Sarah's Fit Blog


Almond Butter Pumpkin Brownies

Posted in Live by Sarah on September 17, 2013

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Feel free to get creative with substitutions. Try other nut butters, other forms of squash, other sweeteners, spices, mix-ins, the possibilities are endless. You can use fresh steamed and mashed squash or canned pumpkin.

Consider topping with applesauce and/or whipped cream for a delicious dessert.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond butter
¾ cup mashed pumpkin or other squash, canned or steamed
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp baking soda

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serves 8.

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Go Outdoors To Get Your Workout In

Posted in Live by Sarah on March 20, 2013

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While the allure of the gym — climate-controlled, convenient and predictable — is obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or a track.

You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

But there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.

Of course, those studies were small-scale, short-term — only two walks — and squishy in their scientific parameters, relying heavily on subjective responses. But a study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otherwise exercised indoors.

Studies haven’t yet established why, physiologically, exercising outside might improve dispositions or inspire greater commitment to an exercise program. A few small studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside. There’s speculation, too, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.

But the take-away seems to be that moving their routines outside could help reluctant or inconsistent exercisers. “If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then it is a good thing,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, who led the study of older adults. After all, “despite the fitness industry boom,” she continues, “we are not seeing changes in national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 02/24/2013, on page MM16 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Posted in Live by Sarah on January 30, 2013

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“Be yourself. People may or may not like you, but it’s important that you stay true to who you are. It is better to suffer being who you are than it is to suffer trying to be someone that you are not. Worry about your character and not your reputation, because your character is who you are, and your reputation is only what people think you are.” – unknown

 

Just a quick rant…

Posted in Eat,Family,Fitness,Friends,Learn,Live by Sarah on January 18, 2013

I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a paleo fanatic. I’m not even a very good cook. I’m just a lady who likes to run far up mountain trails and sit on top of rocks and think. I had an epiphany this morning that really upset me, so excuse me while I vent.

Owe it to God, or science, or whatever you believe in, but it’s not a coincidence that eating foods grown from the ground replenish your body with vitamins and minerals that are vital for survival or that meat and poultry contain nutrients as well. When you eat pre packaged ‘diet’ foods, you’re basically saying “yes monopolist manufacturers, your assumption that I will put anything into my body in hopes of losing weight because I have an unrealistic expectation with how my body should look and therefore have poor self-image, so here, get rich off of my hard-earned money at the cost of my vulnerability”. And if you are eating manufactured foods with absolutely no nutritional value, I’ll assume that common sense has been drowned out by society making you believe that the reason you should eat this is because it tastes good. I’m not pointing fingers or judging. I’ve been there. I still eat awful foods on occasion. Yeah, they’re good, but they aren’t helping my body one bit. It’s only emotionally rewarding for that moment, but then you instantly feel like a failure. This is no way to live and I am tired of it! Since when did eating fruits, vegetables, meats, seeds and nuts become considered deprivation?!? These are amazing fuel sources that are here for you to eat.

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Ignorance is my biggest pet peeve. And the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ is the most sorry ass thing I have ever heard in my life! Is obesity blissful? How about diabetes? Come on.

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Put down your self-help book, flush your anti depressants down the toilet, get up off the couch and go run around the block. It might be uncomfortable, but something magical will occur during and afterwards: it’s called feeling alive! Your heart will pump faster, your skin will glow, your blood with be replenished with oxygen, you’ll even produce your own endorphins….same thing those anti-depressant pills are supposed to do. Most likely you’ll be pretty damned proud of yourself! Of all the rules, laws, influences and responsibilities, this is the one area of your life in which you are in complete control. Own it!

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I know this sounds harsh, but out of all the people in this world, there are very few people who truly care for you. The corporations don’t give a damn about you, or your family and friends. They are just trying to make a dollar. So recognize those who are most important in your life, hold on to them tight, care for them, help them feel good about themselves, and make sure you are one of them.

Now go run around the block and plan your garden for the upcoming season and then when you’re done, treat yourself to an apple 🙂

Don’t get your tinsel all tangled up

Posted in Live by Sarah on December 20, 2012

Don't get your tinsel all tangled

10 Great Gift Ideas….that don’t cost a thing.

Posted in Live by Sarah on December 11, 2012

10 Really Great (Any Time of Year) Gift Ideas

In the holiday season, we get pressure to buy, buy, buy – as if that is the only way to really show someone how much we care. In our family, instead of buying things, we were encouraged to make things or do things for the people we cared about.

