KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Recipe of the Week
Pecan & Toasted Oat Nuggets

Pecans are ground into a delicious nut butter to form the base of this whole some and nutritious treat. Using a mini muffin pan for baking will help to control the portion size, but if one is unavailable, spread the batter into a 9in x 13in baking pan (coated with cooking spray) and bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the pan to cool and then cut into 24 squares.

Nutrition Profile: Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low sodium, heart healthy and healthy weight appropriate.

½ cup water
½ cup dried figs, finely chopped
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, or walnuts
1 large egg
½ cup packed light brown sugar or ¼ cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 24 mini (2 inch) muffin cups or baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat, stir in figs and set aside to plump.

Spread oats in a small baking pan and bake, stirring twice, until light golden and fragrant about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Grind pecans (or walnuts) in a food processor until they form a paste. Add egg, brown sugar (or Splenda), oil and vanilla; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Add to the dry ingredients. Add the figs (with liquid) and oats; stir just until combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups or baking pan.

Bake muffins until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 12-15 minutes. Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges and turn out onto the right to cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition Information Per Muffin: 102 calories; 5 g fat (1g sat, 1 g mono); 9 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 58 mg sodium; 60 mg potassium.

Fit Tip of the Week:

“Game, Mission and Life” is the guiding principle behind CrossFit™, a unique training approach to building a broad, general, but inclusive definition of fitness. Essentially, it is a form of functional training that utilizes constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement patterns to improve activity of daily living (ADL) efficiency. Or according to CrossFit™, these workouts are designed to “prepare the body for any physical contingency-not only the known, but also the unknown.”

CrossFit™ is built upon three fitness standards that embody their training approach:

1.The true definition of fitness encompasses 10 parameters of physical fitness. This means health related parameters (cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle endurance, strength and flexibility) and skill related parameters (agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and accuracy).

2. True fitness implies the ability to perform as many tasks as possible, efficiently and effectively. This “generalist” approach is reflected in their assertion that “our specialty is not specializing. This concept advocates for universal scalability, where the same exercises are sued for everyone regardless of experience, but scaled by load, intensity (with some accommodation for substitution), rather than by program.

3. Energy required for all human activity draws upon three energy pathways and true metabolic conditioning targets all three in a balanced and coordinated manner, much like we utilize these systems in life.

Although these principals speak volumes of truth at the same time they raise legitimate concerns. My purpose is not to endorse or oppose CrossFit Training (as I have not personally participated in this program), but to highlight keep benefits while identifying concerns that merit consideration for individuals participating or thinking about participating in these workouts.

Let’s start with benefits this program can deliver. It is worth noting that one can burn and impressive number of calories with these high intensity workouts. On average women can burn104-120 calories in an eight minute circuit and men can burn 120-144 calories in an eight-minute circuit, plus additional bonus calories during recovery following high-intensity workouts. High-intensity, multi-joint movements compromise the bulk of CrossFit exercises. These exercises are not for the week at heart and as some individuals will say these workouts will “wreck you”. That being said, you can get hurt due to the stresses placed on the joints and muscles. While this raises a significant concern with respect to technique and injury (often associated with high-intensity workouts), it is also important to recognize that CrossFit does place value in the importance of safety, which is evident in their website. Because of the injury risks associated with high-intensity workouts I would highly recommend to those seeking to start this program to find CrossFit coaches to ensure safety and use of proper techniques.

Another aspect that catches my attention with this program is the difficulty. Of all the individuals who start and quit an exercise program, 56.2 percent cite program difficulty as the number one reason for quitting. CrossFit is generally geared towards those who are an athlete or ex-athlete with a competitive background. Although CrossFit does offer beginner workouts, pushing someone to complete a 500m distance on a rowing ergometer as fast as possible on day one is a little excessive. For the general public who feels compelled to exercise to maintain their health, improve aesthetics, or simply because their doctor advised them to do so, CrossFit’s high-intensity approach may not be an ideal match.

Bottom line, this program does give you results but there is a high risk of injury. Also people who start this program may quit because they simply find it too difficult. There are both benefits and concerns to this method of training. If you are a seasoned exerciser seeking a multi-faceted, challenging workout that will prepare you for life’s’ challenges, and allow you to savor some good old muscle soreness (and a healthy dose of competition), then CrossFit might be a fit for you. If you are someone just getting started in a healthy lifestyle then I would suggest seeking an alternate form of circuit training to kick start your fitness routine.

