Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SPIRALIZE!

This is something I wanted for a long time. I heard all the grain-free recipe bloggers raving about it, and quickly added it to my wish list. Just when I'd decided to bite the bullet and buy my own (it's really not that expensive--just $35!), I was lucky enough to win one from Amber's giveaway on Paleo Savvy! I was positively giddy and couldn't wait to get started with my new kitchen toy tool.


The Spiral Vegetable Slicer: I can't sing this thing's praises enough.  Now, I love my spaghetti squash.  Spaghetti squash bolognese (like this Balanced Bites recipe from Practical Paleo) is one of my absolute favorite, most often-cooked and consumed dishes. However, sometimes the time spent cooking, de-seeding, and scooping out that spaghetti squash is just too much.  I've also used a julienne peeler to shred up squash, but I've also found that to be a laborious, messy process.

Enter: the Spiral Slicer.

Check it out on Amazon ^ 

This thing takes regular ole vegetables and turns them into... spaghetti.

For real.

And the best part: It does the job in about one minute flat.

Ready to buy? Buy it on Amazon: Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Want proof of how easy it is?  Check out this video of my VERY FIST TIME using it.  After my snapshots of it, YOU asked for a demo video, so here we go--proof of how simple it is and how well it works, no training necessary:

 

And that's IT!  Set slicer on countertop.  Select appropriate blade.  Insert squash with ends sliced off. Begin turning the handle. (Hold slicer in place to keep it from swaying.)


Stare in awe as your vegetable transforms into long strands of spaghetti.  It even removes the seeds for you!  Amazing.




The first few times I ate it raw, as a tasty, crunchy, grain-free pasta.  Then I participated in the Primal Cooking Seminar, where Mira and Jayson Calton instructed how to salt and drain the water out of the squash, so it softens up to a more noodle-like consistency, but maintains just enough crunch to be like an al-dente pasta.  I've since made it that way, and it is doubly delicious!  If you're short on time though or enjoy the crunch of the zucchini like I do, then skip the salting and enjoy it completely raw!


So, once you've sliced your squash...


Salt and let sit in a strainer over a plate
(Watch plate/bowl collect water. Pour out water.)

Rinse noodles to remove excess salt, and let dry on a towel

Enjoy!

I dressed my zucchini pasta up a few interesting ways... There are no wrong answers.

 



And I'm still discovering more! Anything you do with spaghetti, you can do with these squash noodles.  Whatever your sauce is, mix it in, add protein, add more vegetables, and you're good to go!

Bonus: it keeps well in the fridge!  Store your leftovers (or make a TON at once--easy because one zucchini makes a plate full of noodles) in the refrigerator to enjoy tomorrow or later this week.


I'm seriously obsessed.

 

What else can we spiralize???  I don't even know. The box has an image of a sweet potato and I am definitely going to give that a try, soon. I have a feeling you can spiral-slice plenty of vegetables in plenty of ways, and I'm very much looking forward to finding out.  I'll let you know how it goes! Follow on Instagram for sneak peeks :)

Again, you can find this miracle contraption here on Amazon.

Do you have a spiral slicer?  What would be your favorite vegetable to slice into spaghetti?

*Affiliate links are used on this page. See blog disclaimer for more information.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Check in on your goals

I've done less goal checking-in on the blog this past year but I've certainly been setting and keeping track on my own.  Time to look back and reflect on some of these...

In May, I joined the Runners' World Summer Running Streak, vowing to run at least one mile each day, from Memorial Day through Independence Day. I thought it'd be a good way to get back into running after some time spent focusing more on strength, and it was. If you followed along on DailyMile, then you know I achieved my goal, logging at least one mile daily for those 39 days.

Did it get me back into running? Somewhat. As I mentioned before, I found that running outside in suburbia or parks is much more enjoyable to me than city streets. Most of the miles logged did, sadly, take place on a treadmill, but I didn't mind it so much. I would jump out of bed 10 minutes earlier than usual, hit the treadmill for a quick mile, and then start my day feeling awesome, because I already ran a mile!

That part, I did like. I always enjoyed working out in the morning better than in the evenings, so it got me doing that again.

What I didn't like: by the end, running the mile daily became a chore--something I "had to" do. This wasn't news to me; I'd realized before that I do best when I take the work out of running, and run just on a whim, when I want to, rather then because I feel that I have to.  (For an example of wanting to get after it, of having FUN while working out, check out this recent NYC public event!)

Other recent goals?  

 Kicking the chocolate - still doing well. I've had it maybe twice all month, which is incredibly sparse for me. This will better enable me to take on the 21 Day Sugar Detox (round 2--see round one herein September.

With September comes a "new year" in many ways, and with just four months remaining in 2013, this seems like a good time to check back on my resolutions/goals from January.

