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When it comes to eating healthy there are always quick fixes you can do to improve the food going into your body. Not only will you be eating healthier but your body will feel more energetic due to being able to utilize the food more efficiently for energy! Some of you may know some of these swaps already and some of us need another reminder while others may have never tried these swaps before. Wherever you fall the more you practice these habit the more they will seem as second nature and you won’t miss the unhealthier option. There are so many things you can swap, so today I will share with you a few ideas from each meal category. Check back in and there will be more versions released in the future with more ideas!
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Breakfast:

Swap your sugar filled cereal for some hearty oatmeal. Even if you think your cereal isn’t sugary, you could be unpleasantly surprised. Take a look at your nutrition label and see how many grams of sugar is in each serving as well as if there is added sugar listed in the ingredients list.

Make sure you eat protein! Whip up some eggs. Don’t skip out on the yoke entirely. I like to have one whole egg plus three additional egg whites. The fat in the yokes are great for you but everything in moderation!

Swap out your jelly. Chances are it is not natural and sugar is added into it. I suggest just mashing up your own berries to create some jelly for your toast. If you want to achieve more of a texture like that of a jelly or jam then mix your mashed berries together with chia seeds. Add a little liquid and let soak, you will notice that the chia seeds to absorb the water and expand. The texture will be like that of the berry seeds in a store bought jam.

Step away from peanut butter brands that we all know too well from advertisements. Those peanut butters typically have added sugar and high fructose corn syrup added to them. Find peanut butters or any other nut butter that has one if not just two ingredients. The nut and possibly a little salt if you like it a little salty. Any other nut butters with more ingredients than that, please step away. I guarantee and you may hate me later for how delicious they are but try almond butter or cashew butter! You are welcome!

No cereal bars or ready to drink protein shakes. There is nothing else to really say, they are processed and not good for you. The only swap I can recommend for those is making your own. That way you have complete control over the ingredients, how they are made, etc.
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Lunch:

Want to make a sandwich for lunch? Are you going to add Mayo? No offense but the word itself makes me gag. Try spreading avocado on your bread instead. It will give you that creaminess you are looking for as well as a mouth full of flavor. Skip sauces, stick to mustard instead.

Going to order a salad? Ask for the dressing on the side or not at all. I typically don’t get the dressing at all. I used to ask for it on the side but then as time went by I started to notice that I wasn’t even putting it on my salad. There are tons of calories in dressing, also it completely blankets your salad and you are missing out on the flavors of the other components in your salad! Depending on the salad, I will use mustard here as well. Mustard is a great way to add lots of flavor and zero calories to a meal. Also vinegar works well with salad too!

Avoid any soup that says creamy in the title. Creamy means a lot of added fat and calories. Also soups are typically really really high in sodium.




Next time I will touch on Dinner and Dessert! Stay tuned!
 
 
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April is recognized by many as the month for spring cleaning. A common practice which involves a thorough cleaning of the house typically in the springtime, hence the name"spring" cleaning. So what's "spring leaning?" Well, that's a term we coined to reflect healthy eating  and fit living in spring and hopefully year round. Spring is the perfect time of year to check in on those New Year's resolutions. At this point, they might be in need of a little dusting off and maybe some freshening up as well. Here are 3 great apps that are sure to renew those New Year's Resolutions giving them just the revitalization they just might need to be accomplished.    
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Lose It
Lose it will help you lose that stubborn extra weight that keeps sticking around. It helps you set a daily calorie budget, track your food and exercise, and stay motivated to make smarter choices and achieve your goals. Its by far one of the best calorie counter and weight loss apps available. Added bonuses: compatible with NikeFuel , track steps with your phone using our in-app step counter (iPhone 5S only)* and allows you to keep a diary or journal of your weight loss with notes.
Available for Android andiPhone.
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Superfoods

This app will help you learn all about superfoods which are
food with high phytonutrient conten.  It is a food considered especially nutritious and beneficial to health and well-being. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds, such as beta-carotene to cite one well known example, that occur naturally in plants. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may affect health, but are not established as essential nutrients.