A quick note:

This week’s article is unfortunately my last article. The upcoming demands of school and work in the next semester will unfortunately leave me with little free time. I would like to thank CurlyNikki and the CN Community for allowing me the great pleasure and opportunity to serve and educate. My sole purpose was to empower readers with the knowledge to make smart decisions towards a healthier life. If I have helped just one person in some small way then my goal has been accomplished. I wish everyone a beautiful, bright and healthy New Year and the best of luck on their healthy lifestyle and natural hair journey. Blessed be to all!

Very Respectfully,
G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food of the Week:

I can’t think of a better way to gain the necessary strength and energy to carry myself though a hectic morning than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal. Especially when waking up to frosty mornings this time of the year. Oats are a hardy cereal grain that gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing oats to retain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients. Health benefits from the nutrients found in oats include the ability to lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as a enhanced immune response to infection, to name a few.

Oats also contain unique antioxidants that aid in the reduction of cardiovascular disease and the prevention of heart failure, due to the added benefit of being a whole grain. Research has shown that eating whole grains, such as oats, at least six times per week is especially helpful for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease. The beta-glucan found in oats and other whole grains are beneficial in diabetes as well by helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. Oats also help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, when ingested on a regular basis. Oats are also a good source of fiber, which also helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

You may notice that your local grocery store may carry different types of oats. Different types of processing are used to produce the various types of oat products, which are generally used to make breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffings. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of oats you may encounter. Keep in mind that different types of oats require slightly different cooking methods for making hot cereal or porridge.

  • Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing
  • Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them.
  • Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
  • Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
  • Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product.
  • Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
  • Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.
Oats are a great nutritious way to start your day or as an additive to your favorite baked goods for an extra nutritional boost. Try adding oat flour or whole oats the next time you make bread or muffins or using oat groats for stuffing your Christmas turkey. Or you can try a classic favorite of adding your favorite nuts and fruits to a hot bowl of oatmeal before dashing out the door to finish up your holiday shopping.

Fit Tip of the Week:
The Caloric Expense of Alcohol During the Holidays

During the holiday season three things typically come to mind: family, food and (if you’re over the age of 21) drinks. For those of you wanting to drown your sorrows of the holiday season gone made with copious amounts of spiked eggnog like actor Chevy Chase in the movie Christmas Vacation or bringing good cheers by combining large amounts of high-fat treats with high-caloric alcohol, the New Year may start with a rather rude awakening.

Researchers have found that combining high-fat foods such as glazed ham, stuffing and pecan pie with alcoholic drink causes people to put away many more calories that eating fatty foods with nonalcoholic drinks, or eating low-fat foods with our without alcohol. Considering that a traditional Christmas dinner can easily add up to more than 1,500 calories- a plate of filled with ham, cornbread (yes, the cornbread!) with butter, a slice of cheesecake, mashed potatoes with gravy, a salad with croutons and vinaigrette, (are we hungry yet?) and a glass of beer- consuming additional calories from alcohol is likely to put extra pounds on your frame. Some alcoholic beverages are more forgiving than others. In general, hard liquor and cocktail drinks tend to have many more calories than a glass of beer or wine, but having one cocktail or multiple drinks can easily add up to a meal. Let’s take a look at some popular seasonal choices for alcoholic beverages:

Eggnog: One of the more popular drinks of the holiday season. One cup of eggnog (250 ml) contains 160-290 calories and a shot of spirits (typically spiced rum) adds about another 60 calories, a fine dessert in itself. You can try to cut calories by looking for low fat or even fat free eggnog to add spirits to save yourself a few calories.

Wine: Red and white wine have about the same amount of calories, 121-125 calories per 5-ounce glass. Dessert wines tend to have more calories. A 3.5-ounce glass, for example, has about 165 calories.

