Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup – Peanut Butter Recipes

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup - Peanut Butter Recipes

I know. Peanut butter recipes! Couldn’t you just squeak? I love peanut butter, especially in my clean eating recipes. That peanut flavor can add so much to so many different types of dishes!

I also… Read more →



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Holiday Gift Guide: 2016!!

Hey folks!

The Holiday Season is here and I wanted to share a few things that you might consider adding to your shopping list.

Grub

Caveman Coffee– Founded by Tait Fletcher and Keith Jardine, CMC has grown from just a few offerings to a wide variety of awesome coffees, nitropack teas and even MCT oil. I love just about everything from these guys although I must admit a predilection for darker roasts like the Sabertooth blend. They are already sold out of the gift tins, but check out this spread! 

caveman

Paleo Power Balls– Developed by The Paleo Angel, PPB’s are a fantastic, low-glycemic load treat that ticks the boxes of “delicious” and “autoimmune paleo friendly” at the same time.

paleo-angels

Butcher Box– Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like meat! The folks at Butchers Box have cracked the code of sourcing grassfed and pastured (sustainable) meat options while making this delicious and nutritious goodness available via online order.

Gear

Lucki Gi- If you are not into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu we can still be friends, but c’mon, what are you waiting for? Jits is AWESOME! There are a lot of great Gi’s and rash guard options available these days and one of the best is Lucky Gi. From hemp to bamboo to more traditional fibers, Lucky Gi does a great job of keeping you protected and looking good while rolling.

Solo Stove– I’ve done a lot of backpacking and car camping over the years and although I’ve liked my white fuel camp stoves, they can be a pain at times. This cyclonic stove, fueled by small sticks and twigs MIGHT be a fantastic solution if you do not want to go the more traditional camp stove route. A cool feature of the stove is once it starts getting hot a draft is created, pulling air…which makes the fire burn hotter. It’s not quite a perpetual motion machine but it’s super cool and with just a little monitoring and maintenance you can cook a good sized meal or boil water (or make some coffee?) in just a few minutes.

Stove Top Espresso Maker– I’ve had coffee from $5,000 espresso machines and I’ve had coffee from simple stove-top model like this that cost $20. Which was the better cup of coffee? I generally find the stove-top option to be more consistent. Yes, it’s a little work, no you can’t make multiple cups super fast, but what the stove top espresso maker lacks in mass production potential it more than makes up for in consistency. An awesome combo gift pack would be some Cave Man Coffee, Solo Stove and Stove top espresso maker.

Goodies

Hidden Jiujitsu– Keeping the Jiu-jitsu theme “rolling,” I cannot sufficiently recommend Henry Akins Hidden Jiu Jitsu online program. I have learned so much from both seminars and online course work from henry it is tough to describe how much it has improved my jiu-jitsu. You can go all in with a VIP pass or select certain modules which appear to be of particular interest to you.

Gymnastics Bodies– My main “strength training” I have done the past few years has come from the outstanding Gymnastics bodies course. This is a unique program which first puts you through an assessment, then structures your weekly strength and mobility work. The back end of the program provides a fantastic user interface that queries you as to the relative difficulty of the training on a given day, you sleep, level of recovery etc. The program modifies your progress based on parameters like your sleep, recovery etc. If you are not sure if you want to do the whole program I HIGHLY recommend buying the Stretch program as a stand alone item. This is a three day per week stretch program that gets you moving towards the front and side splits as well as working on thoracic and shoulder mobility.

Sleep Remedy– Sleep, Food, Exercise, Community, these are the cornerstones of health. If you need a little help in getting better sleep, you might fall in love with Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy. Formulated by Kirk Parsley MD, a former US Navy SEAL who went on to become a doctor and work with the SEALS for a number of years. Kirk needed an option besides pharmaceutical sleep “aids” to help folks in he military get the sleep they so desperately need. 

Paleo Magazine-If you want to stay on top of the latest and greatest writing and thinking in the Paleo/Ancestral Health world you will love Paleo Magazine. Use code ROBBWOLF to get 9 issues for the price of 6 as well as access to digital archives via their app. 

Ok, that’s it for this year! I hope y’all are doing well.  

Affiliate note: many of these links in this post are affiliate links so if you purchase any of these items through the links on this page, I may make a small commission. You will pay the same price for all products and services, and your purchase helps keep RobbWolf.com running. Please know that I only link to products I personally use and support.

