balance

Sweet Potato (Yam) Goodness!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

Fantastic sweet potato snacks – Sadly I cannot take credit for these; they are courtesy of the Whole9 website and the Whole30 program and are a recipe I took directly from there.  I must give credit where credit is due, and these deserve the shout-out!!

I do make some killer ‘proprietary’ yam chips…I will include those on here soon!

Post-Workout Sweet Potato Chews

Cast of Characters:

  • Sweet potatoes. I thought these were yams, but apparently they are sweet potatoes.  Whatever, I don’t really care.  Just get the orange ones.  The yellow ones don’t survive being baked and cooked.
  • Cinnamon. I’ve read that it improves insulin sensitivity.  It’s also delicious.
  • Coconut oil.  It imparts a subtle coconut taste that rounds out the flavor of the sweet potato in a truly marvelous way.

 

Now Do This:

  • First, you have to bake the sweet potatoes, so preheat oven to 325.
  • Spread a piece of aluminum foil on a middle rack and bake as many as you can fit for about an hour.  You want them soft, so the skins easily pull away from the sides.
  • After baking, let them cool in the oven until it’s convenient to move on to the next step.  Sitting in the oven overnight is fine, in fact.
  • Now you have to peel them. If you baked them long enough, you should be able to get most of the peel off with your fingers.  Use a knife for any stubborn bits.

  • Next, you need to slice them and arrange them on a baking sheet.  You can use a pan liner (like Silpat) to make removal of the finished product easier.
  • Cut them about 1/2 a centimeter thick.  You want a uniform thickness if possible, and I find 1/2 cm gives me enough potato to keep it from becoming a mess when I transfer pieces to the pan.
  • Arrange them flat side up.
  • Now, melt your coconut oil and paint on your potato slices using a pastry brush.
  • Give a healthy dusting of cinnamon (I really load up).
  • Then back to the oven it goes for the “drying”.  Cooking at 350 for 50 minutes brings about half the pan to an acceptable level. They sizzle nicely under the high heat.
  • Usually, I’ll remove the done ones and throw the pan back in for another 10 minutes and that produces pretty good results. I’ve also done 300 degrees and 90 minutes. That works pretty well too and is more forgiving, meaning less crispy pieces. You may have to experiment a bit. If you go too long or too hot, you will have sweet potato crisps.  Not bad, but I prefer the chewy consistency of soft dried fruit.
  • Partition slices into perfect transportable snack-size portions and pack them in Ziploc bags or covered glass storage containers.  (I don’t know how long they keep because we’ve never had a batch last longer than a couple days.)  Enjoy!


Values in Action – Live your Goals!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , ,

sbuxfood3

 

 

 

 

 

When considering any life change, whether it be buying a couch or taking on an entirely new eating plan, it is important to consider the reasons behind the decision.  Do you need a new couch because the old one looks bad, or because there are springs poking you in the behind?  Is the couch you are considering comfortable or does it just look good in a living room, and what do you plan to use it for?  Will it rarely be used or will the family spend lots of time on it talking, playing games, watching movies and otherwise relating to one another?  Purchasing furniture might seem simple, but understanding your values and the WHY behind choices can make a huge impact on the final decision.

The same holds for health-based changes, such as beginning a new eating plan.  Are you doing it because you want to lose weight, feel better when you wake up, play with your kids/grand kids more easily, or to attenuate the effects of an illness or looming potential disease?  Maybe a new mom is looking to get the pre-baby body back, or an elderly person is trying to prevent hip fractures; the point is, these kinds of motivators must be internalized and understood in order to not only choose the best path, but also to stick with that path in the long run.

Whether we know it consciously or not, our underlying values drive our ability to make and stick with both (seemingly) less important decisions like purchasing a couch, and more important decisions around making fundamental healthy living improvements.  If we spend some time thinking about the drivers behind why we want what we want, the chance for long-term sustainable change and incorporation of new lifestyle habits becomes second nature.

The next time you have a sizable decision to make (we are not talking about broccoli vs. asparagus), take the time to align your personal WHY with the choices you have in front of you.  Pick the option that best represents your belief system, then sit back (on the couch) and reap the benefits of such a thoughtful investment!


Subsidies vs. Penalties…Which do you Prefer?

