Archive Monthly Archives: February 2018

Soup’s On: Tips for Making Quick, Delicious and Healthy Soups

Beans are a healthy soup ingredient.

With a few basics in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you can make a healthy, delicious soup in no time.

When the cooler weather rolls around, my thoughts automatically turn to soup. These one-dish wonders are warm and filling, and it doesn’t take much to round out the meal – a simple green salad will usually do it.And, soups store really well – to me, most soups taste even better the day after they’re made.

There’s no question that the best soups are made from scratch – I’m the first to admit that great chicken soup starts with a whole chicken, not a can or box of broth – but when you’re pressed for time, you can put together a quick, great tasting soup as long as the kitchen is well-stocked.

You’ll want to start with a liquid, and your best bets are boxed or canned broths which come in a variety of flavors (beef, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, seafood). In general, these will provide your soup with a fresher flavor than if you use bouillon cubes (which also tend to be very salty). There are also some good paste-style concentrated soup bases in a variety of flavors. I’ve found pureed vegetable bases made from butternut squash or broccoli. Canned tomatoes in their liquid also make a good starter, too, after you treat them to a spin in the blender.

Canned beans make a great soup base, too. Start with the beans and the tasty liquid they’re packed in, and then add more liquid to get a soupy consistency. Black beans pair well with tomato puree, while white beans are great with chicken or vegetable broth.

Once you’ve chosen your liquid, you’ll want to boost the protein. You can turn your butternut squash or broccoli base into a creamy soup by stirring in milk or soy milk, or whirling in the blender with some soft tofu. Creamy soups pair well with seafood – so try adding frozen or canned shrimp, canned salmon, or minced clams with their liquid to make a quick chowder. Canned chicken and turkey breast are super-convenient for your broth-based soups; if your supermarket sells whole roasted chickens, even better – pick one up and add some diced oven-roasted chicken to give your soup a homemade flavor.

Next, think about seasonings. Want an Asian flavor? Add a dash of soy sauce, a bit of white pepper, a dash of ground ginger and a few drops of sesame oil. To add a southwestern flavor to your bean soup, try adding some chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Give your tomato-based soup a Mediterranean vibe with basil or rosemary and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. For the chowder, you can’t go wrong with a little garlic, celery seed, paprika and thyme.

Once you’ve seasoned your soup, it’s time to add the veggies – and you can never have too many. Keep some loose-pack vegetables (like spinach, carrots, lima beans, green beans, broccoli or mixed veggies) in your freezer to add to your soup during the last few minutes of cooking. Or, drain a can or corn kernels and add to your seafood chowder. For the finishing touch, add a bit of fresh vegetable if you have it. A sprinkling of minced parsley, or some freshly grated carrot or zucchini added at the last minute adds a fresh, bright color to your soup, and it’ll look like you spent hours – rather than minutes – on your creation.

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Heart of the Matter: What African Americans Need to Know About Cardiovascular Health

Heart of the Matter: What African Americans Need to Know About Cardiovascular Health February ushers in Black History Month as well as Heart Health Month, and that’s why we’re highlighting the importance of cardiovascular health for African Americans. Of course,…

Read more on Heart of the Matter: What African Americans Need to Know About Cardiovascular Health at I Am Herbalife.

Running 101: 9 Tips to Get Started

Running provides a great cardio workout.

Cardio exercise is important, so let’s talk about one of the easiest ways to add an effective cardio workout to your fitness routine—running.

It’s no good just knowing about the benefits of working out and not putting that theory into practice. Today, I’m going to try and convince you to take up running.

I’m a big fan of running and I’m naturally a sprint specialist—that’s a discipline that is all about explosive power over a short distance. Endurance running is a completely different exercise. Okay, so it still uses your legs, but I think running is something that anyone can get into with relatively little equipment. It’s also easy to start out walking and gradually ramp up—making sure you always go at your own pace.

Whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to add some cardio exercise to your fitness routine, here are some simple tips to help you reach your running goals.

Running equipment

The great news is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of equipment to run, although there are a few essential items that will make your journey more enjoyable.

