The Empire Update: Week of 1/25
Steak Bites with Sweet Potatoes & Peppers
This week we have a one skillet dish that is fast, delicious & nutritious! The sweet potatoes and peppers are a great source of vitamins C, B and magnesium, among others. Plus, it's Whole 30 friendly if you are following the Whole 30 plan.
1 large sweet potato, diced into 1' pieces
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 lb flat iron steak, diced into 1" pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, seeded & diced into 1" pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1. Placed the diced sweet potatoes into a microwave safe bowl, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with a plate and microwave on high until just barely tender. The potatoes are ready when you can pierce one with the tip of a knife and meet just a bit of resistance.
2. Heat a 12" skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat until simmering. Cook, turning every 2 minutes, until the pieces are browned and the center is medium (about 10 minutes). Remove steak from skillet using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
3. Add the third tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the sweet potatoes, toss to coat and cook until browned, stirring occasionally (3-4 minutes).
4. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (about 1 minute).
5. Add bell pepper and scallions and toss with potatoes. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until peppers are bite tender (3-4 minutes).
6. Add the steak back to the pan along with the coconut aminos. Toss all ingredients and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until all liquid as evaporated.
7. Add black pepper & cilantro, toss and remove from heat. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors this Winter
Sometimes your morning AND evening commute are done in the dark and although you love the sun on the weekends, it just doesn’t quite warm you up like you’d hope. Before you dismiss outdoor winter workouts altogether, you may want to give it a second thought…
What if I told you exercising outside this winter could boast exercise benefits more efficiently than the overcrowded industrial $19.99/month gym you were just about to join…
Here Are 5 Big Benefits From Exercising Outside This Winter:
(If your brave enough to tackle the weather)
1. Burn more calories.
Your body will have to work harder to regulate its core temperature in the colder conditions, in turn you burn more calories! (Your body mass and the severity of the cold influence how many extra calories you will burn)
2. Strengthen your heart (more)
Duh! All exercise will strengthen your heart, but because your working harder to regulate your core temperature, in turn your heart is working harder to distribute blood throughout the body. The same workout in warmer conditions will not result in as much heart strengthening!
3. You won't skip your warm up and cool downs
Colder temperatures will force you to master a warm up and cool down routine in order to ensure you are ready for your workout to begin and to reduce tightness from the cold air for tomorrows workout.
4. Dose of Vitamin D
Although the sun is not as strong as the summer months, you will still get the same critical nutrients during the winter months. This dose of vitamin D feels more substantial due to the already restricted amount of natural light.
5. Feel Happier and More Energized
You will be in a better mood. Period. As your body will be working harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced increases which in turn, creates a stronger sense of happiness and lightness!
Exercise of the Week: Plank on Knees
The Empire Update: Wk of 1/18
This simple, grilled Caprese Chicken is healthy,low on carbohydrates and high on protein & flavor. What's not to like?
4, 5-7oz chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into even 8 pieces
2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into 1/2" slices
fresh basil, to taste
aged balsamic or balsamic glaze, to taste
1. Prepare the chicken. Place one chicken breast onto a sheet of parchment paper. Fold the paper over the chicken. Using a rolling pin, pound the chicken breast to even thickness of a little less than 1". Set aside and repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
2. Combine the italian seasoning, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
3. Brush the chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with the seasoning blend. Flip the chicken over, then oil and season the other side.
4. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Place the chicken breasts onto the grill and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reads 155 degrees.
5. Top each chicken breast with 2 slices fresh mozzarella. Continue grilling 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.
6. Place the chicken breasts onto a platter or individual plates. Top each chicken breast with 2-3 slices of fresh tomatoes, then sprinkle with fresh basil and additional salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction. Enjoy!
Get Everything You Want in 2021
Here’s to a Happy New Year and to getting everything that you want out of 2021!
Today you have a clean slate with a brand new year spread out in front of you, filled with endless possibilities.
How will you harness your potential to create the very best you? I recommend using the teachings of Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his legendary book ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’.
Dr. Maltz created the original science of self improvement and success, so who better to turn to when you’re ready to take your life to another level. His teachings have stood the test of time.
Take the following and get all that you want out of 2021:
1. Use Your Imagination
If you thought that imaginations were only valued in preschool, think again. One of the key points in ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’ is the technique of using your imagination to reprogram and manage your self image.
You may have been exposed to self improvement strategies that tell you to ‘act as if’ or to ‘fake it till you make it.’ Those typically don’t work because your self image is still the same.
According to Dr. Maltz, your self image is the key to changing your actions and habits. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you first have to think of yourself as someone 50 pounds lighter.
