Tuesday, March 29, 2016

6 Helpful Health and Fitness Apps for your Smartphone

Staying in shape is no small task. It requires constant dedication and daily attention in order to keep your body looking and feeling how you want it to. However, it can be difficult to keep up with your health and fitness goals when distractions and temptations abound. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up several useful health apps for your smartphone, iphone or android. These apps provide fitness shortcuts that make staying on track easy. Read on for tools that will put managing your health and fitness at your fingertips!

SparkRecipes

SparkRecipes is an offshoot of Sparkpeople.com, an online community of people looking to live healthy. The database contains over 500,000 user-submitted recipes that can be sorted in a number of different ways. Whether you have a hankering for Indian food, or are looking for something under a certain number of calories, there are recipes to fit any craving and dietary limitation.

My Fitness Pal

This free weight loss app is a combination of a food journal, calorie counter, and exercise log. Plug in your body’s proportions, and in a snap you’re ready to go. If you’re eating brand name foods, you can search for them in the app’s database and plug them into your food log to track exact nutrition info. In the exercise log, it even tells you how many calories you’ve burned based on the amount of time you report exercising for. You can also connect with other friends using the same app and cheer each other on. If you only get one app to aid you in your journey, My Fitness Pal should be it.

Healthy Out

While healthy, home-cooked meals are the best option when it comes to managing your diet, eating out is sometimes unavoidable. It doesn’t have to crash your diet if you use Healthy Out, a free app that finds healthy restaurants near you that match your dietary preferences. If you’ve already got a restaurant narrowed down, Healthy Out can help you pick the healthiest option on the menu. This one is definitely a diet life-saver.

Vida

For some people, simply tracking their diet and exercise information isn’t enough to keep them on track with their health goals. Vida offers a solution with weekly one on one video conferences with a personal health coach. Vida users also get personalized nutrition and fitness plans. The app can connect with other fitness devices you have to store your fitness information. The $49 monthly fee makes this app the most expensive on the list, if you need more specialized help with your goals, it is definitely worth it.

Spotify Premium

Nothing gets you up and moving like a playlist of your favorite jams. Spotify premium allows you to search from thousands of songs to craft a playlist that is uniquely you, or stream their expertly curated playlists for any mood. The premium membership also allows you use their running feature. This functionality detects the speed that you’re running at and automatically plays songs with BPM’s that match your pace. For just $9.99 a month you can stream virtually any song and sync them to your phone for all your fitness pick me up needs.

Daily Yoga

For some, the typical gym or running trail won’t do it for their fitness goals. Yoga is a great option to improve flexibility and core strength, and the Daily Yoga app makes it accessible to anybody. No matter what your skill level, Daily Yoga offers helpful videos with routines, in addition to a library of 500 yoga poses. Each video is HD with a live voice guide and soothing yoga music. If you’re looking for a more peaceful way to improve your fitness and flexibility, check out Daily Yoga.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to Eat Green This St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, and we can’t wait to celebrate. You are sure to indulge in some sweet treats and tasty drinks, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice the hard work you have put into your diet so far. Here’s how you can be eating green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Chances are you’ll be attending or hosting some sort of St. Patrick’s Day party, either with friends, family or coworkers. These parties are usually filled with plenty of fattening food, sugary beverages and unhealthy desserts. You don’t want to completely refrain from enjoying these treats; however, be smart about how you approach them.

  • Eat the healthy food first. This means things like broth-based soups and appetizer vegetables. Filling up on these first can keep you from overindulging in a main dish that is more likely to be higher in calories.
  • Make your plate and eat with other dieters in the room. This keeps you all motivated and focused on making smart decisions.
  • Plan to wear your favorite green top or pants. Or go out now and buy something you plan to wear by next month. This is great for getting into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit and setting a goal for yourself to stay motivated.
  • Be smart about what you drink. The beverages are always an exciting part of any St. Patrick’s Day party, but they can be damaging to your diet if you’re not careful. Non-alcoholic drinks can be full of sugar and calories, and alcoholic drinks can lower inhibitions and fuel overeating. Stick to clear alcohols on the rocks and stay away from sugary mixers.
  • If you’re hosting your own St. Patrick’s Day party, purchase small plates and bowls, tiny serving utensils and tall, skinny glasses. This keeps portions small and slows down consumption.
Speaking of hosting your own party, try out these exciting St. Patrick’s Day ideas for some green desserts and drinks. Green Tea Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a bread loaf pan.
  2. Sift 220 g of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp of salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix 3 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 150 grams of granulated stevia powder and 1 tbsp of matcha green tea powder into a bowl. Once blended, slowly mix in a ½ cup of canola oil and 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt.
  4. Mix the two bowls together, spread smoothly into your baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  5. Let cool and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Matcha Ice Cream
  1. Blend 500 mL of almond milk or coconut milk, 2 tsp of matcha powder, 1 tsp of vanilla essence and 100 mL of rice syrup. Then mix in 1 tsp of xanthan gum to thicken.
  2. Pour into an ice cream mixer and mix for an hour.
  3. Pour into some Tupperware, place into the freezer and stir every 15 minutes to avoid crystallization.
All of these tips and recipes are great for keeping you on track this St. Patrick’s Day. Healthy desserts and low-calorie drinks are just as tasty as you could imagine, and they won’t wreck your diet. Enjoy yourself this holiday, and may you be as lucky (and healthy) as ever!