Monday, January 27, 2014

Not Enough Time To Workout?

My house is never calm.  I have two young boys, a husband, a cat, a big dog and a hamster named Dora.  Between gymnastics, cub scouts, baseball, playdates, work, trying to fit in some kind of a personal life with activities like a book club, there is not much time for fitness.  

In order to fit in fitness I wake up at 5am, every week day and usually around 6am on the weekends.  I understand this might not be easy for everyone to do.  But there is another way to fit in fitness.  Can you find 25 minutes in your day?  Can you wake up just a little earlier or squeeze in 25 minutes while your child is napping or just after you put them to bed? 

If you can find just 25 minutes (ok, well, more like 35 since you’ll need to change into workout clothes and stretch after the workout) you can get it done!  Yes, a 25 minute workout gets the job done!  The key to getting a workout done in only 25 minutes is working smart.  Focus T25 is a smart workout.

You work out 5 days a week.  All the routines work your whole body, even though some may focus on the upper or lower body.  You will get a great cardio workout and fee it all over!  You might think the workouts have to be crazy intense in order to be effective since they are just 25 minutes. 

I wouldn’t use the word intense to describe Focus T25.  They aren’t easy.  They are tough and focused.  You are working your core while you are doing the whole routine.  Some of the routines are fast.  I’ve tripped a few times, I have to admit.  But then I learned it is better to go low and slow rather than fast without control.  Working with more control is the key to higher calorie burn and therefore the key to results!  There is a modifier to follow if the workout is too hard.  You can switch back and forth throughout the workout if you need to so you never have to stop! 

The program is a cardio based program that is 60 days long.  The first five weeks is called Alpha.  Here you are learning the moves and building stamina.  The second five weeks is still cardio but it includes more strength training.  Another great thing about this workout is that you don’t need special equipment.  Again, the first month is all cardio and although the second month introduces resistance training with weights, resistance bands are included with the program so there is nothing to buy if  you don’t own hand weights.

So if you think that you don’t have time for fitness, you should consider Focus T25.  You can join one of my online accountability groups to help stay motivated!  If you have questions, comment below or email me.  I’d love to chat and help with your fitness goals! 

Here are some things the ladies in my current accountability group are saying about Focus T25 –
"Speed 2.0 -- the fastest 25 minutes in my lifetime...Soaked thru but feeling VERY accomplished...I am really liking it!"
"T25 abs done -- and it is definitely getting easier!"

“I did the T25 Ab Intervals and had so much energy this morning I could have done a second workout. Feeling great!”

Through January 31, 2014 you can get the Focus T25 Challenge Pack on sale!  It includes the fitness program and a bag of Shakeology.  It is a great way to try Shakeology since you'll get the back for over 50% off!

For more information check out Focus T25 on my website
To sign up for free coaching, visit Kats Quest Free Coaching

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Are You Toxic?

You can spend thousands of dollars on pricey medical tests to determine if you’re overrun with toxic compounds. Or, you can take a moment to listen to your body, looking for clues that could signal a bodily invasion of toxic chemicals, stress, and destructive foods. Here are some easy — free — ways you can figure out how to determine your own toxic body burden and what you can do about it! First, the warning signs…and there are many that could be linked to toxic overload. They may seem like “little issues,” so small patients often don’t even think to mention them. But if you rule out underlying conditions and still experience these symptoms, it could signal the need for my safe detox plan and lifestyle changes. Here are five of the many clues that could signal overload of toxic compounds if you’ve ruled out other underlying conditions:

1. Pain or aches in your muscles or joints
2. Trouble concentrating
3. Fatigue or sluggishness
4. Headaches
5. Mood swings

 The good news is if the food you’re eating, the medicine you’re taking, and the products in your home are causing these symptoms, there’s a lot you can do to detox. But first, take this Environmental Factors Questionnaire to figure out how toxic your life might be.
Self-Test: Environmental Factors Questionnaire
Scoring 0 = never (no) 1 = occasionally (yes) 2 = frequently (Some exposures are so damaging, you’ll need to add extra points where indicated.)