Beer: Among the popular non-light beers on the market, a 12-ounce bottle of Corona Extra (148 calories) is the “lightest” pick.
When it comes to hard liquor 1.5-oucne glass of 53-proof Kahlua has 170 calories (which, by the way, is only 10 calories shy of a whole wheat Krispy Kreme doughnut). A frozen margarita made with 2-ounces of tequila, 4.5 ounces of Jose Cuervo margarita mix, and salt will set you back about 246 calories. That’s about as much as a 4-ounce serving of Baskin-Robbins Cherries Jubilee ice cream. How about a rum and coke? Well, a 12-ounce serving will set you back about 361 calories about as many calories as a Carl’s Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

If you're in the party mood and want to enjoy a good cocktail without undoing your fitness goals, fear not. There are ways you can enjoy your spirits during the holidays without dire consequences. Instead of regular beers try reaching for “light beers” such as Beck’s Premier Light with 64 calories, Michelob ULTRA with 95 calories or Amstel Light with 99 calories to help save your waistline. Instead of drinking a full serving a wine, cut down the calories in wine try adding diet ginger ale or seltzer to half a serving of wine. Look for quality spirits without artificial sweeteners and colors and use fresh fruit juices instead for sweetness. Also, look for low calorie mixers as syrups are loaded with sugar and calories. Also to help combat extra calories don’t forget your fitness routine. Try going for a walk, a bike ride, or any type of physical activity that keeps you on track with your fitness goals. Being physically active before or after a meal will not only help burn calories, but is a great way to deal with holiday stress and lift a different kind of spirit.

Until next week...

Very Respectfully,
G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT (aka KinkySheaPT)
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Recipe of the Week:
Warm Beet & Spinach Salad

Nutrition Profile: Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low sodium, heart healthy, high fiber, and healthy weight appropriate.

8 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups steamed beet wedges, or slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Place spinach in a large bowl
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion starts to soften (about 2 minutes). Add tomatoes, olives, parsley, and garlic and cook, stirring, stirring until the tomatoes begin to break down, about minutes. Add beets, vinegar, salt, pepper and cook, stirring, until the beets are heated through (about 1 minute more). Add the beet mixture to the spinach and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Nutrition Per Serving (2 cups): 122 calories; 5 g fat (1g sat, 4g mono); o mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 729 mg potassium.

Fit Tip of the Week: TRX Suspension Trainer Professional Review

Many fitness enthusiasts today are looking for effective, space saving and cost effective ways to bring the gym into their very own home. Many have turned to TRX Suspension training, specifically the TRX Suspension Trainer Professional product. Originally born by way of the Navy SEALS, the TRX Suspension Trainer Professional kit is composed of 12 feet of industrial-grade nylon webbing equipped with handles and foot straps. It looks similar to resistance tubing with handles but a little more advanced in design. The kit also comes with instructional DVD's and illustrated workout as well as a storage bag. The manufacturer promotes the product as being highly portable, versatile, and appropriate for all fitness levels. This device can be anchored to a door frame, exercise machine frame, or other sturdy weight bearing structure and uses a combination of the exerciser's body weight and gravity as resistance to perform various exercises. Because the body is partially suspended, the exercises requires the user to draw on the core and other stabilizing muscles through each movement.

Pros of the TRX system:

1. The TRX is lightweight and portable, allowing the exerciser to work out in a variety of locations and in a small amount of space.
2. The system encourages exercise in all three planes of motions, providing a functional challenge to the body's core muscles. Our bodies move in several planes of motion throughout our daily activities so it makes perfect sense to be functionally strong in all said planes of motion.
3. The TRX allows for the performance of each exercise at various skill and fitness levels and the exercises performed on the TRX can add an element of variety to any fitness routine.

The Cons of the TRX system:

1. The TRX is a bit pricey for a light weight, portable piece of exercise equipment. Prices range from $149.99-150.00.
2. Initially, the exercises can be awkward and challenging to master for new users.
3. The DVD and instructional brochure that accompany the system are well-produced, but I would have liked to have seen a larger variety of exercises.
4. Many of the exercises promoted for the TRX can be performed more comfortably and with less confusing using other equipment, such as stability balls and elastic tubing.

Would I recommend the product? Yes, I would, if it's in your budget. The TRX system provides great benefits in lightweight resistance training and flexibility. I find this product being used more and more by athletes, fitness enthusiasts of all levels, and even physical therapists. It is great for those who are looking to sculpt, tone, and build muscle endurance as opposed to actually building muscles (or "bulking up"). It's also great for the days when you just can't get to the gym for your strength training session as well. Many fitness clubs are offering TRX Suspension Training as apart of their group fitness schedules, which is perfect for those new to the system and exercises. A TRX group fitness class will allow a trained fitness professional to help you perfect your form and technique. In all, outside from the price, this product can definitely a great and challenging lightweight resistance workout.

Very Respectfully,
G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Beets

Beets became popular thanks to all those legendary Russian centenarians. Beets, which are frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root vegetables contain power nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.

