Five Simple Ways To Have A Happy And Healthy Fourth of July

Five Simple Ways To Have A Happy And Healthy Fourth of July

From time to time, I like to check out what other fitness and health professionals are posting on their blogs regarding specific holidays, so I did a search for health tips for the Fourth of July.  What I mostly found was fitness pros sharing a list of rules that had very little to do with fun and more to do with restricting behavior and dieting.  Ugh!

The whole point of celebrating a holiday is to have a good time and participate in the festivities. That usually includes eating foods that are traditionally served on that specific holiday.  It’s something we look forward to and it’s a wonderful way to bring people together.

It also includes a change in routine.  It’s possible that you may skip your normal exercise routine that day and that’s totally ok and normal.

What’s not ok is feeling guilty because you skipped your workout, drank a mimosa before noon, and ate three helpings of Aunt Sue’s famous potato salad or something similar.  I’m sure you are getting the picture.  We all like to celebrate differently. 🙂

I’m not suggesting complete gluttony and I think it’s a good idea to move throughout the day.  However, it’s important that you celebrate the way you, your family, and your friends choose to.

Take the pressure off of yourself and have fun.  It’s totally possible to do healthy “nonrestrictive” things for yourself while you celebrate.

Here are five simple ideas:

Buy quality ingredients.  No matter what recipes you decide to follow or food you choose to serve, buy whole foods and quality processed foods.

Move because it’s fun and feels good.  Sitting around all day can make your body stiff and make you feel sluggish.  Activities like hiking, flag football, bocce ball, horse shoes, swimming, and marching in a parade are all fun ways to stay active without it feeling like a chore.

Spend time being grateful.  Take a moment to be thankful that we live in one of the best places in the world.  This great nation allows us to pursue life, liberty, and happiness each and every day.  For that, I am truly grateful!

Laugh.  Laughter is good medicine and helps relieve stress.

Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water and eat hydrating fruits and veggies like celery and watermelon.  Staying hydrated helps your metabolism function at it’s best.

This Fourth of July, I encourage you to “declare your independence” from the restrictive side of the fitness and diet industry.  Eat foods that you enjoy and agree with your body, and choose exercise you like.

Have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday.

God bless you and America!

Shared with love,


Photo above is courtesy of:   Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash


Meal Planning The Easy Way

Meal Planning The Easy Way

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple,  especially  when it comes to weekly meal planning and cooking.    This is why I love recipes!  Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the leg work?  And, thanks to the internet, you don’t even need to store a bunch of cookbooks anymore.  You can find recipes on the internet for free.

When it comes to using other peoples’ recipes I like to use them as a starting point and then tweak it to meet our dietary needs and what I believe to be the best nutritional choice.  For example, I replace low fat dairy with full fat and canola oil with something like avocado or peanut oil.  I also cook with cast iron so if a recipe is light on the oil I will add more to keep food from sticking to the pan.

If you are just getting started with meal planning I suggest you pick recipes that can be cooked in under thirty minutes.  And,  unless you absolutely LOVE cooking and have the time to invest, I do not recommend cooking labor intense “project meals”  on a busy week night.

Below are seven sample recipes that I would use on any given week.  I include the links to the recipes (click on the name of the dish) and my recommended tweaks to make them even more fabulous and balanced.

Mu Shu Pork Wraps. 

Skip the takeout and make your own Chinese food.  Instead of canola oil, I would use peanut oil.  We like to eat this one over rice instead of making them into wraps.  If you like the wrap idea, then I would serve rice on the side for a carb.

Vera-Cruz Style Red Snapper.   

The only thing I would substitute in this recipe is olive oil instead of cooking spray.  I might use different white fish depending on what is available to us that week.  I usually stick to wild caught.  I grew up on the Pacific Ocean so my taste buds prefer wild to farmed. 🙂  A good side for this dish would be rice or corn tortillas and a side salad.

 Tex Mex Rice Bowl.         

This quick recipe is a favorite at our house.  Serve it with a side salad as well.

Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese.

Swap out cooking spray with avocado, olive, or grape seed oil.  Half -n-half can be used instead of light whipping cream if you don’t have any on hand.  I like whole grain pasta with this dish, however polenta would be really good with it too.

 Spring Vegetable Carbonara

If you are using turkey bacon, I would add some olive oil to create drippings.

