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Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Food Facts

This week i'll expose some (random) calorie counts.  (thanks to

Some of these are obviously not healthy while others are sneaky culprits by sounding somewhat healthy.

Cheesecake Factory

Fried Macaroni and Cheese...1,145 calories

Guacamole (made to order) (serses 2-4)...1,609 calories
Factory Appetizer Favorites (serves 2-4)...3,218 calories (even divided by 4 that's still 804 calories)

Main Courses

Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad...959 calories (i'm guessing that doesn't include dressing)
Pasta Carbonata with chicken...2,291 calories (holy crap!)
Rigatoni with Marinara...1,211 calories

Think fish is the way to go?  Better make it grilled.
Wasabic Crusted Ahi Tuna...1,750 calories
Miso Salmon...1,673 calories
Grilled Salmon...713 calories  (really?)
Judging by the calorie counts on the grilled fish, you're likely getting way more than a normal serving.

Linda's Fudge Cake (which happens to be delicious)...1,369 calories
Original Cheesecake...707 calories
Low Carb Original Cheesecake...570 calories
Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake...1,326 calories
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake...939 calories

Don't even get me started on the sodium counts.

Information is POWER!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best Gym Tool Ever!

The foam roller!

I had seen these at the gym but for years never knew what exactly they were used for.

When my last gym shut down we were allowed to take some of the extra equipment, these were the FIRST to go, which clued me in to their value.

These are the ideal tool for stretching out after a hard workout.  The pressure exerted by the roller gives all the benefits of traditional streching plus helping to break down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue.

This article gives a detailed explanation of how and why it works as well as photographs of different stretches that can be done with the roller.

A couple months ago I suffered what felt to me like a serious achilles injury.  Thankfully it wasn't torn, but it was very painful.  I was told to roll out my calves frequently, going from just below the knee to just above the achilles.  Crossing one leg over the other I was able to put additional pressure on my muscles. I won't lie, it hurt, but in a good way.

Like any stretching, results aren't immediate, but over time it really helped.  Whenever I feel my achilles acting up it's typically because i've neglected the stretches.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

80's Spinning

I'm currently working on a new Spinning ride with only 80's music.

I've polled a few friends on their favorite songs and may add a couple in.  Right now it's just a work in progress but here's the playlist so far.

Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
What You Need - INXS
Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
Shout - Tears for Fears
Talking in Your Sleep - the Romantics
Take On Me - a-Ha
I Ran - Flock of Seagulls
Heat of the Moment
You Shook Me All Night Long

What I realized is that EVERY one of these songs has a male singer.  I'm thinking I should probably diversify.

What do you think?

Monday, October 19, 2009


Do you take a multivitamin?

If you do, do you feel differently if you forget to take it?

I subscribe to the Nutrition Action Healthletter, a monthly publication that touches on a variety of health related topics.  The June 2008 issue had an excellent article on multivitamins and what to look for based upon age and gender.

The most valuable part of the article to me was a concise list of the best vitamins for pre-menopausal women.  This list made choosing a new multi EASY.

Here are their top picks.
  • Centrum (originally contained 500 mg folic acid, needs 400 mg to be a top pick)
  • CVS Daily Multiple Plus Minerals
  • CVS Naturalized Spectravite
  • CVS Spectravite Advanced Formula
  • GNC Solo Day
  • Kirkland SIgnature Daily Multi
  • Nature Made Multi Complete
  • Nature's Bounty ABC Plus
This is just a sampling of the list.  Unfortunately I only saved the list, not the article so I can't tell you what the parameters were for a vitamin to be recommended.

I take the CVS Naturalized Spectravite.  No complaints.  Often times vitamins leave a foul taste in my mouth, but I have had no problems with this variety.  I take the vitamin at night, after dinner and before bed.  I also take a calcium plus D pill at the same time.

I've been reading a bunch about taking an Omega 3/6 Fishoil supplement in addition and will post on that another time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Light Banana Bread Recipe

One thing I love to do is bake.  I don't do it very frequently though because having baked goods in the house is DANGEROUS for me.  I have little to no will power in the face of fresh baked goodies.

An overripe banana had taken up residence on my counter and besides making banana bread, I didn't know what else to do with it.   This recipe was given to me by a friend.  I modified it slightly but either way it's a "lighter" version of a great treat.

Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup unbleached white flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar (I used a bit under 1/2 cup splenda and a bit under 1/2 cup sugar)
1 cup mashed banana (I used my one very ripe banana and another semi-ripe banana that i picked up today)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
In a mixing bowl beat together egg whites, sugar and banana.  Add oil and mix well.
Add dry ingredients and mix.  Fold in raisins.
Coat a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Transfer batter to pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.


When life gives you lemons...

I've been out of work for about five months now...ouch!  And honestly, without the gym, i'm not sure what I would have done to occupy my time.  My daily gym workout was my only semblance of normalcy in the months after the layoffs.

So given the newly found free time I had, it was the perfect time to try something new, right?  So I did it.  After years of talking about it, I went and got certified as a Spinning instructor in August.  The certification class wasn't too bad.  However, the job hunting and auditioning have been tough.  But this is something I want and i'm working hard for it.  I've been reminded that I'm strong willed and capable and when I want something, I go after it.  It's refreshing to work hard and see results.

While this doesn't make much of a dent financially, it has done wonders for me mentally.  My confidence is back and I'm really excited to see what doors open next.  Will keep you posted.

My moral...go outside your comfort zone.  If you've wanted to do something for a while, just do it.  Yes, it may be hard/scary/painful etc., but doing it will make you stronger mentally and will be so worth it.