The most striking fact about beets is not the fact that they are rich in antioxidants, but it is the unusual mix of antioxidants that they contain. We’re used to thinking about vegetables as rich in antioxidant carotenoids (for example beta-carotene), but in beets the claim to fame antioxidant is actually not beta-carotene. Beets contain two different antioxidant carotenoids in addition to obtaining their red color from a different antioxidant that most red vegetables do. Research on the antioxidants found in beet are still in the early stages there is evidence that beets provide special benefits for eye health and overall nerve tissue health. Beets also contain a significant amount of anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help with heart disease and arthritis. Beets have also been noted for providing detoxification support.

There are to other areas of potential health benefits associated with beets: anti-cancer benefits and fiber-related benefits. The combination of anti-inflammatory molecules in beets makes this food a highly-likely candidate for risk reduction of many cancer types. Beet fiber has also been a nutrient of increasing interest in health research. While many may limp all food fiber into one single category called “dietary fiber”, there is evidence that suggests that all dietary fiber is not the same. Beet fiber may provide special health benefits, particularly with the health of our digestive track and our cardiovascular system.

When shopping for fresh beets choose small or medium-sized beets whose roots are firm, smooth-skinned and deep in color. Raw beets do not freeze well since they tend to become soft upon thawing. Freezing cooked beets is fine as they will retain their flavor and texture. It also should be noted that beet juice can satin your skin, so wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets. Should your hands become stained during the cleaning and cooking process, simply rub some lemon juice on them to remove the stain.

Fit Tip of the Week: Girl Power

It is no secret that many preteen and teen girls struggle with negative body image, eating disorders and inactivity. With the media constantly promoting distorted images of beauty (often in an unhealthy sense) it has become increasingly harder for girls (and even grown women) to grow to love and accept themselves. So, how can you foster self-esteem in girls and encourage them to lead healthy lives? These are a few suggestions in ways you can help girls incorporate fitness and self-esteem building activities into their lives.

1. Recognize that many girls have low self-esteem. According to a study conducted by Vagisil Women’s Health Center, teen girls who seem to know it all may actually be struggling with low self-esteem. In the study, health educators working with teenage girls reported that while they were more independent than their parents were as teens, today’s girls have less self-confidence and a weaker self-confidence and self-image.

2. Realize that fitness and sports can improve self-esteem. Authors of a report commissioned by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports found that exercise and sports participation can enhance girls’ mental health. It works just the same in girls as in adults by engendering a positive body image; improving self-esteem; offering tangible experiences of competency and success; and increasing self-confidence. Just as physical activity can help adults reduce stress and depression the same happens among girls.

3. Encourage girls to get active. If girls show any interest in sports, do what you can to help them participate. They will benefit greatly from being part of a team, learning to be good winners and losers, and taking risks. If they don’t like sports then steer them toward other empowering fitness activities. Ask them about their interests and suggest ideas such as kickboxing, circuit training, stepping, hip hop, Nia and yoga.

4. Look for girls’ programming. Search for girls-only exercise classes or fitness clubs within local fitness facilities. Girls may feel more comfortable sweating when boys are not present! If a nearby facility doesn’t offer girls’ programming, then invite your daughter (s) - or girls you know-to attend fitness classes with you.

5. Focus on wellness behaviors. Share information on topics like healthy eating and nutrition, smoking prevention and healthy body image. Discussing these issues works well in tandem with exercise.

6. Focus on achievements, not appearance. Unfortunately, girls are often harshly judged by other girls, as well as written off boy boys, if they don’t fit within the bounds of our society’s narrow definition of beauty. To help a girl develop a healthier self-image, complement her for her achievements, thought and actions. Also help girls to criticize the media as young people often think media images represent perfection. Help them to look for positive ads in publications.

7. Look for further resources. Check out organizations such as Melpomene Institute (, which features sports and fitness resources for girls; and the Women’s Sports Foundation (, which offers a quiz to help girls find a sport that will be a good fit for them. Also, taking girls to women’s sporting events helps to provide exposure to active female role models.

Until next week…

G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food and Recipe of the Week: Green Beans and Healthy Green Bean Casserole (From

With Thanksgiving just around the corner I thought it would be helpful to arm you in your holiday cooking with at least one healthy remake of a traditional Thanksgiving dish. Green bean casserole has graced many a table every holiday season. The green beans itself plays host to an impressive list of nutrients including vitamins K, C, A, B2, and B1, as well as omega 3-fatty acids, fiber, iron, calcium, protein, and potassium. Green beans provide antioxidant support, cardiovascular benefits, bone health benefits, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Although readily available canned, fresh green beans provide the most health benefits.