Quit Chewing Gum: Pretty good! Don't really buy it for myself anymore, will occasionally ask a friend for a piece or get my own if I need to freshen my breath really badly, but I'm mostly off the stuff. I admit, I went through a brief phase of tic-tac addiction for a while as part of the process, but now I'm off those, too. Also good, because neither are permitted on the 21DSDAnyone have a tip for a natural breath freshener?

Do Proper Pull-Ups: Not making much progress here, nor much effort.  Earlier in the year, I went on the assisted pull-up machine a few times, doing maybe almost kind of one, and trying to practice doing five or so assisted, but then I kind of... stopped trying. I've been strengthening my shoulders, back, arms for sure, but not by pulling my full bodyweight up. I should get back to the bar and see if I've improved in my efforts since the winter, and then actively train to get moving on my pull-up (and the eccentric DOWN).

Increase Protein Intake: I began this back in January and have been doing an awesome job, since. I occasionally tracked my food to see how much protein I'm getting, and I regularly hit the 90 gram mark.  That's what I aimed for--a big improvement from months and years before (like the meat-free years--yikes!) and I'm still doing well to make sure I get a significant amount of protein at each meal. Keeps me full and makes me feel good.
(This goal followed "Return to Paleo," which, since January, I've been doing well and proudly.)

Natural Skincare: DEFINITELY been doing this! Out with the old, in with the new! I've already raved about coconut oil as a moisturizer, but I've been doing so much more, but haven't had time to post beyond this teaser. Making a note to myself now to share about everything else--and I do mean EVERYTHING else. Pretty much everything in my hygiene regimen has changed--for the better!

Those were some of the big ones from the start of 2013, and I think that 2/3 of the way through, I'm not doing too poorly.  Other monthly and weekly goals have been tackled, and now that grad school is complete, I can dedicate more time to other means of self improvement.

September, here I come! 

What are your goals for the fall "new year"?
Have you thought back on what you wanted to accomplish in 2013? Are you there yet? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Live with fire at SUMMER STREETS!

Disclaimer: I was compensated to attend and blog the event described below, but the participation, opinions, and reviews expressed are all my own. 

Summer Streets is an annual event where, for three consecutive Saturdays, a nearly seven-mile stretch of the road (between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park) is closed off to automobiles from 7am - 1pm.  This opens up the streets for adults and children to run, walk, bike, rollerblade, skateboard... and PLAY!

Along the way, there are fun, free activities to explore, learn, play, and exercise.

To help get people moving, there are six rest stops along the way, some of which may be more "restful" than others.  There were zip lines and adventure zones, as well as urban art and city picnics.

On Saturday, I woke up bright and early, glad to see the sun was coming out for a gorgeous morning.  I put on my snazzy new Reebok apparel.  In addition to the fun colors, I love the "dry-fit" technology that wicks away sweat, keeping me dry and comfortable.

The back of the shirt is a mesh material to help keep cool, the sportsbra has foam support for high intensity movement, and the dry-fit pants subtly say "FASTER" on the back. Awesome!

Not to mention the Nano sneakers, which keep my feet comfortable during all that jumping around we may end up doing in CrossFit.

My destination was Astor Place, where Reebok was running several free workouts throughout the morning.  Even on the way as early as 7am, a few people were already out and about, taking advantage of the car-free Park Avenue. It was a lovely sight!


And became more lovely as the day went on.

Reebok Fitness Zone

Down at Astor Place, I found the Reebok Fitness Zone, which took over an entire stretch of Astor Place between Lafayette and Broadway. So cool!


In the front was the sign-up for the 4k and 10k runs that would depart twice throughout the morning, led by The New York Harriers.  There was a big section marked off for the four CrossFit WODS that would take place.  There was the "Reebok Product Experience" area, where you could learn about and try on different Reebok sneakers.  Across from that was a section for kids to test out the different shoes on four types of terrain.  And lastly, in back, the area marked for special workouts: two yoga sessions, a cycling class, and a dance party.

Here's a quick overview of what went down:


Want to hear more?

Awesome. Let's get started!  Click below to read the event recap:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bootcamp with Barry

We are jumping from one awesome workout to another!  The winner of last week's DMF Giveaway is Angela! She commented: 


Congrats, Angela!

Moving on, from booty-shaking to booty-blasting at Barry's Bootcamp in New York City. Last week, you may have noticed some Tweets and Instagrams showcasing this kick-butt workout. Here's what went down:

I was pumped to try out Barry's Bootcamp for the first time this past week at a media workout sponsored by Chobani.  I'd heard of Barry's Bootcamp before, but really had no idea what to expect.  It was my very first bootcamp class, so I was a bit nervous going in!  All I knew was to expect strength AND cardio in one intense workout.  And that's just what we got.