That being said, here are 10 really great (but not so usual) gift ideas for the people you love. Maybe they will inspire you to think differently about gift-giving.

1. Give the gift of a weekly uninterrupted, non-distracted phone call. No multi-tasking. No talking and driving. Be really present. Listen. Share.

2. Give the gift of getting fit together. Commit to walking together, going to the gym, riding bikes or other fitness method. Give the gift of one month, six months or a year of getting fit together.

3. Give the gift of a no-internet day. One day each week, shut the internet down and use the time to eat as a family, play games, work on projects together – connect as people.

4. Give the gift of story. Share one story that has moved or changed your life, and the wisdom in it. Share wisdom and humor in a story at a special story dinner, a time before opening other gifts, or at a party. By sharing stories, we connect with others more significantly; it is a gift we always remember.

5. Give a recycled gift. Make the stipulation that no money can be spent on the gift, and it must be appropriate for the other person. Look through your old stuff that, with a little labor modification, may be just right for someone else. A great gift doesn’t always have to be new.

6. Give the gift of a healthy diet. Get rid of the processed foods, sugar snacks and unhealthy options. Buy a couple of new healthy-focused cookbooks and make healthy cooking a family event.

7. Give the gift of donation. As a family or group of friends, commit to donating resources or time to those who need. Collect for the Salvation Army, donate and cook at a food kitchen, teach CPR, respond to a community need, be a Big Brother or Big Sister, etc.

8. Give the gift of help. Find the family of a local serviceperson serving in the Afghanistan or Iraq, and offer to help with yardwork, repairs, babysitting, shopping, cleaning or other need, because a key member of the household is away and the workload is unbalanced.

9. Give the gift of celebration. Celebrate one thing each day. Host a celebration dinner each week. Build in a greater focus on fun, activity and celebration. As my dad used to say, when you treat yourself to a little celebration every day, you don’t need a once-a-year blow out. Besides, small constant celebrations are great for sustaining a great life attitude.

10. Give the gift of forgiveness. Right one wrong. Make things right. Go heal an old wound. Forgive an old adversary. Release the hurt.

I still believe that the best gifts are not things. The best gifts come from who we are – they either use our greatness, or help us find our greatness. The best gifts are gifts given from our hearts, our minds and our hands – and those things that require us to be present, caring, loving and forgiving. This makes a gift great for both those receiving and giving.

Grain-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Posted in Live by Sarah on December 3, 2012

Hello fans! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Well here we are- December has crept upon us. I apologize for the hiatus, but I’ve been working my tail off and spending my free time with my loved ones, which is the best part of this season.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving. I’d like to thank each of you who visit my blog, no matter how often, and let you know what joy it brings me to review my site stats and see the numbers climbing. Fitness is my passion; so whether you have come across my blog out of curiosity, to learn something new, or simply because it’s your passion too….thank you!

I’d like to share my very own recipe I came up with on Thanksgiving for a Paleo Pumpkin Pie. Actually it’s an accumulation of other recipes I came across, but I added a few ingredients and gave it my own tweeks so that I could claim it as my own. My mom always says that a true cook doesn’t measure, so please use your best judgement if you attempt to make this. Go ahead make your own adjustments and share the credit. Ket word: share! Just kidding, you can claim it as your own too 🙂

PALEO PUMPKIN PIE:
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*Heat over to 350 degrees

Crust:
1C pecans
1C walnuts
1/2C shredded coconut
1TBS coconut oil
*Put pecans and walnuts in a freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin. In a bowl, Combine the pecans, walnuts, coconut and melter coconut oil and press into the bottom of a pie dish using a spoon to form the crust
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Filling:
15oz can pumpkin puree
1/3C coconut cream (use the authentic stuff, it’s better!)
2 eggs
2tsp raw honey (maybe a little more)
dash of pumpkin pie spice

*Combine ingredients in a separate bowl and pour on top of crust

*Bake for about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

Marathon!

