Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dirty Shoes

I was watching athe Nate Berkus show yesterday, which is not something I normally do, but he was having a segment on having a healthy home with Dr. Oz. This is very interesting to me, as I am trying to give my kids the healthiest life possible. They talked about a few things, but the one that got my attention the most was the garbage we track in on our shoes.

I decided to investigate this further and found an article on the abc news website on this very thing. I am seriously grossed out by this. They tested shoes from 8 different people and found that they were dirtier than a toilet seat. A Toilet Seat!!! I don't know about you, but my kids eat things they drop on the floor. Apparently I could serve their meals in the bathroom. Yuck!

The abc news article refrences a study done by the University of Arizona the found 9 diferent infection-causing bacteria on the bottom of shoes. They also found that bacteria live longer on the bottom of a shoe because as you walk you pick up organisms that feed the bacteria. Again, yuck!

So, the moral of the story is...Take your shoes off when you come in the house! If you have a situation where you don't want to ask a guest to do so, give your floors a good cleaning after they leave.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Accidental Exercise

My Sister-in-Law coined the phrase "accidental exercise" and I love it! It encompasses any extra exertion you put out during your normal day. For example, not finding a parking space right next to the building, or walking from one store to the next instead of driving. Maybe the elevator is broken and you have to take the stairs instead. All of these things are accidental exercise.

The challenge is to make accidental exercise not so accidental. Capitalize on any opportunity to burn a few extra calories and you will be surprised at how fast they add up. Park at the back of the parking lot on purpose. Make extra trips up and down the stairs. Walk your kids to the playground and instead of sitting on the bench and watching them play, join in the fun. If you work at an office make the trip to a coworkers office to give information rather than sending an email.

It sounds simple but the results are fantastic. Even if your goal is not to lose weight, the extra activity will have you feeling great!

Can you think of other ways to get accidental exercise?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Small Victories at Dinnertime

I got a little bit of validation the other night at the dinner table. My husband got to come home from work early so all four of us sat at the table for dinner together. I made a chicken,artichoke and spinach bake, and do you know which part my daughter picked out and ate first? The spinach! What 18 month old chooses the spinach over everything else on her plate? I did a little victory dance in my head and enjoyed dinner with my family. I'm so excited that my darling girl likes healthy food!

Here is the recipe for the Chicken Artichoke and Spinach bake. It's one of my favorites.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 15 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

combine chicken, spinach and artichoke hearts in a large bowl and set aside
combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
Take half of the cheese mixture and combine it with the chicken mixture.
Pour the chicken mixture into a casserole dish and spread the remaining cheese mixture over the top evenly.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.


*I serve this with brown rice.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good bye Cardio Queen!

Are you a cardio queen when it comes to exercise? If the answer to that question is yes, have you hit a plateau? Well here is why...

When you do only cardiovascular exercise, like running, walking or biking, your body adapts to having your heart rate in that "steady state." When you body adapts it gets more efficient and doesn't burn as many calories during that activity.

So, how do we fix this problem? Do we stop doing cardio workouts all together? NO! We need to mix it up a little. Don't let your body adapt and you will continue to burn the maximum amount of calories during each workout. Here are some ideas for spicing up your workouts:

1. During your normal 30 minute walk, stop every 5 minutes and do a body weight exercise. At  the first stop, do a set of 20 squats, at the second stop do a set of 10 push-ups, at the third stop do a set of 10 lunges on each leg, at the fourth stop do one minute of jumping jacks, and at the fifth stop do a set of 25 crunches. The key is to move right from walking into the exercise and then back to walking, no rest!

2. If jogging is your exercise of choice, during your normal run, add in 5 30 second sprints. This will cause your metabolism to ramp up and increase the number of calories you burn.

3. If you want to change it up all together it is always effective to do a circuit workout of resistance exercises while moving from one exercise to the next without resting in between. Resistance exercises include the body weight exercises I mentioned above and those using free weights and weight machines.

Mixing up your workout will not only keep your body one its toes, it will keep it interesting for your mind too!

Happy Exercising!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stair Races!!

I'm not sure about you all, but we have been trapped in the house for a couple of days because of this terrible weather. I have two 18-month-olds who are climbing the walls. It has been so cold and icy that I can't even take them out for a walk...ugh.

So, what to do??? I have blocks, I have stairs...hmmmm. Stair races!!! We spent 45 minutes throwing blocks down the stairs, sliding down to get them, and running back up. What a workout!! The best part was that the kids took great naps afterward, they were exhausted. Good nap=good mood.

If you are finding yourself with an energetic little one, try stair races. If you don't have a set of stairs I'm sure shuttle races down a hallway would work just as well. And Mom, you get some accidental exercise too. It's a win-win!