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Welcome Everyone!

My name is Steve and I’m from Montana. I am a self proclaimed health and fitness freak and I’ve created this blog to inspire others and myself. I plan on posting my workout routines, my favorite healthy recipes, information about my favorite supplements, and a bit of random ranting, I’m sure.

The hardest part of working out is forcing yourself to get up and go. Whether you are going for a run or going to the gym, getting up and going will always be the hardest part. We think of exercise as a physical thing but it’s pretty much all mental. I like to blog about health and fitness to keep myself motivated and to keep track of my progress.

Exercise is important to me because it keeps me healthy, energized, strong, and confident. Since starting to exercise, my self esteem has gone through the roof. I definitely look better than when I started, but I don’t think the confidence stems from the way I look. Lifting weights makes me feel good about myself because I know that I am pushing myself to be a better version of myself. This is the true reason why I exercise.

Although exercise is truly about competing with yourself, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. Working out with a partner, or simply keeping track of your workouts and sharing your progress between friends, can do wonders for getting and staying motivated. I am always looking for new workout buddies, so if you live in the Detroit area, drop me a message!

Oh yeah- I also love to cook! Shocking, I know. I haven’t always loved to cook, but since I’ve started eating clean and exercising, cooking has become one of my greatest joys. I love going to the farmer’s market to pick out fresh and healthy ingredients. I love cooking because it is playful, and it is not nearly as difficult as I used to think. The recipes that I post on here will be healthy and easy with five ingredients or less. Most of my meals consist of about 3-5 fresh ingredients… that’s really all you need! Anyways, I’m going to head to the gym now. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

3 Easy Superfood Recipes

acaiAcai Chia Pudding: This recipe features not one but two superfoods! Chia aids weight loss by keeping you full with fiber and plant based protein. Chia seeds are also a wonderful source of healthy omega fats. Acai is super antioxidant food that boosts overall health and vitality. To make this simple Acai Chia Pudding, place ¼ cup chia seeds in a bowl with 3 tbsp. of acai and a pinch of sea salt. Add 2 cups of full fat coconut milk (for thicker, richer pudding- use coconut cream), 3 tbsp. of REAL maple syrup, and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Whisk until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir in the morning and then serve.

Coconut Oil Cups: These metabolism boosting Coconut Oil Cups are so easy, they only require 3 ingredients and take less than 30 minutes! Coconut oil boosts weight loss in a number of ways; it boosts metabolism, reduces body fat around the midsection, and prevents cravings and overeating. To make these super simple Coconut Oil Cups, all you have to do is combine ¼ cup melted coconut oil with ¼ cup melted raw honey and ¼ cup raw cacao. Stir until fully combined. Pour mixture into muffin liners and freeze for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Spirulina Pesto: Spirulina is a superfood because it is packed with vegetarian protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and detoxifying chlorophyll. Spirulina is so nutrient dense that it boasts an impressive number of health benefits that range from heavy metal detoxification to improved immunity and uplifted mood. To make this simple yet savory Spirulina Pesto, simply combine ¼ cup chopped basil with ¼ cup high quality olive oil, 2 garlic cloves (preferably roasted), 1 tbsp. of spirulina powder, and a dash of sea salt and black pepper to a food processor. Process until the mixture reaches pesto consistency. This is a great recipe!

 

 

A Lesson in Addition and Subtraction: Adding and Taking Away Things to Improve Your Health

Diet

Too often diet plans focus only on removing things from our lives. For true success, some elements must be taken away, but some also must be added. Only by adding in healthier choices and removing unhealthier choices, can we truly achieve a healthy balance and dieting success.

 

ADD Healthy Fats. When the carb-heavy diet trend of the 1970s and 80s hit, fat suddenly became the enemy. People were erroneously taught that eating fat equates to becoming fat. The problem is that this concept was never grounded in research.

 

In reality, consuming healthy fats like those found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados is good for not only brain and heart health, but keeping weight levels in check as well. Good fats increase our satiety levels causing us to eat less and actually tell our bodies we don’t need to store as much fat. Continue to avoid unhealthy trans-fats, but add in healthy fats as a part of your daily diet.

 

SUBTRACT Artificial Sweeteners. A sugary sweet taste without the high calorie count sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately it is. In addition to the unknown long-term health effects, artificial sweeteners have been shown in studies to not help manage weight levels. A recent study showed that people who consumed diet sodas actually weighed more than those who consumed regular sodas. Subtract artificial sweeteners and rely on naturally sweetened foods like fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth.

 

ADD a Supplement. Exercise is a valuable component to any diet and any healthy lifestyle. Admittedly, maintaining the energy needed to move through the stressors of daily life and an exercise regime can be difficult. Many people find adding the herbal supplement Rhodiola Rosea to be helpful for this problem. Rhodiola is an adaptogen herb, meaning that it adapts within our body to have normalizing effects against the different physical and mental stressors we face. Studies have shown it helps with energy levels, athletic performance, and fighting fatigue. Add in a quality rhodiola supplement of around 100 mg and increase the dosage if needed up to 400-500 mg per day.


SUBTRACT Diet Foods. Marketing ploys would have us believe a frozen diet meal or quick protein bar is the solution to all dieting problems. The truth is most of these “diet foods” may be low in calories, but they are loaded with preservatives, sugars, sodium, and artificial ingredients. The calorie deficit may help with dieting goals in the short term, but will leave your body void of vital nutrients and set up for weight gain when you return to normal food. Subtract these processed foods from your diet and stick with real, whole foods. You will be more satisfied and the pounds will come off in a healthy way.

