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Curly Nikki

KinkyShea’s Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Recipe of the Week: Quinoa and Smoked Tofu Salad

Smoky tofu and quinoa combined with the tangy fresh flavors of tabbouleh create a main dish salad that can be served on a bed of greens for added color and zest. This recipe is packed with heart-healthy ingredients and is vegetable plentiful.

Nutrition Profile:
Diabetes Appropriate, Gluten Free Diet, Healthy Weight, Healthy Heart, High Fiber, Low Calorie, Low Cholesterol, Low Saturated Fat and Low Sodium.

2 cups water
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (see Notes)
¼ lemon juice
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 small clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 6 or 8 ounce baked smoked tofu (see Notes), diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumber
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ chopped fresh mint

Step 1: Bring water and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add quinoa and return to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Spread quinoa on a baking sheet to cool for about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa, tofu, bell pepper, tomatoes cucumber, parsley and mint. Toss well to combine.

Precooked “baked tofu” is firmer than water-packed tofu and comes in a variety of flavors. Baked tofu can also be added to sandwiches or stir-fry.

Rinsing quinoa removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Quinoa can be found in natural-foods stores and in natural-foods sections of many supermarkets.

Fit Tip of the Week: Kettlebell Workouts

In 2010, kettlebell workouts became quite the rage inspiring thousands of exercise enthusiasts. The kettlebell is a cast iron weight looking somewhat like a cannonball with a handle and is used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular , strength, and flexibility training. Kettlebells were developed by Russian strongmen back in the early 1700’s as a way to build strength, balance, flexibility and endurance quickly. Kettlebells are very different from traditional dumbbell or barbell, because their center of gravity is outside of your hand and they apparently work well. Gerard Butler reportedly used kettlebells to prepare for his role as King Leonidas of Sparta in the film 300 (and we all know how that worked out for him). But Hollywood’s A-listers aren’t the only ones getting into it. Kettlebell-themed fitness classes have exploded across the country. With a surge in popularity, there was bound to be some research conducted on the effects of kettlebells and the American Council on Exercise, one of the industry’s leading health and fitness organization, answered the call.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) enlisted the help of research experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Healthy Program to evaluate the energy cost and intensity of kettlebell workouts. The research team recruited 10 volunteers, male and female, with ages ranging from 29-46 years, and all experienced in kettlebell training. Many kettlebell enthusiasts make all-encompassing clams about kettlebells, if they are all you need to increase muscular strength, endurance and aerobic capacity. ACE decided to put these claims to the test.

Prior to beginning the actual study, baseline data for oxygen consumption, heart rate, and perceived exertion (RPE) was taken for all volunteers using a maximal exercise test on a treadmill. On a different day each volunteer returned to perform a five-minute kettlebell snatch test to establish a baseline of their specific kettlebell fitness. Each subject used a 12, 16, or 20 kilogram kettle bell (depending on their gender, body weight, fitness, and experience level) swinging it one-handed between their legs and up and over the head in a snatch motion. The subjects continuously performed snatches to a specific cadence during each minute, switching to the opposite hand for the snatch every other minute. During this heart rate and oxygen consumption were measured during each stage. A peak RPE was taken following the test as well as blood analysis.

The final results showed that during the 20 minute workout, the average calorie burn was 272 calories (not counting additional calorie burn due to the substantial anaerobic effort). On average the volunteers burned at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts according to experts. Researchers equated this rate of calorie burning to running a 6 minute mile. One researcher concluded that the only other thing that they could think of that would burn as many calories is cross-country skiing up hill at a fast pace. This brisk calorie burning was credited to the fact that the kettlebell snatch workout is a total-body movement that is also done very quickly, giving you the most of your time and money.

The bottom line is that kettlebell workouts do provide one serious workout. Research experts called kettlebell workouts a very good resistance-training workout that will also help burn calories and drop the pounds, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. If you’re thinking of turning to kettlebell workouts I would highly recommend that you take classes with a fitness instructor certified to teach kettlebell classes. This will help ensure appropriate posture and technique, as well as safety. Be warned that the movements used in kettlebell exercises can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems or a weak core and as always consult your physician before starting or changing any exercise program.

Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time. ACE FitnessMatters. January/February 2010.

Until next week…


  • Anonymous says:

    Also here are a few links to start your own research

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Anonymous January 20, 2011 2:09 PM

    Your reference to Dr. Mercola is the first that I've ever heard of him/her, so I wouldn't be quoting him/her. To my knowledge, there aren't many unfermented soy 'brands' per se, but rather miso and tempeh are unfermented. However, these aren't necessarily 'healthy', just better than non-fermented as the harmful toxins are neutralized making it ok for consumption.
    And in my opinion, as a strict vegan, I don't think soy in any form as you stated is healthier than meat. There are plenty of vegans that swear off meat and live off french fries and hash browns, they are not healthier for this! A person that is serious about their health is concerned not only with cutting things out of their diet, but also putting the right things in it. In my opinion, if you are concerned about rotting animal flesh in your stomach, why would you want to ingest hormones that deplete natural minerals in your body? What could be a healthier alternative to meat than a vegetable or bean just as it is?

  • Anonymous says:

    All, be careful of soy in general. I recommend only organic soy is one of the major genetically modified foods that companies can manipulate. Do some research on GMO( Genetically modified organisms) and soy, corn, and beets are the top culprits. Don't believe the hype about GMO's being good for you. Eat what God gave us and don't eat the manipulated crap.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I meant to say what are some brands of fermented tofu do you recommend and I thought fermented soy is found in the form of tempeh and miso.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rose of Sharron and Anonymous 11:43

    What are some brands of unfermented tofu that you recommend? I thought unfermented soy is only in the form of tempeh and miso. excuse my ignorance on this stuff. Wouldn't soy (in any form) be healthier than meat? I know that soy contains natural estrogens, but what other hormones are you referring to. Would you please give some references? Please do not quote Dr. Mercola, he is known to be a quack! lol
    Thanks in advance!!

  • RoseofSharron says:

    I must agree with anonymous regarding soy. I stear clear of it for this reason.

    with regards to the kettleball, this is a great addition to your exercise routine!

  • Anonymous says:

    Unless the tofu mentioned is fermented, this is not a healthy recipe in the least! This has been long thought to be a 'healthy' food, but unfermented soy-which accounts for most tofu, and soy-based products on the market currently-is NOT suitable for human consumption. Though a tasty alternative to meat, (and I am a vegan, so I appreciate the importance of finding a suitable protein substitute for meat), consuming tofu (unfermented) is nothing more than dining on hormones that also serve to rob your body of nutrients and minerals.
    Add legumes such as split peas or lentils to make this a healthy option.

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