Cleaners Do you use conventional chemical cleaners (furniture polish; disinfecting sprays; scrubs; or glass, surface, or metal cleaners) in any of these rooms? living room ___ bedroom ___ kitchen ___ bathroom ___ Do you use conventional detergents, bleaches, or softeners for laundry? ___ Do you use conventional soap for dishwashing? ___ Do you use nonorganic room deodorizers like aerosols or plug-ins? ___ Is your shower curtain liner made of vinyl or plastic? ___ Do you use a conventional dry cleaner and remove the clothing from the plastic wrap less than 12 hours before wearing it? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Outdoors Do you use chemical weed killers or herbicides on your lawn or landscape? ___ Do you use chemical fertilizers? ___ Have you treated your home or yard chemically for insect infestation? (ants, termites, etc.) ___ Does your outdoor area feature older treated wood in decking, play structures, or landscaping materials? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2 ___ Occupation Does your work involve exposure to inhaled or skin-contact chemical agents (dentist, dry cleaner, shoe repairman, welder, industrial worker, etc.)? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Do you use an electric blanket? ___ Do you use a mobile phone next to your ear more than 15 minutes a day? ___ Do you keep your mobile phone in a pocket or clipped to your body? ___ Is there a powered electric device within 2 feet of your bed? ___ Do you live within 50 feet of a mobile phone tower or high power line? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Air Quality Have you renovated your home using any of the following? conventional paints ___ plasterboard ___ polyurethane (+1) ___ sanding ___ glues for carpet or flooring (+1) ___ Are there outdoor-air-quality alerts where you live? ___ Are you often exposed to automotive exhaust? ___ Do you spend more than 2 hours a day in a car? ___ Do you tend to travel by air? ___ Do you own new furniture — purchased less than 2 years ago? ___ Does your home contain cabinets made of pressed wood composites? ___ Is there paint in your house that’s cracking and more than 20 years old? ___ Is there heavy accumulation of dust on furniture or drapes? ___ Do you have wall-to-wall carpet? ___ Do you have a damp or musty basement? ___ Is there visible mold in your home? ___ Does anyone in your household smoke? (+2) ___ Ideal section score = less than 8

Water Does your home have old pipes? ___ Do you drink from untested well water? ___ Do you live in a building with a roof tank? ___ Do you have heavy water discoloration in the morning? ___ Ideal section score = less than 1
Ingested Therapies and Over-the-Counter Medicines Do you use antibiotics more than twice a year? ___ Do you use nicotine patches, gum, or spray more than twice a week? ___ Do you use acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) more than 4 days a week? ___ Do you use NSAIDs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) more than 4 days a week? ___ Do you use antihistamines (like diphenhydramine) daily? ___ Do you use decongestants daily? ___ Do you use stomach acid‑suppressing medications daily? (+1) ___ Do you use nutritional or herbal supplements that are produced with no ostensible quality assurance? ___ Do you drink grapefruit juice (6 ounces) with your prescription medication? ___ Do you have silver mercury fillings in your teeth? ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Daily Prescription Medications Do you use inhaled steroids? Or oral steroids? (+1) ___ Do you take anticonvulsing or antipsychotic medication? ___ Do you use tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or antidepressants? ___ Are you on hormone therapy? ___ Are you undergoing chemotherapy? (+1) ___ Are you in radiation therapy? (+1) ___ Are you on a biologic agent (e.g., TNF blocker)? ___ Are you on other medications? (+1 for each additional beyond 2) ___ Ideal section score = limit as much as possible

