arm charm

Have you ever seen a woman with perfectly toned arms and wondered, she must be lifting  constantly? The truth is women are scared to lift heavy weights and work their arms like they should. Lifting should not consume your entire day in order to achieve your toned arm results. It only takes about 30 minutes a couple days a week.

To attain those perfectly toned arms requires effort and dedication but it also requires the elimination of the heavy weight fear. I’m not talking 20 lbs in each hand but enough weight to where, by the last rep, the exercise feels challenging and uncomfortable. Many women believe that achieving “toned” arms is accomplished by lifting 5 lb weights and so many of us have the fear that by lifting heavier we will have “man arms”. This, my friends, is a sad lie. In order to ditch the arm flab when we get older, lifting is crucial and important for muscle health as well as bone health. If you begin to work your arms 2-3 days a week, using an effective routine, you can achieve those athletic/toned arms that are so coveted in our society.

Shape magazine provides some great exercises to help women achieve the lean arms look. I collaborated some of their exercises with my personal favorites. Take a look!

Bicep Curls

3 sets 10-15 reps using a 10 lb weight (ditch the 5 pounder you can do better)

Dips

3 sets 15-20 reps

Ball Push Ups

3 sets 10-15 reps

Modified Pull Ups – Using TRX or pull up bar

3 sets 15-20 reps

Shoulder Press – Dumbbells (seated or standing)

3 sets 10-15 reps 7-10 lb weights

Tricep Extension

3 sets 10-15 reps 10 lb weights

Perform these exercises consistently. Make sure to take a break in between arm days so your muscles can recover!

via: http://www.shape.com/

to juice or not to juice

The fad craze of “juice cleansing” has become exceedingly popular and has gained a lot of attention among nutrition junkies around the world. Many people view juice cleansing as just an easy fix to lose that extra weight. Often times, when I bring up juicing to various people they ask how much weight you can lose or if it helps you keep a certain amount of weight off. The truth is, juice cleansing is not made for losing weight at all, it has an entirely different purpose. While losing weight does come with cleansing, it is not the purpose, and the weight easily climbs back on once you start reintroducing other foods back into your diet. The only way to be successful at cleansing is if you have a mindset NOT focused on weight loss and rather a healthy mindset of cleansing your cells and riding your body of toxins.

What is juice cleansing?

There are various types of juice cleanses but by definition it means, “is a fasting method and a detox diet where a person consumes only fruit and vegetable juices to obtain nutrition while otherwise abstaining from food consumption.” There are many different ways you can cleanse and different programs/juices you can try. A juice cleanse is essentially a diet of mainly fresh squeezed fruit/vegetable juices. People can do a cleanse for 3, 5, and even 7 days. The key is to do it properly and safely. The main focus is to not get off track or cheat during your cleansing time. This would completely reverse the magical benefits that it accomplishes.

What are the benefits?

We, as 21st century humans, are constantly consuming solid foods, day in and day out. Our body’s are working extremely hard to metabolize, digest, and consume certain foods into our cells and out through waste. With this constant pattern of digesting solid foods and toxins can build up through many different avenues. Improper combination of foods, sugar, fast foods, waste build up, etc. are all factors that can contribute to health issues as well as  various toxins within your body.

“When you cleanse, you’re taking all that energy usually used for digestion and using it for detoxification, healing and cleansing the temple that is your body. You give your body a chance to rest, you re-charge your system and you actually speed up your metabolism. While calorie reduction does initially slow your metabolism, your body is much more efficient after the cleanse is over – leading to higher energy levels and increased metabolic performance.”

All of that energy used for digesting solid foods is used to cleanse your cells, detoxify your liver, alkalize your tissues/cells, improve energy, clean your arteries, etc. There are countless biological benefits that happen within the body during cleansing. Cleansing, however, is not for everyone. If you have medical issues, are pregnant, or are an in season athlete, cleansing may not be the best choice for you at the present moment. You have to be careful and know exactly what your doing.

What to avoid before cleansing?

  • meat and poultry
  • refined starches like bread, white rice and pasta
  • dairy and egg products
  • sugar
  • alcohol and nicotine
  • sushi

Attempt to avoid these foods 3 days before

 

There are various companies that give you a step by step juicing program which is designed specifically for the “cleanse” purpose. Here are a few companies/recipes to get you started on your way to optimum health.

