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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lemon Quinoa Salad

It’s summertime, which to me means trading the hearty warm soups for some cool salads. As a kid, one of my favorites was Grandma’s tri-colored pasta salad. A big bowl of this after a full day of swimming was magic in my tummy!

Now that I’m a big kid, I’ve traded wheat laden pasta for a gluten free diet. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get my fresh cool pasta-like salads. I stumbled upon this creation while getting ready for my boyfriend’s double-header baseball games. These games are hot and long, perfect for a cool, refreshing salad.

This salad, high in protein, low in fat, full of nutrients and flavor is a must at your 4th of July BBQ or a sophisticated lunch.

Time: 15-40 minutes (depending if you already have cooked the quinoa)

Serves: 1-2


·         ½ c quinoa (I like tri-colored reminds me of Grandma); or 1 c cooked quinoa

·         3 c chopped spinach leaves

·         2 chopped green onions

·         1 c chopped cucumber

·         ½ c chopped marinated artichoke hearts

·         1/3 c sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

·         1 tbsp grapeseeed oil

·         2 tsp basil

·         1 lemon, juiced

·         Crushed black pepper

·         2 tbsp feta cheese

1. Cook the quinoa. I recommend the rice cooker, simple one step process ½ c quinoa and 1 c water. Or you can bring 1 c of water to boil on the stove, add quinoa once water is boiling and let stand. Once quinoa is complete, add dried basil and grapeseed oil. Mix and allow to cool. If you have time refrigerate for 20 minutes; if you are in a rush you can freeze for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl or dish mix cooled quinoa, spinach, cucumber, green onion, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes. Top with feta cheese, black pepper and lemon juice.

3.  Dive in! This dish is a homerun in my tummy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Simple Circuit

Let’s face it sometimes it’s just too hard to get to the gym. For most of us our weekdays are hectic enough just getting to the office and, not to mention making that extra drive to the gym. That is exactly why I created this circuit. It requires absolutely no equipment, minimal space and can be done indoors or out. Another perk - it can be completed in less than 30 minutes!

This circuit is also your Workout To-Go…perfect for vacation, work travel, or something to break-up a long day at the office.

Step 1: Warm Up! Stretch fully! If you have more than 30 minutes add a extra jog around the block.

Step 2: The Circuit. Complete 3 rotations. Take a break between each rotation to drink some water and bring your heart rate back to resting.

  1. Plank- hold 30 sec-1min 

  2. Alternating lunges- hands on head, 20 reps

  3. Plank with alternating arm raises- 20 reps

  4. Hands on head squat- 10-15 reps (truly performed in our backyard as you can see our landlord's dog Watson)

  5. Plank with alternating leg raises- 20 reps

  6. Push-ups- 10-15 reps

  7. Jumping Jacks- 30-50 reps

Step 3: If you have extra time complete one more jog around the block. Always end with a few good full body stretches!

Remember you can always FIND A WAY, EVERYDAY! No excuses! Now get outside and enjoy some of this lovely summer weather J.

Friday, June 8, 2012


This past Saturday I was struck with a massive headache, nausea, body aches, and a fuzzy head. I was convinced I had come down with the flu that had been going through the office. I reached for my Immune Support Vitamins, Amazing Grass Packets, Emergency and settled in for some extra rest determined to beat this thing in one day!

I woke Sunday to realize I didn't feel any better, in fact the headache and nausea were actually worse. How did Miss Health Conscious get sick? I was bumbed. I am the worst person in the world to get sick! After listening to my complaints Anthony asked, "Babe, have you drank enough water?" Then in dawned on me...the past week I had been so busy running from one job to the next and had remembered to have my snacks, get my workout in, and some extra green tea but had failed to refill my water bottle. My body was not sick but massively dehydrated! No wonder I felt like death!

I focused the next few hours on glass of water every 20-30 minutes and even stuck a Zico in there for some extra help to my poor dehydrated muscles. An hour later life became clear again, the pounding headache faded, and the urge to vomit calmed. Amazing! I spent the rest of the day with one large water bottle in tow.

As we enter the summer heat it is so important to remember extra hydration. Not only is the weather outside warmer but our bodies are usually internally warmer as we push those workouts to look nice in that bathing suit.

Symptoms of Dehydration:
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heart Palpation
  • Nausea
  • Lack of Energy
  • Weakness
  • Dry Mouth
How much water do we need?

Most of us have heard the standard 8-12 glasses per day, but it is really more individualized than that. Your water intake depends on your current weight, how much and how hard you exercise, how much time you spend in warm temperatures, the types of food you eat, and the amount of caffeine you have per day. I'm sure someone has created some fancy formula for this but truly if you pay attention to your body it will tell you. Those hunger pangs at noon may actual be for extra water rather than that extra bag of chips.