Personal Care How often do you use conventional (not specifically organic nor free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, or sudsing agents) versions of the following beauty and personal care products? Soap (perfumed) ___ Antibacterial soap ___ Perfume ___ Moisturizers ___ Shampoo ___ Hair dye ___ Sunblock ___ Nail polish ___ Deodorant/antiperspirant ___ Conditioner ___ Hairspray ___ Foundation ___ Eye and cheek color ___ Lipstick ___ Ideal section score = less than 4 ___ Food Quality and Quantity Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of fried food? (+1) ___ Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of red meat? ___ Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of cheese or other full-fat dairy? ___ Do you eat tuna, swordfish, or other large predatory fish? ___ Do you eat a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates? (+1) ___ Do you charbroil your meat? (+1) ___ Do you usually subject your vegetables to long cooking times? ___ Do you eat foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup (such as sodas or salad dressings)? (+1) ___ Do you eat foods (such as drinks or processed foods) that contain preservatives or colorants? ___ Do you eat less than 50 grams of protein a day? ___ Do you eat less than 25 grams of fiber a day? ___ Do you eat less than eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Eating & Drinking Do you drink less than 8 cups of water a day? ___ Do you drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day? ___ Do you use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose? ___ Do you drink sugary soda daily? (+2) ___ Do you drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day? ___ Do you drink alcohol more than 5 days a week? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Grocery Shopping Do you usually buy conventional rather than organic produce? (+1) ___ Do you buy meat, eggs, or milk not labeled antibiotic or rBGH free? ___ Do you buy fish that may contain mercury/heavy metals? (+1) ___ Do you accept and handle paper shopping receipts? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 3 ___ Cooking Do you use Teflon-coated nonstick pans? __ Do you store food in plastic containers? ___ Do you reheat food in plastic containers? (+1) ___ Do you use plastic wrap? ___ Do you use canned foods? ___ Do you microwave popcorn in prepared bags? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Exercise and Rest Do you sleep less than 7 hours a day? ___ Do you wake more than twice a night? ___ Do you have a job that requires you to sit more than 4 hours a day? ___ Do you exercise less than 3 hours a week? ___ Do you exercise more than 2 hours a day? ___ Do you fail to take one rest day a week away from exercise? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2 ___ Stress Do you experience continuous daily stress? (+1) ___ Do you have episodic, high-intensity stress? (+1) ___ Do you suffer from chronic anxiety? (+1) ___ Are you depressed, or do you have a feeling of hopelessness? (+1) ___ Are you a caregiver for someone who is chronically ill? (+1) ___ Do you smoke? (+2) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4
Scoring the Environmental Factors Questionnaire
0 to 50: Supportive Surroundings If you totaled 50 points or less, you are living pretty clean. Don’t rest on those laurels, though. Everything you do to nudge that number toward zero will benefit your health in the long term. Also, look carefully at your results to see if the questionnaire has revealed one or more areas of your life that need your serious attention. I’ve indicated what I believe to be the healthiest range for each lifestyle area. If you scored very high in any one or two areas — say, your kitchen equipment needs updating or you haven’t been buying organic personal care products — you should address it as soon as you can. If you can see that a little of this and a little of that environmental toxin is sneaking in, hopefully your awareness is raised enough to tighten up the ship. (Ever heard the expression “nibbled to death by ducks”? Don’t let that be your fate.)

50+: Toxins All around You If you scored over 50, consider this a wake-up call: You need to make changes to your lifestyle and your environment, because your lifestyle and/or your environment are putting your health at risk. If you haven’t already, you may soon start to feel the onset of symptoms related to toxicity. Trade in harsh chemical cleaners for green cleaners. Install a water filter if you can afford it. Replace your PVC vinyl shower curtain with cotton, hemp, or more ecofriendly PEVA. Replace plastic containers and nonstick cookware in the kitchen with glass, ceramic, or stainless steel if you can. Get rid of your kids’ flame-resistant-coated pajamas — and flame-resistant everything. Stop using chemical lawn treatments. Stops using chemical air freshener sprays and plug-ins. Eat clean and well. You can also organically & safely detox your body without harsh starvation methods by doing The Ultimate Reset. You can completely reset your entire body in 3 short weeks and rid yourself of all the ugly toxins stored in your body! Pair that with the other steps above and you are well on your way to living a better life. Feeling better, sleeping better, & living longer!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Herby Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas

This Herby Quinoa Salad with roasted eggplant and chickpeas from Hello Fresh is delicious.  There are many quinoa salad recipes out there and they all seem to taste alike.  There is something unique about this one.  Maybe it is the mix of mint and cilantro.  Although the two herbs go great together, I usually used one or the other.  This may not seem very kid friendly but my 8 year old son loved it.  Really, he had 3 servings. 


Ingredients (2-3 as main meal or 6 as a side)

1 C Quinoa

1 eggplant

10 grape tomatoes

1 lemon

½ red onion

½ oz cilantro

½ oz Mint

1 can Chickpeas

3 Tbs olive oil


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut eggplant into ½ inch cubes.  Finely chop half the red onion, halve the tomatoes, juice the lemon, and coarsely chop the cilantro and mint.  Drain and rinse the chickpeas. 

Toss the eggplant with 1 Tbs of oil.  Season with salt and pepper and lay out on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, mixing half way.


While the eggplant is in the oven, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer for a few minutes (if your quinoa is not pre-rinse).  Add quinoa to a pot with 2 cups of water (I used vegetable stock) and a pinch of water if not using stock.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

As the quinoa is simmering, toss the chickpeas with the red onion and 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to absorb the flavor.

When the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and put it in a large bowl.  Toss in the eggplant, tomatoes, cilantro and mint.  Mix well.  Add the chickpea/red onion mix with the dressing. 

This salad is served warm but it is equally good as a cold salad.  The only thing I would do different next time is add just a small crumble of feta cheese and perhaps a few chopped kalamata olives. 

You probably heard that Quinoa is a healthy food to eat.  It is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and it is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.  There are many other benefits to quinoa:

Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains.  Actually, Quinoa is not a grain, it is a seed but we refer to it as a grain.  It has iron and other vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

This is a delicious and satisfying meatless Monday meal or you can use it as a side!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Meatless Monday Roasted Beet and Lentil Salad (Serves 2)


With sweet roasted beets, slightly crunchy potatoes and onions, paired with a spicy and peppery arugula and tangy goat cheese, it is such a delicious salad for the winter.  It is perfect for a Meatless Monday meal.  But you can also add some grilled chicken or shrimp to it for something different.

I really enjoyed this that I got from Hello Fresh and will keep this recipe since I get a ton of beets through my Community Sponsored Agriculture share.


8 oz beets

2 oz arugula

1 red onion

8 oz new potatoes

1 oz walnuts

1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

1 ½ Cups lentils

1 ½ Tbs olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cut beets in to 1 inch chunks.  No need to peel the potatoes but also cut them into 1 inch chunks.  Thinly slice the onion.  Add everything to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 1 Tbs olive oil, add a pinch of salt and some pepper.  Toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer so everything is touching the sheet.   Roast veggies for about 35 minutes.  You want the potatoes to get a little crispy and deliciously golden brown.

While the veggies are roasting, cook the lentils.

1 cup dried lentils

 2 cups water

 1/4 tsp

Rinse the lentils under running water and pick through them to remove any bits of soil or rocks. Add lentils and water to a saucepan (with a lid) and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and cover to let the lentils simmer, but leave the lid ajar a bit so that they don’t boil over. Check on them occasionally to make sure the water has not boiled down below the level of the lentils and add more as needed. When the lentils are tender, about 30—45 minutes, they’re done. 

This makes about 4 cups cooked lentils.  I love having left over lentils since it makes a great side and all I have to do is season and heat.

In a small bowl, add balsamic vinegar and ½ Tbs of olive oil.  Wisk well. 