Kreation Juicery has beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels for juicing. There link is below. Click on it and read all about their juices:

http://kreationjuice.com/

Nektar, a juice bar, also has a juicing program:

http://www.nekterjuicebar.com/

One more great link is a company called Pressed Juicery.

http://www.pressedjuicery.com/

Recipes

Green Lemonade

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 4 med size apples – I used fuji
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • 2 small lemons

Dreamsicle

  • 3 med sized apples
  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 1 small sweet potato – yes! you CAN juice sweet potatoes!
  • 1 pear

Start researching these links and read all about the various companies. Each company has their own unique method and claim to fame but they all achieve similar results. There are thousands of juice recipes you can try and play with. Research what you like and drink up!

http://healthycrush.com/the-benefits-of-juicing/

brush the stress away

Most of the time people forget the the skin is the largest organ in our body. On average, the  skin eliminates two pounds of waste acids daily and is the first organ to show signs of imbalance and deficiency within the body. After hearing that, you would think that taking care of this crucial organ is vital for a long and healthy life. What most people don’t realize is the skin is forgotten and disregarded as an organ. The detoxifying technique also known as dry brushing “loosens dead cells, wakes up your immune system, improves circulation, and makes your skin soft.”

If our skin is not dumping waste properly it becomes clogged and the toxins reabsorb into the body rather than eliminating the harmful waste. By dry brushing your skin on a daily basis, you are ensuring that the body is properly eliminating deadly toxins and unhealthy build up within the body.

As a little bonus…dry brushing is thought to reduce the overall appearance of cellulite🙂 just another reason to commit to this practice!

How to?

Look for a natural bristle brush when you’re out shopping. They are at beauty stores, some grocery stores and health food stores. Work from the bottom up when brushing. Start at the feet with the brush (only on a dry body) and use long strokes going upwards. When you get to the thigh and butt area use circular motions to alleviate fat build up and cellulite. It’s really very easy. Know your cellulite/problem areas and use circular motions and for everywhere else stroke upwards in a long motion. Opt for brushing in the morning (pre shower) or nighttime before bed. If you can’t get it in during those times, once a day is better than nothing! You’ll see a big difference in your skin texture and if you have annoying bumps that reccur on your skin, those should improve as well. Take my advice and start! You’ll feel energetic and radiant all day long!

Health starts with the skin!

 

via: Crazy Sexy Diet- Kris Carr, jashbotanicals.com

Sweet Tooth

This week I have been craving sweets non stop. Usually I have great will power, but the combination of too much free time and cravings for dessert is a deadly one. Although I have always been into cooking and baking, this week I’ve amped up my dessert recipes and have been very happy with the results. I try to avoid dairy and meat as much as possible and while many people roll there eyes at this kind of lifestyle, I have found that  the recipes I’ve made turned out to be more delicious then those with dairy in them. Here are a few vegan dessert recipes that have my mouth watering this week. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from an awesome vegan baking blog. They are the chewiest most flavorful chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted. The hint of cinnamon gives it a great kick. As a side note to this recipe, I used maple syrup instead of molasses and, after they were done baking, sprinkled sea salt on the top to give it a unique and delicious flavor.

2 Tablespoons golden flax meal
3 Tablespoons water

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cups + 2 Tablespoons (188 grams) or 1 ¾ sticks Regular Vegan Butter or margarine, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar

2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1)
Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal and the water. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so the mixture thickens. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2)
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until well incorporated. Set aside.

3)
In another medium mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until well mixed. Beat in the flax meal mixture from step 1 followed by the molasses and vanilla extract.

4)
Add the flour mixture from Step 2 and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

5)
Form the dough into 1 ½ inch balls. Place them on the cookie sheet so they’re spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking duration. These cookies will not turn golden as they bake so it’s important to pay attention to the baking time. Cookies will store in an air tight container at room temperature for about one week or in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to six months. Makes about 22 to 24 Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

via: http://veganbaking.net/cookies/50-chocolate-chip-cookies

Another favorite I made this week were ultra decadent vegan brownies. You’ll love this one.

1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flaxmeal
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or sub another cup all-purpose flour)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour (or use baking spray in) a 9×13″ baking pan.
  • Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a large, separate bowl beat together oil, water, sugar, vanilla, and flaxmeal on medium speed until very well mixed.
  • Add dry mixture to wet. Stir or beat on low speed until just-mixed and smooth. Do not overmix, but don’t undermix either. The batter will be thick but smooth.
  • Spread mixture evenly into your baking pan.
  • Bake on middle oven rack for 25-30 minutes. Test with finger (don’t burn yourself!). Top should be crusty, but innards should still have a little bit of “give.”
  • Makes about 15 medium-sized brownies.

via: bankruptvegan.blogspot.com

As for breakfast? I couldn’t help myself this Sunday. I made the cookies AND these muffins. Two big hits in my family and an excuse to start the week with no sweets. These blueberry muffins are worth the splurge in the morning!