 



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The Importance of Balance—and 15 Ways to Enhance and Preserve It

Inline_The_Importance_of_BalanceEverything in the world is conspiring to make you fall over. The ground can be slippery, slick, and studded with protrusions. The earth can move under your feet. The discarded banana peel is an ever present threat. Gravity itself exerts a constant downward pull, and any tissue straying from perpendicularity with the ground feels the pull that much more. That we manage to stay upright at all is impressive.

Not all of us do.

For youngsters, balance is something you actively practice in certain situations: it’s what you do when walking along the top of the monkey bars or ride a surfboard/skateboard/snowboard. You only think about balance when you decide to test it. Good balance enhances your ability to move through and interact with the world. It’s essential for all of us—and especially for athletes whose feats put them at regular odds with the forces that threaten to throw us off balance.

The older you get, the more the world challenges your balance. And when you’re pushing 80+ and a slight miscalculation can shatter your hip, balance is everything. Good balance lowers the incidence of those miscalculations. It’s essential for staying intact into old age.

It’s good to note that we integrate data from several different systems of the body to “balance”:

Vision—Our visual input provides a overview of the physical surroundings.

Vestibular System—The fluid in our inner ears acts as a kind of level, telling us where our bodies are in space.

Somatosensory System—The nerves in our muscles and connective tissues relay information about our position in the surroundings.

Right off the bat, we see why older people lose balance as they age. Their vision degrades and their muscles atrophy, effectively severing or severely weakening two of three systems required for good balance.

Why should I care?

First, falls and fractures. Oldsters have weaker bones. The loss of bone itself may not increase fall risk, but it does increase the risk of fractures in the event of a fall. Weak bones make balance even more crucial.

Bone loss typically accompanies menopause, which is why over 70% of hip fractures in seniors occur in women. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer a hip fracture after the age of 50, you have a 24% chance of dying within a year.

Measuring balance in the elderly is even an effective predictor of their fall risk. Better balance, less risk.

Younger, more active people who want to enhance their quality of life and performance—athletes, weekend warriors, most people reading now—also benefit from better balance. After all, balance isn’t just standing on one foot on a stable surface. It’s also maintaining your posture and technique while moving, running, or jumping quickly—dynamic balance.

Balance predicts fall and injury risk in athletes, too, especially if they have a history of injuries, and balance training reduces the risk of injuries in volleyball and soccer players with prior history of injuries.

Okay. I’m sold, Sisson. What can I do to improve my balance?

Get enough sleep.

I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing me crow about sleep. It’s that important, and I’m going to continue to detail the many facets of life affected by poor sleep.

The day after a night of sleep deprivation, your dynamic balance suffers. Your ability to integrate sensorimotor function with visual input to control posture drops. Your postural stability gets wonky. If you keep it up at a chronic level, even missing “just a few hours” each night, you impair postural control.

Stop aging.

Aging worsens the effects of sleep deprivation on balance. Aging weakens muscles and bones, making you more prone to falls and bone breaks when you do. So stop it.

I’m kidding, kinda. Everyone progresses through space-time. We all “get older.” But your biological age—the health and resilience of your tissues, organs, and abilities—is more malleable. You can’t turn back time, but you can compress morbidity. You can live long and drop dead:

Get strong.

Balance isn’t all in the head. You don’t think yourself to stability. You must ultimately use your muscles to stabilize yourself. And while you don’t need to add 30 pounds of muscle and squat 3x your bodyweight to improve balance, getting stronger does help.

Get a slackline (and use it).

The slackline is the most obvious, immediately apparent way to improve balance. You hop on one, experience the leg wobbles that seem impossible to overcome, and in a few sessions you can handle yourself with relative grace and aplomb. This is real feedback that you’ve improved your balance.

Some of the studies bear this out. Slacking improves balance and postural control in female basketball players, for example, but doesn’t seem to confer non-specific balance (non-slackline) to everyone.

Research aside? After spending several years with my slackline, I’m comfortable on just about any surface. If I see a thin log spanning a creek while hiking, I’ll walk it.

Unless it spans some ravine with hungry crocodiles waiting below.

Get some 2×4 or 2×3 beams.

Head down to the hardware store and get one in each size. They won’t cost much more than $15, and you’ll have a quick, easy balance beam to practice on.

Don’t just walk on them. Slow bear crawling on a balance beam is an incredible test of balance.

Move deliberately.

Don’t rush through movements all the time. Move slooooowly and really feel the motion. Maintain control across the whole span.

I really like different plank variations, including contralateral and side planks, for the slow yet strong stress they place on your balance capacity.

Incorporate single leg lifts.