 Quick Chicken Curry

I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts so I would use thighs instead in this dish.  That’s totally up to you

 Lamb Burgers. 

Lamb burgers are nice way to change up from traditional hamburgers.  I like to serve them with a simple side salad and will make some frozen garlic fries to go with them.

The recipes above come from Cooking Light magazine.  It’s one of my favorite resources for meal planning.  There are loads of great recipes available on the internet so I encourage you to explore what is available.

Here’s to good food!

Shared with love,



Eight Tips For Exercising In The Heat

Eight Tips for Exercising In The Heat

One of my first fitness jobs in the early 90’s was teaching water and land aerobics at a small fitness center along the coast of Northern California.   It was at that job that I witnessed first hand the seriousness of heat-related illness and  what can happen when you get dehydrated and develop heat stroke.

A member of our water aerobics class had started off the day with two large cups of caffeinated tea, gone for a power walk, and then  participated in the water class for an hour.  The pool temperature for water aerobics classes is usually pretty warm and runs about 82 degrees. The tea was the only liquid she had consumed that day.  After the class, she passed out in the parking lot on her way to her car while suffering from heat stroke.  Fortunately, we responded immediately and she recovered fully from the incident.

The warm weather has definitely arrived and with it comes summer fun and a wide variety of outdoor activities.  Whether you are working out or enjoying the warmer temperatures at a leisurely pace, it’s important to take the proper steps to keep yourself and the ones you love safe from heat-related illnesses.

Here are eight tips for exercising when it’s hot out:

  • Be flexible about when you exercise or move outdoors.  Check the weather and find out when temps are going to be the lowest that day. Sometimes it’s early in the morning and sometimes it’s late in the evening so you’ll want to rearrange your schedule to fit in exercise and/or outdoor chores during the coolest time of day.  I’m constantly checking the weather to determine a safe time to walk our dogs and sometimes it requires me to rearrange my day a bit.  Seasonal adjustments are normal so give yourself a break if you miss your workout or have to skip a dog walk or chore.
  • Invest in comfortable clothes and sunscreen: Lightweight, breathable clothes make a huge difference and will help you feel cooler. Wearing a hat to keep the hot sun off your head and face also helps.  Apply sunscreen to keep the sun from burning your skin.
  • Take a cold shower: It may seem weird to shower before you sweat, but the cold water will cool you down. Leave your hair wet and pop it in a bun, so when you head outside water dripping down your face and neck will feel so refreshing. If you have short hair, carry a water bottle with you and squeeze a little on top of your head whenever you need a little cooling boost.
  • Exercise in cooler places: Head for trails in shady areas or along a breezy beach shoreline.   We live on a small island and it can be 10 degrees cooler when I take the dogs over to the beach shoreline.
  • Slow down your pace: If you’re set on getting in a workout, move with less intensity and remember, it’s OK to take breaks or stop altogether.  Summertime isn’t the best time to push yourself so if you can only handle 10 minutes at a time, that’s good enough.  Exercise is supposed to improve your health, not harm it.
  • Head indoors: If your home is air conditioned, you may want to take your exercise indoors.  A strength routine, stair workout, or mini trampoline session are all great ways to get your muscles moving and heart rate up while keeping it safe indoors.  If you don’t have A/C now may be a good time to take advantage of that class you’ve always wanted to try at an air-conditioned studio or gym.  As much as people joke about it,  heading to your local air conditioned mall and power-walking is safe and window-shopping helps you pass the time.
  • Drink water all day: Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty.  Sip four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes while performing physical activities and drink water steadily throughout the day.  Drink extra water while swimming or wading in water. Oftentimes, we forget to drink water because being in it makes us feel cool. However, you tend to perspire more in the water on hot days or while exercising because the water continues to wipe away your sweat which can lead to excess water loss.
  • Pass the salt:   On hot days you can lose excess salt along with other important nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Snack on a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day to keep your sodium levels up.  If you find yourself craving salty snacks in the heat, it may be a sign that you’re losing sodium so honor that and eat foods with salt. Pickled veggies, tomato juice, or your favorite chips or crackers can all help raise sodium levels and help you stay hydrated.

When the temperatures rise one of the most important things you can do is  listen to your body.  Stop any activity immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.  And if the symptoms do not improve, call for emergency services  or head to your nearest emergency room.

Here’s to a happy, fun, and safe summer!

Shared with love,