A quick red and green smoothie that brings some amazingly healthy ingredients together when you experiment with what is left in the refrigerator. This spicy variation started when we were out of spinach and I wanted something with more kick than a nice easy morning smoothie.
We added fresh jalapeno and used mustard green leaves which have a spicy and near bitter bite. The sweet strawberries, banana and protein powder balanced out the bitter but left the heat. Awesome surprise!
Recipe: Strawberry, Jalapeno and Mustard Greens Smoothie
Summary: Red and green smoothie includes greens, fruit for antioxidants and some spice to brighten the flavor.
1 1/2 cup Mustard Greens torn in pieces
1 cup strawberries
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1/2 jalapeno seeded
1 summer squash sliced
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp flaxseed
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup Almond Milk
Combine ingredients in a blender and add ice if needed. You can use frozen fruit, but fresh will be best. Blend until desired consistency.
Substitute water or regular milk for the almond milk. You can also add scotch bonnet pepper sauce which has a sweet and very hot flavor instead of the fresh jalapeno. I used Mustard Greens instead of typical spinach and the brightness was quite nice, use fresh spinach for a milder flavour.
We are moving our diets to more plant based, local and natural sources. As much as I try and learn about nutrition, I seem to constantly fight the protein myth that athletes can’t maintain and build their bodies on a plant based diet. I keep reinforcing myself with good examples and found some great endorsements this weekend.
Listen to her talk about how her performance has improved as she has aged and can still compete. She even puts in a plug for Raw food. Other vegetarian or mostly vegetarian athletes I discovered include Tony Gonazalez, Bill Pearl, and even Carl Lewis. Hmmm… off to snack on some veggies.
Started following the CancerProject.org site today. They offer quite a few resources on the relationship between diet and cancer. It is becoming pretty clear that there is some relationship between food, environment and consequences. Some of this seems to make more sense as our food relationship has changed in the many years of large scale farming, agriculture and food production. Other factors are still to be identified, but it is interesting to read some of the known factors that can help prevent or survive cancer.
The site includes an outbound link to a really thorough site called NutritionMD.org. If you look at the section for Health providers, you can see some interesting recommendations sorted based on medical conditions. They have all the usual disclaimers that these are not based on medical advice, but some really well organized and easy to follow ideas.
Jump rope exercise is nothing new to most of us, but we probably remember more playing as kids than as adults. It turns out the jump rope is one of the best low impact and high cardiovascular workouts available. But, as easy as it looks, it takes some conditioning and practice to get the most out of your workout. Here are some tips to get started with choosing a jump rope for fitness.
Choose a good jump rope for exercise
There are several categories of jump rope mostly having to decide between types of rope and handles.
Choose a ball bearing or swivel action between the rope and handles to prevent twisting and ease of speed jumping.
Weighted handles provide a slightly more strenuous workout and also can balance the weight of a rope.
Foam covered handles absorb perspiration.
Rope materials for jump ropes also come in several options. The most popular types of rope are:
Leather was used by most boxing gyms traditionally for the durability and medium weight. This is still a great choice if not doing lots of windmill type change ups.
Woven or cloth ropes are slow, but light. Their lightness can make it difficult to control the jumps during windy conditions.
Speed ropes or nylon ropes are inexpensive and if made of good quality can be some of the fastest ropes for tricks and intense cardio.
Beaded ropes are heavy but easily adjustable. These can sting quite a bit if they hit your body during workouts.
Choose a proper length to allow easy clearance, but not too much extra causing the rope to slap the ground and cause unnecessary wear. To find a jump rope length correct for your height, stand on the middle of the rope with one or two feet. The ends should come up to your armpits if you are holding the handles directly in front of your chest. The handles should be upside down from how you would normally grab them for jumping.
Some ropes are adjustable including the beaded ropes. The leather ropes are typically not adjustable except for tying knots near the handles that do not interfere with the swivel action.
For examples of some the ropes above, see the options at Monkey Bar Gym equipment.
