Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love chocolate chip cookies but I try and stay away from starchy white flour.  The reason why starch isn’t good for us is because it is digested way too fast, which causes insulin levels to spike.  Insulin (as you know) is a hormone and when it functions improperly it is linked to an array of physical problems.  When insulin levels are disturbed, it throws-off your whole body and everything has to compensate.  In addition, white flour is stripped of good parts.  Whole wheat consists of three parts: the bran, the germ, and the starch then they get rid of the two nutritious parts – the bran and and germ and leave just the starch in white flour.

So I was excited to find this recipe and changed it to make it a little healthier, feel free to add your touch.  These cookies have simple and quality ingredients (I always like simple!).  I actually think these cookies are even more delicious than normal cookies because of the soft chewy oats gives the cookies a flavor that really melts in your mouth!

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sweetener (brown sugar, coconut sugar, or desired sugar substitute, don’t use white)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (better if you can use dark chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp oil or melted margarine
  • 1-2 tbsp milk of choice

First, blend in a food processor or blender oats, baking soda, salt, sweetener, and coconut flakes for one to two minutes.  Then add chocolate chips, oil and milk and blend with a spoon.  Roll into balls about 1 inch and place on a baking sheet and cook for 6-7 minutes at 375.  Makes about 8-9 cookies. Each cookie has about 50-60 calories.

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My daughter who’s a big sugar lover, loved these cookies!  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

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Beach Body Bootcamp

wedding lawn BBC I was asked by the Balboa Bay Club to teach a bootcamp class for a special group that is coming in for one day only.  Having taken bootcamp classes and teach Pilates, I decided to do some research and develop a full body workout that can be done anywhere without any props!  It has short but intense cardio intervals, full body strengthening moves,  and some killer ab work. There are 10 exercises which takes 10 minutes, then repeat the series 2 more times for a total of 3 sets for a killer 30 minute workout!  Do as many reps as you can for each exercise!

1. Jump Rope – 1 minute, 30 seconds

Jump rope in place as if you were holding a jump rope.

2. Squats – 2 minutes

Do as many as your can in 2 minutes with your knees shoulder width apart, feel slightly turned out squat down keeping chest open and weight in your heels.

3. Lunges – 1 minute

Step forward with one foot and lunge forward so that knee is above your foot and you are balancing on your ball of your back foot.  Step back and switch legs.

4. Crunches with Legs Extended – 30 seconds

Lie on your back with your legs and arms pointed straight upwards.  Keep legs together and lift your head, neck and shoulders reaching your hands towards your toes.  Keep head lifted as you crunch up and down and do as many as you can for 30 seconds.

5. Twist Crunches with Legs Extended – 30 seconds

This exercise is just like the previous one, but when reaching upwards you will add a rotation.  When you reach up you will bring your hand pass the opposite knee by twisting in your torso.

6. Flutter Kicks – 1 minute

Continue lying on your back, place your hands by your side (or under lower back for support) and have your legs extended about 1 foot above your mat.  Keep your back flat on your mat as you move one leg up and the other down, like you’re swimming in a pool.

7. Lower Back Bends – 30 seconds

Lie on your stomach with legs straight, feet shoulder-width apart, and the tops of your feet touching the mat.  Your arms should be bent at the elbows, hands slightly higher than your shoulders, and palms on the mat.  Flex your butt and lower back and slowly raise your legs and arms about 6 inches off the mat, then lower and repeat.

8. Push-Ups – 30 seconds

Get in push-up position with your feet a few inches apart, your arms straight, and your hands near your shoulders.  It is ok to start with your knees on the floor until you get stronger.  Your body should form straight line from your head to heels.  Bend both arms and lower until your an inch off the ground (or as close as you can) then return to the starting position.

9. Dive-Bomber Push Ups -30 seconds

From the push up positions, widen your feet about shoulder width.  Lower your body to the floor by slowly bending your arms then press your torso upward until arms are straight and back is arched into back extension.  Reserve the move back to the starting position.

10 Jumping Jacks – 2 minutes

Yes, a classic but a good one! Stand up with your legs together and arms down by your side.  Keeping your arms and legs straight, separate your legs about 3 feet and raise your arms above your head in one jumping movement.  Then return to the starting position.

 

Make sure you consult a doctor before starting any workout routine.  I suggest a 5-10 minute warm and a 5-10 minute cool down.  Ok, now it’s your turn!  Give it a try!!

What’s the deal with Cardio?

