Black Bean Soup

Congratulations to our recipe exchange raffle winner, Laura Siroka!

black bean soup.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 - 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 - 1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 4 Cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 (15oz) cans black beans; rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15oz) can corn (or 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 2 (4oz) cans diced green chili peppers
  • 1 (15oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes.  Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, corn, and chili peppers.  Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 3 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Spring Cleaning

I had a thought this morning - what if we all did a little spring cleaning for our health? Let me explain what I mean....

It's that time of year when spring cleaning commences: we start getting rid of clutter in the house, things we don't need, and start fresh again. What if we tossed out things that hold us back from being our healthiest, from achieving our personal best? I'm talking about things like self-defeating thoughts, old mindsets or even habits that sabotage our goals and dreams. Wouldn't that feel good? Below is a spring cleaning checklist, along with some inspiring motivation quotes to kick off our spring training!

NUTRITION

Spring cleaning can take on many forms with nutrition. It far exceeds reducing clutter," (those empty calorie foods that have no nutritional value).  More importantly it means we're making room for the healthy foods our body needs. There is something empowering about focusing on what we can have rather than what "we can't have" or want to avoid. Socrates said, "the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." What new foods will you build into your menu this season?

EXERCISE

We all know that achieving or maintaining a healthy weight without exercise is not a realistic goal. So the question is NOT whether or not you "spring into motion" but rather what is it that you need in order to achieve the goal of moving more?

Sometimes it requires the old saying "out with the old and in with the new." This has two meanings. First, if something worked in the past, but it doesn't work now, throw it out. Find what will work for you in this season of your life. Second, sometimes our bodies adapt to a specific form of exercise, and changing your workout is exactly what your body needs to jumpstart your program and your results. Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Sometimes it's simply time for a change. You can change your mode of activity, or even the intensity or duration of the exercise that you are doing now. Untapped potential awaits you.

MINDSETS

What you believe shapes your reality and your outcome. The truth is you can achieve anything you want. Most of the time the only thing holding us back is an unproductive thought.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." It's time to dismantle disempowering thoughts and engage in healthy, productive thinking that leads to goal achievement. Here are some refreshing motivation quotes to get you started:

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." ~Neale Donald Walsh

"Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results." ~Author Unknown

"Keep doing the hard things until the hard things become the easy things." ~Author Unknown

"The voice inside yourself that says you can't do this is a liar." ~Author Unknown

 

Yours In Health,

Lisa Carr

 

Tips to Reduce Time Spent in the Kitchen

In this day and age, we’re all looking for ways to save time and save money. Cooking healthy meals at home can seem like as an arduous task in the midst of work, social and family commitments. To be successful at dining in more often and preparing healthy meals for the family, one must plan ahead, have the right foods easily accessible, and use time saving strategies. Here are some time saving tips to lighten the load…..

Cook it all at once. Choose a dish that serves as a full meal (containing a starch/grain, protein and vegetable) such as stews, casseroles or chili. Roast chicken, vegetables and potatoes together in a large baking pan in the oven. Use a grill basket to cook vegetables on the outdoor grill while the meat and potatoes are cooking.

Cook in bulk. Make double batches of your favorite recipes and freeze half. Use recipes that freeze well such as soups, casseroles, and stews. Pull out one of these “emergency” meals when you’re short on time, rather than rushing to a restaurant or drive thru window for a quick fix. 

Pick ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. For example, marinate chicken for the next day’s meal while using the remaining chicken for a stir fry that evening. Try to find recipes that require the same vegetables, such as peppers and onions for fajitas, omelets, or chicken cacciatore.

Enlist the help of kitchen gadgets and appliances. The following items will shorten prep time and reduce the amount of dishes that are left to wash: electric steamers, slow cookers, non-stick electric skillets, Vidalia Chop Wizard (or other food chopper), meat shears, garlic press, apple peeler/corer/slicer, potato wedger, pineapple wedger, flexible cutting boards/mats, adjustable measuring spoons and cups, pasta pots with drainer lids, oven bags and zip lock bags for marinating.