  • A pair of running shoes that fit well
  • Distance running socks
  • Comfortable clothing

Listen to your body

If you don’t feel ready to run, simply walk instead. Once walking for a set time becomes easy, try to alternate between jogging and walking. Your aim should be to find a comfortable, sustainable pace that feels good. Remember to stop if you experience pain. Always perform a warm-up and cool-down to ensure your body is prepared for exercise.

Train to time not distance

During the first few weeks of running, focus on the amount of time you are running (walking or jogging), instead of thinking about distance. Set a goal of 20-30 minutes and, once you can successfully run for the entire duration, increase your time. Looking at miles in the first few weeks can be mentally discouraging. Once you can successfully complete 45 minutes at your desired pace, map out the miles and steadily increase the distance you cover.

Understand your phases

Don’t just hit the pavement and start racking up miles. Instead, know that you need to form an aerobic base level by training at about a level five or six intensity out of the maximum intensity of level 10. This is because ‘steady state training’ effectively teaches your body to burn fat as fuel. This will be important as you start to increase your distance. You can work on your speed later in your training.

Cross training

In order to become an efficient runner you must run. However, adding cross training such as biking, swimming or weight training to your weekly routine will help you to get fit and avoid getting bored.

Take technique one day at a time

Pick one technique to work on each time you go out for a run. There are several things you can work on, such as:

  • Foot placement – ensuring you are striking the ground between the mid and forefoot
  • Arm movement – ensuring you are staying relaxed as you pump your arms back and forth
  • Posture – ensuring you keep a strong core

If you break down your technique one day at a time, you will not be overwhelmed. And after a few weeks, you’ll have improved your running style.

Mix in some hills

Add some hill running or varied terrain into your program. Running up hill is a great way to build strength, as it’s considered the weight lifting of running. Your posterior chain muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes and calves, have to work harder when you are running up hill.

Rest!

You must schedule rest days into your program to allow your muscles to adapt to the increased workload and efficiently repair themselves. One to two rest days per week are essential for great performance.

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Get Your Heart Pumping for Healthy Looking Skin

February 20, 2018

Exercises like running promote heart health.

Your heart health is a major contributor to the overall appearance of your skin. Let’s look at some ways to keep
your heart healthy and your skin glowing.

Looking and feeling your absolute best is a common desire. If you are healthy on the inside, you can often tell just by looking in the mirror. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. Your skin is a true reflection of what is going on inside of your body. And while you may be consumed with beauty products and the latest fashions to enhance your appearance, sometimes you cannot discount the importance of simply taking care of your body from the inside out. Your dietary choices, daily supplements, water intake and overall healthy, active lifestyle are all essential steps to healthy looking skin. Cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting your skin are also essential steps to take in pursuit of a more youthful looking appearance.

When it comes to your skin, believe it or not, your heart is a major contributor to your overall appearance. There is a direct link between a healthy heart and healthy skin. Let’s take a look at just how important your heart is when it comes to achieving that healthy, youthful glow.

When looking at the cardiovascular benefits brought on by your day-to-day activities or exercising regimen, you probably aren’t thinking about your skin. But you should be. When your heart is really pumping, you can be sure that it’s helping to deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to the living layers of your skin. Your skin contains a very intricate system of blood vessels that help transport oxygen and nutrients to those cells that contribute to how your skin looks. When your blood flow is improved and that oxygen-rich blood is delivered to both your skin and muscles, you experience that awesome post-workout glow. It’s a bit of a flushed look that gives you rosy cheeks and a more youthful appearance. All thanks to your heart!

Your heart helps boost collagen as well. When it’s working hard and improving circulation and blood flow, the added blood, oxygen and nutrient supply that are delivered directly to the skin also help to improve your collagen production. And we all know how precious collagen is when it comes to skin. It helps to keep your skin plump and provides it with a smoother looking appearance. Collagen is key to a youthful appearance. It’s a protein that’s made up of amino acids and it makes up approximately 30% of the proteins found in your body. When it comes to your skin, collagen helps with the renewal of skin cells and is important for the skin’s elasticity. It’s also key for skin suppleness and firmness.

