Monday, March 18, 2013

Schedule Work Workouts!

There are a few ways to get creative with adding a workout into your daily work schedule, but the trick is actually sticking to that routine! We occasionally do an afternoon Tabata-break, and more frequently go on group walk-breaks, yet rarely do either with any consistency.  Fast Company's blog recently profiled a small NY-based company that got it right - scheduling work workouts on the hour, every hour!

Yes, this seems like a lot of exercise in one work day. But, it's only a two minute break and the movements are set for each day. They claim increased productivity, team-building and overall physical fitness all-around. They rarely skip that short workout, and if/when they do, it's made up with a few extra minutes tacked on the next hour.  Employees are dedicated to it and encourage each other to keep going strong!

If you're looking for some exercises that you can do at your desk or in a small office space, here are a few of our favorite suggestions:

-Lunges or Squats
-Wall Sits
-Calf Raises
-Seated Leg-Raises

-Push-ups and/or Planks
-Side Plank
-Bicycle Crunches
- Mountain-Climbers

-Arm Circles
-Tricep Dips (with a chair, desk or table)
-Superman Holds

-Jumping Jacks

-Stair Repeats (if available in your office space)
-Stepping in place (for time intervals)

When creating a schedule aim to alternate which muscle groups are targeted. For example, you might do lunges (legs), followed by arm circles (arms) and then bicycle crunches (abs/core).

You may not be ready to add exercise to every single hour, but think about how you can get a workout into your daily schedule. Aim to develop a routine and be consistent with it - walk every day at noon, stretch every day at 2 pm, do push-ups every day at 4pm, etc. Get your coworkers involved, and make it a team effort!


For more information on some of the exercises listed above: 50 Bodyweight Exercises from
Photo credit:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Webinar: The GMO Attack

The GMO Attack (March 2013)
What they are and why we're paying attention
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have become quite a controversial issue in our food industry. The United States FDA has authorized more GMO foods for use in the food supply than any other nation in the world. They're used to make plant growth easier, cheaper and more efficient, but are they truly safe for us to eat?  Tune into the webinar to learn more!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Eat Right, YOUR Way, Every Day - Starting With These Tips!

That’s the slogan for this year’s Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ (AND) National Nutrition Month celebration – essentially, know what’s best for you. Know that there is an all-you-eat buffet of fad diets out there to choose from, none of which will fill you up and most of which do more harm than good. Know that it takes a little bit of experimenting, mindfulness and taste-testing to really know what kind of dietary habit fits your body and health needs!

Think about cars – some run at 20 miles per gallon while others are more efficiently near 40 (mpg), some require diesel and some premium gas, and the more wear we put them through the more TLC they need! The only thing that never changes is that they all need fuel to keep going.

No matter what type of fuel choices you make for your health, here are five basic tips to keep in mind:

1. Aim to eat a balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to keep all bodily systems happy! Each nutrient plays a crucial role in every system – digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, etc. – and we don’t function well when any of them are missing. Any diet that severely reduces or eliminates one of the three is raising a red flag!

2. Eat fruits and vegetables every day – they should be part of each meal in some way! Simple as that.

3. Eat a variety of foods, vs. the same things for meals and snacks each day. This helps ensure that you get a variety of nutrients (vitamins and minerals), too!

4. Eat foods for what they have, not what’s been removed. Foods that are not as healthy for us are those that have to boast things like “sugar-free!”, “low-fat!”, etc.  Foods that are healthy for our bodies are those that naturally have nutrients, and haven’t had things removed or added (i.e. food in its most natural form). Eat more things from the ground, less from the factory’s conveyer belt.

5. Control your portions. It’s true that a healthy diet can still have a few indulgences, in moderation. That last part is what most people have trouble with, and it adds up quickly! Portion out each meal, snack and dessert and try to stick to one serving of foods. For basic serving size references, read the USDA’s tips here.


Keep in mind that changes to our eating habits and patterns can take a few weeks to feel “normal”. Use this National Nutrition Month celebration to take a look at your diet and try out the tips outlined above!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff! Your Health Will Thank You.

As Heart Health month comes to a close, we have one last tip for you to reduce your heart disease risk: stress less!  Today’s world is filled with stress-inducing situations, such as work, traffic, lack of sleep, or death of a loved one, just to name a few. Stress is taxing on your heart and overall health.  People who are chronically stressed have a 27% greater chance of having a heart attack than those who are not.  Stress has also been found to increase risk of stroke, fuel cancer, shrink the brain, weaken the immune system, and cause depression.  The next time you are feeling frazzled try one of these strategies to calm your mind and improve your health!

1.       Laugh! According to researchers at the University of Maryland, blood vessels dilate by 22% during laughter, increasing blood flow, and decreasing blood pressure.