Available for Android and iPhone.
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Nutrino
A virtual nutritionist
on the go! Nutrino is a food recommendation app that learns your habits and preferences and provides you with a personalized healthy and delicious meal plan. Enabling you to eat healthy practically anywhere and at anytime!
Available for iPhone. Google version in progress.
What's your favorite fitness or healthy eating app? Please share below.
 
 
From our partners: Pilates Platinum
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I am a big believer in the fact that each and every one of us can start our days exactly the way we want. There is no such thing has having a crappy morning in my life. I wake up every morning and set my mood for the day! Even if you didn’t get the best sleep that night, there is nothing you can do to change the fact, you can’t go back in time so why keep it from enjoying the future. If you had a bad sleep, shake it off tell yourself you will have a great day regardless. Keeping your attitude and mood lifted will surprisingly distract you and your body from being tired because it will be releasing those feel good hormones instead! Consciously practicing this each and every morning will quickly turn into a habit and second nature. Our mind and bodies don’t want to live negatively; it is their natural state to be uplifted. We waste precious energy being negative, worried or anxious.

I also practice setting aside a few minutes each morning to quickly go over what I need to accomplish in my head for the day. After I have an idea as to how my day may be, I make sure I add in three additional things to do that day that are completely just for me. It is important to be successful in our lives and in our day to day but to also make sure we are taking care of ourselves both mentally and physically. A few minutes later I am up out of bed, making my morning coffee and checking my e-mails.

Starting your day off on the right foot also requires a healthy breakfast. I am a personal advocate for smoothies. It is easy to dump everything into a blender and take it on the go if needed. A lot of the times I just see what is in my kitchen as to what I am going to throw into the blender so it changes from day to day but I do have some guidelines I like to follow to make sure they are nutrient dense.
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A sample smoothie I would definitely enjoy in the morning is what I like to call simply call…

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click here view interview
Teddy Bass is a nationally certified NASM/ACE personal fitness trainer to some of Hollywood's top celebrities, and the creator of the RockBottomBody training program.  He actively continues his studies with a focus on nutrition, kinesiology, strength training, flexibility, and biomechanics. His unique training philosophy encourages the unity of mind, body, and soul for a "complete body" experience.His expertise, professionalism and passion for fitness makes him one of the most popular trainers in the business.  We were elated when Teddy agreed to participate in our Q & A, providing us with his firsthand fitness tips. Click here to find out more about him, take a look at the interview and view a couple of our favorite Teddy Bass workout videos.   Check out his website to see more amazing workouts!
 
 
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www.fashletics.com
Fitness inspired jewelry, what a novelty idea, right? Being as much an athlete as an artist and having worked as an established jewelry designer and metalsmith for over 10 years, Sarah Wilson, a certified CrossFit Endurance coach decided to combine her passion for athletics and natural ability to design into developing  Fashletics. It's a fabulous collection of fitness inspired jewelry. She specially designed each piece of jewelry to serve as a badge of honor and an expression of strength.
I've grown to thoroughly enjoy strength training, I never would have imagined that I'd see a collection of jewelry that successfully represents the beautiful balance between strength and femininity, but Fashletics nailed it! I fell in love with the Fashletics " Strong is Beautiful" necklace the moment I saw it -the perfect fusion of fitness and style- it boast confidence and strength.     
  All Fashletics® jewelry items are proudly handcrafted in the USA.  It's apparent that Sarah takes pride in her craftsmanship.  You have to see her amazing collection to believe it! A wonderful assortment of inspirational, fashion-forward CrossFit jewlry. Fashletics® mission is to support you on your fitness journey, and inspire you to stay on track,  helping you find your motivation and keep it!

Fashletics is kindly offering a special discount code to Fitness Galore readers. Enter promo code: FITNESSGALORE to receive 10% off of your Fashletics purchase. Valid for 2 weeks from today. 
Click here to view their collections.
Don't miss your chance to win this fabulous
Fashletics necklace.
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Photo by MuckfestMS
If you’re looking to get into a little better shape, try setting a goal. Obstacle course races are based in fun but you can have a lot of fun with your friends to see who can get through the fastest or who can get the muddiest. Even if you do not have a lot of time that you can devote to working out, there are things you can do in your everyday life that can get you ready for taking the plunge.

