Mother's Day 2.0: Making Mom Happy in 3 Easy StepsBy Sarah Stevenson
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."
Step 1: Plan a healthy activity
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.
- Pack a Picnic. Your mom dreads the crowded restaurant you take her to just as much as you do. You won't have to wait in a long line to eat and you can spend the day together at her favorite spot. Going on a nice family hike will give you all a chance to reconnect, laugh, exercise, and see the beauty of nature. This would be a lovely and thoughtful gift that the whole family can enjoy. You can even bring the dog, if you like. Your modern mama has health and fitness on the brain so if she can spend time connecting with her family while getting some cardio in and a healthy lunch, she will be flying high. Your mother wants to spend time with her family and not waiting around with a thousand strangers. You can even purchase a unique picnic basket customized for your mom and make it a Mother's Day tradition each year. Pack it full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of protein.
- Schedule a Family Portrait. It may be a radical departure from that controversial "after" bikini shot that Mom posted on the Team Beachbody® site, but it'll mean every bit as much to her, if not more. She is so proud of her family and herself. How great would it be if you all dressed up and surprised her by taking her to a studio to get a picture of the whole family? As she looks back at that picture she will always be reminded of that Mother's Day she spent with you.
And while you're snapping shots, get a photo of you hugging your mom and enter it in our "Hug Your Mom" Mother's Day Photo Contest for a chance to win her a copy of Tai Cheng™ and a copy of the Beachbody® program of your choice. See our Facebook® page (http://apps.facebook.com/contestshq/contests/220615) for more details.
- Group Exercise. Of her choice, of course. So if mom chooses Zumba® or cardio kickboxing, get your legwarmers on. How many laughs would you earn if you had to shake your booty next to dad and mom? This way, the whole family gets a workout and mom feels happy and refreshed.
- Solitude. Something that mom gets very little of. Giving mom the time and space to do whatever she likes, alone. Take your brothers, sisters, and dad out so mom can have a little time to herself. Give her the much-needed gift of solitude that busy, overworked moms rarely receive.
Step 2: Buy a healthy gift
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.
- Spa Day. Something every girl absolutely loves. A day full of pampering, peace, and quiet. Something moms rarely have time for. Give her the permission to be a queen for a day. This Mother's Day, allow your amazing mama to relax and put her feet up even if it is just to show off those hot, sexy legs she's worked so hard at attaining.
- Yoga Time. Over the years you've seriously stressed your mom out. Not that you're a rotten kid or anything. Moms have a built-in worry system that never shuts off. So it's time your mom gets a chance to let go and relax. A body-beautifying, mind-clearing class could be just the gift for her . . .
- Beachbody Gear. Beachbody has several gifts any mother would be thrilled to receive. These are the kind of gifts every cool mom needs and the gifts that keep on giving. You can keep it simple and get her a yoga mat or P90X2® RumbleRoller®, or you can help keep her moving with 10-Minute Trainer®, for those days she only has time to squeeze in a quick workout in between client meetings and soccer practice. Or maybe Tai Cheng for days she just needs a relaxing, restorative routine after a hard day of "momming."
Of course, if you can't make up your mind, you can always get her one of our eGift Cards. Offer your mom the freedom to choose what she wants for this special holiday.
Step 3: Top off Mother's Day with the gift of emotional support
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.
7 Colors of the Phytonutrient Rainbow: How Eating a Variety of Colors Can Keep You HealthyBy Elisa Lenox
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!
Urban Gardening Part One: Your Own, Private Eden
By Lauren Nazari
How One City Couple Went All Green Acres Without Leaving the Neighborhood
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.
- Quality. The taste and feel of freshly picked produce is simply unbeatable. Imagine stepping out onto your apartment patio or backyard, salt shaker in hand, plucking yourself a nice, plump heirloom tomato, and experiencing the anticipation of—then surprise at—the flavor of the real thing. Salivating yet?
- Money Savings. It can take a little pocket change to get started, but there are plenty of fun and creative ways to cut your start-up costs. The long-term savings of growing your own food is incredible. Consider the onions I mentioned earlier. A whole packet of organic seeds will run you about $2.75 (and you'll have onions sprouting out your ears if you plant the entire contents). Plus, if you learn to save your seeds, you may never have to buy an onion again!
- Go Eco. It doesn't get any more "local" than this. Plus, if you compost, you'll cut down on trash by so much, your waste collectors might start having serious neglect issues. Also, using all organic materials ensures that your food is not only safe to consume, but the earth and its wildlife surely will appreciate it too. According to James E. Williams' book, Just Food, synthetic pesticides, used commonly in industrial, non-organic agriculture, "kill more than their intended host, ridding the environment of a range of beneficial insects and soil microbes." They also "leach into drinking water, can cause reproductive problems in lab animals, may cause endocrine and respiratory problems in humans, and persist in the food supply as residues on fruits and vegetables." Eww.
- The Peaceful Garden. There is something so calming about being among such miraculous gifts of nature. To sow a seed, and get to nurture and coax it into a wondrously fruitful thing, is truly a beautiful experience. Also, when Jeff and I get to spend time in the garden, we often get a meditative sense of well-being. Throw out your Valium, everybody; there's a not-so-new natural de-stressor in town!
- Cool Factor, of course. If you live in an urban area and manage to grow half of your food on your patio, rooftop, in pots, or in your backyard, everyone will be so impressed; they'll want to be just like you.
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.)
- McWilliams, J. E. (2009). Just Food. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Hug Your Mom and Enter for Your Chance to Win
Use your strong arms to give mom a squeeze. Just share the photo of your hug and "like" us on Facebook®, and get a chance to win a Beachbody fitness program for the both of you. Hurry! Contest ends Thursday, May 10th.
Recipe: Tropical Rice Salad
(Makes 4 servings)
- 3 cups brown rice, cooked
- 15 oz. black beans, low-sodium
- 1 medium orange, chopped
- 1 fresh mango, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Combine rice, beans, orange, mango, tomato, jalapeño, bell pepper, green onion, and lettuce in a large serving bowl.
- Add vinegar, orange juice, and salad dressing. Toss gently to blend.
- Serve immediately.
Canned or homemade beans can be used.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Information: (per serving)
|410||6 g||1 g||0 mg||272 mg||77 g||16 g||10 g||15 g|
P90X® and P90X2® Portion Information
Nutritional Information: (per serving)
|Carbs (legumes & tubers)||Fruit||Vegetables|
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