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Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

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Have you been looking for a light, healthy, and tasty Thai dish that is quick and easy to make? Here is a yummy recipe that you can make in a flash! Larb is an Asian salad that’s considered the national dish of Laos. It features a sour and spicy warm stir-fried meat on top of cold, crisp lettuce.

Ingredients:

 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken breast
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • Minced fresh chiles, Jalapeño or Fresno (amount up 
to you)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves separated into “cups”
  • 1 handful of cilantro and/or mint

Directions:

Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the chicken. Use your spatula to break up the meat and spread out over the surface of the pan. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Push the ground chicken to one side of the pan and swirl in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. To the oil, add the shallots, red onion, garlic, and fresh chiles and sauté the aromatics until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce.

Serve with lettuce cups and herbs.

Nutritional Analysis: 6-8 servings | Serving Size: 1 lettuce cup |Calories: 120 | Total Fat: 6.4 g | Sodium: 319 mg | Carbohydrates: 4.1 g | Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g | Protein: 11.9 g | 

3-Ingredient Coconut Mango Ice Cream

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Looking for a refreshing, healthy dessert? Believe it or not, you don’t have to dive into a tub of sugary, store bought ice cream! Make your own creamy, soft-serve style ice cream using just three ingredients: coconut milk, frozen fruit, and honey.

With a texture like cream, no additives or refined ingredients, coconut milk is the perfect alternative to heavy creams. If you want to lower the quantity of fat in your ice cream, choose a low fat coconut milk. Add honey to sweeten the dish without resorting to highly processed and refined sugars. Add mango, or any other antioxidant-rich fruit, and you’ve dosed your ice cream with phytonutrients, fibre, vitamins, and minerals not found in traditionally made frozen desserts.

The only thing that could top this delicious ice cream is a homemade Raw Raspberry-Chia Sauce and a little drizzle of fresh passion fruit!

Ingredients:
ICE CREAM:

1 cup canned Coconut Milk (full-fat recommended)

3 cups organic diced mango, frozen

3 tablespoons honey

Optional RASPBERRY SAUCE:

1/3 cup raspberries

3 tablespoons honey, optional pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon chia

Directions
In a hi-speed blender or large food processor, blend together coconut milk, frozen mango, and honey until the texture of soft-serve ice cream. Scoop ice cream into serving dishes.
Optional Sauce: Puree ingredients for the raspberry sauce in a small food processor.
Tip: If using a hi-speed blender, use the tamper that comes with it for a creamier consistency.

Nutritional value: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 193 | Total Fat: 9 g | Sodium: 9 mg | Carbohydrates: 31 g | Dietary Fiber: 3 g | Protein: 2 g

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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These sweet potatoes are literally bursting with nutrients. That’s because they’re stuffed with superfoods like spinach and quinoa for protein, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are filled with some sweet and naturally-energizing cranberries. The creamy goat cheese topping adds a delicious tangy zing, along with even more vitamins that you won’t get from traditional cow’s milk cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast the sweet potatoes for 1 hour. Let the sweet potatoes cool. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Add all the remaining ingredients except the goat cheese.

Slice the sweet potatoes down the middle and, using a spoon to indent the potato, fill each half with a quarter of the quinoa mixture. Return the potatoes to the oven for 15 minutes. After removing them from the oven, sprinkle with the goat cheese crumbles and serve!

Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 sweet potato | Calories: 282 | Total Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 611mg | Carbohydrates: 50g | Fibre: 7g | Sugar: 16g | Protein: 7g 

 

 

The Benefits of Exercise

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The number 1 way to look and feel younger

We all crave new information on super foods, the latest products or daily routines that will help us look and feel younger and improve the quality of our lives overall. However, as technology continues to make our lifestyle easier, most of us ironically overlook the no.1 fountain of youth- Exercise.

According to ABC Health and Wellbeing, 75% of Australians no longer meet the minimum daily recommendation for exercise, as a result we suffer poor health and die from conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease that were rarely an issue 50 years ago when our active lifestyles kept them at bay.