For balance you can tie your shoes while standing on one leg, stand on the bus or train without holding on and riding a bike with no hands. For enhanced upper body strength you can do curls with your groceries, try some chair dips, and jump on the monkey bars the next time you pass a park. You're never too old. For core strength and resistance try to stand up from chairs without your hands, take a break and do a 30 second plank, and wear a pair of heavy boots while you're walking through some snow or mud. For flexibility you can do some dancing or draw the letters of the alphabet with your wrists and ankles. For lower body strength you can do squats or lunges while waiting for the bus, plant a garden, or even play some leap frog with a friend. Cardio can be jogging instead of just walking the dog. Mowing the lawn and racing a baby by crawling on the floor can help overall strength.

If you are looking to improve your health and fitness having a goal can really help. This is why choosing a 5k or obstacle race can be very helpful in motivating you to do your best. Making the most of your day by incorporating exercise into everyday activities can really make a difference. What other activities do you think would be helpful in sneaking exercise into your day?
Check out MuckFest MS great tips on how to prepare for a mud obstacle course without even thinking about it! See their bio below.


Fun 5K Training Ideas

MuckFest® MS rallies participants for a mucky romp through mud and obstacles in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. The run is pure athletic hilarity on a 5K course full of mud, featuring 15+ outrageous obstacles that will spin, swing and fling participants up, down and sideways. One hundred percent of MuckFest MS donations support the local presenting chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which provides essential direct services that empower and increase independence for people living with MS. For more information or to register for MuckFest MS, please visit www.MuckFestMS.com.
 
 
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Water makes up almost 75% of your body. Amazingly, without it you would not exist. It is a proven fact that water is more important for your body's survival than food. You can live without water for approximately one week, yet survive without food for more than a month. Your body utilizes water in several ways: it cushions and lubricates joints; nourishes and protects the brain, spinal cord and other tissues; keeps the body's temperature normal; helps remove waste and transports nutrients.  People are advised to drink more liquids if they are physically active. The best way to determine if you are getting enough water is to observe the color of your urine. If it is a pale straw color, you are probably drinking enough. If it is dark yellow, you may need to drink more. Some experts recommend drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day. On the contrary, Dr. Heinz Valtin of the Dartmouth College Medical School reported in  "American Journal of Physiology,"  that there is no scientific evidence supporting consumption of eight glasses of water daily. Although a review of studies dealing with the healthy benefits of drinking lots of water concluded that, people who exercise and are in hotter climates would  benefit from increased fluid intake.
With all of that said, the question still remains....."What type of water should you drink?"
It's easy to get confused about which types of water are really best for your health. We know that water is good for us, but the task is determining what type of water is the most ideal for optimal health. I courageously accepted the challenge and went on a mission to find out what's the most ideal water for us to consume based on the research and expert advice. I came across some interesting information during my search for the ultimate drinking water.  Take a look at what I unearthed about what many refer to as "the elixir of life."  Here are the most commonly consumed types of water.
See what the experts had to say about the water we drink.

Tap Water
It looks harmless, but beware; hidden danger lurks!  Yes, it's convenient and easily accessible, readily available through your kitchen faucet, yet it's one of the worst types of water for consumption. According to research from the Environmental Working Group, It's filled with tons of pollutants, such as arsenic, aluminum and chlorine which have been determined to increase your risk of serious health problems.You might elect to use an independent lab and find you don't need a home purifying system. State and local health departments often do free tests for bacterial contamination, but to find out about toxic substances, you'll need the services of a private testing lab. Testing for a wide range of common contaminants can cost about  $100, but a worthwhile investment if saves you the cost of a purifying system.

Distilled Water and Deionized Water
Unfortunately, these two types of water lack essential minerals that are necessary for good health. Mineral deficiency has been proven to lead to high blood pressure, heart irregularities, migraines and insulin resistance. In addition, deionized water is not a recommended drinking source based on the fact that its processing does not remove bacteria or viruses.the  ionized impurities and minerals removed from it but not bacteria or pathogens. Making both of these options an inferior choice to mineral or spring water.