Drain the lentils and empty into a large mixing bowl.  Once the veggies are cooked until tender, add them to the lentils.  Toss in the arugula and mix.  Add the balsamic vinegar and toss. 

Place in two deep bowls or plates.  Top each with walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.  You can substitute a cheese like gorgonzola if you don’t like goat cheese.  A little goes a long way.

If you are having this for dinner, it makes two healthy servings.  If you are having it for lunch I’d say it makes closer to 4 servings.

This meal is perfect to refuel after a P90X workout or a run but light enough not to blow your caloric budget.  There is a nice balance of complex carbs and proteins.  But most importantly, it is delicious! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Broccoli and Kale Stir Fry with Ginger Avocado Sauce

I just had an amazing Broccoli and Kale Stir Fry with Ginger Avocado Sauce.  The recipe is from Hello Fresh .   

This was such a quick and easy recipe to make.  I came home from work and had to get dinner on the table before my youngest son had to leave for gymnastics.  I had 50 minutes to cook and to get him changed.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 C basmati rice
4 oz broccoli florets
4 oz kale
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 lemon
1 avocado
1 inch square of ginger
1 tsp honey
1 TBS sesame seeds
1 TBS olive oil
Prep work is important for this dish.  As I got the rice ready (prepare according to package) I prepped the veggies and the sauce.  Cut the kale and broccoli into bite size pieces.  Mince the garlic, slice the onions, grate the ginger, zest and juice the lemon.  
For the sauce, mash an avocado and add 1TBS of grated ginger, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 TBS lemon juice, 1 tsp honey and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and mix while adding up to 1/4 C water. Set aside in the fridge.

Add the sliced onions to a heated skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  Cook about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic to the onion, cook 1 minute and then add broccoli for a few minutes and then add the kale and cook until wilted.

Fluff rice with fork and put desired amount in bowl/plate. I use 1/2 C. Then top with broccoli-kale mixuture and drizzle with ginger avocado sauce. I will admit, I forgot the water in my sauce so it was a bit thick and I couldn't drizzle it.  Instead, I added a dollop onto my stir-fry.  It was delicious nonetheless! Sprinkle a few sesame seeds if desired and enjoy!

It is AMAZING!  Really, I would have licked the bowl clean of this sauce if my son wasn't standing there when I was cleaning up. 
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It is fully of vitamins and antioxidants.  During the summer it is easy to find veggies in season but during the winter it is harder to find veggies that look and taste good. Kale, however, is a hearty cool weather veggie.  Another super healthy food in this dish is the avocado.  I love, love, love avocado.  Avocados are also considered as one of the healthiest foods  because they have more than 25 essential nutrients. Healthy and delicious!
You can keep this meal vegetarian and serve as is or you can add some chicken to it for a boost of protein.  This was so simple but so delicious.  From start to finish it took 30 minutes.  Plenty of time for us to eat and get to gymnastics on time!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

P90X-Les Mills Combat Hybrid Week 9

This is the first week of the final phase of P90X.  The schedule mixes things up a bit and the workouts are in a different order.  No more Core Synergistics on Monday.  Instead this is on Friday, which will be tough after a week of workouts.  Mondays are a new workout: Chest and Back. This one brings different kind of push-ups like dive bombers and decline push-ups.  Don’t let that scare you.  I can’t do many and I can’t do the full version so I modify it.  The rest of the week is the same except no more Legs and Back.  That is the only down side to the last month – no leg workouts.  To make up for it, I’ll be sure to run hills and to do some squats!

As for the hybrid part of the week I did an INSANITY workout and Les Mills Combat Kata 45.  Kata 45 is a great workout.  I didn't even realize how hard I was working. Before I knew it, I was done and I burned  260 calories.  I also ran on the treadmill twice for 2 miles each time as a second workout.  The beginning of the week included rest and recovery since a nasty little bug went through my house starting on Christmas Eve.  It was good to get back into the swing of things after 3 days off.  I’m looking forward to finishing out this month strong!