The typical green bean casserole bathes ingredients in a heavy cream sauce and tops them with buttered bread crumbs and cheese. This healthier version saves about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a more traditional recipe.

Nutrition Profile: low calorie, high fiber, low saturated fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, high calcium, heart healthy, diabetes and healthy weight appropriate.

2 ½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided.
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
2 ½ cup low-fat or fat free milk
1 ½ cups fresh whole-wheat bread crumbs or ½ cup shredded or crumbled low fat cheese.


Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the green beans are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.
Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 cup): 170 calories, 7g fat (1g sat, 4g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 23g carbohydrates, 7g protein; 5g fiber; 303 mg sodium.

Fit Tip of the Week: 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Parties

Parties are an enjoyable and festive way to celebrate the season, but party-goes often find their resolve weakening in the face of bountiful and calorie-laden food spreads. The good news is nutrition experts agree that all holiday foods can easily fit into a healthy diet- if eaten in moderation. Here are some effective tips for controlling calories at those notorious holiday feasts.

1. Create and stick to a plan. To help maintain healthy habits, identify potential problem areas and anticipate solutions that may present challenges. It is ok to allow yourself some slack and not to aim for perfection (which honestly is impossible during the holiday season). Choose to focus on two areas at most. For example focus on sticking to a firm workout schedule and avoiding the cheese and sausage tray if that is a weakness. By recognizing and anticipating your primary weakness, you are more likely to stick with a plan.

2. Maintain a regular schedule. The holidays can be hectic, but it is important to continue to eat at normal mealtimes. Don’t try to make up for bad eating by skipping breakfast or lunch. This will set you up for poor energy, hunger and bad food choices at whatever party or dinner you are attending. Instead have a plan. For example if you’re going to an evening event, eat a balanced, lighter lunch such as a mixed green salad with fruit and grilled chicken. High fiber snacks can also be helpful in the midafternoon to avoid showing up at the party starving.

3. Practice mindfulness. Before you pile any party food onto your plate, scan the offerings on the table. Take a look around the buffet to see what is being served. This will help you make better choices. Also savor both the food and the conversations you have with other guests; eating slowly will help you become more aware of when you are satisfied and feeling full.

4. Be selective. It’s normal to want to sample everything, but you may want to consider “saving” your calories for those favorites that come around only once a year. In other words, skip the mundane chips and dip, and go for a small serving of Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.

5. Beware of Beverages. Limiting alcoholic beverages can save a tremendous amount of empty calories. Limit them to 1-2 drinks per day. The same goes for sweetened, nonalcoholic beverages. Instead of punch, choose sparkling water and sugar-free drinks.

6. Practice portion control. The bigger the plate, the more you’ll want to put on it and with an endless supply of tempting foods filling up a large plate is very easy to do. It also easily leads to unknowingly consuming fare more than your normal daily allowance of calories and fat. A trick that I always tell clients to use is reach for a small salad plate rather than the large dinner plate. Smaller plates help to regulate your portions as there is only so much that can fit on a small salad plate.

7. Fuel up frequently. Never, EVER, leave the house hungry. If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping hungry you know where this is going to lead. You’ll end up eating more food then you realize before you even know it. Grab a quick 150-200 calorie snack, preferably a combination of high fiber and protein to stabilize blood sugar and appetite. Carry power snacks such as nuts and dried fruit as well as a bottle of while shopping and running errands.

8. Practice self-monitoring. Set a simple fitness and eating goal at the beginning of the holiday season, and monitor yourself. Stay on track by using a tool that works for you, such as a food log or a fitness journal. Use the log to record how much you eat, and don’t forget to include anything you had at parties. To remind yourself of the pay off, identify your own reason for staying on track, then put it in writing and repeat it like a mantra each day.

9. Be a social butterfly. Remember the holidays are about being with those you love not as a free ride to consume all the food you want. That being said, heading into holiday parties with the mindset that you are seeking companionship and to reconnect with family and friends may help you eat less.

10. Don’t diet. Yep, you read that correctly. Starting a weight loss program at the start of the season is a recipe for disaster. Attempting to diet in the face of holiday feasts can actually backfire, causing you to binge when presented with such temptation. Instead, create a plan for success at the start of the season and stick to it.