I use the weighted speed jump rope and have adjusted the length for easy jumping.
For low impact, jump on a wooden slat floor like those used in gyms for group workouts that has a little give and bounce. When jumping outside, I don’t jump on concrete, but put together a few interlocking gym floor mats to cushion the impact on knees and joints. Let me know your favorite rope or place to jump!
Hat tip to Hungry Katie for a mention regarding the NPR story about Meatless Monday campaign. The premise is taking incremental steps to improve health and sustainability. The movement Meatless Monday has created a campaign to spread the word and idea of taking one day a week and eating vegetarian. This will reduce meat consumption by 15%. Until practices change, production of beef is a much more environmental resource intensive process than vegetarian alternatives. The premise is this small step will help improve our carbon footprint and health.
Several organizations and high profile celebrities / chefs have committed to the movement and it is worth learning about. The website provides resources and recipes and ways to get started if interested. Also check out the interview on NPR with Sid Lerner as he tries to make Meatless Mondays engaging.
Technology has a way of making some healthy matters easier and more challenging at the same time. But, many devices can also help reset goals and create better habits to move beyond the need of technology. Many of our unhealthy habits seem directly related with technology driven lifestyles. Here are a few value driven devices highlighted in a CNN Money article on gadgets to help keep the Doctor or Dentist away. These are great for establishing lost good habits and letting you get back to a simple focus on other health matters.
FitBit for measuring Sleep and Calorie expenditure
The third technology gadget in the list is the Fitbit. I have one of these that I fanatically wore when I first received it. There were some serious waiting periods while the company finalized testing, but it has come in at a value price point. Other technology driven health monitors such as the BodyBugg are higher priced, but also have some additional benefits. For the price and no recurring fees, this is an unobtrusive little device to help keep track of how many calories you are burning throughout the day and how restful your sleep cycles are. Using this for a few months or longer can help benchmark and reset your fitness goals and see how well you are meeting your targets.
Check out the other gadgets and let me know if they are a good value as well.
Gardening is one of the most time consuming, rigorous and rewarding efforts around the house. That said, I am pretty sure the only way I can confidently know the provenance of what goes in my family’s body is gardening. Provenance? Who uses that kind of word? sorry…. Back to the storytelling. I had the opportunity to attend a class by Houston’s Urban Harvest organization. We were able to tour 3 different urban homes in or near the loop and see how they have managed to provide all or part of the family’s vegetables, citrus, herbs and ornamentals with high density gardening.
Several common gardening themes were present at each location:
They have all been gardening for 5+ years (mostly 10+)
Raised beds are essential for small dense plots
Beneficial plants were well planned and cultivated
Water catchement, swales, and drip lines were second only to making sure you had successful drainage
Each gardener had a passion and openness for their success, failures and willingness to share (thank You!)
From Master Gardeners to hobbyist and educators, each grower had multi-year experience on the same garden plot and were still discovering what would and wouldn’t work. My typical devouring of knowledge and feeling like I could master something just by reading will *Not* work here. This will take patience, patience and lots of luck. Not sure why I thought this would be a good idea? Oh yeah, health.
Either way, the pictures were inspiring and thank you to each gardener who opened their yards for strangers to view, ask questions and gawk at their efforts. I was inspired.
Seriously, isn’t this just beautiful? If it hadn’t been for the amazing heat of deep summer, we would have stayed all day and started working!
The gardener of the above nearly apologized for only have six very large beds in rotation with a calibrated watering system from rain catchement barrels. Amazing. Yes, I think I will be doing some planning and more learning, but I have to start doing. I have several plants in the backyard in containers we have been moving around. But, now we are more settled. There will be dirt flying this coming weekend.
Yes, I am such a fan girl. We did a video wrap-up with my colleagues at Schipul who attended the inaugural TEDxHouston event. Schipul is the place where I focus on the technical part of my life and balance with the simplicity and sustainable values I try and hold true. Watch the similarities in the Schipulites best of memories and inspirations!