Thursday, February 27, 2014

Did you know today is National Strawberry Day?

Some fun facts about strawberries:

1) They are the first fruit to ripen in the Spring

2) 8 strawberries contain more Vitamin C than an orange

3) On average, there are 200 seeds on ONE strawberry - the only fruit that grows it's seeds on the outside!

4) Strawberries are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidents and are linked with reduced cancer risk, lower blood pressure, improved heart health and lower risk of birth defects. 

5) If all the strawberries grown in California in one year were laid end-to-end they would circle the earth 15 times!

6) An American favorite, Strawberry Shortcake, was inspired by a dish the American Indians shared with the Colonists! They would mix strawberries with cornmeal and bake into bread - once the Colonists got a taste of this bread they created their own version.

Photo Credit:  Scenic View Orchards, Maryland

What is your favorite Strawberry recipe? Mine is simple and I often have it for a light, late night dinner or pre-workout meal.
Kristen's Easy Strawberry Parfait
5-7 whole, raw strawberries, quartered
6 oz FAGE plain Greek yogurt (2%)
1/3 cup granola 
Drizzle of local, raw honey to sweeten and taste
Mix it up and enjoy! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No more soda! No more soda!

I was getting my haircut this past weekend when a woman in the chair next to me started talking about all this cramping that she has been having in her legs. They wake her up at night, she can't walk for long periods of time, wear heels or exercise without these cramps showing up and causing immense pain.

We went back and forth a bit and then later on in the conversation she revealed she drinks a 6 pack of Diet Pepsi EVERYDAY.  Nothing else.  No coffee, no tea, but most water!  Well, loop right back 30 minutes to the cramping conversation. NO WONDER! She’s not just overindulging on diet soda – she is depriving her body of a basic need…WATER.

We all have heard the warning about dehydration; we all have heard the warnings about diet soda – especially dark-colored diet soda.

Dehydration is normally a side effect of drinking soda, not because of the caffeine or sugar contents (which is always at controversy – does it dehydrate/does it not?) but because of exactly what the woman above was doing….replacing water - A NEED FOR SURVIVAL – with diet soda.

Some argue diet soda is better because there are no calories, some argue regular soda is better because it is comprised of “real” ingredients ie: no aspartame. The reality is – it’s all bad!

Among other things… it could be leading to a stall in your weight loss goals.

1) Calcium Deficiency. Dark sodas (and some teas for that matter) contain phosphoric acid, which prevents your body from absorbing any nutrients that it needs. In addition, phosphoric acids reduces calcium in your bones. Ladies – taking a calcium supplement? Might as well just start throwing those tabs in the toilet if you are also drinking diet soda. That’s where it’s ending up anyways – it’s just taking the more, ahem, traveled route.

2) Sugar Addiction. Diet or not, soda delivers on it’s promise of being a sweet treat. Aspartame or just good old sugar you brain recognizes it is eating something sweet. Then it starts wanting more sweetness, making it harder to pass up that cupcake at the next office party. Think back to the last time you ate a cookie, didn’t you want to eat another..and another…it’s the same with soda.

3) Weight Gain. Yes. Weight gain. When you aren’t consuming calories. A recent study showed that animals that consumed sweeteners steadily increased their daily calorie intake, adding weight. In another student, 48% of diet soda drinkers showed an increase in metabolic syndrome – leading to significant weight gain. Also, if your soda is replacing water, you aren’t giving your body what it needs to function properly and get the most out of your workouts!

Image credit:

And if nothing above convinces you, take a look at what Coca-Cola can do for you at home. You can use your leftover to help clean up around the house!
  1. Removes grease stains from clothing and fabric
  2. Removes rust; methods include using fabric dipped in Coke, a sponge or even aluminum foil. Also loosens rusty bolts
  3. Removes blood stains from clothing and fabric.
  4. Cleans oil stains from a garage floor; let the stain soak, hose off.
  5. Kills slugs and snails; the acids kills them.
  6. Cleans burnt pans; let the pan soak in the Coke, then rinse.
  7. Descales a kettle (same method as with burnt pans)
  8. Clean car battery terminals by pouring a small amount of Coke over each one.
  9. Clean your engine; Coke distributors have been using this technique for decades.
  10. Makes pennies shine; soaking old pennies in Coke will remove the tarnish.
  11. Cleans tile grout; pour onto kitchen floor, leave for a few minutes, wipe up.
  12. Dissolves a tooth; Use a sealed container…takes a while but it does work.
  13. Removes gum from hair; dip into a small bowl of Coke, leave a few minutes. Gum will wipe off.
  14. Removes stains from vitreous china.
  15. Got a dirty pool? Adding two 2-liter bottles of Coke clears up rust.
  16. You can remove (or fade) dye from hair by pouring diet Coke over it.
  17. Remove marker stains from carpet. Applying Coke, scrubbing and then clean with soapy water will remove marker stains.
  18. Cleans a toilet; pour around bowl, leave for a while, flush clean.
  19. Coke and aluminum foil will bring Chrome to a high shine.
  20. Strips paint off metal furniture. Soak a towel in Coke and lay it on the paint surface. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the significant role heart disease plays in mortality in our country.  Heart disease is the Number 1 killer in America - in both men and women. 

You've already taken the first steps; incorporating exercise and movement into your daily life.  This article from Huffington Post let's us in on even more.

heart health studies
 (Photo credit:  Getty Images)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:   |  Updated: 02/01/2014 10:59 am EST
Saturday, Feb. 1 marks the start of American Heart Month, an annual initiative to bring awareness to the No. 1 killer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,200 people die every day because of stroke and heart disease.

While there are some risk factors for heart disease we have no control over -- such as genetics -- there are some things we can do, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. And of course, it's always interesting to look back at what the most recent research has revealed about maintaining a healthy ticker. Click to Read on for our round-up of some of the most interesting heart health-related findings of the past year.....

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