The Color Run: $5 off registration NOW!

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The Color Run 2014 – The Original Paint Race

You all know I have been working on my fitness and being more physically active.  If you are too, check out The Color Run coming to many cities during their 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour  – hopefully near you!  October is the month for my local areas

The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.  It is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants, or “Color Runners”, are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow:

  • Wear white at the starting line
  • Finish plastered in color!

AND ends with an epic Finish Festival…

Have you ever done it???  Please tell us all about it!  Sounds like a blast…

You can also save $5 off a regular priced registration in The Color Run – valid for a single or team runner/walker/crawler.  See anyone can do it – LOL!  Just TYPE (copy/paste will not work) in the promo code HAPPY5OFF at checkout.  Not valid on the deluxe package or with any other discounts.

 Get signed up today!

Though it is a for-profit company, they have raised donations for more than 80 local and national charities since 2012. To date, The Color Run has donated more than $3 million to charity.


Why REI is Heaven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

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Why REI is Heaven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

REI is one of those stores that have a loyal customer base and top-notch products with an amazing return policy. It is the mecca for hikers, cyclists, kayakers, and just about anyone who loves the outdoors.

REI is Heaven for outdoor enthusiasts and is the perfect place to find just about everything you need.

TENTS

REI-4-person-tentThe REI 4-person tent is the best tent on the market for a few different reasons. First, you can put it up in less than 10 minutes and is about the easiest tent I have ever put up. Then there is REI’s return policy – they will take back anything and refund or exchange you with no questions asked. Completely awesome!

Here are some other tent options:

Kelty-Acadia-4-tent

Kelty Acadia 4 Tent: You’ll live comfortably in the Acadia 4 tent from Kelty. It boasts large doors, dual vestibules and easy setup.

Mountain-Hardwear-Trango-4-tent Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 Tent: The Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 Tent is designed for winter mountaineering. It’s built strong and engineered to shelter 4 climbers in tough alpine conditions.  AND KUDOS to you if you are tenting in the winter!

What is your favorite tent??  Unless of course you go all rustic and build a “lean to” with sticks and leaves – HA HA!

CAMP STOVES

After you have figured out your shelter for the night, turning to getting the kitchen ready is the next thing that campers always do.  Of course you can cook over an open fire, but there are certainly other things that make it is little easier.

You know I think having a good camp stove is essential!  The Coleman dual InstaStart Grill Stove allows you to boil water and grill at the same time.

Stove1

Camp Chef Ranger 2-Burner Camp Stove: The Camp Chef Ranger 2-burner camp stove delivers portability and power to make camp cooking fast and easy.

Stove2
Coleman Signature InstaStart Grill Stove: The propane-powered Coleman Signature InstaStart™ grill stove lets you flame broil a burger while boiling some pasta on your next car-camping adventure.

MATTRESS PADS

Don’t forget the mattress pad!   I know you are all saying you LOVE being one with nature and sleeping on the ground.  If you are NUTS like that, then skip over this paragraph – LOL!.

In my opinion this is very much needed to make sleeping on the ground just a little bit more enjoyable. REI has typically over a 100 in stock to choose from and come in all different weights and sizes. Don’t skip on this one piece of camping gear or your back will not be a happy camper!

Therma-Rest Therm-a-Rest ProLite Sleeping Pad: Lighter than its predecessor, this 3-season Therm-a-Rest ProLite sleeping pad is one of the lightest, most compact, self-inflating mattress in the Therm-a-Rest Fast & Light line.

Klymit

Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad: You don’t have to spend a fortune to sleep well in the great outdoors. The affordable Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad cushions you from the ground on your backpacking adventures year-round.

OUTDOOR CLOTHING

REI has a pretty robust outdoor clothing line with items for men, women, and kids for all weather ranges from extreme cold to a very hot afternoon. I love shopping their clearance area!!

pants

REI Mistral Pants -Women’s: The REI Mistral women’s pants are sleek and multipurpose soft shells. Have them on hand for late-autumn hikes when the days turn cool and wet.

rain-jacket
REI Kimtah Rain Jacket – Men’sThanks to eVent® fabric technology, the men’s REI Kimtah Jacket helps backpackers stay dry and comfortable when they get caught out in a spring or summer rain squall.

half-zip
ASICS Thermopolis LT Half-Zip Top – Women’s: A cozy first layer for cold-weather running, the women’s ASICS Thermopolis® LT Half-Zip Top features a zippered mock neck for adjustable warmth through the miles.