Our body, like most living things around us, needs constant cleansing in order to function properly and exercise is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to cleanse our body. Whatever your age, gender or physical ability, exercise will enrich the quality of your life in the following ways.

  1. Get the killer figure. Lets face it, life is better when you look and feel good. You fit the clothes you want, you feel more confident at work and studies suggest you are more likely to travel and you take part in the social activities when you have a fit body.
  2. Reverse aging. Don’t waste your money on expensive face moisturisers the 18-year-old super model promotes on television, instead use exercise to actively increase muscle tone and skin elasticity through improved circulation, which helps flush toxins and delivers essential vitamins throughout the body.
  3. Don’t worry, be happy. Manage your anger; aggression, depression or mood swings with regular exercise. Exercise helps release the two hormones endorphins into the brain to make you feel good and serotonin to assist with sleep quality and again overall mood.

The World Health Organisation recommends 3-4 hours or moderate exercise every week, or about 30 minutes per day to experience the benefits listed above. In real terms that equates to 1% of your week and requires just a small amount of disciplines to make it work. To put that in perspective, the average Australian spends more than 7 times that amount each week watching television, surfing the net or on social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Training 101

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Power training, also known as ballistic training, is a form of strength training with a twist. The main goal is to decrease the amount of time it takes you to apply a force (become more explosive at the movement pattern desired). Any sport which involves quick changes of direction, quick bursts of speed, jumping or even kicking can be enhanced through adding power training to an exercise routine.

Power is the combination of speed and strength. The main focus of power training is to maximize strength in the smallest amount of time. The most common sport that necessitates quick strength is Olympic weight lifting. However, many sports such as soccer, rugby, AFL and basketball, or even things like martial arts and gymnastics, require explosive power.

Plyometric training is a form of exercise designed to improve sport performance by increasing speed along with power by training contracted muscles in a rapid sequence. First, the muscle must be stretched, or loaded, then contracted, or tightened. This generates a strong contraction in the shortest amount of time.

Box Jumps, the most common plyometric exercise, uses body weight and gravity to build muscle. This requires an individual to squat down and explosively jump up onto a box of varying heights. Starting from a static position requires the individual to produce maximum force since it takes more strength to move something initially. Once momentum comes into play, the amount of force and speed needed diminishes.

This type of training is not for the beginner. It is a high-intensity workout requiring strong, sudden muscle contractions. This type of training demands a high level of body control. It is necessary to regulate your breathing patterns while commanding the appropriate muscle contractions to maintain form and perform at peak ability. Good physical strength, flexibility and proprioception, or knowing where your body is in space, are prerequisites to avoid injury. Since this training typically is used by elite athletes to enhance performance, a high degree of physical fitness must be reached before attempting it. If you are not in the greatest physical shape, it is best to begin with a standard low impact, slow and controlled strength training routine for several months.

When power training, it is important to implement a thorough stretching and warm-up routine with gradual load progression to reduce chance of injury. Listen to your body and if you have had a recent injury you should gain medically clearance before starting. For those who suffer from a chronic injury, power training will not be the best option.

Example power session for lower body

  • 5 minute stationary bike warm-up with dynamic stretching
  • Front squats – 4 reps 4 second eccentric with explosive upward movement
  • Box jumps – 8 repetitions
  • Kettle Bell Swings – 30 seconds working
  • Back squat loaded vertical jumps (use 20% of your 1Repetition Max) 6 repetitions
  • 200 metres Treadmill sprint
  • Repeat 5 times

For optimal performance, you need to perform power development for both the lower body and the upper body. To discuss the optimum power training program for your needs, chat with the team at PEAK.

 

 

Black Pepper Salmon with Avocado Salad

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Easy to prepare, but still upscale in its presentation, this is a perfect dish to serve to friends and family. But since it comes together so quickly, feel free to enjoy it on a weeknight as well!

