Archive for April, 2013

Want to feel like this?…women-kettlebell-exercises…But….feel more like this today?…sick…that’s okay!

So you think you are too sick to go to the gym? Well, if it’s day one of your illness and it’s ugly, yes, you may be too sick.  The general rule is if your symptoms are below the neck, stay home BUT if your symptoms are above the neck, and you won’t scare anyone who is in close proximity (you know what I mean!), go go go!!!!  There are numerous health benefits to exercising when you are sick.

According to Medline Plus, physical activity may help by flushing bacteria out from the lungs (thus decreasing the chance and/or severity of a cold, flu, or other airborne illness) and may flush out cancer-causing cells (carcinogens) by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat.

Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s defense cells) through the body at a quicker rate.  Your white blood cells are components in your immune system that actively seek out and fight various forms of infection. When you exercise, these cells increase their numbers and circulate more quickly through your body. If you don’t exercise too much or too heavily, increased activity by your white blood cells can improve your ability to fight off viral and bacterial infections.  Your white blood cells are also called leukocytes. Along with your red blood cells, leukocytes form inside a spongy material called bone marrow, which forms part of the interior of large bones such as femurs and hip bones. While your leukocytes are commonly referred to simply as white blood cells, your immune system actually contains five major types of leukocytes, including monocytes, neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils, as well as lymphocytes, which are also called T cells and B cells.  When you exercise, elevations in the activity of your white blood cells may allow your body to identify disease-causing organisms more quickly than they would under normal circumstances. This effect may also result from the presence of other parts of your immune system, called antibodies, which also accelerate their activity level when you exercise.

The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.

The temporary rise in body temperature may prevent further bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively. (This is similar to what happens when the body has a fever.)

Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Stress increases the chance of illness and prolongs episodes of illness.

AND as if all that wasn’t reason enough to lace on those sneakers and head out for a workout, there is this reason – we are creatures of HABIT.  If you are in good rhythm, scheduling in your workouts and making them a regular part of your week, you do not want to lose that roll you are on.  Miss one day if it’s early in your cold and you are in full blown symptom-apolooza, coughing constantly, sneezing 6 times in a row and going through boxes and boxes of kleenex, looking and feeling like death……yes, please, for everyone’s sake, STAY HOME.  *BUT* as soon as you can, get back to it, even if you are still a little sniffly and low energy, you need to keep that app’t with yourself.  Go easy, be kind to yourself, scale back your intensity and duration, but get there and get something done. Then go home, eat a nutritious meal and go to bed early.  You will be proud of yourself, on track and your body and mind will thank you!

There are a few dishes that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen. And they oddly all seem to involve the same magic trilogy :


salt/pepper/garlic powder


I swear you could roast just about anything, and it would be absolutely delicious!  We’ve all given kale a go, roasted broccoli (with toasted walnuts, shredded fresh basil and a squeeze of fresh lemon??! yum!), roasted cauliflower (with parm and lemon!), roasted brussels sprouts, roasted carrots (thyme and butter), mmmm, they are all so good.  But my fav??!!  Well, it has to go to the lowly green bean!  One night while making homemade hamburgers and french fries for my family, I decided I wanted some fries too!  Checked the crisper, nothing really called to me, rifled through the deep freeze until I came across a bag of frozen beans.  (A $1.50 bag of beans, I have to add, because I’m nothing if not budget-conscious!  I love economical goodness!)  So I didn’t even thaw them, just dumped the bag out onto my beloved Pampered Chef baking sheet, tossed with evoo, sprinkled with garlic powder, salt and pepper and then let ’em get to work, and OH my goodness, my newest go-to veggie treat was born!  And wouldn’t you know, little Westin forgo his “real” french fries and chose to steal as many of mine as he could, they were that good!