Use short cuts. Your local supermarket offers many foods that have already been prepped for you such as: pre-chopped vegetables, steam fresh rice and vegetables (without added sauce), frozen fruit (without added sugar) and fresh peeled or pre-diced garlic.

Prep produce ahead of time. If food is not chopped, washed or prepped in some way, it tends to sit in the fridge uneaten. 

Plan your weekly menu ahead of time. Don’t waste after work trying to decide what you’re going to cook for dinner or stressing because you don’t have the necessary ingredients. Knowing what you need will shorten the amount of time spent in the grocery store easier and save money as well.

Enlist the help of family. Don’t try to be super mom or super dad. Ask the children to help set the table and clear the table, or help with additional chores such as cleaning the dishes. Make packing lunches a family affair, and pack lunches the night before. Having the children assist you teaches them and reinforces healthy habits.   

Simplify. Invest in cook books that contain convenient recipes that require minimal ingredients and prep time.  In this day and age, the shelves are stocked with cookbooks for the busy mom or career driven individual.

 

 

 

 

The Weight Loss Success Triad

We all know that in order to lose fat we must have a calorie deficit at the end of the day, which is obtained through both exercise and a healthy diet. The burning question on everyone’s mind seems to be HOW we go about properly achieving that deficit each day. What is the real answer here?  

In short, successful weight loss includes a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and a healthy diet. These three steps taken together are the key to losing fat and gaining lean muscle tissue, changing your body composition entirely rather than just changing the number on the scale.

Cardiovascular Exercise

By definition, cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise is an activity that sustains an elevated heart rate in an individual for a period of time, which causes the body to burn calories. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling and swimming. Cardiovascular activities enhance the body’s ability to deliver and utilize more oxygen, and your body requires oxygen to break down fat. The American Council on Exercise (ACSM) recommends the following for weight loss: 30 minutes moderate intensity aerobic activity per day, or 150 minutes per week, progressing to 60 minutes of exercise per day, or 300 minutes per week.

Resistance Training

While cardiovascular exercise is an important aspect of weight loss and health in general, it cannot provide everything that you need to lose fat and, most importantly, keep it off indefinitely. Resistance training, also referred to as weight lifting, builds muscle, and your body needs muscle to burn fat and to properly function in the activities of daily living.

ACSM recommends strength training at least 2-3 days per week using a full-body routine and aiming for 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise for strength, 10-15 repetitions in middle-age and older persons starting exercise. Using multiple sets is important for long term progression but doing one set can still improve muscular strength.

Good Nutrition: Fat Loss Starts in the Kitchen

The most important thing to realize when losing weight/fat is that you cannot out run a bad diet! That is to say, fat loss starts in the kitchen. You can spend an hour or two every day on the treadmill or the bike but if your nutrition is poor, your results will be as well.  An article on military.com states that in order to burn off a Dunkin Donuts bacon egg and cheese on a bagel you would have to walk for 2 ½ hours or swim for 43 minutes straight!

On the other hand, an individual who is consuming too many or too few calories will not be successful at changing body composition. Consuming more than the body’s energy (calorie) needs will result in stored energy (as fat). Under eating also has a negative impact on body composition. Consuming too few calories will force the body to utilize muscle tissue, the body’s fat burning machinery, as an energy source.

Achieving a healthy and fit body requires quality nutrients in the right amounts at the right time. Eat small, balanced meals and snack at regular intervals throughout the day (approximately every 3 to 4 hours) to keep glucose levels stable, boost metabolic rate, optimize energy for activity, reduce cravings and control portions. Fill half of your plate with fruits and/or vegetables and evenly divide the remaining half of your plate into lean protein (such as beans, poultry or fish) and whole grains (such as oats, brown rice or quinoa). The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate offers a wonderful visual aid of a well portioned dinner plate with additional healthy eating guidelines.   The appropriate amount of each nutrient varies for each individual and is best determined by a nutrition professional.

We’re here to help.

Healthy eating and exercise doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems. Contact us for an exercise program or healthy eating plan that suits your personal health goals.