The Barry's Bootcamp location in TriBeCa (one of many locations worldwide) was pretty impressive.  In the entryway, there was a small cafe/smoothie bar with various offerings.  In the bootcamp... studio? gym? giant room of equipment? we rounded up to get the party started.


The large group was split into two; we either hopped onto a treadmill OR stationed ourselves at a stepper with weights.  We would switch places a few times throughout the workout.  I arrived just in the nick of time, so I only had a moment to say hi to Alec of PopFitLife, whom I'd planned to come with, before she started running and I started squatting.


The countdown began, the music blasted, and our esteemed trainer Natalie Raitano began shouting instructions.  The energy was certainly high; it was a great atmosphere for a serious sweat.


As the treadmillers ran--sprint and recovery intervals, climbing uphill at 0, 5, 7, and up to 10% incline, those on the floor squatted, lunged, did some fancy work with a resistance band (many of us struggled with that, but perhaps it takes practice), and basically challenged our legs in every way possible.  Apparently, this was a "leg day" at Barry's Bootcamp, because between the floor and the treadmills, our legs turned quickly to jelly. 


Each round was about 10 minutes, and there were four rounds, so we were twice on the floor and twice on the treadmill.  Each time she counted down those final seconds, I was thankful for the switch.

Continue on to read how it went:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Celebrate Reebok Classics

Hey sneaker addicts, Reebok is celebrating the anniversary of their Reebok Classic leather shoe with a LIMITED EDITION sneaker. Check out these beauties, brought to you by Reebok:


City Classics at Reebok
In light of the 30th anniversary of the Reebok Classic leather shoe, Reebok is releasing a collection called City Classics. Curated by NYC graffiti legend Stash, the Reebok City Classics Collection unites artists from around the world to create limited edition kicks that capture the style of each artist’s home city and kick-off a new decade in Reebok Classic Leather. These unique designs were created by graffiti artists from Atlanta, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Chicago, Moscow, Tokyo, Miami, Philadelphia, and Mexico City. Get your hands on these limited edition Classics and rep your city! Head over to Reebok now!
Classic Leather - City Classic in L.A. by EklipsClassic Leather - City Classic in Atlanta by Totem

Interested? Click here to see more!

This post was brought to you by Reebok. Links are referral links; see Disclosure for more information.

I really love the L.A. sneakers; the colorful graffiti is a fun contrast to the gray. 

What do you think? Which "Classic" would you like to have?

PS: Don't forget to enter this week's giveaway for a free fitness class

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DMF: Dance Motivation Fitness

From ages 2-15, I took dance classes weekly. It included hip hop, tap, and jazz, and I enjoyed it year after year.

Because I loved dancing growing up and my affinity for group exercise classes, you'd think I might enjoy dance workout classes, right? You'd have been wrong. I'm not saying I never do them, but they're really not my favorite, probably because the options were few.  Zumba never did it for me; it felt forced and on occasion boring--the same moves, no matter what the music. There are some dance exercise classes that are great, but, as always, it depends entirely on the instructor.

Guess what? I've found a FANTASTIC instructor.
Lindi Duesenberg founded Dance Motivation Fitness (DMF) in January 2013 (just 7 months ago!) and it seems to be off to a great start. Last week, her team reached out, inviting me to sample the new DMF workout at DANY Studio in New York City, and I am so glad I said yes.


"Powered by awesome music and inspirational motivation, DMF will drive you through 50 minutes of heart pumping cardio and strength exercise that will leave you feeling empowered, strong, and HAPPY!  After all, if it's not fun, it's not worth it! Created by Lindi Duesenberg, a leading NYC fitness instructor and dancer known for her motivation and mind/body approach to wellness, DMF has something for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level."

Their promo video explains and shows what DMF is all about:



Dance? Motivation? Music? Fun? All sounds good!

When I arrived, I was--for some reason--surprised to see it was a legitimate dance studio.  I'd become so accustomed to gym settings, that the studio environment was encouraging.  A real dancer's studio, so we just may pass for real dancers!

Speaking of real dancers, DMF founder Lindi was outside the room greeting us as we arrived. She was smiling and upbeat, radiating energy. She very quickly learned and remembered all guests' names, which later proved useful as she cheered us on and complimented our moves individually (as you'll see in the clip below).

 

We gathered in the studio, were offered samples of VROU enhanced, flavored waters (not my thing, but others seemed to enjoy the sweet refreshment), and then came together to begin.

The website describes DMF as "The Ultimate Dance-party Workout," and on that, it delivered.  Right from the warm-up song, I knew I liked DMF.  Throughout the full 50 minutes, I continued to think, "I really like this!!" throughout the other dance songs, the leg-burning workout portion, the salsa, the kickboxing-inspired song, and the cool down.