  • ¼ cup soy margarine
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup soymilk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in mixing bowl. Spoon into muffin cups, filling three-quarters full.
  3. Bake 35 minutes, or until tops are firm. Cool slightly on rack.

via: www.vegetariantimes.com

There you have it. Some of my favorite vegan baking blogs and easy inexpensive recipes. If you want to get creative with these recipes avocado makes a great vegan butter replacement and applesauce is good to use instead of molasses, honey and maple syrup. Try to buy your flour from a store like Whole Foods or Sprouts and avoid white flour at all costs. Enriched white flour has unhealthy additives and we only want to indulge in healthy foods!  Take a few splurge days like I did and enjoy your time to cook and bake!

Killer Kombucha

A powerful drink also known as Kombucha Tea is on the rise in the health world. Although it is still a semi hidden secret, it should be a daily drink that everyone knows about.

What is Kombucha Tea and why is it such a super drink?

“Kombucha is made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.” Essentially, this raw elixir is best known to rid the body of toxins and aid in the prevention of serious diseaeses. Its probiotic elements, enzymes and healthy bacteria reduce your pancreatic load and ease taxation on your hard working liver. In addition, it has a ton of antioxidants that boost your immune system and help your energy levels.

“Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.”

 

“It gives your body what it needs to heal itself by 1) aiding your liver in removing harmful substances, 2) promoting balance in your digestive system, and 3) being rich in health-promoting vitamins, enzymes, and acids.”

 

There are a lot of different types and flavors of kombucha for you to choose from! You can buy them at Whole Foods, Sprouts and other health food conscious grocery stores. Start your Kombucha detox today.

 

via: foodrenegade

burn baby burn

The concept of “burning fat” has always been one that has been debated among health and fitness magazines as well as professionals in the fitness world. The word “burn” is a nice way to think of losing weight and gaining lean muscle, however, it is easier said than done. Keep in mind that losing fat and gaining muscle aren’t two combinations that come easy to people and are, most of the time, given a bad rep.

A recent study done by simplyshredded.com completed an interesting composition of 50 fat burning rules to help people attain their wish to have a leaner more fit figure. Here are a few rules from each category that I thought were most helpful from the article.

Diet:

1. A high protein diet, low glycemic or complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats are three important rules to keep in mind when fueling your body to become a burning machine. For people like me who consume a low meat consumption diet, finding the right proteins to eat is difficult to achieve. For those of you who are semi vegetarian or fully vegetarian, try getting your protein from healthy, organic, and nutrient dense protein shakes. Isagenix (Isa) has a great shake program and their shakes are a quick and easy way to ingest protein post workout. Eggs, almonds, soy products, tofu, beans, legumes, whole grain bread, brown rice, flax seeds, oily fish, olive oil, peanut butter, and oatmeal are great foods to be eating to fuel your fat burning system.

link for the shakes! http://www.andybauman.isagenix.com

Weight Training:

1. Two rules the article brings up are resting less and switching up your lifting from heavy to light more frequently. Here’s a quick tip, “Be sure to mix up your training by using lighter weight and higher reps (10-20) during some workouts and heavy weight and low reps (3-7) in others. Another way to get the best of both worlds is to perform four sets of most exercises, doing your first two sets with heavy weight and low reps and the last two with light weight and high reps”. Another tool this weight training process is not being a procrastinatior between your reps. In other words, don’t look around for your girlfirends at the gym to distract you and DO NOT whip out your cell for a quick break from your lifting schedule. Keep your reps moving and your motions quick so you can have a efficent calorie burning session. Gossip with your friends afterwards about how great you feel, not during the workout.

Cardio:

1. Run run run. I don’t know how many times I can say it. Running is your best friend. Treat your body well and it will show you the results. Running is one of the best exercises you can to do improve not only your body’s inner health but also your body’s exterior image. In terms of burning fat, these treadmill or track tricks may really benefit you. “The best way to burn the most fat with cardio is via high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves doing intervals of high-intensity exercise (such as running at 90% of your max heart rate) followed by intervals of low-intensity exercise (walking at a moderate pace) or rest”. Push yourself on an incline one day and go for a grueling distance/speed day the next. Mix your running routines up, but keep it sweaty and intense. Knees not happy? Spinning, swimming, and a tough tennis or basketball game can also kick up your fat burning fuels.

via: www.simplyshredded.com