Ingredients

Sauce
1 tbs lime juice or lemon juice (about 1/2 lime or lemon)
1 tbs honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs capers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Salmon
4 (4-5 ounce) salmon fillets (wild salmon preferred), skin-on
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Salad
1 med avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp lemon or lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Prepare your grill by oiling the grates to coat (brush on with a paper towel and tongs). Preheat the grill, grill pan, griddle or skillet to medium high.
Whisk together the sauce.
Rub the salmon with salt and pepper . Place the salmon skin-side up (flesh side down) on the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes until there are grill marks on the salmon.
Flip, and brush the tops with the sauce, cooking for an additional 5 minutes, and brushing with the sauce 3-4 times while salmon is grilling.
Meanwhile toss the carefully toss the salad ingredients altogether in a bowl.
Serve salmon accompanied by the salad

Nutritional value: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet and salad | Calories: 331 | Total Fat: 17 g | Sodium: 275 mg | Carbs: 13 g | Dietary Fiber: 5 g | Sugars: 6 g | Protein: 34 g | 

Watch out for these “healthy” fruit products

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Most of us consider fruit to be healthy – something that we can enjoy without restraint. And while fresh fruit does contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, the market place has been flooded with “fruit products” that are sabotaging your fat loss results.

Is any product with the word “fruit” in the name a valid way to meet your fruit quota? Nope. Here’s what I mean:

Problem Fruit #1: Juice

Fresh fruit juice can be wonderful. It has great flavor, great color, and good amounts of important vitamins and minerals. At least it does when it is actually fruit juice. Unfortunately, many drinks labeled as fruit juice, contain a very low amount of actual fruit juice. For these hardly-fruit fruit juices, sugar and water make up the bulk of the contents, robbing you of the important benefits of all-natural fruit juice and leaving you primed and ready to fill your fat cells.

Always keep fruit juice indulgences to a minimum, as even the fruit-only kind is loaded with simple sugars.

Problem Fruit #2: The Fruit Smoothie

Now, now, don’t get all up in arms. Smoothies have long been considered a healthy treat, but this often a misconception. It’s not that all fruit smoothies are unhealthy. In fact, a smoothie can give you a big boost of vitamins and minerals that help you feel energetic and ready to face the day. However, it’s very easy to add more sugar than is found in many desserts, losing all the healthy benefits and putting you at risk for fat storage.

To keep your smoothie lean and healthy, don’t add ice cream or frozen yogurt, processed sweeteners, or other items that are high in sugar and filled with empty calories. Keep your smoothie nothing but fruit, ice, juice, yogurt, and a nice scoop of protein powder to ensure it is high on the health chart.

Problem Fruit #3: Fruit-Filled Desserts

Lots of desserts are based around fruit. Cheesecake, pie, and upside down cake just to name a few. Though most of these desserts are unhealthy, there are a few healthy fruit-based desserts to enjoy. Fruit parfait and fruit sorbet are usually lower in sugar and calories than most desserts. And if you just have to have your cake and eat it with berries too, a light angel food will do just fine. Just make sure the slice of cake is thin.

Problem Fruit #4: Fruit-Flavored Cereals

Hopefully eating bowl after bowl of fruity cereals that leave your milk pink and orange is only a problem for your kids. But if you’re still hooked on cereals that claim to have some semblance of fruit, while being filled with added sugars and calories, it’s time for a change. Yes, these cereals may taste good, but sugar-laden breakfast cereals are ruining your fitness results—even if they supposedly have real fruit flavors. Wean yourself from the fruity cereals by chopping some real fruit into a bowl of healthy, sugar-free, whole grain cereal.

Stick with the Real Deal. The best way to avoid unhealthy fruit flavored products is to only eat raw, whole fruits and avoid packaged fruit in any shape or form. This will keep you on track with your fitness and fat loss goal.

Don’t forget that true fitness success comes from a combination of a consistent, challenging exercise routine coupled with a diet of wholesome, unprocessed foods.

