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Monday, 15 December 2014

Tracy Steen FITNESS BLOG: 4 Fitness Tips for the Holidays!

Tracy Steen FITNESS BLOG: 4 Fitness Tips for the Holidays!: I read an article recently that said most people gain weight between Halloween and New Years's. I don't doubt it. There are tiny cho...

4 Fitness Tips for the Holidays!

I read an article recently that said most people gain weight between Halloween and New Years's. I don't doubt it. There are tiny chocolate bars, candies, get togethers, egg nog, office parties, homemade goodies and a host of other temptations that could easily side track you from your ultimate health goals.  There's no getting away from it, but keeping your "eye on the prize" can certainly help you through it! 


4 Fitness Tips for the Holidays:

#1. Move Daily - Do something everyday! It doesn't even have to be your regular 1 hour workout session. Make it something, and try to do it first thing in the morning before you find an excuse not to do anything. No time to get to the gym? Then do one of these body weight exercise routines in the comfort of your own home! 


If you follow me on instagram, you can scroll back and see that there was a MOVE DAILY challenge for October.  There are 31 ideas for you to get your sweat on there! @tracysteenfitness - is my instagram handle.

#2- Make Choices not Decisions -  I talked a client through a weekend of her Christmas parties last week. We discussed the choice she wanted to make regarding her health. She wanted to "keep her eyes on the prize!" So out of her 3 parties, she decided that at one party she would drink alcohol and that she would limit herself to 2 glasses of wine, mixing water in between. She also looked ahead to see what the menu was going to be so that she could choose what she would eat. Making choices ahead of time (when you can), takes out the decisions while you're there. If you haven't decided before you arrive at a huge buffet, the temptation, and the pressure even to make poor choices is greater. My client felt that she was not left out of the holiday fun, but she also didn't throw the baby out with the bath water by going on an all out binge because "its the holidays".

#3 - Balance it Out! - I like the concept of indulge and resist, especially over the holidays or on vacation. Like anyone, I don't want to feel left out of the fun when it comes to celebrating, so if I know there is going to be delicious high calorie food and drink at an event, I just make certain that I balance that indulgence with a heavy duty workout. Practicing moderation can also help you stay on track. I like to add in glasses of water in between glasses of wine. Also, take smaller portions of the decadent foods you want to try, and load most of your plate up with salad or vegetables. 


#4 - Grab the Gang - My older sister is great at doing this! After dinner, or while the turkey is cooking in the afternoon, she always suggests we go for a hike or a walk, or something active! Not only do you have fun visiting, but you're moving and increasing circulation in the body. My mother is also always on board, mainly because she doesn't want to miss out on ANY of the fun! 
(Photo creds: blog.beingfatiseasy.com)

I really think it is critical for all of us to keep our eyes on the prize, and that prize is our health.  Moving daily and eating nutrient dense foods are two key ways to ensure that we are doing the most we can for our mind and body. Enjoy all that this season has to offer, and try to remember these 4 important tips along the way.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Clean Eating Caramel Corn!

The holiday season is one of those times when my family goes NUTS with the baking!  My mother's holiday cookies are extravagant, magazine worthy, and most of all delicious! I find myself frequently reaching for a treat, not because I'm hungry but simply because they are visible and convenient! I LOVE my mother's butter tarts and cannot wait until she makes them, but I also wanted to find a recipe that was a healthier option to add to those get togethers, or just for a cozy Friday night around the fire! If you find that you are a "picker", this is the perfect healthy treat for you!

Clean Eating Caramel Corn

Recipe:

8-10 cups air popped popcorn
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
dash of salt


4 ingredients, 4 minutes and you have a delicious caramel corn that is fit to sit on any holiday dessert table! In a saucepan bring honey to boil over medium heat. Boil until the honey starts to bubble and climbs 1 inch up the side of the pan (not long). Remove from heat and add the peanut butter. In a large bowl, pour peanut butter mixture over popcorn and stir with a spoon until evenly distributed. I like to sprinkle on a little sea salt at this point. Don't use hands as mixture can burn!


Spread the popcorn on a cookie sheet to cool. Don't forget to sample as you go ;)


Store in an air tight container, or in a festive tin like this one!


Merry Christmas!


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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Almond Chicken Soup!

November is here, and brings with it a little nip in the air! Warm up with this hearty fall soup, chock full of every healthy macronutrient! That's why I love this soup...its a meal in a cup.  Chicken is your lean protein, yams and kale are your complex carbohydrates, and almond butter is added at the end for your healthy fat. Finish it off with a squeeze of lime and not only is it healthy, it's absolutely delicious! It's great having other clean-eating friends in your circle and I think I got this recipe from my friend Kelsey, so just in case, I give her the recipe creds :) 

 Recipe:

Almond Chicken Soup

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 onion, diced

1 minced garlic clove


1 large sweet potato, diced

2 chicken breasts, 1″ pieces(use Rotisserie chicken and shred apart for ease)

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup chopped kale

2 tbsp minced ginger

coarse salt and pepper

1/2 lime

Combine stock, onion, garlic and sweet potato, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add chicken and simmer 20 minutes.

