April 23 - Soda

Is Cutting Out Soda a Good Idea?

While soda in itself is not a huge problem in fighting obesity in the world, one of it’s main ingredients is slowly causing the destruction of the human body; sugar.

Cutting out soda is one of the best ways to drop one’s sugar in-take instantly, as most sodas have a high dose of sugar within them. While there are other options such as “diet” or “zero” brands that have no sugar or calories, the entire habit of drinking soda can be quite deadly if consumed in excess.

But where are the studies that point out the correlation? One CNN story published two years ago outlines the study of Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist for the University of California – Davis. The article and video can be found here.

The study used volunteers that were willing to have their food and diet mediated for them for a slough of weeks. While the meals started out without little to no sugar, the meals slowly began adding sugar, including a “kool-aid” like drink with a high level of fructose corn syrup. This drink was given to them three times a day.

The “kool-aid”-esque drink has a lot of similarities to soda that we drink on a day-to-day basis.

Within two weeks of drinking the concoction, the blood chemistry was “out of whack” as described by CNN. LDL cholesterol levels had also spiked, which can be a cause of heart disease.

All in all — there are studies that will prove that soda is bad for our body. We’ll find studies that will say that cutting out soda will do nothing. But we do know this — too much sugar can be a bad thing. And soda has a lot of sugar.

We’ll let you do the math.

April 21 - Guacamole

World’s Best Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole is something that is best had when perfected. This can either be the result of the chef or the recipe, yet the best is usually when you have the best recipe and have mastered making and mixing it as a chef. While you will have to find the chef on your own, we would like to present one recipe that could quite possibly be the World’s Best Guacamole: Pineapple and Cucumber Guacamole.

To see the original recipe, you can follow THIS link.

World’s Best Guacamole Recipe

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (10-12 oz.)

½ cup red onion, finely diced

2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles, minced, including seeds

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste

¾ teaspoon fine salt, or 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 large or 4 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted

½ pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced (½ inch sizes)

½ cup chopped cilantro, divided

Directions:

Step 1: Stir together the cucumber, onion, chilies, lime juice, and salt in a large bowl.

Step 2: Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a cross-hatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop with a spoon into the bowl and gently stir together (do not mash).

Step 3: Stir in half the cilantro and the pineapple last so the fresh acidity is distinct from the avocado.

Step 4: Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt.

Step 5: Transfer the guacamole to a wide dish and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top.

Step 6: Tip: Because of the acid in the pineapple, this salsa will not discolor as quickly as other guacamole recipe. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Let it come to room temperature before you serve it.

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U.S. Yoga Retreats

Finding somewhere to escape to that allows us to completely let go of all worries responsibilities is a rare gem. Even a cruise on a tropical island can still find a way to remind you of your typical busy life. Yoga retreats are a relaxing way to rejuvenate your mind and body, discover more about yourself, and even learn a little bit about another culture.

Where do you find the best yoga retreat? Surprisingly enough there are many of these retreats available right here in the United States. With a little help from the Huffington Post, we’ve put together a list of the best U.S. Yoga Retreats

White Lotus Foundation Retreat Center Santa Barbara, CA

The White Lotus Foundation is dedicated to the development of the total human being. They offer retreats of varying length and type, as well a training classes that will help you to be more comfortable with the practice.

Omega Institute Rhinebeck, NY

The Omega Institute offers getaways and opportunities to learn more about yourself through various wellness programs. Not only do they offer yoga retreats for adults, but they host a teen camp every summer to help youth learn about connection, self-awareness, and self-expression.

Big Sky Yoga Retreats Bozeman, MT

If the mountains call to you, then this is the place to be! Big Sky Yoga Retreats counsels us to “add a little yee-haw to [our] Namaste” by joining them in Montana for a time where you can connect with your inner country and get to know breathtaking landscapes. Their mission is to “take you on a journey deeper into yourself through yoga practice and time outside”. Not only do they provide a great time, but their location certainly allows you to get away from it all.

Stowe Mountain Ranch Vermont, NE

Have you ever done yoga with horses? If not, give it a try at Stowe! Stowe Mountain Ranch provides an excellent opportunity for you to practice yoga and try new activities in the outdoors during any time of year. The ranch provide activities such as canoeing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

peppers

Meats are good for you and bring in lots of flavor to any meal that you make, however there are times that is nice to take a break from meat. One of my all-time favorite meatless meal is stuff bell peppers. There are many ways to make stuffed bell peppers (meat included) but this one is my favorite thus far.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 cups of water

1-1/2 cups of uncooked rice

6 green bell peppers, halved and seeded

3 tbsp of olive oil

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tbsp of dried basil

1 tbsp of Italian seasoning

1 tbsp of salt

3 pinches of ground black pepper

3 tomatoes, diced

1-1/2 cups of crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside. Place the peppers cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender and skin starts to brown. While the peppers are roasting, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato, and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon in the cooked rice, and stir until heated through. Remove from heat, mix in the feta cheese, and spoon the mixture into the pepper halves. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

The pepper was tender and very flavorful.  While it is cooking in the oven, the roasting pepper smells amazing- almost like you can taste in your mouth! The rice mixture has a Mediterranean taste from the combination of the olive oil, tomatoes, and feta.  Of course the seasoning boosts the flavor as well.  If there is any leftovers, they good heated up and taste just like you took them out of the oven!

 

An Avocado Breakfast

avocado

Avocados are immensely rich in more nutrients than we can really count. They can also be included in an incredible number of recipes, and what could be better than including those nutrients in the most important meal of the day?

My favorite way to eat avocados with tortilla chips. Honestly, I could eat an avocado with tortilla chips for lunch and dinner every day. Once I realized how great my avocado obsession really is, I decided to look into how I might be able to better incorporate avocados into other recipes, namely breakfast recipes. Below we have compiled a list that includes our favorite avocado breakfast recipes- which one is your favorite?