Top 10 Low Calorie Foods

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Sadly, there aren’t actually foods that burn more calories than they contain. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes open for foods that offer very low amounts of calories that will do your diet good. Ready to hunt down some of the best low-calorie foods available? Here are 10 of them.

#1: Black Rice

Everyone loves rice. Most folks are gaga for the white stuff, but many are turning to brown rice. If you want to trim more calories and cram in some more fiber and antioxidants, go even darker. With black rice, your main and side dishes will get a boost in needed nutrients while stripping out calories.

#2: Carrots

There are few foods as dense and filling as carrots that offer so few calories to add to your waistline. How many calories? An entire cup of the orange goodies contain a meager 52 calories! Additional perks include the fact that they’re great cooked or raw and have plenty of vitamin A.

#3: Asparagus

Toss it on a salad, get it fresh off the grill, or steam it up on the stovetop. However you prefer your asparagus, you can take comfort knowing that this filling food comes with just 27 calories per cup. Of course, many prefer their asparagus loaded with salt and butter, and if this is you, be careful! Otherwise you can easily turn a low-calorie stalk of asparagus into an unhealthy addition to your meal.

#4: Arugula

It’s green, has something of a peppery kick, and rings in at 4 calories per cup. Yes, you read right—4 calories. Versatile enough to go wherever green, leafy veggies belong, arugula adds flavor without adding fat, cholesterol, or calories to your salads, soups and beyond!

#5: Broccoli

What is it about green stuff that makes it so low in calories? Whatever it is, broccoli meets the criteria for being one of the top 10 low-calorie foods. Broccoli seems to have some of the greatest benefits of any low-calorie food, as it contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that strengthen and protect your body from a variety of dangerous and deadly diseases.

#6: Lettuce

Weighing in at only 5 calories per cup, lettuce comes with a variety of nutrients, depending on the type you eat. Best choices are those that are dark and rich in color. While you’re not likely to eat a head of lettuce on its own, it provides an exceptional, low-calorie base for all sorts of fantastically delicious and nutritious meals.

#7: Mushrooms

Want to amp up that salad even more? Better grab a handful of mushrooms. Even if you grab a massive handful, you’ll only get 15 calories. And don’t forget that you’ll also get a nice pile of potassium, antioxidants, and various B vitamins. Worn out on salad? Feel free to use mushrooms with other foods and enjoy their versatile abilities.

#8: Tomatoes

Tired of salad talk? Then don’t use that tomato in a salad. Instead, grab a knife, slice up a tomato, and eat it like an apple. When you finish off your medium-sized tomato, it’s okay to feel good about yourself, because you only consumed 22 calories. You also chowed down on vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and an antioxidant called lycopene.

#9: Watermelon

It’s hard to imagine a list of top foods without something to tantalize your sweet tooth. If you’ve ever been at a picnic, you’ve eaten watermelon. Its naturally sweet, has more of those cancer-fighting antioxidants that your body loves, and is exceptionally low in calories. So cut a slice and dig in!

#10: Broth

Rounding out the list of top 10 low-cal foods is good ol’ broth. No matter if you go for chicken, beef, veggie, seafood, or miso broth, it all drops just 10 calories per cup. Chop up some carrots, black rice, broccoli, and mushrooms, and you just made a fantastic soup with just a few more calories than ingredients.

While I fully encourage you to replace the processed, high calorie items in your diet with the 10 foods listed above, all the low calorie foods in the world won’t get you the body that you desire, if you neglect to include a challenging exercise program into your routine. You simply MUST exercise in a way that challenges your muscles to adapt and strengthen in order to be fit and healthy.

This is a true story (cautionary tale)

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A woman sits at a restaurant studying the menu with furrowed brow. She has begun an exercise routine and knows that her frequent meals out could slow her weight loss results if she wasn’t careful.

When the waiter comes she is still deep in thought over what to order. “What can I get for you?” he asks with a smile. She looks up and frowns, no closer to arriving at a decision. On a whim she blurts out, “I’m trying to eat healthy but I have no idea what to order. What do you think I should eat?”

