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African Peanut Stew

01/20/2017

Serves 6 

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 sweet potato (12 oz.) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cups shelled edamame

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 bag (5 oz.) baby spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery; sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute; do not brown garlic. Add tomatoes and bay leaf; cook uncovered until tomatoes are slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add broth and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 12 minutes. Stir in edamame and peanut butter until combined. Cook until thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and spinach until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper.

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

National Popcorn Day: Why Popcorn Makes a Great Snack

01/19/2017

Today is National Popcorn day and there is no better way to celebrate than by treating yourself to a bowl of freshly popped popcorn! There sometimes is the misconception that popcorn is an unhealthy snack option, but you’d be surprised to learn just how healthy this delicious treat is.

 

Popcorn has more antioxidants than many other snack foods, is loaded with fiber, and one single cup of air-popped popcorn contains only 31 calories! Popcorn has also been shown to ween away hunger, making it a great diet snack.

 

But, as you probably guessed, not all popcorn is created equal. Bagged popcorn and microwavable popcorn can contain synthetic factory fats and processed salt to flavor the popcorn, making it very unhealthy. The best option when it comes to popcorn is to make it the old-fashioned way, on your stovetop, with minimal butter and oil!

 

Stick to the old-fashioned way of making popcorn, and you can be free to enjoy this tasty snack totally guilt-free! 

Four Healthy Habits That Everyone Should Follow

01/15/2017

Did you know that becoming healthier doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire lifestyle? In fact, simple changes are not only manageable, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success and they can have a big and positive impact on your mind and body.

Incorporate these healthy habits and before you know it, they’ll become part of your daily routine.

A Lifetime of Changes in 30 Minutes

Working out 30 minutes a day is one of the greatest things we can do for our overall health. Exercise not only helps with weight loss, but it also boosts our brainpower. Whether it’s walking or hitting the gym, find routines you enjoy. When we like our workouts, it helps keep us motivated, going each day and results in becoming a habit.

During those 30 minutes, you’ll burn some calories, reduce your stress level and feel refreshed when you are in the office. Additionally, when we take our workouts outside, it helps reduce stress, boosts our mood, and natural daylight helps us achieve a good night of sleep.

Stay Hydrated with Water

Even if we’re just a little dehydrated, it can alter our mood, lead to headaches, trouble concentrating and make us feel fatigued. Aim for about two liters of water a day and create habits such as drinking a water before each meal, making it the first thing you drink each morning and carrying around a water bottle all day. The more we get used to consuming water throughout the day, the better we’ll feel and avoid the downfalls of dehydration.

Get a Good Night of Sleep

Getting a good night of sleep is just as important as your daily exercise. When we’re sleeping, growth hormones are produced and muscles recover. Also, sleep improves our overall daily function. Everyone’s body requires a different amount of sleep so the key is to listen to your body and giving it the sleep it’s asking for.

Colorful and Healthy Diet

Having a healthy diet is our fuel. It makes us strong, gives us energy, and keeps us feeling good. There are a few key components to our healthy diets. We should always aim for five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day. When we eat leafy greens, it helps our cognitive skills. Also, including moderate portions of lean protein and healthy fats gives us a balanced diet, which helps curb cravings. Chicken is a great lean protein and the serving should fit into the palm of your hand. Almonds are a great healthy fat and one ounce (about 23 nuts) is a healthy portion.

Start with these simply steps, and once they incorporated into your daily life, enjoy the positive impact that it makes to your mind and body!

Protein-Packed Smoothie Bowl

01/13/2017

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bananas, previously sliced and frozen
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Topping Ideas:

  • Granola
  • Fresh berries
  • Edible flowers
  • Nuts
  • Shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Add more almond milk (or water) to thin if desired.
  2. Divide between serving bowls and top with whatever toppings you’d like!
  3. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Freeze for up to a month.

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

Feel the Burn: Stair-Stepper Workout

01/10/2017

Total time: 43 minutes


  • Start with a 5-minute warm-up at level 3
  • 5:00-8:00: Single steps at level 5
  • 8:00-11:00: Single steps at level 8
  • 11:00-14:00: Single steps at level 5
  • 14:00-17:00: Single steps at level 8
  • 17:00-20:00: Double steps at level 5
  • 20:00-23:00: Single steps at level 5
  • 23:00-26:00: Double steps at level 5
  • 26:00-29:00: Single steps at level 3
  • 29:00-32:00: Single steps at level 7
  • 32:00-35:00: Single steps at level 9
  • 35:00-38:00 Single steps at level 5
  • End with a 5-minute cool-down, decreasing the level at each minute mark
 

Signs a Workout Has Gotten Too Easy For You

01/09/2017

When you are taking time out of your day to get to the gym you want to make every second count! Make sure you are challenging yourself every time you step foot into the gym. Your workout may be too easy for you if:

 

Your heart rate is not high enough.

Workout vigorously enough to get your heart rate between 77 and 93 beats per minute.  

 

You never break a sweat.

 

You can easily do more than 10-reps.

By the end of your 10th- rep you should be tired. If you can easily do 10-reps, add more weight!

 

You can do more than one workout in a day.

If you can do two “hard” workouts in one day you may not be challenging yourself enough during them. Make sure to give each workout your all!

 

You never amp up your intensity level.

If you do the same workout routine day after day you will not get results. Add more weight, strive to go faster, or to run longer!

 

You no longer feel accomplished after working out.

 

You’re not seeing results.

Sometimes results take time. However, if you have been working out for months and not seeing any results you may need to change up your workout!

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