In a small bowl combine almond butter and 1/2 cup of soup into a paste. Add collard or kale and ginger to soup.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in almond paste. Season with salt and pepper. Add the juice of half a lime.






Monday, 13 October 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes!

It is our tradition over Thanksgiving and Christmas to crack out the pumpkin pancake recipes! Of course, our traditional recipes are full of sugar. The homemade buttermilk syrup on top is TO DIE FOR, but the recipe starts with 1 cup of refined sugar, and 1/4 cup corn syrup!  Eeeek!

I watched the documentary Fed Up this week. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It reminds us that sugar is everywhere and in everything! The over-consumption of sugar and other processed foods is like poison in our bodies. I'm all for moderation, but I certainly like to eliminate it when I can.

This recipe does just that:)


Recipe:

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 almond milk 1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.  Then combine and stir until moistened. I topped pancakes with a drizzle of real maple syrup and walnuts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Perfect Fall Side Dish ~ Chili Lime Yams!

I had these chili lime yams at Nature's Fare in Kelowna not too long ago, and I couldn't resist making some of my own. They make a fabulous side dish and last in the refrigerator a few days. They pair nicely with grilled chicken or salmon, and can even be sliced up cold over a salad for your healthy complex carbohydrate!

Recipe:
1 peeled medium yam, cubed
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/2 lime 


In a pot, bring to simmer 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock. Add yams, 1 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp cumin. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until fork tender - approximately 12 minutes. The liquid will almost be all absorbed into the potato. 


Immediately squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime, and sprinkle with a handful of chopped cilantro. For more kick, sprinkle an additional 1/2 tsp chili powder after cooking.


Enjoy!




Saturday, 20 September 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

There's that moment when the air turns. A little bit "crisper" out, we say. It may not be cool enough yet to wear our leggings, boots and sweaters, but there's no harm in cracking out the pumpkin recipes!


The great thing about this recipe is that it can be so versatile to suit any taste. I added dates and walnuts to mine, but you could do: Enjoy Life chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, almond slivers, currants, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs etc. 


Recipe:
(adapted from OMGpaleo)

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup mix-ins (dates/walnuts)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients in a bowl: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, powdered ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in mix ins.
  6. Scoop batter into paper lined muffin tins. Mine made 10.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Healthy Protein Eatmore Bars

I have an Eatmore Bar memory. Indulge me:

When I was 10 years old, my mother took us girls to stay at her friends house in Vancouver for the weekend. Before heading to Stanley Park to walk the trails, we had stopped at a near by convenience store and been allowed to choose a bagful of candy! During our playtime at the park, I greedily shoved all that sugar down my gullet, except for my prized Eatmore Bar. I was saving that one for the finale! Once we got back into our car, my mom had said no more sugar, and that anything we had left was going to have to wait until tomorrow. Gutted! 
The next day came and we were set to leave. I don't recall how exactly I had forgotten that precious candy bar, tucked safely beside the bed I had been sleeping in, but somehow I did! I begged my mom to turn around for that lone bar...the bar that I had saved especially for that grueling ride home. Alas, she never did turn back, and thoughts of the forgotten bar still haunt me.....

Right! Well, until now anyway. Check out the following recipe and re-create a little taste of your childhood, only healthier :)


 Recipe:
(adapted from damyhealth)

1 cup dates (soak to soften)
3 tbsp nut butter
1/4 cup hemp hearts
2 cups salted peanuts (unsalted for lower sodium option)
3 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a food processor chop peanuts and set aside. Add nut butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and dates, process until smooth. Add wet mixture to chopped peanuts. Stir in protein powder and hemp hearts, adding water if mixture appears too dry. Mix with hands to form a large ball. Press ball between two pieces of plastic wrap and shape into a rectangle.  Slice into 16 bars, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer









Once you sink your teeth into these little gems, you will realize that they are just like Eatmore Bars, only healthier with no added sugar and added protein!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

I hate to be the one to say it....but summer is coming to a close and fall is right around the corner! Costco proved that last week with their Christmas tree display :/  I'm not thrilled about it either...not like my daughter Piper who can't wait to wear combat boots and warm, cozy sweaters! Alas, there is not much we can do to slow time, but we can get into the fall spirit by making these fabulous breakfast cookies!