The heart is responsible for healthy circulation for the body as a whole. And it’s that circulation that keeps your skin looking more radiant. But it’s not just about increasing your blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients. It’s also about carrying away waste products from your working cells. Those waste products can include free radicals, which are a cause of early aging, other disorders of the skin and the body as a whole. It’s all about helping your body to flush out the cellular debris from your system in the name of looking and feeling your best. Consider it a way to cleanse your skin from the inside out.

As an added bonus and another reason to get your heart pumping, a healthy heart is great for your hair, too. That improved blood flow that does wonders for your skin can also be beneficial to your hair. It can help to keep your hair stronger and looking healthier. That same oxygenated blood and nutrients help to stimulate your hair follicles, too. When this happens, it can help promote hair growth.

Remember, one of the most important things about exercising and getting your heart pumping is that it helps to alleviate stress. Lower stress levels help you to relax, sleep better and keep your skin from taking on that brow-furrowed, stressed-out appearance, which definitely can age you. And less stress has been known to keep hair from becoming brittle and falling out.

So, in the name of beauty, here’s to staying fit, exercising more to keep your heart as healthy as possible and reaping the wonderful rewards a healthy heart has to offer. Not only internally, but externally as well. A healthy heart = healthy skin.

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Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Body Fat and Improve your Heart Health

Colorful fruits and veggies should be
your go-to carbohydrates.

Here’s why keeping your weight in check is so important for heart health, and how a heart-healthy diet can help you control your weight.

February is American Heart Month, which is why we’re focusing this month on heart health. A “heart-healthy” diet can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. That’s important, because carrying too much body fat—especially around your midsection—may increase your risk for heart disease.

Why Excess Body Fat Affects Heart Health

The larger and heavier you are, the harder your heart has to work. As you gain body fat, your body has to develop additional tiny blood vessels in order to supply oxygen and nutrients to the fat cells. But more blood vessels means an increased workload for your heart, because—in order for the blood to reach all of your cells—your heart has to work harder, and it takes more blood pressure, too.

Where you carry your fat also makes a difference. The fat that lies around the abdomen (often referred to as “belly fat”) is different from the fat deposits you have in other parts of your body. An excess of body fat that collects around your midsection and internal organs is associated with an increased risk for heart disease—in part, because of influences on blood pressure and levels of fats in the bloodstream.

Carrying extra weight can also affect your heart health in another important yet less direct way. Many people complain that excess weight makes it difficult or uncomfortable to exercise—which, of course, is so important to heart health, weight management and overall health and well-being.

Diet and Lifestyle to Control Weight and Promote Heart Health

Enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet.

It’s no secret that a healthy, well-balanced diet is important to good health. But it bears repeating that eating the right foods—and not eating too much —is key to weight
management, which in turn helps promote heart health.

    o Low-fat proteins from a combination of plant and animal sources will help keep saturated fat intake down, while satisfying hunger at the same time. They’re also going to be the lowest calorie choices, too. Plant-proteins are naturally cholesterol-free, and seafood provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA.

    o Colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, should be your go-to carbohydrates. They’re nutrient-rich, yet relatively low in calories, which makes them the best choices for meeting your carbohydrate needs. Their fiber and water content help to fill you up, and adequate intake of certain fibers—such as the soluble fiber found in foods like apples, oats and beans—are associated with lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, as long as you stick to a low-fat diet. And when you focus on these “good” carb sources, you’ll wind up eating fewer foods that have a lot of sugar and refined carbs, which can rack up calories quickly.

    o Small amounts of healthy fats, such as a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a few slices of avocado, can boost flavor and nutrition in calorie-controlled meals. Using fats thoughtfully and sparingly will help you with calorie-control, since fats are more calorie-dense than either proteins or carbohydrates.

Exercise regularly.

Cardiovascular exercise—exercise that boosts your breathing and heart rate— promotes heart health in a number of ways. Like any other muscle, your heart responds positively to exercise, becoming more efficient at pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your tissues. You also burn calories while you exercise, which can help in your weight-loss efforts, as well as to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular exercise also helps keep blood pressure under control and is a great stress-reliever. Keeping both blood pressure and stress levels in check is important to the health of your heart.

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