Happy Easter, green Juice & cabbage salad!!

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We had an awesome Easter weekend! Charly had her first Easter egg hunt then Sunday we went to Hamilton’s for a very fun Easter dinner.

In the midst of our a Easter weekend Ben picked a bunch of goodies from our garden, juiced for us & I made a cabbage salad (cabbage & broccoli from garden!)

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His & her green Easter juice!!!

Lettuce (garden)
Spinach (garden)
Celery (garden)
Apple
Pear
Lemon
Carrots
Orange

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Amy’s Cabbage Salad:
1 head cabbage
Broccoli
1 bunch cilantro
1 carrott
1 pear

Dressing
Blackberry vinegar (found at Avila Farmers Market)
2 capfuls apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of coconut sugar
Sea salt

Chop everything up & put in bowl. Mix the dressing & pour on at least 1 hour before serving. Refrigerate & serve!

We added grilled turkey tenders & sliced avocado to our plates.

Amy Approved = Creating Harmony Through Fitness & Whole Foods

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Friday Motivation

Happy Friday!

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Ben’s Famous Turkey Burgers

We have made these for numerous guests and everyone wants the recipe so here it is! Turkey burgers are a great lean protein to add to any meal.

Ingredients
1 lb turkey burger
1 egg
1-2 small apples grated
1/2 onion grated
3 or so garlic cloves grated
Coconut aminos
Salt / pepper
Coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together with your hands. Form 4 large patties. Melt some coconut oil into your skillet & place all 4 onto heated pan. Flip after 5-6 min.

Pair with a green salad or all toppings on side with organic mustard to dip.

PS. In the pan is mashed sweet potatoes. Chunk up, boil, strain, add a spoonful of coconut oil, salt & pepper & mash. Yummmmy! Great leftovers too!

Amy Approved = Creating Harmony Through Fitness & Whole Foods

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Homemade Amy Approved Creamy Dressing

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This dressing was a HIT! We not only used it on our salad but also topped our bunless turkey burgers with it. It’s a new staple in our house for sure! It takes just a few minutes to prepare & will last in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Ingredients
2 avocados
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsps coconut aminos
Juice of 1 lemon
Dill (I used dried but fresh is best)
5 tbsps warm water

Use a Vitamix or food processor & blend. Serve immediately.

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Weight Loss & Cookies??!!!

YEP it’s possible. Two weeks ago Ben decided it was time to “lose the baby weight” :) . He completely cut out wheat, dairy, white potatoes & added in a few workouts. He kept saying “I don’t think I’ve lost any weight but wow I feel so much better”. So today I made him weigh & he’s lost 10 lbs in two weeks!!!! He’s shocked & super motivated to lose more. Um LOVE it!!!! Goooooo Ben!!!

I make these cookies for him so he has something sweet but stays on track.

Ben Approved Cookies
1 cup raw almond butter
1 egg
1/2 organic coconut sugar
3/4 cup organic shredded coconut
Apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
Salt
Dairy & soy free mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into small balls onto your baking stone. Flatten with a fork & bake for 10 min at 350 deg.

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Since eliminating wheat, dairy & white potatoes from his diet he said the following has happened:

Heartburn completely gone
Way more energy
Joint pain & stiffness gone
Sleeps way better
10 pounds lost in 2 weeks!

He still has more weight to lose but he now feels that this is a new lifestyle for him.

If Ben can do this so can you!!!!

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Fitness & Health Take Small Disciplines…

LOVE this quote by Zig Ziglar!!! To live a healthy & fit life it takes small disciplines applied daily. Look around and you will find the fit people around you do the little things it takes to live a fit & healthy life. Small disciples applied daily will spill over into your career & personal life which will create happiness & success!!

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A Few Amy Approved Daily Habits:

*Start your day with 1-2 capfuls Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon & warm water

*Protein & veggies ONLY at dinner

*Eat a high protein breakfast

*Make time for your workout! 30 min of intensity will do it

*Prep your food on Sundays to ensure a healthy start to your week

*Cut out dairy

*intensity is key to losing body fat – CIRCUIT!!!

*Always have water, a piece of fruit & a few almonds in your car for emergencies

*If you are going to drink like a fish – eat like a bird – protein & veggies only!

*Alway skip the bread basket

*Always choose vinegar based dressings on the side

*Eat adequate amounts of fat at every meal. Coconut oil & avocados are staples for me

*Do not snack in between meals unless you are hungry. Plan your snacks & stick to them. Extra munching will pack on pounds

*Never skip weekend workouts. Get outside & breathe some fresh air

Amy Approved = Creating Harmony Through Fitness & Whole Foods

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Nutrient Dense Smoothie

I have had a ton of people ask me which protein powder I recommend. My typical answer is “none – use whole foods like kale & nuts instead”. However since giving birth & breast feeding my energy has been zapped. My Natural Path Dr Marquis recommended this Clearvite SF by Apex Energetics and I am truly amazed at how this morning smoothie helps my energy, satiety & overall Heath! Plus it starts your day with 3-4 servings of GREENS!