2.       Be active! Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day can fight the effects of chronic stress. Not only does regular exercise decrease risk factors for heart disease, it also reduced the physical response to stress by returning the heart rate to normal quicker than in those who do not exercise.

3.       Stay positive! Having a negative outlook always makes a situation more difficult to get through. Look on the bright side and you will be feeling better in no time.

4.       Relax!  Set aside some time each day to take time to yourself to do something you enjoy, whether it is talking with friends, walking the dog, or reading a book.

5.       Eat a healthy snack.  By keeping your body well nourished, you will feel more energized and be able to think more clearly.

6.       Get enough sleep. Eating a balanced diet is not the only way to keep your mind and body fueled.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night will help you start your day on the right foot and keep you going throughout the day.

Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease, University of Rochester Medical Center
Defusing the mental and emotional pressures that take a toll on cardiac health, Chicago Tribune
Stress Health Effects: 10 Scary Things It’s Doing to Your Body, Huffington Post

Monday, February 11, 2013

Heart-Healthy Recipe: Pistachio-Crusted Tuna Steaks

When it comes to seafood heart-healthy eating is usually associated with omega-3 rich salmon, but other cold-water fish such as tuna, sardines and trout are also great sources of the essential fatty acid. These fish contain two types of omega 3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA.  Both types of omega 3s help to increase good cholesterol in the body, as well as reduce plaque buildup and artery clogging triglycerides.  All factors leading to a stronger, healthier heart! 

This recipe is a great way to spice up an evening dish and can be served with roasted vegetables and/or brown rice.  Not only is the tuna a good source of healthy fats in this recipe, but also the pistachios!

Pistachio-Crusted Tuna Steaks
Serves 4
1 tablespoon thinly sliced shallot
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, divided
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
4 4-ounce tuna steaks, 1-1 1/4 inches thick
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Place shallot, bay leaf and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce until the wine is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard bay leaf and transfer to a small bowl. Add sour cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dill, mustard and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to combine.

Put breadcrumbs, pistachios, the remaining 1 teaspoon dill and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Process until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Dredge both sides of the tuna in the pistachio mixture.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tuna and cook until browned, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or longer for desired doneness. Serve with the lemon-dill sauce.

Recipe credit: Eating Well Magazine, November/December 2007

Nutrition Facts per serving:
Calories: 241 Fat: 7g (Sat. fat: 2g) Carbohydrates: 8g Protein: 29g Fiber: 1g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 402mg

Monday, February 4, 2013

High-Tech Heart Health: Living Well with Electronic Help!

Welcome to Heart Health Month! We'll be celebrating each week with a focus on the different areas of lifestyle that need the most attention in preventing and/or treating heart disease. As we try to continue looking at health with a fresh perspective, we're venturing outside of the usual "tips & tricks" to adjust your daily routines. Instead, today we're highlighting how to stay healthy in this tech-savvy world - we've found a few great apps that help you track, monitor and evaluate your health, behaviors and progress!

Free Tools:
My Fitness Pal (Android, iOS) - one of the most user-friendly and top-rated health apps that makes food, calorie and activity tracking easy! It boasts an extensive food database, a barcode-scanner to help users select healthier grocery choices, and customized caloric recommendations.
Fooducate (Android, iOS) - the app designed to make healthy grocery shopping easy! The built-in barcode scanner provides users with a detailed product description based on nutritional value (or lack thereof).
Healthy Heart 2 (iOS) - dubbed a "prevention/monitoring app" , this allows users to track important health marker checks such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and heart-rate. It also provides a method to track medication usage and a way for users to share their data with caretakers and/or family members.

For the low price of:
Heartwise Blood Pressure Tracker (iOS) - another tracking app with the added bonus of charts, graphs and data analysis for users. This app allows users to log blood pressure, heart-rate and weight.
Instant Heart Rate (Android, iOS) - a creative use of LED light technology (camera), this app simply passes light through the user's finger to read his/her heart-rate, instantly.
Sleep Cycle (iOS) - an app that rethinks the alarm clock, using technology to track your sleep cycle and wake you up at the right time! It chooses your lightest sleep cycle closest to the alarm time you set, to make sure you wake up well and rested.

Cardiio (iOS) - created by the masterminds at MIT, here's another app that uses the camera feature to provide an instant heart reading. Users look into the iPhone camera to get a heart-rate reading from this app. It also provides a fitness-level analysis based on the user's reading.

Webinar - Sweet Swap (Have Your Cake & Eat It, Too!)

Sweet Swap
Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too

It’s easy to let our sweet tooth’s get the best of us! Recipes are loaded with calories and fat, making it difficult to indulge without the guilt. You’ll be surprised at how easy (and tasty) “lighter” baking can be!
In this month’s webinar we’ll discuss healthy baking ingredient alternatives and how to incorporate them into your recipes. We’ll share some tips for guilt-free indulgence and provide you with a few recipes that will give you a taste for healthy baking!

Watch the Webinar