors. So read on and discover why becoming a connoisseur of the plant-based nutrient spectrum is a brilliant strategy that will help to preserve both your health and physical charm.
Blue/Purple – Anthocyanins are flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals that cause aging and degenerative disease. There's even a connection between this phytonutrient and decreased visceral (abdominal) fat! A 2008 study from Chubu University in Japan found a link between anthocyanin intake and reduced incidence of metabolic disorders, including abdominal weight gain, hypertension, and impaired glucose and insulin metabolism. True, blue anthocyanin sources include red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, cherries, grapes, blue potatoes, eggplant, and radicchio.
Orange/Yellow – Multiple studies indicate that diets rich in beta-carotene lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. This amazing phytonutrient falls into the carotenoid class that (along with the flavonoid group) has been credited in a 2010 Tufts University study for providing photo protective and antioxidant action in the skin. In short, these inflammation, wrinkle, and cancer preventing nutrients protect your skin from the inside out! To get a bit of beta-carotene, try sweet potato, carrots and carrot juice, winter squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
Red – Lycopene has been in the news a lot lately for its positive influence on prostate health, but it’s also thought to prevent cervical dysplasia in conjunction with other carotenoids. In other words, it's also good for the uterus, making it an equal opportunity nutrient. In addition, a 1996 University of Minnesota study found a significant increase in longevity based upon the blood lycopene levels of nuns living the same lifestyle, in the same conditions. If you're ready to get into the red, try tomato and tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya.
Yellow/Green – The light absorbing properties of lutein are associated with eye health involving a decrease in cataract formation and macular degeneration. Mellow, yellow lutein sources include spinach, kale, collards, mustard and dandelion greens, summer squash, and pumpkin.
Green – Chlorophyll's abilities to bind toxins and decrease oxidative stress make it a powerful bodily detoxifier and explain how it can actually reduce body odor. You'll be seeing green with chlorophyll sources like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, green beans—any green vegetable. The darker, the better.
Green/White – Another detoxifier, sulphoraphane is part of the isotheocyanate class of phytonutrients that has been cited in multiple studies as a cancer preventative and detoxifier of carcinogens. Some super sulphoraphane sources include broccoli, brussels sprouts, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, and watercress.
White – The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities of allicin lend to its reputation as an inhibitor of heart disease and gastric cancer as well as a potent immune booster. All-around awesome allicin sources include garlic, onion, leek, shallot, and chives.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to polychromatic eating. Use a food processor to quickly shred red cabbage and brussels sprouts into an easy chopped salad with pomegranate seeds, blanched almonds, and a homemade lemony dressing, or gently wilt kale or Swiss chard in olive oil with garlic, onion, and thinly sliced yellow bell pepper. Spiced sweet potatoes or winter squash bake in less than 40 minutes for a simple, energy-boosting carbohydrate serving. Fruit and leafy green packed smoothies are a fantastic way to throw together a quick, nutrient dense breakfast and don't forget the most convenient, and superfood-packed meal on the go . . . Shakeology®. Where else can you get over 20 phytonutrients and antioxidants in one delicious and easily portable package?
How can you ensure that you're drenching your system in these healthful, beauty-boosting nutrients every day? Make it a personal mission to sample from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily and get as innovative with your recipes as your imagination and nature's color palette will allow. Get creative and, before you know it, you'll be benefiting from the phytonutrient rainbow!
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The scary truth is that we've been burgled, and we suspect you've been burgled too. The flavor has been stolen from many store-bought veggies and fruits nowadays, thanks to high-volume farming methods and the weeks or months spent traveling across the globe to your plate. Not only that, the prices for those little produce posers have eyes bulging and jaws dropping everywhere; $2.49 for three measly organic onions that flew all the way from Hawaii? It's criminal!
So, my husband Jeff and I decided to do something about it, despite the fact that, about six months ago, we didn't know a rutabaga from a rototiller. We decided to grow our own food somewhat for economic reasons, but mostly for all the intangible benefits that come with having a garden. Here are just a handful of those reasons.
