{Fitness Tip}: Upper Back Strengthener.


during the day take a few and lift up your arms to shoulder height, bend your elbows, and do pulses toward your back as if squeezing your upper back together.

concentrate on stretching your chest at the same time and of course holding your stomach in tight.

take deep cleansing breaths as you move. then at the end, straighten your arms out shoulder height in front of you and clasp your hands together, bend your head down, round out your shoulders and proceed to pull your clasped hands away from your body to stretch the shoulder area where you have just done the work- breathe.

finish with one more graceful stretch backward with your arms.


{Motivation}: Pull Your Stomach In!

our encouragement for the week is two fold. 
first and most importantly, please stop and smell the roses this season.  the Lord’s incredible creation is singing out in splendor and we must make a choice to stop and notice and enjoy so that our bodies and souls may be nourished and rejuvenated.  and it’s free!
secondly (and more down to earth) is the reminder to pull in your stomach throughout the day. i have a little sticky note on the middle of my steering wheel that just says ‘strong’.  i know it means in prayer, in love, in joy and in body (holding in my stomach  is part of that).  the mere act of doing this will help you to sit straighter, stand taller, breath more fully, support your lower back and ease tension in your shoulders as you follow through and pull your shoulders back, strengthen your abs as much as doing an ab exercise alone and improve your digestion as your get those core muscles back and working again. all through the day remember to pull that naval in toward your spine then up under your ribs. (visualizing this helps you to hold in the correct position.)

{Healthy Fuel}: Beautiful Quiche.


Happy Memorial Day!  If you have the day off, this beautiful quiche might be a great thing to whip up as a (healthy!) brunch treat for you and your crew.


Beautiful Quiche
oven at 375 degrees. chop about 1/2 cup of the type of onion you prefer and sauté it to limp in a fry pan or allow to sit and caramelize some.  also can add chopped mushroom to this with a splash of olive oil
in a big bowl blend 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs, 1 thawed and  drained well frozen package ofspinach3/4 cup nonfat small curd cottage cheese, the tall container of parmesan and asiago and romano cheese to your preference, 2 grated carrots5 thawed sweet potato tator tots (freezer section), chopped up fresh herbs to preference, garlic sea saltsplash of soymilk or 1% milk,chopped dark red tomato to taste and if desired a little chopped bacon (my weakness).  add sautéed onion (and mushroom if desired).  spray a glass pie pan with olive oil Pam. pour mixture in and bake until toothpick in middle comes out clean about 30 to 40 minutes usually.

{Healthy Fuel}: Leslie’s Non-Lentil Soup

I took the gist of Sarah’s super easy lentil soup we put on the blog the other day and mixed it up a bit.  It turned out awesome. Thought I’d share it with you today.

  • nuke an uncle ben’s whole grain vegetable medley brown rice mix.
  • dump it in the pan.
  • rinse a can of garbanzo beans and dump in with rice.
  • drain a can of seasoned black beans and dump it in.
  • add a low salt version of butternut squash soup or cook squash and add it.
  • add 1/2 a small can of pumpkin.
  • add a small can of rotel tomatoes with green chilis.
  • add cumin, mrs. dash garlic blend, black pepper, fresh parsley, a squeeze of fresh lemon and chopped green onions.
  • cook on low and add water as needed. super with grated cheese on top (of course).

{Healthy Fuel}: Sarah’s Ridiculously Easy Veg-Full Lentil Soup

Sarah’s Ridiculously Easy Veg-Full Lentil Soup

Today’s recipe comes from my beautiful niece in Austin, Texas who makes this frequently to keep in the fridge all week, scooping out portions for her and her husband’s lunches or throwing together a quick dinner with some hearty whole wheat bread.  It’s delicious!

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
2 12-ounce packages frozen vegetables* (or 2 pounds fresh vegetables cut in bit-sized pieces)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1 15-ounce can cooked lentils (or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils and cooking liquid)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
goat cheese

Cook the onion in a large, non-stick Dutch oven until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add next 7 ingredients and cook until vegetables thaw and broth begins to boil. Add quinoa and cook on medium heat until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin and salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5 more minutes, adding a little water if it seems too thick. Serve hot, garnished liberally with avocado, goat cheese (or cheddar), and cilantro.  I also added some chipotle Tabasco, which was divine!                                                        *I used a Mediterranean blend & a broccoli/cauliflower blend.

{Fitness Tip}: Stretching to Prevent Injury.

stretching is a preventive and regular practice for fitness and feeling good. 
much as in incorporating workouts and walking into our lives, there are many side benefits to daily stretching especially as we get older.  stretching will help protect your body from being injured as much by unusual or challanging tasks, can greatly decrease stress and it’s effects on our systems, will enhance your ability to stand and sit taller and straighter, can enhance hydration to the joints (cool!), and will help us to learn how to relax our bodies more efficiently. 
when stretching there are a couple of important points to remember:  it greatly aids a stretch to close your eyes and focus on your breathing, you must ‘give your muscles permission’ in your mind to relax and melt (i know that sounds highly freaky but it’s true). cold muscles do not a stretch make so warm up the area first with some repetitive movements and
bounce on a stretch but always slowly hold it and allow the muscles to respond.

{Motivation}: Priorities.


it’s time to set our bodies and our health as one of our priorities in life. 

this means everyday awareness of time to make good, healthy choices with food and awareness of enough time to do some kind of body work:

  • stretches
  • yoga
  • brisk walking
  • workout to a dvd
  • lifting some weights
  • ball work
  • elliptical.  

and yes with both it is important to mix it up to achieve a healthy balance with nutrients and calories and physical fitness.  just a small window of 30 minutes a day devoted to taking care of our bodies by working towards getting them strong and springy will add up to big benefits by the end of 2012. 

leaving off one food splurge every day will add up to a lighter body at the end of the year as well. 

if these do not become a normal, regular part of our daily regimen then we will continue to struggle to make glad strides ahead to fitness. 


right on and right on!