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Moira's Blog Posts

Filtering by Category: healthy eating

Spring Cleaning & Cleansing

Moira Riccio

How's your Spring Cleaning going?   I know, "Spring Cleaning" typically means changing your closet from Winter attire to Summer, and dusting off the flip flops and t-shirts and shorts to enjoy the warmer weather.  And that's all good~but what about your Spring Cleansing?  Have you considered changing your eating habits so that you feel lighter and happier?  Do you want to have more energy (to workout more, right?!) or just look and feel better about yourself.

You know what they say, "Getting healthy starts at Moirasfitness studio, but losing weight starts in the kitchen!"

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Moira Riccio

Apple cider vinegar has many healing qualities and keeps your food-intake pH-balanced.  It's so good for you, that it's truly necessary to share this information:

Hippocrates used apple cider vinegar around 400 BC because of its health properties.  It's made from fresh apples which are later fermented and contains pectin, a fiber that regulates blood pressure.  Apple cider vinegar also helps extract calcium from certain foods, therefore strengthening bones.  It's rich in potassium, which removes toxic waste from the body.

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Ten Slimming Foods

Moira Riccio

Right on time for the Holidays~from Womens Health magazine…with a little bit of help from Mo;)
 

Apples 
An apple a day may keep the fat pants away, too. This portable fruit is the perfect snack, with a high water content and both kinds of weight-busting fiber: soluble, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes that lead to cravings, and insoluble, which helps fill you up.  Tip:  Buy organic!!

Eggs                                                         They're a great source of protein, which may be key to keeping you full. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when people ate two eggs for breakfast, they took in more than 400 fewer calories over the next 24 hours than when they ate bagels.  It will help you feel full longer.  Tip:  Try Egglands Best eggs.

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Super Immunity Food Choice Recommendations

Moira Riccio

According to the book, Super Immunity, "The key to obtaining incredible health is to eat more fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and other nutrient-rich foods.  Consuming these nutrients in their raw form will give the maximum benefit."

What does this mean?

to do list:

1.  Eat a large salad every day

2.  Buy some raw nuts and seeds~stick 'em in your glove compartment, stash some in your desk at work…have good stuff accessible 

3.  Eat green vegetables every day, raw or cooked~add some in to soups, or stews

not to do list:

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Organic or not?!

Moira Riccio

I don't know about you…but I have heard a lot about organic foods, and why they are better…but then I look at the prices in the grocery stores and wonder, "Is it really worth it?!"  "Can I start now, and will it make a difference?"

Here are some foods that have the highest pesticides…always buy "organic:"

* celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.

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Which Diet is the Best Long Term?

Moira Riccio

This is according to The Boston Globe's "G" section today….the Annals of Internal Medicine randomly assigned 150 people to follow either a low fat or low carbohydrate diet plan, and found that those who followed the first choice -- low carbohydrates -- lost 8 more pounds than the low fat plan.

But what kinds of "carbohydrates" and "fats" were they using?   And how much physical activity were these candidates doing?  You need carbs to move.  You need healthy fats to digest.  An overall combination of carbs, fats and proteins is the best choice.   

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"To Be or Not To Be" Gluten Free?

Moira Riccio

There's so much to keep track of these days with recommended nutritional guidelines...Should you watch your carbs, fats, sugars or gluten?   Everything in moderation, of course but here are a few ideas for you with your nutrition:

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, flour and (some) oats and tends to bind up the system, increase inflammation and enhance fatigue.   Bottom line, do what's right for you, but you may want to eat fewer cereals, breads and pastas for a week and see how you feel!

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November 1st is almost here~you know what that means...

Moira Riccio

Halloween!  Reeces, Kit Kats, Milky Ways, Snickers.  You stop into CVS for a quick bottle of shampoo and you find yourself staring at the front display.  Do you really have so many trick-or-treaters?  I know, I know, it may get the best of you--but remember we're all in this together!  Stay strong!  Save the Reeces for the kids and nibble on some dark chocolate….  Don't let those ghosts and goblins scare you!

November 1st also means the start of later Fall.  Dark mornings, darker evenings…and you want a cozy meal when you arrive home after a long day.  How do you fit in the healthy eating component to your life?  Time management, my friends.

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Are You Feeling Sassy Today?!