Posted in Live by Sarah on October 12, 2012

Well, I did it! Seven years ago, I protested that I would never run another marathon in my life. Let me rewind. 2004: I was an avid gym goer and had many aerobics classes under my belt, so I had decided to take up running. A co-worker and I decided it would be fun to try a 5k. We had picked up our packets and were all set to go the morning of…except for one problem, how to do attach our race bibs? Tape? Glue? Oh how about we tie them around our waists with raffia!! After we parked and approached the starting area, we were embarrassed to see that everyone KNOWS you just pin them to your shirt using safety pins…DUH! So the 5k was amazing. The thrill of the crowd, the loud spectators, the organization..I was hooked. And then I saw the marathoner runners come in, and decided that next year’s marathon was an attainable goal. So I trained my ass off for 12 months. Enter the 2005 marathon: also refered to as one of the most painful experiences ever. I finished in a decent time of 4 hours and 20 minutes, and although it was a bittersweet mixture of emotions (pain and glory) I signed up immediately for the 2006 marathon because that’s just what runners do (right?). 11 months into my training I suffered a stress fracture in my left femur and threw in the towel, claiming my body was not meant to run. Seven years and many other smaller distance races later (and even a few triathlon races) I got talked into another marathon. No need to ramble on; it was hard, it was painful, is was everything a marathon is supposed to be….and the feeling of crossing the finish line 40 minutes faster than my previous time was an experience I’ll never forget. I have no desire to run another marathon, but ask me again in seven years and maybe I will have changed my mind.

Posted in Live by Sarah on September 20, 2012

10 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100

Posted in Live by Sarah on September 17, 2012

You don’t need to eat yogurt and live on a mountaintop, but you do need to floss.

One of the biggest factors that determines how well you age is not your genes but how well you live. Of course, getting to age 100 is enormously more likely if your parents did, but why shortcut your potential? Assuming you’ve sidestepped genes for truly fatal diseases, “there’s nothing stopping you from living independently well into your 90s,” says Thomas Perls, who studies the century-plus set at Boston University School of Medicine. So go ahead and shoot for those triple digits by following these 11 habits.

Don’t retire.

“Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement,” says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. If you do retire, stay active, perhaps by volunteering.

Floss every day

It may help keep your arteries healthy. A 2008 New York University study showed that daily flossing reduced the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are thought to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Move around

“Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists,” says Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Studies show exercise improves your mood, mental acuity, balance, muscle mass, and bones.

Get at least six hours of shut-eye

Centenarians make sleep a top priority. “Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells,” says Ferrucci. “We’ve calculated that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get those healing REM phases is about six hours.”

Consume whole foods, not supplements

Research suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients—selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E—age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that taking pills with these nutrients provides those antiaging benefits. Avoid nutrient-lacking white foods and embrace colorful fruits and vegetables, and dark whole-grain breads and cereals.

Be less neurotic.

Centenarians don’t tend to dwell on problems or internalize things, research suggests. Find better ways to manage your stress. Yoga, exercise, meditation, tai chi, or just deep breathing for a few moments are all good. Ruminating, eating chips in front of the TV, binge drinking? Bad, very bad.

Live like a Seventh Day Adventist

Seventh Day Adventist have an average life expectancy of 89, about a decade longer than the average American. One of the basic tenets of the religion is that it’s important to cherish the body that’s on loan from God, which means no smoking, alcohol abuse, or overindulging in sweets. Followers typically get plenty of exercise, are vegetarian, and make family and community a focus.

Be a creature of habit

Centenarians tend to live by strict routines, eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is another good habit to keep your body in the steady equilibrium that can be easily disrupted as you get on in years. When that equilibrium is thrown off, your immunity can weaken, leaving you more susceptible to circulating flu viruses or bacterial infections.

Stay connected

Having regular social contacts with friends and loved ones is key to avoiding depression, which can lead to premature death. Having a daily connection with a close friend or family member gives older folks the added benefit of having someone watch their back. “They’ll tell you if they think your memory is going or if you seem more withdrawn,” says Perls, “and they might push you to see a doctor before you recognize that you need to see one yourself.”

Be conscientious

The strongest personality predictor of a long life is conscientiousness—that is, being prudent, persistent, and well-organized, according to The Longevity Project, coauthored by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin. That’s likely because conscientious types are more inclined to follow doctors’ orders, take the right medicines at the right doses, and undergo routine checkups.

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