HYDRATION BACKPACKS

Anytime you head out hiking don’t forget about your hydration needs. There are great backpacks that also have external water bladders. If you will be out all day, think about putting water in one bladder and electrolyte drinks in another.

mantraOsprey Manta 20 Hydration Pack – 100 fl. oz.: The updated Osprey Manta 20 hydration pack combines a well-engineered hydration system with great carrying comfort to keep you hydrated and moving fast during your done-in-a-day adventures.

camelbak

CamelBak Rim Runner 22 Hydration Pack – 100 fl. oz.:The comfortable CamelBak Rim Runner 22 Hydration Pack is a capable gear hauler with a big reservoir to keep you hydrated during done-in-a-day adventures.

What are your camping must-haves?

I will continue to look for great deals on these all season long.

Honey and Ginger Glazed Salmon

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HoneyGingerGlazedSalmon2

Honey and Ginger Glazed Salmon

We are all trying to eat healthier – RIGHT?!?!  I know that fish should be part of that, but my family is highly fish phobic and I am a fearful fish cook.  If fish is fishy or slimy in any way, even if it is OK to eat, I get creeped out and will not touch it.  That is what makes this one so great – easy peasy and cooks perfect every time.

This Salmon recipe is perfect for a simple weeknight dinner but is elegant enough for entertaining on the weekend.

It is also a delicious way to incorporate fish into your diet in a healthy way.  Fish is a healthy source of protein and provides you with large amounts of B-12, iron and essential omega 3 fatty acids.  Fresh, wild-caught Salmon provides the highest amount of these important dietary nutrients.

The sweet and tangy mixture of flavor in this recipe appeals even to the little food critics at your table, they wont be asking for fish sticks after they give this dish a try. Serve with wild rice and a green salad for a filling and delicious meal.

ENJOY

bon-appetit

You could also try it with the Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce or the Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons with Onion and Parmesan.

 

Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce

These sweet potato fries are so delicious and nutritious. Sweet and Salty with a nice crisp on the outside, they are also nice and filling.

Did I happen to tell you that you can achieve all that by baking and not frying them? Yep you can.

In addition to the NO FRYING, sweet potatoes are already pretty healthy loaded with vitamin A, and beta-carotene.  They are also said to be a stress-reducing food.

Instead of ketchup, try this healthy dipping sauce for a little kick.  Greek yogurt makes a terrific substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream and I use it whenever I can to save on some calories and fat.  It also gives the sauce some zip making it totally craveable.

Stress Reducing Food: You FEEL What you EAT

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We FEEL What We Eat So EAT Stress Reducing Food

They say we ARE what we EAT, but in reality we FEEL what we EAT!

We eat CRAP…we FEEL like CRAP

We eat HEALTHY… we FEEL healthy

This is not something you do not already know, but there is actual science behind it.  When we are stressed a natural reaction is to EAT – and not the healthy stuff either. What we do not realize is that the foods we eat trying to COMFORT ourselves (fast food, sweets, alcohol) are actually fueling the fire and leading to more stress.  It also affects weight gain, loss of sleep and energy which then lead to more stress.  It is a viscous cycle and it is time to hop off!

Processed and junk food actually increase your cortisol (the STRESS hormone) levels. It also makes you CRAVE those foods – Caffeine, SUGAR, high-sodium food, alcohol – even more.

Stress Kills

Eating the right food has never been more important than it is now.  Stress has become a national buzzword over the last decade and with good reason… stress causes or contributes to some of the most grave medical conditions. Anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other afflictions can be complicated or affected by stress.  In some cases, stress is thought to be a MAIN contributing factor.

Stress Reducing Food

Fortunately, what we eat can have a big effect on our stress levels and on these conditions.  Eating stress reducing food is one of the most vital natural combatants that we have in the fight against disease.  Here are some great foods you should add to your menu and why they help you relieve stress:

ORANGES and BLUEBERRIES

We talked about how our cortisol levels rise when we are stressed.  This lowers are immune system so we need Vitamin C and antioxidants  help our bodies repair and protect cells.  Both ORANGES and BLUEBERRIES (or most berries for that matter) have loads of Vitamin C and actually help return blood pressure to normal and lower our cortisol levels.

