Q and A: Any Light and Yummy Sammie Toppers?

Q: Hi! I am usually the one who opts for Subway sandwiches every weekend at malls when I find myself having not much appetite for other food. Can you recommend a low fat and sugar sauce that I can drizzle on my sandwiches besides my usual favorite, ketchup? -Maxis

A: Subway isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the fast/fast casual food places where I am comfortable eating and spending my money. Most of their offerings are light and relatively healthy, and you have the opportunity to stuff yourself full of veggies. But just like any other establishment, the extras are what will make or break your sammie.

There are a million low calorie dressings and sauces for sandwiches you can buy, but I’m not going to get into those because they are terrible little chemical cocktails that will actually lessen the nutrition of your sandwich. I’d choose full fat, high calorie real food over those any day.

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Q and A: Does Running Reduce Belly Fat?

 

Q: Enjoyed reading your column in the Seattle Times “Become A Runner One Step At A Time.” Good stuff. I have a general question: Can running actually reduce fat in the mid section? I’m a runner but having difficulty losing my “gut”!! Frustrating.- Steve

A: Thanks for reading, Steve!

This is a loaded question, so I needed more info.  Through follow up emailing I learned:

  • I don’t know how old Steve is, but in his email he made the comment he is “an old man… way old!”
  • Steve has worked with personal trainer at the very reputable Pro Sports in my area and was put on a very strict diet, where he lost weight and lowered his cholesterol significantly. (Awesome!)
  • Shortly afterward, he switched to another PT where the workouts were “solid, refreshing. I was feeling good, but not good about myself. I mean, here I am w/ flab that would fit nicely in a B-cup along w/ an ugly gut. I was eating really good. Eventually I left the gym. Now I need to get back in a gym. And, a pt.”

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Spin, Strut, Spin, Pose: Lululemon Does it Again

If you even just say the word Lululemon around me I will sigh and stare off into the distance, clutch my credit card to my chest and swoon about hoodies and yoga pants. Lululemon is the premier women’s workout company, making workout clothes you drool over just as obsessively as your designer duds. I’m guilty, I’m obsessed and it’s for good reason. I feel confident when I wear Lulu- I throw open those gym doors like they are releasing doves and strut to the free weight room like it’s a catwalk. No one else notices I’m sure, but I feel damn good and ready to do work. I also feel like it’s a nice little balance to throw weights around while wearing girlie pastels.

But if you think Lululemon is just for those who love running and yoga, think again. Cyclists and spinning enthusiasts can now look just as fierce with Lululemon’s Presta Spin collection. Presta brings the beautiful designs and quality products you expect from your Lulu out of the studio and onto the open road.

Let’s admit it: cycling clothes aren’t the cutest. Now, you can wear your padded riding shorts and cycling jersey while you are riding, and not need to change the second you arrive to your destination out of embarrassment and fear of ridicule (too harsh? Come on, they are hideous.) Let’s see what Lululemon has come up with for you women who prefer to give ‘em hell on wheels:

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Recipe Remix: Uncle Sam’s Whole Grain Un-Fried Chicken

I promised you fried chicken, and here it is! Except it’s not fried, it’s baked, so I guess I’m just as bad as KFC for saying their grilled chicken is grilled. I swear those lines on the skin are Sharpie ink…

When I heard Uncle Sam could be used as a breading for chicken, I was excited to try a new way of preparing my boring, old chicken. Kidding- plain chicken breasts are one of my fave dinners, but many people find it gray and tasteless, so here’s a SUPER healthy way to make fried chicken with a whole grain breading, optional oil, and, of course, no frying.

Since a recipe wasn’t included I whipped one up myself. It took a little guess and check half way through, but it’s so versatile that you can add and subtract and change and trade whatever you want- which is how cooking should be. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not a huge measurer (don’t stone me, foodies) so everything is approx.

Uncle Sam’s Whole Grain Not-Fried Chicken

Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup whole grain Uncle Sam wheatberry cereal
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tbsp pepper
Slimy ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
Wet ingredients
  • 1 egg (you can just use the white for less saturated fat)
  • 1 cup milk
  • few squirts BBQ sauce (optional- just sounded good)
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Recipe Remix: DIY Flavored Water

We all know to drink lots of water, and we all know water is boring. Many will reach for cheap (expensive) imitations full of artificial flavors, ie. chemicals, dyes and poisons, or you can get creative and make your own flavored water.

Slicing up fruit and adding it to a tall drink of water can liven up the flavor a bit, but I prefer, especially in the summer months, a little more pizzazz. Gather up different combinations of fruits and fresh herbs and allow them to soak in a big jug of water. Whatever sounds good, probably will be.

My most recent batch was a combo of fresh mint, frozen raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and some cute little key limes.

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Wanna See My Whooha?

Why do you run?

I’m fairly new to running. I’ve always considered myself a gym rat: give me weights, the heavier the better. I think I’m drawn to how quickly you can see results, and the crank them out and drop ‘em speed.

Running was never an exciting thing to me. I’ve always been one of those people that wished I enjoyed running, but I didn’t so I didn’t do it. But then one day I did do it, and I liked it and I kept going. Sorry I can’t give you any better advice than to give it a try than that. There was no Forest Gump shaking off his braces moment, I just went one day cause I felt like it, and I haven’t stopped feeling liking it.

Whooha is kindly helping me out with an article I’m working on for FitDay.com, and they sent me their I Run for Myself t-shirt. This is probably the first time something about running has resonated with me.

