Straight Trippin’

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I’m going on a road trip! Yup! Me! Hitting the road and going to New Orleans to check out the Essence Music Festival with some girls and I am so excited for this adventure!  Other than the change of scenery and female bonding and the promise of seafood, music and fun when we get there, one of the things about being on the road, is the one the road food. Fast, fried food that can sometimes taste soo good, but be soooo bad for you. What’s a girl (or guy) to do?

Well, believe it or not, there are some things that you can take with you to have a healthier time on the road! Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Almonds. Tasty, filling and come in different flavors.

2. Hummus and pretzel snack packs.

3. Water-of course.

4. Pouches of tuna. You can add this for some healthy protein on a side salad (or two) from the drive through.

5. Granola bars

6. Trail Mix or any other fruit and nut mix.

7. Pirate’s Booty in Aged White Cheddar-yum!

8. Pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables. Apples, celery and carrots usually travel the best. I love bananas, but hate the hot banana smell in a small space.

Add some music and some mystery novels and I’m all good until it is my turn to drive. I am too excited for my trip and will be scouting out my next fitness adventure. I can’t wait!

And now, get out there an get some FIT STARTED! Until next time!

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Looks Delish! The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, I know a few people, but it is safe to say that chocolate is one of the move sought after, craved for treats and with good reason. The good for you, vitamin packed dark chocolate version gives you even more reasons to indulge. Here are a few:

  • Celebrate the sweetness of life! Researchers have found that dark chocolate helps to reduce stress hormones and keeps kids happier (which ALSO helps reduce adult stress hormones!)
  • Dark chocolate has flavonoids (antioxidants that fight aging and disease) that assists the skin in absorbing UV light, helps to increase blood flow to  the skin and improves skin hydration and overall complexion.
  • How sweet it is to be loved by you..dark chocolate can heighten senses and increase endorphins which enhances arousal.
  • Raise of hands of people who saw Ex-Lax pieces (or even baker’s chocolate) back in the day and was tempted to eat it because it looked like chocolate? (I know I’m not alone in this) Dark chocolate has 4 grams of fiber per serving, which helps you feel full as well as keeps you regular.
  • Keep that sweet tooth-dark chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity that causes tooth decay.

These double chocolate cupcakes look delish! Try and enjoy!

Fitness Adventures: Dave & Busters

Dave and Busters

 

It’s Spring Break week for the kids here in Chicago, so the beau and I decided to take the kids over to Dave & Busters.  If you have never been to Dave and Busters, its kind of like a sophisticated Chuck E. Cheese. There are games, prizes, food and adult beverages. Fun is to be had by all!

Wednesdays are half price days, we had 3 kids  of various ages and some time to kill so it was perfect.  You must be asking yourself (or me) what in the world does going to Dave and Busters with the kids have to do with fitness? Well, I’ll tell you-a whole lot!

Not only are you walking around the space with the kids, but there are tons of games that will keep you active. We started off with a little Skeeball to warm us up, followed by some air hockey. Both great upper body warmups you also get a bonus core stretch and extension with the air hockey. We then hit the basketball area and shot some hoops for a while, followed by a football toss.

We were good and ready for more of a challenge so the Jumpin’ Jackpot (a game where you are basically jumping a virtual rope at an increasing speed) and Dance Dance Revolution (you know the game..don’t front) and got a good plyometric and total body dance/aerobic workout.

All that moving around can work up an appetite, so luckily, we ate before we came and have some snacks for this kids-almonds, granola bars, fruit, etc. But if you want to eat they do have an extensive menu which includes some selections under 600 calories and salads.

Not only did we have an active time, but we had a wonderful time with the kids, had some healthy competition going and there were prizes involved. One of us luck winners walked away with a moustache necklace! Yep. You read that right! Jealous, I know!

Overall, it was easy, effortless and economical family fun that turned out to be a fitness adventure. Until next time, best your best you!

 

Sick and Tired

The month of October in Chicago is wonderful! The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, the transition from summer to fall is beautiful and awe-inspiring. But one thing that isn’t lovely about this time of year is the beginning of cold and flu season. Here are a few tips and facts about cold and flu prevention that will hopefully help you stay healthy so you can enjoy the fall season:

  • Going outside with wet hair will not cause a cold or flu! Just had to put that out there. I don’t care whose mama or grandma says it. Colds and the flu are viruses. While your nose will run and you will get a chill if you go out when your hair is wet, it will not cause cold or flu. However, sharing a pen with someone who DOES have a cold will contribute to you getting sick.
  • Soup does help! Hot soup prepared with lots of vegetables helps with the runny nose and congestion that goes along with a cold. Plus the vegetables add to the vitamin intake that can help you strengthen your immune system.
  • The best defense is…vitamins! Taking supplements and/or eating foods rich in Vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Get up! Walk around, move your arms..do something! Exercise is fine to do when you are sick-just don’t overdo it because that could possibly weaken your immune system. But make sure that you stay reasonably active, it will help you feel better.
  • Oh and-Drink water! Beber agua! Boire de l’eau! пить воду! In whatever language, do it and stay healthy.

Grown Folks’ Business: Are Fitness and Fashion Trends Too Much for Kids?

 

As I stare as YET ANOTHER picture of an airbrushed, dead eyed fashion model, I overhear a news report-they now make Spanx for teenagers. I shake my head and go on with my day. Later that day, I hear an afternoon radio show topic discussing plus sized clothing for girls…again-I shake my head. Then I hear on public radio that thye have Cross Fit for kids. A 10-year-old was bragging that he just did a 85 pounds deadlift. And that’s when I’d had enough.

Spanx? Cross Fit? Really?  Let’s first discuss the concern that I have about the plus sizes for girls. While I see the benefit-which is appropriate fashion choices for young ladies who are a little bigger than other girls their age instead of wearing clothing designed for grown women. But does that just encourage the poor fitness and eating habits because they know they will be able to fit into something that’s cute and styled for a kid?

And then moving on to the Spanx. Are young women so brainwashed to think that they have to basically wear a modern day corset to look good? I understand wanting to look nice for that special night out or for your wedding. But gym class? Walking home from school? I know grown women do it, so clearly that’s where they get it from, but where does it stop?

Cross Fit. I know that lots of people love it-and that’s great! It is something that gets people moving. But I question the safety of 4 and 6 year olds lifting weights. What I do know is that according to a 2008 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that it is safe for children to starts lifting weights at 8. Most doctors recommend high repititions, low weights for pre-pubesent children.

So, while I know that everyone while too look good and feel good, when it comes to kids you have to wonder, at what cost? I think its just fine to hide a bulge or two occassionally, but that should not take the place of a good diet and exercise. Exercise and sports help kid’s self esteem and of course their fitness, so encourage age appropriate activity, make it fun and interactive-not an overstressed, sprint to “perfection”.