Roasted Green Bean Fries


1 lb-ish Green Beans (fresh or frozen, thawed or not)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
Chili Flakes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss fresh, frozen, or thawed beans with olive oil on a good baking sheet (I love love love my Pampered Chef Stoneware Pan, it is wonderful) and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper and chili flakes if you like some heat.  Roast in oven at 400 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, depending on your beans – if they are still frozen, they’ll take a little longer, if they are thawed, they’ll be quicker, so watch them carefully after that 25 minute point.  Give them a toss about half way through.  Roast until browned and slightly shriveled and a little bit crunchy in some parts….I love a lot of texture, and these do the trick for me.  Kind of crisp, kind of chewy, salty, oily goodness 🙂 ….that also happens to be low carb, low cal, good for you AND satisfying.  Win!  Dip in Red Hot or  a homemade ketchup or even a vinaigrette, I bet you will not miss “real” potato fries one teeny bit!

This recipe is a good size portion for two people….unless you’re like me…and eat all of them yourself 🙂  That’s cool too 🙂  If you’re going to have to share with your family, perhaps double up the amount of beans!



Health benefits of Green beans

green-bean-nutritionCheck out the nutrition stats!  These little guys are powerhouses of goodness! Super high in fiber, lots of vitamins and nutrients but really low in calories and carbohydrates.

  • Fresh green beans are very low in calories (31 kcal per 100 g of raw beans) and contain no saturated fat. Nevertheless, the lean vegetables are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and plant derived micronutrients.
  • They are very rich source of dietary fiber (9% per100g RDA)which acts as a bulk laxative that helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Adequate amount of fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing reabsorption of cholesterol-binding bile acids in the colon.
  • Green beans contain excellent levels of vitamin A, and health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and ß-carotene in good amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid in the beans, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light filtering functions. It is, therefore, green beans offer some protection in preventing age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • Snap beans are a good source of folates. 100 g fresh beans provide 37 µg or 9% of folates. Folate along with vitamin B-12 is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division. Good folate diet when given during preconception periods and during pregnancy helps prevent neural-tube defects among the offspring.
  • They also contain good amounts of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), and vitamin-C. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • In addition, beans contain healthy amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.



So, by now, you’ve all seen the Dove Beauty Sketches commercial that has been making its rounds all over the internet.  Women are sharing and reposting, saying how it moved them, made them cry, was the most amazing and touching thing they’ve ever seen….and so on….Ummmmmm…..I am alone here, or did this new marketing campaign created by Dove do nothing for  anyone else?

I’m not moved. I didn’t get the least bit misty-eyed. I wasn’t even touched. (And if anyone is going to be moved and touched and cry, lol, it is ME!)  So it’s been on my mind the past few days, why was I so unaffected by it?  Well, after much thought, I think I get why it doesn’t move me, in fact, it irritates me.
#1.  To me, it’s conveying the message that we should put more trust in other people’s opinion and judgement of us than our own thoughts/feelings.  That we need to hear from someone else, “you’re beautiful” before we have permission to see it ourselves.  That our value is tied up in how the rest of the world see us. Ugh.
#2.  It feels borderline demeaning and completely insulting to me. Like, it’s saying that we, as women (except for that lucky! 4%), only feel as good as we look.  And we’re supposedly think we look terrible, and ARE terrible people.  With sad lives.  That we’re so superficial that our looks are the only thing that contribute to our self-worth.  And if that’s NOT the case, if we are okay with our looks and ourselves in general, then we’re not like the majority – which makes us not okay!  Huh?!
#3.  Okay, this is the major one.  The “bad descriptions” included round face, freckles, moles, etc.  The “good descriptions” were more along the lines of bright blue eyes, thin, younger, etc.  Whaaat??!! Come on Dove.  That’s ridiculous. As woman, as humans actually, we should be working towards including ALL characteristics in the “beautiful spectrum”.  Younger, older, thin, rounder, moles, freckles, laugh lines, it’s all beautiful.

The spark of a bright kind soul inside is what gives people their beauty.  No matter what the exterior looks like.  It’s cliche, but you know the saying, every person is beautiful in their own way, and wow, is Dove taking us back decades or what by insinuating that beautiful is blonde, thin, blue eyed…..