Some of the reasons that stood out:

Because my friends makes me, or, in my case, boyfriend, who insisted on many occasions that he “teach” me, but promptly left me in the dust. I could only keep up the one time he was in full army gear. That didn’t last long. It was his failed attempt at training for an upcoming ruck march, but soon discovered it’s a terrible way to spend a weekend. I kept up with him the first block or so, though, and was pretty proud.

To be a role model. I don’t consider myself a role model to anyone in the slightest, but because of my job, people are usually curious about my own exercise regimen. People have a weird expectation of me when they find out I’m a fitness writer. Like I should be in the Olympics or something. I am often asked if I run, and until recently my answer would be “Blech, no.” I probably shouldn’t express disdain for something I know to be one of the best things you can do for your body, but, hey, I wasn’t a big fan.

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Attune Foods Cereals: Funny Names, Serious Nutrition

Growing up, my sister and I weren’t allowed to have cereal. Wile you may be applauding my mother for keeping us away from sugary, processed junk, it was more because she was a single mom and was pissed every time she dropped $5 on a box of cereal that never lasted to see the next morning.

Because of this, I suppose, cereal doesn’t rank high on my list of breakfast choices- there are always more nutritious/interesting things to eat, and I usually prefer hot food in the morning, but when Attune Foods asked me to review their cereals, after looking at the nutrition profile, I couldn’t say no.

Attune believes “If what you eat is good, and pure, and true to its source, all else will follow.” THANK YOU. I’ve been saying that for years.

Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes and Flaxseed

Using a recipe that’s over 100 years old, Uncle Sam cereal may look like cocoa puffs, but it is made of only red winter wheat berries. They roll them, toast them, and then flatten them, then add flax seed. That’s it.

Each serving (3/4 cup of cup) has:

  •  190 calories
  • 10 grams of fiber (40 percent of your DV)
  • 7 grams of protein
  • Less than one gram of sugar

It used to bear the title of “Natural Laxative Cereal” until recently, one could only imagine because of the mental image it conjures up so close to the earliest and most important meal of the day.

The name Uncle Sam comes from the creator, Lafayette Coltrin’s side profile silhouette, which bore the resemblance to the George Washington. I would like to comment on the validity of this statement but the actual silhouette appears no where on the box.

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Q and A: How to Sculpt Curvacious Calves

I got a question from the lovely Miss Dana Schultz asking for tips on training her calves “’cause my calves looks like an 80-year old woman’s. aka NEED SOME WORK.”

If anyone has ever called you chicken legs, you need to train your calves. If anyone has ever told you you have cankles, you need to train our calves. Strength training is the only way you can change the shape of your body- don’t like something? Change it by changing the shape of your muscles.

There are two muscles in the calf: the Soleus and the Gastrocnemius. You can tell the difference when you stretch them. If you stretch with your knee straight, you are hitting the Gastrocnemius , or the most superficial muscle that creates a knob in the back of the leg. If you stretch your calf with your leg bent, you are hitting the Soleus, a deeper muscle that runs underneath.

The thing with calves is that there aren’t very many ways to train them. Just do calf raises. You can do different variations, but the general effect is the same.

I always train my calves the same way, and I adopted it afterP90X. Work your calves with 3 different toe positions: pointing in, neutral, and pointed out to ensure all the muscles are hit. And use heavy weights- I use two 35 pound dumbbells.

Other variations are off of a step for a little more range of motion, or doing one leg at a time. The calves are integral in jumping, so plyometric training will shred them. Running and stairs are great ways to hit your calves, too.

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Simple Solutions to Perfect Poor Posture

Isn’t alliteration fun? Good title, Turner.

Surprising fact: Yes, I am in to fitness, a guru some would say (after threatening them with violence) but the majority of my job, writing about fitness, involves me sitting in front of the TV, on a terribly uncomfortable Ikea couch with a laptop on my lap. I am a perpetual C- shape, with the front of my shoulders often sagging so low I could rest them on the keyboard without missing a stroke.

We sit. A lot. And we do it wrong, so it royally screws us up, causing us to devote hours and hours of exercise just to undo the damage, let alone make improvements.

Here’s what happens when you have bad posture: your muscles and joints become unbalanced- tighter in some places and weaker in others. Thus, the way you sit can change your body- for better or worse.

Sitting with a rounded back and shoulders causes the muscles in the upper back to weaken from inactivity, and the muscles along the front of the body, primarily the pecs, abs and hip flexors to tighten, and further pull the shoulders and head forward. This not only gives you the silhouette of Quasimodo, it can cause pain in these same areas of body, plus headaches, back pain and muscle strain. My biggest issue- tight hip flexors. SO TIGHT.

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Eating Healthy’s Too Expensive? I Should be 400 Pounds by Now…

Most people decide if a salad dressing is healthy or not based on whether it is cream or oil based. In truth, most salad dressings are horrible. If you think you are going healthy by going for the low-fat, low-calorie stuff, you are pouring a chemical cocktail all over your leafy greens.

When you cook at home, you control what you eat. Making your own salad dressing is not only healthier, it is insanely cheap. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m cheap- unless I’m drinking, then I’m generous and leave with the bar tab of a professional athlete.

Here is a salad dressing I make quite often, with random crap I found in my cupboards. It tastes a lot like a balsamic vinaigrette and I haven’t found a salad it doesn’t taste faboo on.

  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Put it in a jar and shake it up. This is a great way to use up old pickle or condiment jars. It ends up pretty strong so a little goes a long way. If the acid is too much, add a tbsp or 2 of water to thin it out.

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