TURKEY

Virtually everyone has experienced the “after Thanksgiving sleepy” that accompanies a great turkey dinner. This phenomenon is thought to be caused by something called L-Tryptophan that is found in turkey. This calming feeling is because the amino acid tryptophan causes the creation of serotonin. Serotonin (sometimes called the sleep hormone) is a brain chemical that calms us down and if it is low, directly affects how extreme our body reacts to stress.

FISH

Fish, but particularly SALMON has loads of Omega-3 fats, vitamin B and D.  Both aid in the reduction of inflammation in the body which reduces stress.  If you are low in vitamin B it can also disrupt the nervous system leading to increased stress.

AVOCADOS or BANANAS

Potassium has long been linked to helping with high blood pressure and most people think of bananas. It is true that bananas have good levels of potassium, but avocados have even more. If you are looking for a good food to lower your stress levels avocados are a wonderful choice.

Dark, Leafy GREEN VEGETABLES

Vitamins are the common themes you are finding on this list and with good reason. Vitamins are nature’s stress busters because they make our body move and groove at optimum levels. Stress was meant to improve our survivability by allowing us certain strengths when we needed them. However too much stress, as we have seen can be detrimental.  High vitamin foods like dark, leafy green vegetables are on the front lines of stress reduction and can also help to keep us regular. 

Spinach is packed with magnesium that helps regulate cortisol levels.  Adding a Green Smoothie to your day can get you the spinach and berries you need. Asparagus is loaded with folic acid which is linked to depression when your levels are low.  Broccoli has both vitamin B and folic acid so is a go-to stress busting veggie.

ALMONDS, PUMPKIN SEED or any MIXED NUTS

Almonds not only have lots of stress fighting vitamins & minerals (vitamin B and magnesium), they also have the good saturated fat we need.  The vitamin E they contain helps combat free radicals that are created when we are stressed.  These can cause cell damage that has been known to lead to cancer & heart disease.  Pumpkin seeds are not normally thought of, but they are densely packed with magnesium which can lower blood pressure and stress.  These are great to snack on or sprinkle on a salad.

MILK & YOGURT

Milk is full of antioxidants, vitamin B2 and B12.  They help our nervous system function and aid the body in getting energy from food.  Did you also know it has that amino acid tryptophan – and we know how that creates the hormone seratonin and reduces stress.  We all know a glass of warm milk can help us relax and sleep.  In addition to the vitamins and antioxidants, the protein in milk lowers blood pressure giving us a calming affect.  Yogurt is also helpful to stress relief.

CHOCOLATE

Dark chocolate, that is…in moderation.  Dark chocolate contains polyphenols which is an antioxidant that can help slow and repair damage to our organs that can be caused by stress.  BE CAREFUL WITH QUANTITY – it also contains caffeine which can ramp you up and undo any positive affects.  Eating small quantities of dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

TEA

Tea traditionally give us the psychological relaxation that goes along with taking time out to make and sip a cup of tea as well as the calming, soothing affect of drinking it warm.  However most teas also have catechins which are an antioxidant that helps maintain our cells which can be damaged when we are stressed.  Tea’s calming effects have been and will be studied for years – but it works!

OATMEAL

Carbohydrates can kick start seratonin production in the morning leading to a calm day.  BUT not just any carb will do.  Oatmeal has load of healthy fiber which will digest slowly and help keep that feeling longer.

STRESS REDUCING FOOD MEAL PLAN

Each stress reducing food is effective in fighting against those things that are dangerous to us. They taste great and can truly enhance your healthy lifestyle.  

Work them into your food choices each day or plan your daily menu around them.  Here is a great meal plan incorporating a ton of STRESS REDUCING FOOD for those days when you are really stressed:

BREAKFAST:
cup of tea
orange juice
oatmeal made with milk and topped with blueberries

MID-MORNING SNACK – almonds or berries

LUNCH:
Turkey Sandwich w/ avocado & spinach leaves on whole wheat wrap
water

MID-AFTERNOON SNACK – Green Smoothie or if you are not home grab a banana and handful of pumpkin seeds.

DINNER:
Salmon
Sweet potato – also a stress buster
Asparagus

DESSERT or before bed treat:
Caffeine FREE tea or warm milk
small piece of dark chocolate

Do not forget WATER WATER WATER – at least 8-10 glasses each day. When you are not hydrated you may think you are hungry and snack on CRAP when you are actually thirsty. Also get plenty of sleep for you stress health as well.

Hope these food choices make you feel healthier and more relaxed.  Check out these other healthy recipes as well.

What are your CRAPPY FOOD stress choices?

What is your favorite stress reducing food or activity?