Other reasons to drink up?....Proper Hydration Yields:
  • clear and focused mind
  • better sleep
  • better muscle recovery
  • increased energy
  • reduction in joint pain
  • physically fresh- eyes clearer, skin moist and healthy hair
  • happy body = happy person :)
Drink up! And that water bottle make sure it's large enough to keep you chuggin...don't leave home without it!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gluten Free Colorful Chicken Pasta

A few weekends ago Anthony and I ventured over to the home of a few of our favorite people, Vanessa and Sean Ginn. Vanessa and Sean just completed their first home in Sherman Oaks, which has this fab kitchen I love to make a mess in!
That Friday night it was my turn to cook for the group and I choose a new one…Chicken Veggie Gluten Free Pasta. Delish!
Serves: 6 people (great for leftovers)
Time: 45 minutes

  • 2 large yellow squash; sliced
  • 2 c broccoli; chopped coarsely
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes; chopped coarsely
  • 1 bag gluten free pasta (I choose Fiorentini Gluten Free Corn Pasta straight from Italy)
  • 1/3 c + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots; chopped
  • 1 large lemon; juiced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 3-4 chicken breasts; chopped, approximately 1/2” cubes
  1. In a large pot bring water to boil. Once boiling add pasta. Cook according to directions on package.
  2. In one fry pan heat 1/3 c olive oil, garlic, and shallots to medium for 3 minutes.
  3. In another pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium until oil is warm. Add chicken.
  4. Add broccoli and yellow squash to first pan. Mix thoroughly. Cook for minutes
  5. In second pan toss the chicken to get an even brown.
  6. In first pan, add chopped tomatoes. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the chicken to the first pan with basil, lemon juice, and red bell pepper. Cover and reduce to medium low. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Once pasta is finished. Stain.
  9. Plate pasta and top with chicken veggie mix.

This dish was so good that the guys were fighting over the leftovers. Let’s just say this evening there were no doggie bags!

Friday, May 25, 2012


As a man who has been involved in sports and outdoor activities since a young age I have found that the ability to function on un-even and un-stable surfaces is key to preventing injuries and enjoying these activities to the fullest. I also have a family and personal history of high arches and rigid feet. Both of these are risk factors for lateral ankle sprains and chronic ankle instability, along with other lower body injuries. I started incorporating un-stable surface training to help correct some of the deficits in coordination that are a result of spraining both ankles multiple times over the course of my life and came to find I enjoyed it.  This work out will incorporate un-stable surfaces along with whole body functional movements and core work.

Static gym equipment can challenge muscular strength and endurance but alone it is not effective in training the whole body coordination that is required for quality whole body functional performance and injury prevention, especially on un-even and un-stable surfaces. Every day activities, such as getting in and out of the car, require motion in multiple planes, often at the same time.

Un-stable surface training is a great way to improve balance, challenge your strength and coordination, and keep your workouts exciting. The added challenge of maintaining balance through out the movement requires the small stabilizing muscles to be highly active while the prime movers work to complete the motion. The continuous demand on the small stabilizers as well as the prime movers increases neuromuscular coordination and increases overall calorie burn. This work out will challenge your balance and whole body coordination in multiple planes of motion.


Warm up:

·       40 jumping jacks

·       40 deep squats

·       40 sun salutations

Start of Sun Salutes- shoulders down
End of Sun Salutes- pull shoulder

Time to get stable!

Each cycle has two exercises. Perform exercise A, take a 30 second break then perform exercise B.

Each exercise is to be performed for 1 minute per cycle. Perform three consecutive rounds of each cycle then move on to the next cycle.

Perform each rep slow enough to stay under control. Stability is the goal not speed. Do as many reps under control as you can in 1 minute for each exercise. Take a 2 minute break between cycles to hydrate.

Cycle 1

A: Bosu squat then over-head press (hand weights optional)

B: Bosu crunches
A: Bosu Squat- finish with over-head press
B: Bosu crunch- gaze to the ceiling shoulder pinched down and back

Cycle 2

A: Bosu forward lunge (1 minute each leg)

B: Bosu side planks with the feet on the bosu
A: Bosu Forward Lunge- remember tight core!
B: Bosu side plank- if you feel it in the low back make sure you squeeze your glutes

Cycle 3

A: Bosu side lunges (1 minute each leg)

B: Bosu Tricep dips
A: Bosu Side Lunge
B: Bosu dips- core tight and keep the shoulde stable. Great to increase scapular stability!

Cycle 4

A: Bosu bridging

B: Bosu forward plank
A: Bosu Bridge
B: Bosu forward plank

Cool down:
·       Hamstring stretch sitting: 2 sets with a 30 seconds hold each leg
·       Kneeling groin stretch: 2 sets with a 30 second hold each leg
·       Butterfly stretch: 2 sets with a 30 second hold
·       Figure 4 stretch: 2 sets with a 30 seconds hold each leg
Hamstring Stretch
Kneeling Groin Stretch
Butterfly Stretch
Figure 4 Stretch

I love this workout because it only takes about 45 minutes and can be performed any where you have access to a bosu ball and some floor space. This is a great way to challenge your whole body strength and coordination and the short rest period between cycles will challenge your cardio and mental toughness.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gluten Free…another diet fad like Atkins?