Alkaline Water
I was eager to delve into researching Alkaline water. More recently, I'd heard it was the drink of choice for fitness buffs. In light of what I'd heard, I was baffled by the results of my exploration.  One resource documented an interview with Houston Tomasz a water filtration expert. He reported several potential problems with alkaline water. The main issues revolved around its detoxification factor. His report indicated that some people experience an initial "high" when they start drinking alkaline water which is most commonly attributed to detoxification, and as a result it is expected to be more hydrating.  The benefits of alkaline water's detoxification properties are linked to short term use (one to two weeks). According to Tomasz, long-term use of alkaline or ionized water can disrupt your body's natural digestive process by reducing the acid needed to properly break down and absorb food. On the contrary, an additional scientific research study on the physiological effects of alkaline ionized  water indicated that alkaline water was safe and did not identify digestion side effects linked to alkaline consumption. It did document slight noticeable changes in hydration, but they could not determine with certainty that it was a result of alkaline water.  Based on what I found, the verdict is still out on alkaline water. If you've been considering it, I think it would would definitely recommend exploring it a little more.

Bottled Spring Water
The best water out there, NOT! Many people drink bottled water as a healthier alternative to tap water. Admittedly, I am one of the many bottled water consumers or should I say "was" one of the many bottled water drinkers. Although bottled water is better than tap, research shows that is is not environmentally sustainable. In actuality, in the case of bottled water, it's not the water that is most harmful, it's the plastic packaging that poses the biggest threat.Dangerous toxins from some plastic water bottles can leach into your water. In addition, like tap water, bottled water is often tainted with fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals. Additionally, the production and shipping of bottled water is speculated to use an inordinate amount of resources and is said to contribute to pollution. You can find a few brands of spring water available in glass bottles, which is proven to be a healthier option, but not as easily accessible as its plastic counterpart.

Fresh Spring Water
Although  it is not the most practical water to collect, many experts have determined fresh spring water to be one of the best sources of water. If it is obtained directly from an uncontaminated source and stored in glass, it may in fact be the best water to drink. Spring water is rich in minerals and naturally filtered. It is also known to have phenomenal healing properties. FindASpring.com is an excellent website that can help you locate a spring near you.

Water Filters
One of the best options around. Purchasing a high-quality home water filter is probably the most affordable and practical solutions to obtaining the most ideal water for your health. It will be essential for you to do some research before buying one. There are several types of filters on the market. The selection process can be tedious and perplexing. Based on my extensive research, the solid block carbon filter appears to one of the more popular options, as well as the reverse osmosis filter.  They all have their pros and cons. You may find it helpful to read  The Best Water Filter Option to get some great tips on how to select an ideal filter.

You might be wondering what  option I selected. It's been a tough decision, but I narrowed it  down to having my water tested and potentially investing in a high quality filtration system.  It seems that finding a high-quality water filter can be a daunting, costly , yet beneficial task in the long run.  However, in the meanwhile, I plan to reduce my usage of plastic bottled water; ideally, I'd like to abandon them all together. For now, I've started purchasing glass-bottled spring water and transporting it into bpa-free water container for drinking during the day and use at the gym. It's not the most cost conservative option, but thankfully it's eco-friendly and  a feasible option for me in the time-being.  


What's your favorite type of water?
Please share what you drink and why
in comments below.


 
 
Hooray, spring has officially sprung! Fitness fans around the world are gearing up to relish longer days and warmer weather. Bright pops of color and burst of edgy graphics have also made their debut this spring. Fun fitness lines have premiered fabulous new spring collections.  For many, the time has come to pack up and put away those insulated vests and baggy sweatpants. Do you have spring " fitness fashion" fever? If so, you're probably ready to spruce up your fitness wardrobe. You've come to the right place to get started. Take a look at some of our favorite spring fitness finds, comfy pieces you might want to throw on for that new boot camp, cycling class or upcoming race. I also included a few accessories.  In any case, it was fun scoping out the latest fitness finds. Here are the faves of the season.
Click smaller images below for details.
Do you have some new spring fitness fashion faves? Please share!
 
 
From our partners: Peaceful Dumpling
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We love our zoodles (zucchini noodles) around here. Squash noodles can be easily made with a spiralizer and are a lovely, whole-food and gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta.