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Wisdom, Workplace Wellness Leave a comment   , , , , ,

happy people

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you hear the words “subsidy” and “penalty” which one are you more likely to respond to?  Do you like the idea of getting some positive assistance, or does the idea of getting docked or penalized resonate with you?  When discussing how to encourage participation in and adherence to wellness programming, subsidies and penalties are two sides of the same coin; you can either reward someone for doing the right thing (subsidy), or punish them for a lack of participation leading to poor health (penalty).  It boils down to motivation, and what motivates each individual.  In the case of workplace wellness, it also depends on what kind of a culture the employer wishes to foster.

If a company wants to promote health and wellness as positive, beneficial work-life elements, subsidizing healthy people makes sense.  If everyone starts at the same baseline, and people are rewarded for exercising, eating well, maintaining / monitoring health conditions, and stress reduction activities, those people can feel good about their accomplishments and see tangible reward for healthy living; on the other hand, people who do nothing get nothing.  Doing the reverse, punishing people for a lack of health, would seemingly create bitterness and resentment around the idea of health.

At the end of the day, companies need to align their benefits practices with overall company culture; we live in a world where fewer people fully separate from work at the end of each day as more people are working in flexible environments that inevitably create mix work and personal time together. Values-driven wellness goes beyond the office and helps employees to incorporate health into every aspect of life.

 


Installment 9 of 10 ‘Benefits of Pilates’

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Pilates Leave a comment   , , , , , , , ,

9. Increases Awareness – Body/Mind Connection

Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or Contrology as he called it, was about “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way, the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles — centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow — are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.

One of the things that almost always happens in a Pilates class is that students move too quickly through the exercises.  Even as instructors count to keep a pace or flow for the class, people speed up even without realizing it.  What do we get when we speed up?  Yes, that’s right, momentum.  While momentum might make exercises seem easier, using propulsion to get up off the floor or swing our legs behind us, speed degrades the quality of movement. Some of the most difficult Pilates moves are so because they are done slowly, with precision.  As a Pilates instructor, if I had to choose one principle on which to build my Pilates practice, it would be precision.

Make Joseph Pilates (see below) proud…and execute your movements with precision and concentration in order to build beautiful, strong and lean bodies!


The Benefits of Pilates

Rachel Fitness, Pilates Leave a comment   , , , ,

There are so many reasons to do Pilates – from core strength to improved posture to injury preventing, Pilates is a strength training regimen that is suitable for everyone.

In the coming days we will go over the top 10 reasons to do Pilates, covering a new reason each day!  It is amazing that so many people are willing to try every new workout under the sun, yet a number of these people have never experienced Pilates…not even once!

There are countless online resources all about Pilates, and this is a great thing!  But if you want to really experience Pilates you need to go to a Pilates-specific studio and find a knowledgeable instructor.

1st reason to practice Pilates:

1. Pilates is Whole-Body Fitness

Unlike some forms of exercise, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body and neglect others. While Pilates training focuses on core strength, it trains the body as an integrated whole. Pilates workouts promote strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints.

Attention to core support and full-body fitness — including the breath and the mind — provide a level of integrative fitness that is hard to find elsewhere. It is also the reason that Pilates is so popular in rehab scenarios, as well as with athletes who find that Pilates is a great foundation for any kind of movement they do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in tomorrow for reason number 2!  You can check out about.com for some more information in the meantime, to satisfy your curiosity.

 


Birthdays!

Rachel Wisdom Leave a comment   , , ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it so happens, today is my birthday!  Getting this website up and running before the big day was a huge priority, and mission accomplished.  It is exciting to be here promoting Rachel Rettman – Fitness. Nutrition. Lifestyle.  Most of all, joy comes from helping people to realize their myriad health and fitness goals.

Birthdays and special events can be challenging for people who take fitness and nutrition seriously…like me!  I want to go all out and let myself eat fun foods, cake, candy, and ice cream (hello sugar junkie) but wrestle with guilt over not eating in a natural, well-balanced and nutritious fashion.  Honestly, this guilt can take the fun out of the very celebration at hand, and that is never productive.

Balance is an essential part of leading a sustainably healthy lifestyle.  Give a little, and at times take a little.  So, on special events go ahead and let yourself do whatever you want.  Eat the cake, the whole thing if you want!  Get that big steak with a side of mashed potatoes, or whatever you most crave and love.  A cheat day here and there will not derail your progress…in fact, when you body encounters foods it does not usually eat your metabolism get excited about the change and revs up to handle the foreign items!  See…junk food IS good for you!

As I say these things to you, I also say them to myself.  Go easy on you, be kind to you, give you a break!

So grab that cupcake, drink your champagne, and celebrate a cheat day because it will make you all the more dedicated to your daily fitness goals!!

 

 

 

 

 


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