Until next week!

Very Respectfully,
G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Bison Steak with Radicchio-Beet Skewers

This is one of my all-time favorite steak recipe. The rich flavor of the bison steak is complemented by the bite of radicchio. The flavor is mellowed a bit by the grill and earthy-sweet beets and creamy goat cheese dressing. Bison is a wonderfully nutritious alternative to beef steaks, but because bison steaks are so lean they are very easy to over cook. Bison steaks are best when cooked rare to medium-rare.

Nutrition Profile: Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low sodium, heart healthy, healthy weight appropriate, and gluten free.

¼ cup crumbled low fat goat or feta cheese
4 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 small heads of radicchio
1 15-ouce can baby beets, drained
1 pound bison steaks, trimmed of fat and cut into 4 portions.


1. Preheat grill to high

2. Place cheese in a medium bowl and mash it with the back of a spoon until creamy. Add vinegar, dry mustard, shallot, parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Whisk to combine. Continue and slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon oil until blended. Set aside.

3. Cut each radicchio head in half, core and quarter each half. Thread radicchio chunks and beets onto skewers. Drizzle skewered vegetables with 1 ½ teaspoon oil. Rub steaks with the remaining ½ teaspoon oil. Season steaks and skewered vegetables with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.

4. Grill steaks 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Grill vegetable skewers, turning frequently so the radicchio doesn’t burn, until the radicchio is wilted and lightly charred (5 to 7 minutes total). Transfer the steaks to a plate; let set for 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the skewers. Serve the steaks and vegetables drizzled with sauce.

Nutrition Per serving: 222 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 55 mg cholesterol; 0 g added sugar; 25 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Fit Tip of the Week Product Review: Vibram FiveFingers Classic

I’ve seen this shoe’s popularity grow increasingly in popularity in the fitness world. Barefoot-style and minimalist shoes are one of the hottest trends to sweep the footwear category since Nike Waffle Trainer running shoes and Crocs. The Vibram FiveFingers Classic is a minimalist athletic shoe designed to mimic the feel of being barefoot during activities such as running, fitness training, martial arts, yoga and Pilates. The manufacturer claims that by putting your feet in touch with the earth, you can move in a more natural, healthy way. They describe that their customers report an increase sense of balance, greater agility, and visibly improved posture. The Vibram FiveFinger Classic is one of several designs Vibram offers that adheres to the minimalist principle. The shoe features a sculpted, non-marking sole that wraps around the bottom and sides of the food and a stretch polyamide fabric that envelopes the toes and top of the foot. The shoe is completed with an elastic band that fastens at the heel allowing users to adjust the coverage and fit. Like gloves, each toe has it own little slot (just like toe socks).

This isn’t your typical shoe and needless to say, they do take some getting used to and may not appeal to everyone. The shoe does provide some arch support and the sole is thick enough to minimize the feel of rocks or pebbles under foot. Being water-resistant and machine washable, the Vibram Five Fingers is ideal for walking along rocky shorelines or climbing over boulders. There are many that wear these shoes for long distance running and give the shoe rave reviews.

One feature of the shoe that could pose a challenge (and certainly did for me) is its molded shape, which makes it difficult to fit those who don’t have “standard” shaped feet. For example, if someone has a second toe that’s larger than their big toe they may find the shoe doesn’t fit correctly or feels uncomfortable. The high heel tab may irritate those with heel spurs or other issues. Also those with problems with their arches may have problems with this shoe. People with fallen arches may find that this shoe may not have enough arch support to see them through a long run.

So are these worth looking into? This product should be reviewed on an individual basis. Everyone’s feet are different and have different needs. Personally, after trying these on walking for fifteen minutes my arches and ankles weren’t having it. I could barely walk around in the store let alone go for a run in them. For me running in these shoes would not be an option. A yoga or a Pilates class or strength training maybe be a more appropriate use of these shoes for me. Others may find these to be the holy grail of running shoes depending on their individual needs. Others find improved balance during strength training while wearing the Vibrams. Some physicians have voiced their opinions against this shoe and others fully support it. There are a lot of mixed reviews, research and opinions on these, most of which are positive. That being said, I would offer the same suggestion on this shoe as I would in buying a sports bra or any other shoe. Think about the activity you’ll be using the shoe for, know the kind of support you need, and find the right fit for you and your needs. If this shoe is able to meet your needs then it may be well worth a shot.

Until next week…

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