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Amy’s Green Smoothie
1 banana
1 heaping scoop this protein powder
1 zucchini
1/2 cucumber
1 lg handful spinach
1 tbsp coconut oil
Cinnamon
Dash of full fat coconut milk
A few frozen cranberries
Ice
Blend!!!

You can buy this powder at Dr Marquis’s office which is located in the building next to the AG Kennedy daycare on the second floor.

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Nightshade Free Chili

Some people cannot tolerate nightshade vegetables which eliminates most chili recipes. I came across this recipe and had to share. Looks amazing!

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Ingredients:
1 tablespoon solid cooking fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow, duck fat)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups bone broth
2 parsnips, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 large beet, grated (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
a few parsley sprigs, for garnish

1. Heat the solid cooking fat in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions, and cook, stirring for 7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
2. Add the bone broth, parsnips, carrots, grated beet, and all of the spices except for the parsley. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat, being sure to stir it occasionally so that it is browned evenly.
4. Add the ground beef to the vegetables and simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes.
5. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Amy Approved = Creating Harmony Through Fitness & Whole Foods

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Charly’s First 10K!!!

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Today was Charly’s first 10K race!!! We ran with my friend Michelle who pushed her son Jackson. Us mama’s rocked it!!! Ok we were kinda slow but wow it felt amazing to be out there again! Gettin’ my groove back!!!

The Chains of Love race was at Cal Poly and was put on by the Triathlon team. At the end they handed out organic dairy free dark chocolate – um yes please!!!!! There was music, a kids race & just an overall fun atmosphere.

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Sign up for a race. It gives you something to train for, motivates you, gets you in shape & surrounds you with such a fun group of active healthy people!!!

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15 Reasons to Sprint More this Year!

Alaska 2012 490sprint6Here I am SPRINTING to the finish line in Mt Marathon’s 2012 race in Seward, AK!!!

Interval training does so much for your health, weight, fitness, metabolism and much more!  Mark’s Daily Apple (one of my favorite blogs to read!) did an awesome post on why YOU should sprint more often.  Here are the 15 reasons:

It preferentially burns body fat.

Weight loss isn’t just about eliminating any old kind of body mass. It’s about losing body fat while preserving or even gaining muscle and bone. Sprinting appears to be excellent at eliminating body fat without the negative impact on muscle mass commonly seen with excessive endurance training. A recent study found that a single sprint session can increase post-exercise fat oxidation by 75%. Not that this is a surprise, but even in young adults with an intellectual disability, sprinting improves body composition by reducing body fat.

It’s anabolic (that means it can increase muscle mass and strength).

An acute bout of sprinting increased dihydrotestosterone in healthy young men (DHT is the premiere sex hormone responsible for muscle growth), while in overweight young men, a sprinting program increased lean mass in the legs and trunk. (In one study, men and women did three 30 second all-out sprint intervals on the stationary bike with 20 minutes of rest in between each sprint. Muscle biopsies were taken from their quads and analyzed for markers of protein synthesis – how muscle gets laid down.

It’s even more anabolic in women than men.

Yeah, yeah, you don’t wanna “get all big and bulky.” I know. But ladies, it won’t happen to you unless you’re somehow using an exogenous source of anabolic hormones to reach supraphysiological levels that you’d otherwise never reach naturally. More lean mass for you means more “tone,” less body fat, and more strength. In the previously mentioned study, female protein synthesis was up by 222%, male by 43%.

It makes you better at accessing body fat during other types of exercise.

Sprinting primes the substrate utilization pump, so to speak, for other activities. In one study, a two week program of cycling sprint interval training increased the rate of (body) fat oxidation (and decreased the rate of glycogen utilization) during subsequent lower intensity sessions in women.

It builds new mitochondria.

The basic function of our mitochondria is to extract energy from nutrients to produce ATP, the standard energy currency of our body. More mitochondria, more power available to our brain and our body, more fuel burned, more energy produced. It’s a generally good idea to have healthy, numerous mitochondria, and scientists are constantly trying to figure out how to preserve or increase their numbers because so many degenerative diseases are characterized by malfunctioning mitochondria. Well, sprinting is one way to make more. A single bout of 4×30 second all-out cycling sprints activated mitochondrial biogenesis in the skeletal muscle of human subjects in one study. Shorter sprints work, too. In fact, a program consisting of three sets of 5 4-second treadmill sprints with 20 seconds of rest in between each sprint, done three times per week for four weeks up-regulated molecular signaling associated with mitochondrial biogenesis.