RECIPE:
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 cups of mix-ins of your choice
Mix all of the ingredients together and spoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Mix-In Ideas:
chopped almonds
walnuts
pecans
craisins
pumpkin seeds
currents
raisins
dates
coconut
hemp hearts
chia seeds
dried fruits
cacao nibs





Try this delicious pumpkin breakfast cookie recipe as a great grab-n-go breakfast or snack! They freeze well, though I do stack them with wax paper in between. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

BBQ Mediterranean Chicken Packets!

Ahhh summer BBQ season is in full swing! This simple recipe requires little prep and because you cook it in foil...there's no clean up! My kind of dinner.

In a bowl combine:
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 large chicken breasts, cubed
Drizzle of olive oil
Small handful of Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 green onion, slivered
Salt and pepper 
Juice of half a lemon


Lay out 2 rectangles of foil and divide mixture evenly among the sheets.


Carefully fold up packets, being sure to seal all of the edges. This dish produces some juice from the tomatoes so use caution when removing from BBQ as the liquid inside will be boiling hot! I BBQ this on low heat for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. To add some extra flavour, top with crumbled feta cheese after cooking.


Delicious!


Vacation Workout Guide!



As a trainer I hear this statement A LOT , "Ugh, I wish I hadn't taken two weeks off from exercising! It's so hard to get back at it! How can I exercise for months, and then I take two weeks off and I feel like I've lost everything??" 

Sound familiar? 

I'm not going to give you a whole list of reasons why you should be Moving Daily on vacation. You already know why. You already know that it increases serotonin, decreases cortisol, burns calories from over eating "vacation food", starts the day off right, feels amazing, sustains muscle tissue, increases circulation and overall make you healthier and happier!!
Like I said, I'm not going to give you a list ;)

What I do want to give you is some workouts that you can take with you on your vacation, wherever you may go this summer, so that you don't have to be one of the people in the gym in September who is saying....
"I wish I would have worked out".


Hotel Room Workouts:


Deck of Cards Workout!

Take an ordinary deck of cards, minus the jokers, and shuffle.  Turn over 3 cards at a time, add up the numbers, and that’s the amount of reps you are doing for the first exercise!  Ace = 11, face cards =10.
You want to choose higher intensity exercises for this in order to keep the heart rate elevated! Here is a list of exercises you can choose from:
Squats – Prisoner (legs together) or Sumo (legs apart)
Jumping Jacks
High Knees
Butt Kicks
Pushups
Ab Bicycles
Burpees
Jumping Lunges (scissor jumps)
Tuck Jumps
Racer Jax (like a jumping jack, just lower, bent over like a ski racer)
Mountain Climbers
Side to side one legged hops, two legged hops
Fast punches
Ab crunches
Squat Jacks (jumping jack with a squat)

Circulate the list if you still have cards left over.  Rest, and repeat!



***
Most hotels have stairs. What a great place to get an intense workout in. Just head down the corridor to the stairwell and "hiit" this next workout! 

Stair Workout!

2 flights of single stairs (every stair) – warm up
At the Bottom: 50 squats (10 jump squats, 10 regular, 10 jump, 10 regular, 10 jump)
2 flights of doubles (every other stair)
40 Mountain Climbers (hands) on bottom stair
2 flights of crossovers (face one direction, crossover foot to the higher step.)
2 flights of crossovers (face other direction)
30 Butt Blasters each leg (place one foot on 2nd step, then keeping that leg stationary, step up and touch, repeat 30x each leg)
Run up 2 flights, down 1 flight, up 2 flights, down 1 flight. Continue to top (this works well with 5 or more flights).
On the way down, come down 2 flights, up 1. Down 2, up 1.
20 Jumping Lunges
Race up to the very top as fast as you can, 2X!
10 Burpees
Lastly, two-foot hop up every step to the top!

***

Now, if you want to take things outside, there are so many options! Trail running, hiking, water sports, kayaking, canoeing. When we were down in Santa Monica, here is the beach workout I did:

Beach Body Workout:


Have a go at a few of these workouts and let me know how you did in the comments below! While on vacation if nothing else.....
move daily.

Remember, before participating in any exercise program, please consult a doctor.



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Let me begin by saying that this is a fabulous recipe! The dressing that you pour over the lettuce wraps is so good I could DRINK the stuff! I'm not even kidding. I adapted the sauce from Whitewater Cooks...keeping it a bit cleaner by leaving out a few ingredients but it was still divine. This is a great week night meal, and makes convenient leftovers for lunch the next day.

Chicken Filling Recipe:
1 tsp coconut oil
2 pound ground chicken (could use ground turkey) 
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 bag broccoli slaw
1 pepper sliced thinly
1 bag of bean sprouts
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock


In a pan, melt 1 tsp coconut oil and brown chicken  with the garlic and ginger. Once it is cooked, add the remaining ingredients, cook 3-4 minutes and remove from heat.