Single leg deadlifts and single leg squats (pistols, skater squats) all require incredible balance. Furthermore, because you’re balancing under load, you’ll strengthen the musculature and prepare the connective tissue required for balancing.

Spend more time barefoot.

An older study (which I can’t seem to dig up anymore; sorry) examining the effect of ankle taping on balance used people in bare feet as the control group because their balance was so superior. It’s obvious why to anyone with barefoot experience. You can “grip” the ground, rather than balance on a flat rubber sole. You’re no longer blunting the thousands of nerve endings lining the bottom of our feet; they can actually transmit valuable information to the “balance fund.”

Do dynamic movements and balance training.

Dynamic balance—the kind most important to athletes, the ability to maintain posture, position, and control throughout a movement—requires dynamic movements. You’re just not going to develop it without actually doing it.

One study had female athletes do either a plyometrics program (dozens of exercises involving broad jumps, vertical jumps, squat jumps, barrier jumps, wall jumps, drop jumps, tuck jumps—basically just a ton of jumping, focusing on maximal effort along with cutting movements with quick reactions) or a program designed to train dynamic balance and stability (jumping, with a focus on landing softly and avoiding knee valgus; balancing and lifting weights on both stable and unstable surfaces like BOSU balls and swiss balls; single leg exercises; stability and balance exercises as someone perturbs their center of gravity). Then they measured the effect on strength, power, stability (how much sway after jumping laterally), and impact force (how hard you land). Both programs improved each measure, only differing on impact force, with the balance program having a stronger effect on the dominant leg’s ability to land softly. In the end, the researchers conclude that doing a mix of both is probably best.

Another study in children supports their conclusion, finding that a combination of plyometrics and balance training improved sprint performance better than plyometrics alone.

Work balance into the day.

Stand on one leg while you wait for coffee.

Walk along the back side of a park bench.

Climb a tree and walk around on horizontal branches.

Walk along the curb.

Have fun with it.

Maintain a neutral spine.

Balance is about maintaining a stable, neutral spine amidst whatever gravity and life throws at you. So always focus on the spine.

Keep your shoulders back and chest up.

Keep your feet, ankles, knees, and hips mobile, lubed up, and primed for activity.

Watch knee valgus (knee sliding inward) during movements like squats.

This is basic posture, but it’s so important. If your head juts forward and your shoulders roll forward, you’re out of position. You’ve just committed 11 pounds of skull, flesh, and brain to a bad position where gravity can yank down on it.

Now imagine running, jumping, or even just walking down the street with that big head lolling around upsetting your balance.

Focus on closed kinetic chain movements over open chain ones.

Closed kinetic chain movements have you act on the ground to move a weight. Your hands or feet are touching the ground or other immoveable surface and do not move. Think squats, deadlifts, pushups, pullups. These require a cohesive, balanced kinetic chain and target every tissue and joint along the chain.

Open kinetic chain movements have you act on the weight itself. Your hands or feet touch the weight and move. Think leg extensions, hamstring curls, bench presses, lat pulldowns.

Studies show that closed kinetic chain exercises have a better effect on balance.

Do basic balance progressions.

The simplest way is to stand on one foot while doing slow, deliberate leg sweeps. Spice it up by closing your eyes and switching legs. This kind of simple balance training improves balance and, maybe most importantly, reduces the fear of falling in older adults. Less fear lowers the barrier to exercising, staying active, and enjoying life. That’s huge.

Bounce.

Most research has focused on mini-trampoline training’s positive effect on balance, but I’m confident larger trampolines are even more effective. I recently found myself on a 15 foot trampoline. The difference between jumping and landing with a neutral, aligned spine and jumping and landing even slightly hunched over was jarring. The former felt fluid and powerful and right. The latter felt all wrong, and I only jumped about half as high. Trampolines reward good balance. I imagine they enhance it, too.

Bounce houses work, too. The toddler-strewn floors add an element of dynamism.

Jump.

Jumping—and landing—is perhaps the single best test of balance. You’re flying through the air. You’re landing. Your body wants to keep going and you need to prevent that without tearing anything or falling over. There’s a lot going on, too much to intellectualize.

That’s why actually getting out and jumping is so important for balance. Keep the basics in mind—land softly on the balls of your feet, then the heels; land with hip flexion, absorb the impact with your quads, glutes, and hamstrings; don’t let your knees drift inward (valgus); maintain that neutral spine. You do it, you land it, you do it again, you improve, you learn. Start small, and the body will take care of the rest.

Senior with creaky knees? Try small hops.

Like lunges? Try Russian lunges (no weight necessary, necessarily).
Bored of broad jumps? Try 180° jumps, 90° jumps, or 180/90° jumps onto a park table.