It even works if you go slowly.

Allow me to expand on that statement: it even works if you go slowly because you’re pushing a heavy weighted sled. If that doesn’t sound like an advantage to you, consider someone who can’t run a flat-out sprint on a flat surface because of prior joint injuries. Pushing a heavy sled (or a car) slows the person down, thus reducing the joint impact, without making the exercise any less intense. Research shows that heavy sled pushing is extremely effective.

It’s more efficient than endurance training.

Obviously, sprint training takes less time to do than endurance training. But did you know it’s just as effective in many regards in a fraction of the time? Sprinting three times a week (4-6 times per session) was just as good as spending five days a week cycling for 40-60 minutes at improving whole body insulin sensitivity, arterial elasticity, and muscle microvascular density.

It takes way less time than you think.

A 30 second all out sprint is “just” 30 seconds, but it’s a hellish 30 seconds. A single hill sprint isn’t too bad, nor are two or three, but when you hit the eight, nine, ten sprint range, it gets rough. You will feel it after. Still better than slogging it out for an hour and half, mind you. I get the sense that most people think for any training to be effective, it has to hurt – even if only for twenty seconds or so. Actually, when you sprint, extremely brief intervals work very well. In this study, for example, subjects cycle-sprinted for a mere 5 seconds at a time and actively rested for 55 seconds in between sprints (that’s where you’re just casually pedaling on the cycle, equivalent to walking after a running sprint); that was enough to increase the maximum amount of work they were able to perform in 30 seconds. Instead of walking down the beach, I’ll sometimes traverse it in ultra-short sprint intervals: sprint for 5 seconds, walk for 20, sprint for 5, and so on. I don’t really even get winded doing this. Or if there’s a short (<10 meters) but steep hill, I’ll sprint up it, walk down, and repeat about a dozen times.

It’s a good excuse to get to the beach.

Doing your sprints on sand makes them more effective (and harder). A recent study found that sprint interval training sessions performed on sand resulted in better performances in subsequent training bouts, beating out grass as a training surface. I’ve also found that beach sprints enable post-training water plunges, regardless of water temperature.

It works for overweight people.

Sprinting may be the most daunting exercise of all for overweight people. How can moving that fast be safe or healthy? Well, there’s evidence that sprinting is extremely effective in this population. In a 2012 study (PDF), a group of overweight female students followed a 12-week sprint program consisting of 8-16 200 meter sprints done three days a week. After the program, body fat and body weight had gone down significantly, insulin sensitivity had improved by 100%, and V02max had increased. Another study, this time in overweight/obese men, found that a sprinting program (this time on a cycle) increased fat burning at rest while decreasing carb burning at rest – exactly what an overweight person needs to achieve to start burning body fat and become fat-adapted. The men also lost significant amounts of waist and hip fat.

It works for elderly people.

Oldsters needn’t stick with 2.5 pound dumbbells and “stretching workouts.” They can derive great benefit from high intensity interval training. Sure, they might go a bit slower than the rest of us. They might do better on exercise bikes than tracks. But they can still do it.

It improves glucose control and insulin sensitivity.

Diabetics, take heed. Sprint training improves insulin sensitivity, improves hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes, and lowers the postprandial glucose response in diabetics. You gotta start doing it if you’re not already.

It lowers high blood pressure.

Okay, while you’re sprinting, you’ll probably have sky-high blood pressure. That’s okay, that’s just an acute spike – it happens with any type of exercise. Overall, sprint training appears to have the most potential of any exercise modality for the long term resolution of hypertension.

It’s safe for people with heart disease.

Heart disease patients interested in improving their cardiovascular health are often told to start jogging or something similarly unpleasant. Why not sprinting? We already know it’s more effective against heart disease risk factors, and high intensity interval training has been shown to be safe in heart disease patients, particularly when they keep the intensity high and the duration low (15 seconds or thereabouts). Check with your doctor first, of course, just to be safe (but prepare yourself for the “jogging” lecture).

It comes in many forms.

When people hear “sprinting,” they think of 100 meter flat sprints on the track. Those are effective, sure, but they’re not the only way you can reap the benefits of sprint training. You can run hills (easier on the joints and more intense overall). You can cycle (easier on the joints and proven to work in dozens of sprinting studies). You can do it in the pool (either running in water or swimming). You can row or use the elliptical. Heck, if you loathe “cardio” of any kind you can probably get sprint-esque effects from lifting weights really quickly (think doing a set of 20 back squats or something similar). Upper body interval training works for general fitness in elderly hip replacement patients, for example. There’s something for everyone, which means there are almost no excuses not to sprint.

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