Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nothing screams SUMMER Like A Mojito

To me a mojito is the perfect summer drink - light and refreshing with a touch of lime and fresh mint. Unfortunately, the traditional way to make this drink is to use a simple syrup which makes this drink full of sugar. Too much sugar in one's diet can contribute to a whole host of problems - weight gain, cravings for more sugar, depression, fatigue and hormone imbalance, just to name a few. To make it possible to still enjoy a mojito without the added sugar, I created my own sugar free version that uses a natural, plant based sweetener called stevia. Stevia is available at most grocery stores, health food markets and online. I prefer pure SweetLeaf stevia from Wisdom foods that is available in packets as well as liquid, which is what I use in this recipe.
One thing to remember if you choose to add alcohol to this drink (it is still perfectly delicious and refreshing without the rum) is to have some safe snacks nearby, like nuts, veggies, hummus and guacamole as alcohol can trigger cravings in some people and make them more likely to scarf down something they may regret later. Always remember, too, to drink responsibly. The recipe below is for a pitcher of mojitos, which makes six drinks. It can be made just before your guests arrive and they can serve themselves. Pick up some fun glasses and get your summer party started - cheers!
Pitcher of Mojitos
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • A big handful of fresh mint
  • 6 shots of white rum (optional)
  • 2 droppers liquid stevia ( I use SweetLeaf stevia from Wisdom Foods)
  • 1 liter lime seltzer
  • ice

In a glass pitcher crush mint, lime juice, rum and stevia with a long spoon or muddler (click here to see a muddler). Add ice and selter and garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

Image credit to Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tabata Training - An Intense, Quick and Effective Way to Workout

I'm always looking for ways to decrease my gym time, without sacrificing my workout quality. I love the feeling of a challenging workout, when I'm dripping sweat and really give it my all, but I don't have the time or desire to spend hours at the gym on a daily basis. So, when I heard about a way to workout that was quick, intense and effective, I was definitely interested in learning more. Tabata training is high intensity interval training developed by Japanese researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata. Each Tabata consists of 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated for eight rounds, totaling four minutes time. You can then rest for a few minutes and start another four minute cycle with another exercise.
Tabatas are great for both fat loss and muscle conditioning and also offer flexibility and variety to workouts. You can use either two different exercises performed four times each or four different exercises performed two times each or eight different exercises each performed once. You can also do one exercise for the entire four minute Tabata cycle, but if fatigue sets in and you begin to slow down you can switch to a different exercise to help maintain the same high level intensity in each round.
I have been incorporating Tabata training into my workouts for a few weeks now and I really love them because they are intense and depending on how much time I have, I can decide how many four minute cycles I want to perform. To give you an idea of what I have been doing, here is one sample workout. I start with a two minute warm-up on a stationary bike on the lowest level. I then bump up the level one notch and start my Tabata cycle. Using the digital clock on the bike, I go all out for 20 seconds and then slow down or stop for 10 seconds. I continue this "20 seconds on/10 seconds" off for a total of four minutes and then rest for two minutes. Then I may do a bicep/tricep cycle, 20 seconds of bicep curls with a challenging weight and then rest for 10 seconds. Grab the dumbells again and do tricep kickbacks for 20 seconds and rest for 10, alternating these two exercises for four minutes and then rest for two minutes. Then I'll switch to a shoulder and back cycle for four minutes and then do a two minute rest. I'll finish with an abdominal/chest cycle, doing full crunches and pushups for four minutes and then I'm done. I stretch out for a few minutes and then go about my day with an extra burst of energy and the great feeling that I got in an awesome workout and only spent about 30 minutes, which included warm-up, rest time and some stretching. I can do this workout at home, at the gym or even outside on the beach with my kids doing sprints- the only extra piece of equipment that you really need is a second hand on a clock or watch to time your intervals and you are good to go. Give Tabata training a try and combined with a sound nutrition program you should be on your way to feeling and looking great!
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