Monday, December 22, 2008

One small change can help you get skinny

Here it is: Quit eating MSG.
MSG may turn off leptin, a hormone that signals you’re full and regulates metabolism, according to a study published by the journal Obesity. So it’s no surprise the study found that MSG users were more likely to be overweight than not. Want to avoid it? On food labels look for “hydrolyzed protein” and “protein hydrolysates” as well as monosodium glutamate or MSG.
Other label ingredients to watch out for are: Glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamic acid, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, yeast food, hydrolyzed corn gluten, gelatin, textured protein, yeast nutrient, autolyzed yeast and natrium glutamate.
Geez – talk about food that's not natural. Most of these don’t even come up on spell check!

Fitness Me In Workout Series #10

Cardio Cooking

My time was completely booked this week due to the holidays, so I really wanted something healthy to eat. That means - you guessed it - veggies! That's why I made an Italian dish.
No, you did not read that incorrectly. For some reason, many Americans associate Italian cooking only with pasta. The reality is that vegetables are an integral part of cooking in many regions of Italy. Here’s a recipe for one of the more famous dishes, Ratatouille, from Toscanos Café and Wine Bar in Puyallup, WA. The restaurant hosts cooking classes that feature many healthy and delicious recipes, such as this one.


½ cup sliced green and red peppers (cut small)
½ cup sliced carrots
½ cup sliced zucchini
1 small head broccoli, sliced (best with flat edges)
1 small onion, sliced
1 small eggplant, diced
3 small potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced
½ cup crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil


1. Gather and prep your ingredients as you groove out to great tunes.
2. Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add carrots, peppers and eggplant. Sauté on high heat until vegetables begin to brown. As you stir, use a soup can or hand weight to do bicep curls with the other hand. Do as many as you can and switch hands. Squat down very slightly each time you release your arm, and come up as you curl. Squeeze those butt cheeks together at the top of the movement.
3. Add onions and broccoli, cook until begin to brown. Stand with legs wide apart and do Hula-Hoop circles one way.
4. Add cooled, sliced potatoes along with zucchini. Do hulas in the other direction.
5. Pour in crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and a little water. You can deglaze now too if desired. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and all flavors have blended together. Stir infrequently. Repeat on set of bicep curls on each side along with the small squats.
6. Do walking lunges as you move to and from the table to set it. Stretch and enjoy your healthy cooking!

NOTE: I served this last with a roasted chicken.

Shape-Up Shopping (Grocery Day)

Here’s a workout you can do in the grocery store while you shop for all of those holiday recipe ingredients you need.

1. Walk for 4 minutes.
2. Now stop and look at something interesting while you work your chest with 2 isometric contractions. HOW TO DO THEM: Press your palms together in front of you. Hold for 10-15 seconds and release.
3. Walk down 3 aisles with abs pulled in tight (don’t forget to breathe).
4. Grab a can of food from your cart or the shelf. Hold it straight out in front of you, arm at shoulder height, as you walk down an aisle, pushing the cart with your other arm.
5. Repeat with the other arm.
6. Walk down 3 aisles with tight buns.
7. Do 2 more isometric contractions.
8. Walk down 3 more aisles, and then modify steps 4 and 5 so you are lowering the arm halfway down and raising it to shoulder height as you walk.
9. Walk the store perimeter, then do 2 isometric contractions followed by a repeat of step 8.
10. Pat yourself on the back for all of the multitasking you just did: You worked your abs, upper and lower body at the same time you shopped!

Play Day

I don’t know about you, but this week I needed a break from holiday cheer for a while. That’s why I took my kids on a dragon hunt. Here’s how to do it, according to
1. Set out on a dragon hunt: Stand together have your kids repeat after you as you chant words and perform actions. For example:
I woke up in the morning - stretch -
I decided to find a dragon - show claws and teeth -
I ate a hearty breakfast - eat -
And headed out the door - march -
I walked through the tall grass - push aside tall grass -
I squished through the mud, etc.
Add whatever adventures you and your kids would like.

2. Flee the dragon: When you encounter the dragon in its cave, run home by retracing your steps in reverse order at a much faster pace.

For more information on this activity and other ideas, see

Groggy Day

With all of the holiday shopping, cooking, cold-weather school closures, winterizing headaches and other curves life throws at us this time of year it’s easy to get exhausted and stressed. Here are two helpful workouts – one to energize and one to relieve stress – featured in Fitness magazine. Follow the links below:

To energize:

To alleviate stress:

Cleaning Day

Let’s get that kitchen cleaned up.
1. Dance as you clear and scrub the counters, then do as many biceps lifts as you can. HOW TO DO THEM: Reach under the counter. Put your palms against the underside and pretend you are lifting it off the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
2. Got dishes? Scrub them up while you keep movin that body. Then do as many wall push-ups as you can.
3. Now it’s time for the floor. Forget the mop and do “squat and scrubs.” HOW TO DO THEM: Squat down with a cloth, scrub the area around you with your right hand and then your left. Stand up and squeeze your bum as tight as you can. Take a step forward or to the side and repeat. Keep going till your floor is all done.

Legal junk/Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice or care of medical professionals. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, or exercise program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.