Gettin' my groove on

 The songs came one after the next, and Lindi instructed us as we went, going through a combination just once slowly before kicking it up for the next few run-throughs. We had plenty of chances to get it right, and she encouraged us to let loose and just move.  It did not feel like moving to work out, it was moving to DANCE, dancing to the music. Still, we worked up a strong sweat--in fact, more of a sweat than I typically work up in dance fitness classes, because this time I felt like it was just a dance party, and Lindi's motivating words made me want to give it 110%.


During the serious strength song

The only time that dropped to 80%? When I snuck out to take some video for YOU! I refused to budge during the strength portion (give me those lunges!) or when I was entirely immersed in the music, but did get some shots of a few combinations. Take a look:


You can see, it's fun and it's fitness.  I was a red, sweaty mess by the end, and so sad it was over. I had a fantastic time and cannot wait to go back and rock to the music once more.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Interested in trying DMF for yourself??  Lindi has generously offered a free class to a lucky reader! If you're in or near (or plan to visit) the New York City area, enter below to win yourself a DMF class with Lindi! All you have to do is leave a comment below sharing your experience with dancing and fitness motivation. For more entries, follow DMF and Dare You To on various media channels. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many ways to enter! One will win. Giveaway ends Monday (8/12) night at midnight (12:00am on Tuesday). Prize value expires at the end of 2013.



I really enjoyed my DMF workout, and hope that you will, too!  Learn more at DMFnyc.com, where you can also check schedules, studios, and pricing options. You can also receive inspirational words from Lindi on Twitter by following @DMFnyc.  Dare you to!

Do you enjoy dance workouts?  Why or what not? What kinds have you found the most fun or effective?

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Friday, August 2, 2013

August in NYC!

Happy August!  I'm setting some goals for the month, and dare you to do the same.  My goals are in three categories: work, budget, and CHOCOLATE! I'm giving up chocolate for August (have already been successfully weaning off) in preparation for doing my second, more thorough 21 Day Sugar Detox in September. Hold me to it!

What are your August goals?

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Now, for my NYC-locals, there are some great events coming up!

1. A special event is taking place at the Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave:

This Sunday, August 4, head over to CrossFit 5th Ave, where Team Dangerous is putting on "throwdown WODs", with all proceeds going to the MS Society.  It's $10 to join in on the CrossFit fun, and they'll also be sharing pamphlets and information about Multiple Sclerosis, the MS Society's, and information about upcoming MS Society events.

The event will run from 1:00 to 3:00pm, and there will be post-WOD festivities taking place after.  Go check it out, have fun, and support the MS Society.


2. Saturdays starting TOMORROW you can hit up New York City's Summer Streets!  Run or roll up and down main avenues, or stop by the various stations along the way offering all kinds of fun and free workouts!!  See the map here to plan your day.

The Reebok Fitness Zone will be stationed at the Astor Place rest stop (at Lafayette St.) with activities going on from 7:30am through 12:30pm.  There will be something for everyone!  Here's what's going down on August 3, 10, and 17:

The stage schedule:
     7:30am - 9:30 am: Yoga with Strala Yoga instructors
     10:00am - 10:45am: A special class each week (bootcamp, spin... gotta show up to find out!)
     11:00am - 11:45am: Dance led by Calvin Wiley
     11:45am - 12:30pm: CrossFit led by coaches from Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave

Offstage:
     There will be 4k and 10k running groups led by NY Harriers, starting at 8:00am and 10:00am.
     Reebok ATV 19 Kids Challenge will be going on from 8:00am - 12:30pm.
     CrossFit WODS starting every hour from 8:00am - 11:00am (45 min. each, 20 person max.)

You can also take part in the Reebok Product Experience--try on the latest Reebok footwear, ask your questions, and get exclusive discounts for the Reebok store at 5th Ave (at 37th St.).  Taking part in these fun activities at the Reebok Fitness Zone gets you an offer for 15% off at the store on online, so be sure to stop by!


CAN'T WAIT.

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3. How else can you get your fitness on this month?  

Check out all the FREE workouts in parks across the boroughs -- You can find free yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, meditation, and more by browsing the calendar here.

Take part in the Trooper Fitness Ultimate Bootcamp in Central Park on Saturday, August 17, from 10-11:00am ($10).

Or, just hit the road!  Take your workout outside (careful to heed the heat), OR take your workout INSIDE!  Remember that NYSC is opening its gym doors on the hottest of hot days.

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It all begins tomorrow!  Mark your calendars and get moving!  Summer is flying by, so dare you to make the most of it :)

How will YOU make the most of August and get moving?