Moira Riccio

According to the "Flat Belly Diet" book, this creative mixture helps you to feel less bloated, along with a few other tricks....   For example, eating 4 mini-meals with protein and healthy monounsaturated fats, eating slowly (!), and yes~moving around and exercising more -- especially when your body is not accustomed to it.  'Like a brisk walk after dinner.:)

I am not one who "cleanses" or decides to eat only cabbage and watermelon for 2 weeks to drop weight.  As I tell my kids, "Nobody likes to eat more than me!"  However, if you do feel just overwhelmed with work schedule, and maybe traveling lately and haven't had a chance to eat healthy,  try it for a few days and see how you feel!

Sassy Water Recipe
2 liters water
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon
12 mint leaves

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Keeping the Peace with your (CORE) digestive system,
Moira



Flat Belly Diet

Moira Riccio

Is there such a thing?   As a Personal Trainer specializing in CORE conditioning, I felt compelled to check it out....    "The Flat Belly Diet" book offers ideas you have heard before: portion control (small to medium),  mini-meals throughout the day (4 to 5), avoid processed foods, and white sugar.  One thing I did find interesting however was their suggestion to eat healthy, "monounsaturated fats," and how ultra important it is for your body ~ keeping things moving smoothly, if you know what I mean.;)

What does this mean to you?  Adding in olives, olive oil, nuts & seeds, avocados, and dark chocolate to each one of your meals is considered a very good, healthy choice for your diet.  Of course lean proteins, fruits and veggies along the way as well.  Think "Paleo" diet with a few dark chocolate bars along the way!

So I tried it, and I will say that it fills you up!   I do feel more satisfied.

Food for thought my friends, as we begin a new Fall season...the one where we crave those warm, comfort foods to warm our hearts.   Keep the Peace by using those recipes lower in carbs, and add those healthy fats.  Try out my healthy recipe this month of White Chicken Chili -- with avocado, of course!

What's on the Menu tonight, Mrs. Riccio?

Moira Riccio

Many of you may be surprised to know that yes, I do post a weekly menu.  Why?  Well, at this point in my life, raising four children especially, I have come to realize how much actual time I spend shopping for food, cooking food, serving food, and sometimes even disposing of food....  It's pathetic.  So I figured if I organized a menu and literally wrote down what I planned to cook when, I wouldn't forget about that bunch of kale or red grapes I bought at the grocery store.

Even if you are single, or married without kids, buying the rights foods is critical to healthy eating and overall wellness.  And of course, when you choose the right foods, you feel better and you are more apt to get in your car and drive to the gym, right?  Right. (!)

I also like to be efficient with my time in the kitchen.  I "powercook" ~ a new word perhaps ~ make 2 meatloaves, cook one and freeze the other.  Create a huge batch of turkey chili and freeze it in individual portions so you can sit down with a hot bowl when you get in from a long day.  When your kitchen is stocked with good food choices, you will eat better and feel better.

Remember the 80/20 rule: Eat well 80% of the time and snack 20% of the time.  That and a menu and you're "good to go!"

Here it is:

Monday      meatloaf (beef with herbed stuffing mix, eggs, ketchup and water), prepared mashed potatoes (I grew up in an Irish household and I HATE to peel potatoes...so my sister gave me the tip of the refridgerated ones in the medium-sized black container.) & kale chips, peas
Tuesday      roasted chicken on the bone, with mini potatoes and onions, green salad
Wednesday DiLuigi turkey burgers, angel hair pasta with park cheese, corn
Thursday    DiLuigi chicken sausages, reduced fat cheddar cheese (whole grain) quesadillas and salad
Friday         chicken kabob salads from North Beverly Roast Beef 978-927-7353~awesome
Saturday     takeout pizza from Mangia
Sunday       salmon on the grill, brown rice pilaf,  salad

Bon Appetit!

Preventative Measures ~ 'Just a couple suggestions....;)

Moira Riccio

We all want to stay in shape for the present day-to-day positive attitude, cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, better balance and increased flexibility, as well as improved posture.  But what about preventative measures?  Planning for the future, I mean....   How can we stay looking forward and not backwards?  Working out (the right way for you) can certainly help to prevent injury.