There are a whole slew of other issues that makes this marketing campaign annoying and totally out of line, but that’s enough of a vent for me to feel much better about the situation 😉



Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

This is one of our favourites, when we’re in the mood for something creamy and rich, this is the go-to dressing in our kitchen


8 oven roasted (or pan roasted if you’re in a pinch for time) garlic cloves
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 C mayonnaise
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp’s honey, depending on desired sweetness (we like it sweet)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash cayenne pepper


Roast garlic, or pan-roast if you like, in 1/3 cup of the olive oil.  Unless I’m roasting something else at the same time and it’s easy to pop a bulb of garlic in with it, I’ll pan roast the garlic.  Prepare 8 cloves, peel, slice ends but leave whole.  Lightly, slowly, gently sautee in 1/3 C of the olive oil over med/low heat until browned and soft, about 15 minutes.


While pan roasting the garlic, find yourself a beautiful jar 🙂 You know how important that is to me.  Measure into the jar the rest of the olive oil, mayo, vinegars, mustard, honey salt, pepper and cayenne.  Don’t worry about whisking, because you’ll be emmersion blender-ing this!  Or if you don’t have an emmersion blender, you’ll use your blender or food processor, whatever tool you have to make things perfectly smoooooth.  Once the garlic is beautiful and browned and soft, take the pan off the heat and let it cool.  Once cooled, pour the oil and garlic into your jar, or blender.  Emmersion blend it or blender ’till smooth!


We put this on our Buffalo Chicken Wing Night Salad the other night and it was really, really good 🙂


Has your family been “suffering” ever since you have been trying to “eat better”?

Have you, very wisely, stopped baking their favourite very non-clean treats in an attempt to make it easier on yourself to stick to your meal plan?  I understand!  That was a smart move – if it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it.  Right?  Because if you’re anything like me, if I’m making cookies, I’ll eat that batter ’till it hurts, lol!  I can’t stop!  The time that I baked a recipe that was supposed to yield 36 (three sheets) cookies, and only 12 (uuuhhh, one sheet…) made it to the oven, I knew I had to get a hold of the situation.  So here is how your kiddies and/or partner can still have their cookies and you, can still have your pride, lol!

Here is the game plan:

1.  Repeat after me, “elegance is in refusal”!!!  Coco knows what she talking about.  So the first step is to get your mind right.  You know you don’t want to eat 4 cups of cookie dough.  You want to rise above!  You want to be better than that cookie dough.  You want to show that cookie dough that it does not control you!   Prepare to refuse it!  (this alone does not work, unfortunately)  (if it did, we wouldn’t be having this convo…)  We are flexing our “willpower” muscles here people!!!

2.  Prepare your tools.  So as you are getting out your bowls, measuring cups, ingredients, etc, get out your “tools”.  Every person’s tools will look a little different.  But it should be something along these lines:  water, tea, then a snack of something high in protein/healthy fat/complex carb.  What you basically want to do is, drink a tonne of water, follow that with a cup of tea, then have a snack/treat that you are okay with – something healthy, something that you would be proud of eating an hour later.  For me, I have two cups of lemon water, then a cup of green tea with a titch of honey in it.  Then, depending on the time of day, I’ll make myself either a low cal simple protein smoothie (if it’s past 3 pm) or I’ll mix up some large flake oats, protein powder, coconut oil, cinnamon and a few raisins (if it’s in the a.m.).  Then I’ll eat my snack, drink my tea and basically make myself so full and satisfied that I don’t want any of that vixen cookie dough.

3.  Okay, so you made it past the prep stage.  Baked good is in the oven.  You’re full.  Buuuut….yeah, I know, there’s nothing like freshly baked cookies, right? And they have to come out at some point….Well, you will be so full/satisfied from your “good snack” still that even those soft gooey temptresses won’t have their full power.  Here’s where my trick #3 comes in.  Pick a baked good that you don’t really like!  I’m not a huge fan of chocolate or chocolate chip cookies, so that’s what I’ll make.  Now, if they were cinnamon raisin oatmeal, I’d be tempted!  But choco. chip, mehh, I’ll pass.