I have had terrible IBS, migraines, and blood sugar issues for the past four years. I have been to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me…a difficult situation for a person who has always made health and wellness number one in her life. Each doctor tried to prescribe a different medication to alter some of my symptoms. However, me being the stubborn person I am refused. I knew there was something more causing this problem. I have always had a healthy diet and active lifestyle so why was I having all these embarrassing issues? It wasn’t until doing some deep research that I started to see what could really be the issue. WHEAT.

Wheat the foundation of our tradition food pyramid:

Wheat has been a staple of the human diet since biblical times. It has literally been around for 10,000 years; so how could it be bad for you? Well our wheat today is not anything even close to what wheat used to be. Over time wheat has minimally altered on its own like most species, survival of the fittest in action. However, over the past fifty years with the help of geneticists and agribusiness wheat has completely changed its structure. It should pretty much have a different name.

What is this new wheat?

Our chemically and biochemically altered wheat has a very new protein structure. This new protein structure contains 90% more gluten! So what’s the big deal? Well gluten is a lectin.


Lectins are a sticky protein that are part of a plants immune system, providing a protective barrier around the grain. Savvy geneticists and agribusiness professionals found that increasing this protective barrier resulted in a more successful crop yield.

Lectins cause clumping in our blood cells. Your body cannot digest or destroy these buggers! The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that many food allergies are a direct response of the over accumulation of lectins in the body. Your genetic makeup determines how your body deals with these lectins.

Results of an overflow of lectins:

·         Digestive- cramping, gas, diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux, unstable blood sugar

·         Mental- energy swings, headaches, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, problems sleeping

·         Physical- constant fatigue, joint stiffness, inflammation, arthritis, weight gain

·         Respiratory- mucus build up, difficulty breathing

·         Unexplainable illnesses

Worth a diet change?

It was for me. If you are ready to embrace this lifestyle remember its ALL WHEAT … even the labels that safe healthy and whole grain. If you need help shoot me an email or give me a call. The changes can be difficult at first especially without any guidance. But the results are way way worth the lifestyle change! Perfect change for the upcoming summer! Who wouldn’t like to lose a few extra pounds before bathing suit season hits??

Friday, May 11, 2012

Egoscue-Can the body fix itself?

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to work for Egoscue Santa Monica. It was here that I discovered the core workings of the body. My personal trainer/corrective exercise mind was challenged with thinking of the body as a unit; a unit where each joint, muscle, bones affects the other. Egoscue will be one of the leading modes of therapy in the near future.

As an exercise therapist, we see the body as an alignment of load joints. Eight load joints, the shoulders, the hips, the knees, and the ankles ideally stack on top of one another to provide the body with true function and strength.

Now what happens when the body veers from this true functional design? We feel old, in pain, less productive and well not so happy. Improper joint alignment can lead to:

·         Headaches & migraines

·         Neck pain & TMJ

·         Nerve pain

·         Sciatica

·         Tendonisits

·         Back pain

·         Knee pain

·         Herniated and bulging disks

·         Arthritis & osteoarthritis

·         Carpal tunnel

·         Tennis elbow

·         Degenerative Hips

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Foot/Heel pain

·         Plantar fasciitis

As we face these problems we have become conditioned in our society to run to the doctor. The doc spends a good five minutes with us to give us a prescription for pain medications, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory or worse surgery. Problem fixed? Or are we doomed to live this way? In pain, hooked on pills, and trips under the knife?

A few weeks ago I attended the Los Angeles Personal Training Forum and Lenny Parracino asked us this, “How does the body know the difference between a stabbing in a back alley or a scalpel in the surgery room? It doesn’t.”  And if it’s an overall alignment issue the surgery fixes the symptom but does not solve the main issues. Why do you think there are so many repeat surgeries? How do you feel when that surgeon says, “That knee will hopefully last you ten years”?

How do you fix alignment? Can you fix the actual position of bones and joints?

What moves your bones? Confusing….think of it simply, what moves your bones to walk? Swim? Bike ride? It’s not your mind…although that is involved…it’s your MUSCLES! So if muscles move our bones, can they also move our bones and joints into proper alignment? Yes. We live in a very repetitive society and some of our muscles forget they can move….leaving you in muscular imbalance and poor bone alignment.

Egoscue or exercise therapy gives your body exercises to find those muscle again and regain balance in your structure. Having the proper alignment allows for the body to function efficiently and effectively not only in actual physical movement but also in all the essential biological functions…like digestion and circulation.

Just as your alignment on your vehicle is essential to proper function as is the alignment on your body!

Want some more information on these amazing techniques? Read Pete Egoscue’s (founder of Egoscue) book Pain Free.

If you are in the Santa Monica area stop by the clinic and make an appointment with Paul Schell or Kai Taylor, (310)450-2549.

If you are in or near the San Fernando Valley or Santa Clarita Valley you can schedule an appointment with me, (661)607-1262.

Life’s too short to live in pain or dysfunction! You are never too old to jump, run, skip, and play! Learn the exercises right for you to put your body into proper design function.

It’s time for your annual tune up!