Banana Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Egg Bake

Chocolate Avocado Pancakes

Vegan Avocado Scones

Avocado and Egg Breakfast Pizza

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Teen Say Video Encourages All to Get in Motion

Last September, the Color in Motion 5K took Washington D.C. by storm and went into RFK stadium, hosting a fun event with over 10,000 participants. On top of that, everyone who ran the race was able to do something that “Teen Say” says is getting harder to do: get in motion.

The video, which can be seen below, is an hour long and focuses in on two events that came to the DC area last year and are returning this year; the Tough Mudder and our very own Color in Motion 5K. The host and the guests talk about the events, who can easily run them and what type of preparation you need to have in order to successfully complete one.

Along with Teen Say, we encourage everyone possible to get in motion. And judging by the pictures from last year’s Washington DC race — you can have a whole lot of fun while doing it to.

Also, don’t forget to register for this year’s Color in Motion 5K at FedExField! www.colorinmotion5k.com/Washington_DC

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Traditional Greek Gyros

Gyro

Pita Bread

Ground Lamb or Beef

Red Onions

Plain Greek Yogurt

Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Dill Seasoning

1 Lemon

Garlic Powder (to taste)

Onion powder (to taste)

Feta cheese

Once you have all the ingredients follow these simple instructions on how to make the perfect gyro!

Take the pita bread and lays it out, then you will take the lean ground beef and lamb and mix together with the seasonings. Then you’ll want to put the mixture into an 8 by 8 pan so you can bake it together in the oven. Cook until all the pink is out of the center. Cut into strips. Cut tomatoes and red onion into slices. For the taziki sauce, take plain Greek yogurt and wash and strain the cucumber. Make sure to drain the cucumber so it doesn’t get watery. Once it is dry put slices in the yogurt along with the garlic powder, onion powder, dill. Mix together well. Chill together for at least ten minutes to combine flavors.

Now on to assembly; warm up the pita bread but don’t cut it. Lay it flat and lay out the meat strips on top, with the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle on some feta cheese and taziki sauce. Fold it in half and there you have it!

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Bikini Ready

Bikini season is coming soon. This means it’s time to get rid of that “padding” that has been hiding your sexy body! We’ve compiled a variety of blog posts to help every body type feel ready to bare it all (or as much as you feel comfortable with)  at the beach this season.

Baby, it’s almost warm outside, which means spring is coming. Time for spring cleaning, green grass, and vamping up your workout and diet for bikini season! If you’re like [almost] anyone else, you’ve noticed that a layer of, um, “padding” has been protecting your abs since the holiday season. Well, it’s time to get rid of that flab and show off your sexy toned stomach that has been dying to come out.

Now, everyone’s body is different. One exercise plan is not going to make the world get fit (wouldn’t that be nice!) So, we have compiled a few blogs and articles with great tips to get you bikini ready with options. These blogs are complete with exercise and diet plans as well motivational thoughts to get you in to that itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini.

Check out the links below to get your bikini boot camp started today.

http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/slideshows/bikini-ready-diet-fits-schedule

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/lose-weight/bikini-season/bikini-body-workout-2010/

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/7-ways-to-get-your-body-swimsuit-ready-starting-now

http://laurenconrad.com/blog/2013/07/shape-up-how-to-maintain-your-bikini-boot-camp-bod-health-fitness-lauren-conrad-july-2013/

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Personal Color Branding

We know that media is a huge part of your life. We also know that there are some influential women out there trying to make their mark in the media world whether through a blog, selling a product or social media site.

In these situations personal branding is key. Just look at Nike and Apple. Consumers just have to see a check mark or an apple and they know which products are being promoted. Brands are the key to consumer recognition and loyalty.

We want to help you- on your quest to branding success, have a logo that reflects who you really are. This is done through color. Yes, we said color. Did you know that what your brand says about you says a lot about a company, product or person? It can mean the difference in promoting aggressiveness or serenity.

Below, is a branding color guide from Entrepreneur.com that will tell you exactly what colors will best promote your brand. We found that Color in Motion 5K gives off a variety of vibes based on the colors in our logo. For instance, blue says confidence, orange says optimistic, and purple says power.

Check out the guide below and use color to attain the ultimate brand recognition.

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Fitness Trends

What are trends? The dictionary says that “a trend is a gradual change or development that produces a particular result”. There are so many different things that can be called a trend. Between the trends of fashion, business, hairstyles, diets, lifestyles, and of course fitness, the goal is always to change and create a specified result.

What kind of a results are you looking for this year?  Could it be improving your diet or maybe maintaining a consistent fitness plan?  If you choose a fitness plan, then that is where I come in!  Let’s talk about the fitness trends that will get you on track this year.

Exercises that are high intensity interval (HITT) are very popular; they include high intensity activities in short bursts.  If you are wondering what type of exercises these may be, think of P90X and CrossFit.

What about body weight training?  This is the most inexpensive, effective way to work out that you could do, as all you really need is your own body weight.  You can gain strength, build muscle, boost your heart health, increase flexibility and burn fat.  This type of training originally became a trend with the downturn of the economy.

Everyone can work on functional fitness- if you don’t know what it is, you will soon!  This is one of the best routines for the elderly, those who are recovering from injuries, or who may have lost strength and stamina from being in the hospital for several weeks.  This type of workout tries to mimic every day outdoor and indoor chores.  Those can consist from movements like mowing the lawn or picking up groceries bags.

Some other things that have been trending in the fitness department are personal and group training, elderly fitness programs, and children’s exercise programs. If you are confused about which route to take, just remember that you can go with whatever works best for you. Be careful, take your time, and enjoy!