4.  It’s the next day.  You’re running late on your meals, and you’re starving.  Cookie jar is righttherestaringatyou and no one is around.  You’re not really in love with those cookies but for some da*n reason, nothing has ever looked better!!!!  This is an emergency!  Now, had you have been on time with your meals, this could have been avoided in the first place, so stick to your meal timing plan!  (Because you would have been full/satisfied from your meal and not tempted)  But if life happened and it’s late, I get it.  This is where you revert BACK to step #1!  Every time you successfully refuse to “go there” you will feel proud of yourself, and you will realize, you CAN do that. Refusal is a skill.  We need to practice it to get good at it.  Willpower is not a personality trait we are born with, it is a developed skill that needs to be practiced and then celebrated when we get it right!  Then move onto step #2 – either eat your planned meal or have a snack that includes some protein, healthy fat, and depending on the time of day, a complex carb.

5.  And finally, if your family is not getting through that jar ‘o cookies fast enough, pack them up and send them away.  No, not your family, the COOKIES!   Get your partner to take the rest to work, his/her coworkers will think you’re super awesome and you’ll be feeling smug knowing that yah, you are, and that you made it through the Battle of Baking!!!  I remember my first victory like it was yesterday, seriously, I do.  It’s important!  This seems like trivial silly stuff, but it’s not. All these little victories add to our confidence and to the development of willpower of IRON!  You can do this.  Now go bake something!  🙂

I get asked this question all the time…and usually my response is the standard joke that I’m sure you all have heard a million times (because it’s so funny!  and true!)….”what am I training for???  Life (insert <expletive that rhymes with fluffer trucker! )”….but no really, there is of course more to it than that.  Each person has their own spark of inspiration that gets them going and hopefully keeps them going, but I really believe it’s honing in on that “reason” that will keep you on that path and more importantly, keep you going…

Your reason or your goal may be extrinsic (something measurable, like, “losing 10 lbs”) or  it may be intrinsic (not so easy to measure, like “having more energy”)..which is fine…but what happens once you lose that specific #?  Are you done? And what happens if you “have more energy” …more energy than what?  Can you really say it’s over, I’ve reached my goal – no!  Not really, we have to get deeper.  Move past the superficial or typical reasons and go further to focus on what are your Underlying Goals….something that has intense personal meaning to you, just you…And usually it’s a really intangible thing – feeling better about yourself, learning to love and accept yourself, value yourself, show gratitude, and so on…you get where I’m going, it’s deep.  And slightly uncomfortable to think about and in fact, if this goal doesn’t make you squirm a little saying it out loud – you may want to even go further and let the question sit with you for a few days…..

So, it’s bare your soul time, I’ll go first…what am I training for?  Well….of course there are layers and layers of inspiration and reasons that I could say, I have a top 5, a secondary, top 10, lol, but, when I really get to the #1 reason, I have to say, it’s a little boy with big bright brown eyes and a mop of shaggy blonde hair…a little boy who was born with a body that didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to…a little boy who has delighted and amazed us with his progress and determination….and…has made my heart painfully ache every day of his 7 year life…and on each of those days I am thankful for where he is  and who he is…and every time I see him struggle (daily, hourly, every breath, it’s always there)…it is a sharp reminder of

how fortunate I am to have a body that works.

I was lucky enough that my genes lined up in a neat row and all was just so….so wouldn’t it be a disgrace for me to not be thankful and show appreciation for this body.  It creates energy properly, it moves smoothly and freely, it builds muscle mass, my neuromuscular pathways are direct and functioning, it works.  Its works.  I feel like if I took “it” for granted and abused it with crappy nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle that made me sick and weak I would be doing wrong by my little guy.  I would be insulting his struggle.  So every time I push myself, I’m doing it because I’m thankful.  And that is what I’m training for, to give thanks.

One of my favorite quotes…

“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
―    Socrates

Iron Heart Personal Training

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Iron Heart Personal Training is coming alive!  Website and blog are currently under construction, so stay tuned, it’s coming!  In the meantime, find Iron Heart Personal Training on Facebook for all the latest…..xo