It's just like what our healthcare providers are recommending these days ~ go to the gym and we will offer you a discount on insurance!  The world is changing.   This mindset also correlates to what we eat and how we feel.  It's cause and effect.  Action and consequences.

For example: eat a McDonalds cheeseburger or any food with lots of preservatives, and you may feel heavy and sick to your stomach.   I love bread but when I eat too much of it, I definitely feel bloated the next day -- ugh.  So before you order your next meal out this weekend, think about how you will feel later.

Another suggestion to feeling good each day is Apple Cider Vinegar.  A daily dose will help to cleanse, heal and support your body.  Just add 2 Tablespoons daily to a glass of water and help yourself to regulate pH balance, lower blood pressure, relieve allergy symptoms and nausea among many other things.   Apple cider vinegar also helps to reduce inflammation.

If you don't feel that helps, another little tip is to take a hot bath and dissolve 1 to 2 cups of good ol' Epsom Salt.  It's a cheap alternative to those expensive bathsalts and it contains magnesium and sulfate ~ necessary minerals for our bodies to work at the optimum.

Food for thought, my friends!
Remember, this will help to "Keep the Peace" within you;)

Salt Sugar Fat: what does this title mean to you?

Moira Riccio

That's the name of a book by Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who investigates the rise of processed foods in our "Supersize me!" culture.   He describes how the food industry creates convenience foods like "Lunchables," and promotes them as  "healthy" options for children and their busy but well-intentioned parents.  The subtitle is: "How the Food Industry Hooked Us."  Food for thought, eh?


We are all on busy schedules and not everyone can eat according to the diet menus in all the magazines ~ I get that!  Eat fresh?  Yah, right: you try that when you are in a hurry to catch a flight!  However, if you find yourself having too many cravings
for those things (we need some, you know ~ the occasional box of Wheat Thins:)), you may want to substitute with other choices.
Instead of wheat thins?  Try a handful of almonds.

I am not a nutritionist but I can tell you one thing:  the more you eat processed foods like crackers and soda, the more you will crave those things.  And it's usually at the same time of day, isn't it?!  For example, if you get in the habit of eating Oreos every night, you will really crave those cookies at about 9pm.   It's all a habit.  Just like smoking or a bad sleeping pattern....   If you want to change your habit, try to do something else for 5 days, and see what happens.

Nutrition, like fitness, is a very personal decision.   So take this information with a grain of salt, perhaps, but just wanted to pass along the information for you to prepare for the road ahead.


Take care,
Moira

"Does she eat?! What does she eat anyway?"

Moira Riccio

So many of you may at some point ask to yourself during these exercise classes, "I wonder what she eats for breakfast!"  How can she have so much energy?  "Did she say,'Eight more?!"  I am just kidding here (well, not really):)....it's not that I think you think about me so much while you are working out, but I remember being a student in a class and asking myself those questions,  "Does she ever bury her head in a box of wheat thins at some point during the month?  I mean, really!!!"


So the short answer is:  eggs & toast, peanut butter & toast, cereal or oatmeal with milk, or a protein bar.   The long answer is:  we are all a work in progress....  And I really mean it.  I totally understand that you all have jobs, travel schedules, families and let's face it ~ sometimes it takes alot of will power to stay away from wheat thins!   Or when you are at the airport or on the road and stop at (gasp!) McDonalds, what do you order?  You need to eat, after all.

The bottom line is you just need to make good choices, just like we tell our kids/friends/coworkers/animals.  At a recent VET checkup with my dog, Dr. Pett (yup, that's his name --  seriously) suggested that Rudi eat more carrot sticks instead of biscuits.  She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and I said, "I know, girl...it's a bummer for all of us."  "We can have a biscuit 2x/week instead of every day."

So convert that same logic and reasoning for yourself.  Keeping a healthy eye on your nutritional content (NOT a "diet") does not have to be so restrictive.  It's all a give and a take.  Everybody has a bad day, and may overindulge in wheat thins or chocolate or whatever floats your boat.  The key is to not just give up.  Start fresh tomorrow.  Give yourself weekly rewards ~ not food related.:)

And remember this: If you cut back 250 calories a day, and exercise to burn 250 calories...that adds up to 500 calories per day!   That really adds up over time!  (that's as many calories as an entire spin class!!)

Keep the Positive Energy and Keep the Peace,
Moira