The young waiter looks startled but quickly rattles off his idea of a healthy meal. “The eggplant and roasted pepper pasta is filled with vegetables. You could get that with a salad.”

The woman smiles. Yes, vegetables do sound healthy. So she orders the veggie pasta with a side salad and a diet soda, then sits back to enjoy a few slices of bread.

That’s a true story. Not surprisingly the woman was unable to lose weight even though she was exercising regularly.

It is said that 80% of your weight loss results are derived from diet, and the remaining 20% from exercise—so you can see how important it is for you to stick with a healthy eating plan.

Use the following tips as your guide to eating out right:

Appetizers

Appetizers are a great way to start out a leisurely meal, but can also derail your good intentions with a quickness.

Don’t Order:
Anything fried. Fried foods are a favorite, but will do damage that even the most intense workout won’t undo.
Creamy dips. These are filled with fat and usually come with something fried to dip in it.
Bread. It comes smothered in cheese or seeped in butter, and even when it’s plain it fills you up with more carbohydrates than your body needs.
Do Order
Green salad. Ask for very light dressing and no croutons.
Antipasto. A plate of thinly sliced meats, olives and cheese will start you off with some protein.
Lettuce wraps. These are delicious, protein-filled and low in carbs.

Beverages

Calories in drinks are sneaky because they don’t fill you up. This means that you end up taking in far more calories than you bargained for.

Don’t Order
Regular or diet soda. On one hand you’re drinking corn syrup through a straw, on the other you’re drinking chemicals that cause you to crave sweets. It’s a no win situation.
Sweet cocktails. Many restaurants are advertizing sweet cocktails –resist the urge. Sugar plus alcohol equals loads of unneeded calories.
Sweetened tea. You may feel righteous for ordering iced tea, but if it’s sweetened then you may as well be drinking fully loaded soda.
Do Order
Water. Don’t laugh! Water is the best beverage of all.
Unsweetened iced tea. Don’t ruin it by adding that packet of sugar. Learn to enjoy the natural sweetness to the tea.
Red wine. Stick to one glass, and drink responsibly.

Entrees

This is where the real damage is done. When you order something carb-loaded you leave the restaurant feeling heavy and lethargic—you may not even realize this until you start eating better and experience the light, energetic way you’ll feel after eating a healthy meal.

Don’t Order
Pasta. I don’t care if it comes with red sauce or white sauce, meat or veggies. If you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a lean body then never, ever order a plate of pasta.
Pizza. Another dish that has far more carbohydrates than you need. If you’re craving the pizza toppings then simply order those over a salad.
Burgers. If you really want a burger then ditch the bun and the fries, and have your patty wrapped in lettuce.
Do Order
Lean meat with vegetables. Fish, steak, chicken, take your pick and pair it with green vegetables.
Salad with protein. Ask for very light dressing and make sure you have a nice piece of protein on it.
Soup and salad. Stick with broth based soups that contain protein and pass on the breadsticks.

Spinach & Egg White Wrap

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pic1This wrap is delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s ready in a flash, tastes amazing, and is filled with lean protein, veggies and whole sprouted grains. Try it today, and don’t be surprised if you get hooked!

Servings: 2
Here’s what you need…
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup egg whites
dash of salt and pepper
2 sprouted grain tortillas
2 Tablespoons pesto (purchase it pre-made, or combine ½ cup walnuts, 2 cups basil leaves, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste.)
Spread a tablespoon of pesto over each tortilla and set aside.
In medium sized skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the tomato and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it is soft and wilted. Remove the veggies from skillet, set aside in a bowl.
Pour the egg whites into the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook until the egg is no longer runny.
Arrange half of the egg whites in a line down the center of each tortilla. Top with half of the veggies and then fold the ends up and wrap like a burrito.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 288 calories, 10g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 21g protein. Motivate your friends, family and co-workers! Use the “refer a friend” link below to forward this newsletter and subscribe your friends.