Now for the piece de resistance! The dressing!


Dressing
In a blender or bullet combine the following:

1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 lime juiced
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp soy sauce
 2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)

Now, who really buys iceburg lettuce anymore when there are so many other varietals (grapes only??)? I for one, do not. However, I did make an exception this time, for the sake of the pictures and you know what...it was quite nice.  The leaves are large enough that the filling doesn't spill out. I did try some filling in a romaine leaf the next day, and it was still delicious...just messier. 


Toppings can be whatever you like, but here I had green onions, peanuts and more fresh cilantro.
 And then, just fill that lettuce leaf up with the chicken mixture, sprinkle on cilantro, green onions and peanuts, and drizzle a good amount of the peanut sauce and BAM...you have  a clean and healthy dinner :)

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!

Friday, 25 July 2014

"You can do it!!" ~ "Oh yeah I can!"

What a Friday! What am I saying....its more like "What a year!"
Being in the fitness industry definitely has its perks in terms of fitting the daily workout in. A few exercises in bootcamp , a warm up and abs with a client, a weekly Knox climb with another client, a few reps here and there all throughout the day and I've worked out today, right?! Or not.

I have normally been able to schedule my workouts in to my day (just like I've told my clients to do countless times), but lately, whether it be from a packed schedule, lack of motivation, no more workout partner or emotional stress (probably a combination of all four) I have been giving myself permission to just "skip it" today. To be honest, I'm not lovin' the results of that.

Today could have been one of those days. I was busy! I worked from 6am-2pm. Then errands and paper work needed to be done. I thought of stopping at the gym on my way home but I felt guilty that my daughter was home alone all morning. I feel very strongly about my motto, "MOVE DAILY". Not only for us as adults, but also to make your kids move too. Stratton was heading to the gym, Dezi was going skateboarding, but Piper was watching Looney Tunes! I said, get dressed, we're going golfing! Lol, just the golfing range...but better than sitting on the couch. Then, just by sheer virtue of being out of the house, I found some motivation. I told her that I would take her to the driving range, but that we were going to stop at the Viewcrest stairs on the way home. She was game!


I knew that I was planning drinks out with the girls that evening, and if I had missed this workout, I knew I would feel like crap the next day.

I committed to 10 flights of stairs.


I didn't WANT to do it. I wanted to just go home. However, part of the benefit of exercise, is that it increases that feel good hormone, serotonin, and the feeling we have after it is done, is AMAZING! Of course it was so much easier with my little counter and cheerleader there to encourage me. She was so cute yelling at me, "You can do it mom, one more flight to go!" 
She was right. I CAN do it.


Yeah, she also had a Slurpee ;)  Don't judge me...everything in moderation I say ;)

Here's the main point: 
You can do what you tell yourself you are capable of doing!

I LOVE it when my client Daniella whispers before a chin up or a heavy squat, "Ok, I can do this!" I tell her...yeah you can! Of course you can! Who told you that you couldn't?! 

Bottom line? Tell yourself you can, schedule in your workouts, and be kind to yourself if you mess up.

Now go MOVE DAILY.





Thursday, 24 July 2014

Mango Chicken Cabbage Salad!

Mango Chicken Cabbage Salad

It was 4:30pm and I was in a panic because I didn't have a plan for dinner tonight! Looking in the fridge, I saw cabbage, mango, and defrosted chicken. I googled those three ingredients and a few good looking dishes popped up. I took the base for one, the dressing for another, added my own tweaks...and we had dinner!


Ingredients:
2 cubed and cooked chicken breasts - salt/pepper
1 small cabbage shredded
1 pepper diced
1 mango diced
1/2 English cucumber diced
2 green onions finely chopped
1 handful cilantro chopped
8 mint leaves chopped

Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl

Dressing:
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Blend in bullet until blended.

Toss dressing with vegetables and top with cooked chicken.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Coconut Raspberry Lime Popscicles

I like a nice cold treat just as much as the next gal ;) Here is a frozen delight that you can sink your teeth into, guilt free!


This recipe couldn't be easier!

Recipe: (yields 3 bars)

Blend together for coconut layer:
1/2 banana
1/2 can reduced fat coconut milk (for a creamier bar, use full fat)
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut

*****

Raspberry Layer:
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup apple juice
Juice of 1/2 a lime
fresh berries

Blend together for raspberry layer.

*****

Pour coconut layer in first, let freeze. We have a Zoku popscicle maker and it froze in 3 minutes. Next add a few fresh berries and top with your blended raspberry mix.

**Tip - use any leftover mix in your smoothie the next day!




Enjoy!



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