How did two Redondo Beach apartment dwellers who, not so long ago, thought compost hummus was for pita bread dipping, create a successful full-scale gardening project? Well, it's a pretty cool story. It officially started on a stroll in San Francisco last August when Jeff and I ambled by a community garden and wondered at the possibilities in our own neighborhood. At that point, we already had the impression that our paychecks were becoming slaves to our bellies (much as we ourselves are), and had also found ourselves making comments about the little stickers on our store-bought edibles stating they had traveled from all corners of South America and Asia to get to our plate.
Our apartment has a lovely patio, the size of an oversized shoebox, that gets a solid four to six hours of sun every morning. As much as it's a wonderful space, our eyes were huge on return from the "City by the Bay," so it just wasn't enough space (although we do have some tasty kale, sweet onions, and pear tomatoes currently comprising half of our view).
In our search for space, we sought out our friend, Cheryl, local facilitator of all things possible. You want it? She'll see to it that you meet the right people to make it happen. Although we were thinking of approaching the city about community gardening, she had a better idea. As so often is the case with Cheryl, her response began with "I know this guy . . ." That guy turned out to be a local homeowner who had a tiered, 200-plus square foot, beautiful, well-sunned backyard sandbox, and a generous soul to go along with it.
That fateful meeting was all the catalyst we needed. We set off to our local library and into the endless depths of the Internet to dig up every morsel of information we could. We created designs and spreadsheets to organize ourselves, speculated on what growing region we were in, and considered what would grow best that winter in our mild climate. We meant business.
Every step of the way, there were miracles teaching us invaluable life lessons, while bringing a sense of inspired energy to our project. One, mentioned earlier, was our good fortune in meeting the homeowner through Cheryl. The second came at our favorite local spot, Planet Earth Eco Café, where we worked out a system of collecting their non-animal based kitchen scraps to support our home compost.
As we sowed and encouraged our seeds into seedlings in trays on our patio, we were also busy reworking the ground and creating raised beds to make it a hospitable transplant home. It was shaping up to be a challenge, considering the original soil was primarily nutrient-poor sand. Thanks to apparently having some really good luck, we received yet another miraculous gift in the form of some suicidal sealife.
Now, you may have read about a freak occurrence in which thousands of sardines simultaneously died and washed up just south of Los Angeles. That very evening, as we sat down to ponder our soil situation, Jeff and I came across a flyer telling us that our city had composted those poor little fishies and they planned to give the gold away for free! The event, sponsored by the local waste management company, was to be held less than a mile from our place in two days' time. We were told that this compost would be just what our soil needed, and that our garden would surely grow. We were ecstatic.
Freak natural occurrences aside, your city might very well have similar green programs. For information on obtaining compost or mulch, check out your city's Web site.
Over time, our seedlings grew, moved from patio to ground or pot, and surprised us with their abilities to go from fragile, flimsy things to resilient, sturdy, and sometimes climbing beings. We experienced the pop of sugar snap and shell peas, fresh off the vine (literally); the silk-soft leaves of variously colored baby greens; the excitement of pulling our first golden beet from its cozy nook in the ground; and the way the carrots form a canopy to shade themselves from our California sun.
Considering how little time has passed since this all began, and that this was a first season (for ourselves and the land), we’ve had an astoundingly bountiful harvest. Barely a meal goes by that we're not munching on something we helped grow from a simple seed! We just can't get over it.
So much of the last half year has been simply amazing; we sometimes doubt our own recollections of this incredibly rewarding journey. But the proof is in the produce. We visit the garden about one or two times a week to weed, gawk, and pick our week's worth of kale, mixed greens, broccoli, sugar snap peas, shell peas, golden beets, spinach, sage, and nasturtiums. We're just waiting on the Siskiyu Sweet Walla Walla Onions to fatten, the Cosmic Purple Carrots to lengthen, and the Honey Butternut Squashes to show, but we're content to wait, watch, and witness the progress. In the meantime, we'll be skimming the summer seed lists, deciding what we want to enjoy growing next.
How about you? What will you grow this year?
(Next issue, in Urban Gardening Part Two, we'll take a look at how anyone can plant their own garden, even if the only space they have access to is a windowsill.)
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(Makes 4 servings)
Canned or homemade beans can be used.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Information: (per serving)
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