That’s about it for today, folks.

How’s your balance? How has balance affected your life, your performance, and your injury risk? How do you train it?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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Healthy Hanukkah Appetizers and Desserts

The Jewish festival of lights is filled with potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and chocolate. Instead of making it a holiday celebration of calories, offer a variety of eye-appealing, delicious foods that friends and family will enjoy —including a lighter take on the traditional doughnut.

Appetizers

Offer finger foods to friends and family when having them over to light the menorah and sing holiday songs. Include healthier spins on holiday favorites and lighter bites. Complement them with low- or no-calorie beverages like water, seltzer, virgin spritzers, tea and coffee.

Kale and Artichoke Dip (pictured above)

Crispy Zucchini and Potato Pancakes

Applesauce

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mini Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

 

Desserts

Doughnuts (aka sufganiyot) are an important part of the holiday tradition. Serve them with fruit- and nut-based desserts to up the nutritional ante.

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts (pictured above)

Winter Fruit Salad  (pictured above)

Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Tartlets

Mocha Meringue Bark

 

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.



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The Gift Of Serenity // Neroli Spa

neroli-spa

A few weeks ago I received a text from my friend Alyssa to say that she was working at a new spa, Neroli Spa & Beauty Lounge. I have treated myself to several of Alyssa’s facials in the past, and she is the best in town! She invited me to see the new space, and had me act as her face model while she learned a new product. A few weeks later, Alyssa and Suzanne, the owner, invited me in for a morning of pampering to share the experience with you guys.

That’s it guys, I am giving up all other jobs and am starting a new career as a face model and professional spa reviewer! Inquiries can be sent to me at katheats at gmail.com : ) : )

I can also review massages, hot tubs, nap pods, infinity pools, hotel penthouses, floating salt pools, and clouds. I am a woman of many talents, cloud reviews being one of my best. Just ring me up!! Haha.

I do have a special deal to share with any of you in Cville, so check the end of this post for the details! 

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Neroli Spa moved from its previous location at Barracks Road Shopping Center over to this gorgeous new airy loft on West Main Street behind Oak Hart Social. The new space is perfect for bridal parties, girls gatherings, bachelorettes, or just those seeking relaxation.

My day started at home with a chocolate Vega smoothie made with peanut butter, banana, and spinach, and coffee.

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Upon arrival, I put on a robe and spent some time relaxing in the lounge before I was called for my first treatment.

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In the warmer months, there will be furniture on the patio garden so guests can step outside between sessions.

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I was called for my first treatment, which was a sampling of several of the Neroli Spa body treatments beginning with hot stone massage.

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I was also given a few minutes of the ELEMIS Poultice Powered Muscle Release, where the therapist pressed these poultice packs filled with a blend of herbs and amber into my shoulders and back. I loved the element of surprise throughout the hour!

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Neroli Spa uses the ELEMIS line of products, and the aching muscle body balm that my therapist massaged into my sore legs felt so good. Unlike products with a ton of menthol, this had warming eucalyptus and didn’t leave me freezing.

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I was able to take a hot shower in between treatments to rinse off, and that was a nice touch!

Next I had a facial with Alyssa!

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She gave me the Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial, appropriate for Kath Eats Real Food : ) My favorite product was the Papaya Enzyme Peel, which smelled SO GOOD! Like the tropics in a bottle. Alyssa’s facials are the best because she has the most gentle touch, including the transitions between products, cloths, and massage. The every minute of the treatment is soothing. My favorite part was when she painted on a thick mask and then peeled it off in one swoop when it had dried.

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After I got my glow on, I headed back upstairs for the Ultimate Pedicure.

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The pedicure includes more than just trimming and polishing: hot stones, the papaya enzyme treatment on the legs, and a parafin dip. I loved the cute warm booties!

Red sparkle for the holidays:

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Finally the girls surprised me with a little make-up to send me out the door. Neroli Spa offers full-service make-up as well, including bridal and special occasions.

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I snacked on some of that yummy trail mix since we were into lunch time!

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Cheese!!!

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And now for a treat for any of you locals!!

Neroli is offering 20% off of all services to KERF readers through January 31! Just mention Katheats when you call or visit.

and….

I can’t think of a single woman who wouldn’t love a spa gift card for Christmas. Mention this post to receive a $25 bonus on any $100 gift card purchase.

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Thanks to Alyssa and the team for the wonderful morning of serenity! Visit Neroli Spa’s website for more info on all the services they offer.

neroli spa

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