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What is the deal with cardio? Why should we do cardio?  And how much?  I get these questions about cardio so often.  Many of us are confused about what to do because there are conflicting opinions about how much cardio we really need. The guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine is this:

 

“Cardio exercise is any rhythmic activity performed continuously and can include activities like walking, running, aerobics,cycling, swimming, and dancing. Cardio strengthens the heart and lungs, increases endurance and burns calories which helps you lose weight. While you should always stick with a cardio program that fits with your fitness level, the general guidelines for cardio exercise include:

  • For health benefits, do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, OR
  • Vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
  • For weight loss, you may need to do 60-90 minutes of activity several days a week

Working at a moderate intensity means you’re working, but still able to talk.”

 

 

Now we know what cardio is and how much to do, but why do we do cardio?  Here are 3 simple reasons why cardio is important to add to your workout routine:

1. Our Bodies Are Made to Move

If you have a sedentary job, think about how your body feels at end of the day. Do you have tight muscles, an aching back, feel exhausted even though you haven’t done anything physical? Maybe your shoulders burn from tension and your head hurts from staring at a computer screen for too long. Now, think about how your body feels after a workout. Your muscles are warm and flexible, the blood is pumping through your body, providing oxygen and energy. You feel energized, confident, proud of yourself and ready to take on the world. It’s so different! Our bodies are made to move–not sit around all day and yet, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

2. Remember all the benefits of cardio exercise:

  • Weight loss
  • Stronger heart and lungs
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
  • Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
  • More confidence about how you feel and how you look
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Setting a good example for your kids to stay active as they get older

Notice that weight loss, while a big focus for many people, is only one benefit of cardio. Despite that, weight loss is not our only goal, but to look good. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, having that as our only goal can make exercise harder. Why? Because losing weight takes time…what happens if you don’t see results on your timetable? Where will your motivation go if the scale doesn’t cooperate? Open your mind to other reasons to exercise–you might just find new ways to make exercising easier.

3. Cardio for Better Quality of Life

Appearance is important. That’s why I take a shower every day, make sure my clothes match and check that I don’t have anything green stuck in my teeth. But I worry that we’ve gotten so obsessed with how we look that we no longer care about how we feel. If you look at the benefits listed above, all of them translate into feeling good now and in the future. Despite that, we still seem more entranced with getting six-pack abs than feeling good, both physically and mentally.

Have we forgotten that being active can make our lives better? Moving around increases blood flow to our muscles, strengthens the heart and lungs and teaches the heart to work more efficiently. Not only that, when you exercise you set a good example for your kids to do the same, which could mean a better future for them.

Here is a great high intensity workout on the Stair Master, I posted earlier this week on my Instagram.  And GO MOVE YOUR BODY!!!

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What is your core?

What is your core?

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We hear so much about the importance of the core muscles and having a strong core.  We know that Pilates is great for strengthening your core, but what exactly is your core? While most people think it’s simply your abdominal muscles, it is actually much more.

The core, or powerhouse, is the foundation of every exercise in Pilates and in life. Learning to use it as a dynamic center is the key to efficient, graceful, and balanced movement. The elements of the core include:

  • Transverse Abdominis (deepest abdominal layer)
  • Pelvic floor
  • Multifidius (muscle along your spine)
  • Diaphragm

 

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These four systems work together to stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine when stress is placed on them as in lifting, bending, sitting, twisting, walking, running, or jumping. Lumbopelvic stabilization is important, because the bones of the spine are both mobile and delicate without the stabilization provided by the deep muscles that surround then.

The core stabilizes the spine through a complex series of interconnections between muscles and fascia.  The first link in the chain consists of one set of the deep muscles of the spine, the multifidi.  The second link in the chain, the transverse abdomens, acts like a corset to draw in the abdominal muscles and decrease the diameter of the waist.  When the transverses abdomens contracts, it creates tension on the lumbodorsal fascia which surrounds the multifidi.  The pressure of the casing against the multifidi also helps to create space between the vertebra which is called decompression or axial elongation.

The pelvic floor acts in conjunction with the diaphragm to create the top and bottom of the cylinder formed by the  transverse abdomens, the spine, and the spinal muscles.  The primary purpose of the pelvic floor is to hold the contents of the abdomen up against gravity and to control what comes out and when.

A great exercise for the core is a plank.  Line your hands under your shoulders and keep a straight line from your shoulders to your feet and make sure to keep your hips in line with your body.  Then hold for 60 seconds, break for 60 seconds, then repeat two times doing a total of 3 planks.

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