Lately, I’ve come across so many beautiful, colorful dishes for warmer weather that got me thinking outside of the recipe box. While I normally love salad anytime of year, sunnier evenings inspire me to give salad the dinnertime spotlight. Served with tangy, tahini lime dressing, this simple, cheerful (& raw) zucchini noodle salad buffet makes for a fun way to celebrate the arrival of spring.  (Plus, we need something this bright and crisp while we’re still recovering from losing that hour of sleep a few weeks ago!)

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Raw Vegan Zucchini Noodle Salad Buffet

Ingredients:

(Serves 2-3)

2 large zucchinis or 3 small zucchinis

1/4 cup water

1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce

2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 tsp. tahini, preferably raw

2 tsp. almond butter, preferably raw

juice of 1/2 lime

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of sea salt

Suggested toppings:

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 cup shredded carrots

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

*For a heartier version of this dish, serve with a side of brown rice.

Directions:

To make tahini lime dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together water, lime juice, tamari, nutritional yeast, salt, and tahini.  Once mixed, add almond butter.  Use a fork or whisk to ensure that it’s thoroughly blended with other ingredients. For a thinner consistency, add another spoonful of water and stir. Set aside.

To make zoodles: Slice the ends off zucchini.  Using the thinnest “pasta” blade, spiralize zucchini.  Scoop all of your zoodles into a large bowl and toss with lemon juice (this will prolong zoodles’ freshness and brighten their flavor).

Arrange vegetable toppings in pretty bowls, and place on dining table with bowl of zoodles and dressing. Invite guests to fill their bowls with zoodles and toppings and dress with tahini sauce.


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Photos: Mary Hood
 
 
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Skipping is one of the most underrated forms of exercise. In actuality, it's a fun, inexpensive and highly effective fat burning workout. Prevention Magazine reported that skipping minus the rope, burns twice as many calories as walking. Skipping workouts are ideal for improving coordination, agility, and general health. Many professional athletes use skipping as part of their daily workout routine. It is considered  a low-impact variation of plyometric jumping, and is included in most conditioning programs in Eastern European countries. It's a convenient way to- improve stamina, enhance flexibility, and boost coordination and increase muscle tone. It's also an effective way to better heart rate and blood pressure.
Some people skip for the irrefutable health gains, others skip to lift their moods and reconnect with one of their favorite childhood pastimes.  In any case, skipping is great for the body, mind, and spirit. The benefits it can provide to your general health and mind are numerous. Find out why many workout buffs are re-visiting it and incorporating skipping into their workout regimes. One gander at it's helpful benefits and you might consider it too! 

The Physical Benefits of Skipping

Skipping is perfect for improving cardio-respiratory fitness,  rhythm, and balance. It's recognized as a an anaerobic and aerobic form of exercise.  It's also considered helpful in preventing osteoporosis because it reportedly has less impact on your joints than running. Many experts suggest that walkers gradually integrate skipping to their program.

Weight loss is another bonus of skipping for those who are trying to slim down. Skipping allows the body to burn more calories and develops efficient energy system.  It’s a great gym-free option and wonderful way to add some variety to your workouts.

The Mental Benefits of Skipping

The primary benefits of skipping to the brain are heightened mental coordination and alertness.  Both sides of the body and brain are active while you skip which improves your mental capacity to coordinate your body’s motions. Skipping is also instant mood enhancer.  It's cheery, light, and free,  all of which, contribute to a positive disposition and overall sense of wellness. It's almost impossible to skip without smiling.



Skipping basics include:

1. Avoid the urge to bounce high into the air. Start with easy, low-to-the-ground skips.  Too much impact can be hard on the seasoned body. Stick with low-impact skips and mindful of your body’s limits.

2. Blend short skipping intervals into walking and/or running routines when you're first starting out.

3. Wear good running, cross training, or dance sneakers to help absorb impact. Skipping on grassy or dirt terrain is easier on your body than concrete.


Check out this great skipping workout from womenshealth.com
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What are your thoughts about skipping? Would you consider incorporating  it into your workout? Please share.
 
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