 

The Top 5 Green Smoothie Vegetables

kale

1. Spinach – Spinach contains over 20 important nutrients including vitamins, minerals, vegetarian protein, and more. Spinach adds a light sweet taste to green smoothies. You can use fresh, frozen, or dehydrated spinach to make a delicious green smoothie that is perfect for beginners.

2. Kale – Kale is easily abundant at many farmer’s markets throughout the year because it is very rugged and can grow in a variety of conditions. There are many different types of kale, all of which vary in taste, color, and texture. Most varieties of kale are mild and taste great in a green smoothie. If you find kale a bit bitter, you may wish you use baby kale or gentle massage, boil, or steam before adding to your smoothie. Another alternative is fermented kale powder, which is naturally nutrient dense and perfect for adding to green smoothies. Learn more about kale powder here.

3. Arugula – Not only tasty in salads, arugula is delicious in green smoothies! Arugaula is rich with vitamins A, C, and K, and other nutrients such as iron. This tasty green can be thrown in your green smoothie for an extra boost of nutrients.

4. Dandelion Greens – You know those pesky little weeds that grow all over your yard and garden? The ones with the bright yellow flowers that turn to gray, feathery puffs in the fall? Well those annoying, yet beautiful, little weeds have greens that grow attached to the flowers (not the stems, the leaves!). These leaves are a nutrient dense and free source of greens for your smoothie! Just make sure you pick the dandelion greens from a field that is pesticide and fertilizer free!

5. Celery – Celery is absolutely packed with important phytonutrients that make this vegetable a green smoothie superstar. Phytonutrients help to prevent damage to the body cells which plays a great role in preventing disease.

When More Really Is More: Choosing the Best Organic Protein Powder

powderA meal consisting of a single ingredient, regardless of how healthy or nutritious that ingredient may be, could not fully provide for one’s nutritional needs. Dieticians recommend a varied and balanced diet to gain the most favorable nutritional benefits.

The same is true when selecting the best organic protein powder possible. Though protein powders from single sources of protein are widely available, options that combine protein sources are likely a better option for the same reason that a balanced diet is superior to eating a single food in isolation.

Increased Vitamin Content

Any quality protein powder should offer consumers a complete source of protein with all eight amino acids. By combining protein sources such as brown rice, hemp, and mushrooms, not only can people have a complete source of protein with additional amino acids, but they can also multiply the vitamin content they receive. A combination of hemp, brown rice and mushroom powders are seen as the best protein powder by an increasing number of vegans.

Increased Antioxidant Levels

Antioxidants play a vital role in the human bodies by helping to fight against harmful free radicals and reducing disease according to multiple sources such as the National Institutes for Health. Plant based protein sources are naturally rich in antioxidant levels, and each plant offers different antioxidants. By choosing a protein powder with multiple plant sources, people are able to multiply the level of antioxidants they receive with just one product. To maximize the benefits of these combined antioxidants, it is best to choose a raw plant protein powder so that heat does not compromise the antioxidants.

Increased Benefits

Different protein sources can offer different benefits. For example, mushroom protein offers a low carbohydrate source of fiber. Hemp is one of the only natural sources of the healthy fatty acid GLA and is also a source of Edestin, which is a plant protein source nearly identical to a protein found in the human body. Brown rice protein powder is a complete source of protein, and also gentle and easy to digest. In isolation any of these protein sources offers strong benefits, but combined the benefits are exceptional.

Conclusion

Nutrients play a powerful role in health, but for even the healthiest of eaters it can be difficult to get proper levels of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. If people are able to gain the benefits of multiple plant sources in one product it makes the task easier and more attainable.

 

You Are Probably Deficient in this Important Vitamin

vitamins

Did you know that millions of Americans are deficient in vitamin B12? In fact, it is estimated that about 47 million Americans aren’t getting enough of this important nutrient. There are many causes for vitamin B12 deficiency, but most people simply aren’t eating enough vitamin rich foods. With processed foods taking over our grocery stores, it isn’t surprising that America is plagued with nutritional deficiencies.

You may be particularly at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency if you have or have ever had conditions such as Crohn’s, celiac, gastritis, anemia, an imbalance of micro flora, stomach or intestinal surgery, alcoholism, immune system disorders, or long term use of acid reducing drugs. You can also acquire vitamin B12 deficiency if you are a vegan as many of the foods rich in this particular vitamin are meat and dairy products. Unfortunately, this list makes most Americans at risk.

The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, tiredness, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, pale skin, sore tongue, easy bruising and bleeding, stomach upset and weight loss, diarrhea, and constipation.

There are numerous ways to correct a vitamin B12 deficiency. The first step is getting a simple blood test from your doctor to determine whether or not you are deficient. If you are, your doctor is most likely going to recommend a vitamin B12 supplement. If they do, it is best to choose a naturally sourced vitamin B12, such as desiccated liver, because naturally sources of vitamin B12 are safer and more effective.

When I discovered that I had a vitamin B12 deficiency, I started supplementing with synthetic B vitamins but the deficiency, and the symptoms, remained. I then started taking a desiccated liver supplement and the symptoms seemingly vanished. My body is simply able to better utilize naturally occurring nutrients versus synthetic, and your body is likely the same.