Spend time in your imagination. See yourself 50 pounds lighter. Experience a day in your life at this slimmed down size. Imagine everything down to the smallest detail.
According to Dr. Maltz, this imagination time will begin to change your self image to that of a person 50 pounds lighter, and your actions and habits will fall into place.
2. Reject Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts will undoubtedly arise as you use your imagination to see your ideal self. “I’m not really going to lose 50 pounds.” “I’ve tried losing weight before and it never works. I’m always going to be overweight.” “This imagination stuff is bogus. It won’t work for me.”
Dr. Maltz says that the instant you receive a negative thought simply dismiss it. Don’t spend any time on it at all.
The quicker that you dismiss negative thoughts, the less impact they will have on your self image. Also you’ll find that fewer and fewer negative thoughts arise once you get into the habit of dismissal.
3. Be Nostalgic For The Future
It’s so easy to be nostalgic for the past, especially when you only remember the good stuff. But what good does it do for you to wish for things that are long gone?
Dr. Maltz recommends developing nostalgia for the future.
In your imagination you’ve already lost the 50 pounds, so start pining for the future! Your self image will lock onto that picture and your nostalgic feelings will fuel the fire.
4. I’m The Kind Of Person That…
What kind of person are you?
What kind of a person do you want to be in 2021?
Exercise of the Week: Core Stability
The Empire Update: WK of 1/11
Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers
These chicken stuffed fajita peppers are so simple to make and packed with flavor. They are the perfect healthy weekday meal!
3 green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound chicken breast cut into bite sized peices
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare the peppers by cutting them in half lengthwise and removing the seeds and membrane; set aside in baking dish cut side up.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until the start to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add garlic, chicken, chili powder, cumin and season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (5-7 minutes)
4. Add rice, cilantro, lime juice and stir together until heated through, about 2 minutes.
5. Spoon the cooked chicken and rice mixture into the cut pepper halves, filling them to the top. Pour water int the baking dish to fill the bottom, being careful not to pour any water on the peppers.
6. Cover baking dish with foil and bake until peppers are softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with shredded cheese and return to baking for 5 more minutes.
7. Serve, top with sour cream and enjoy!
5 Ways to Eat Healthier At Any Restaurant and Stick to Your Healthy Habits
Christmas and New Year’s Eve now seem far behind us.
The Turkey’s been eaten, the prosecco has run dry, the last few Celebrations have been demolished and we are well into tackling the next festive ritual – a New Year health kick.
And if like many people you’ve made a New Year resolution to shift a few pounds, or just choose healthier choices in general – eating can be a challenge.
Especially when those relatives you didn’t get to spend time with over Christmas plan get-togethers that involve big meals, co- workers want to go for drinks, and you’ve got Birthday dinners to attend.
I don’t know about you but each week since New Year’s day, I’ve been invited out to eat in restaurants at least twice a week, if not more!
And even though eating out at restaurants is usually blamed as a culprit for making it harder to make healthy choices and stick to our new eating habits – you can still have your cake and eat it too.
Which is why I wanted to share some suggestions with you today about how you can eat healthier in restaurants so you can keep on the right track this year with your health goals.
It starts with restaurant selection – making healthy choices starts with where you’re eating. Menus from American, Italian and Chinese restaurants tend to heave the least healthiest options.
When deciding where to go for dinner, opt for cuisines centered around whole grains, veggies, good fats and lean protein (Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian and Japanese), and you’ll have a more nutritious meal.
Also consider eating out at places with menus that change seasonally, as this means they’re likely to cook up fresh, seasonal, local produce. Not only does that make for more veg-heavy meals, but you’ll also notice how much better the food tastes too.
But what if your partner and friends don’t want to go to one of those restaurants?
Well, there’s a solution for that. Think leftovers.
If the Italian restaurant in the town is the only place your friends want to go, you don’t have to just order the salad...
While portion sizes have grown over the years that doesn’t mean you have to skip past the meal you’ve been eyeing up on the menu. Instead take advantage of the bigger portion sizes, and order what you want with the mindset that half of it will come home with you.
The best leftovers are ones that won’t suffer from re-heating or hanging out in your fridge for a day. Think meaty steaks, creamy pasta dishes and rich risottos.
Plus, when you have leftovers you’re getting a two-for-one deal, and it feels great to save a bit of money.
The next piece of advice I want to give you is this, even if you’re going out for an evening meal, eat all day long as you usually would.
Seriously. If you know you’ll be eating at a place that serves rich food and big portions, one of the best ways to avoid overdoing it isn’t to ‘make room’ for dinner later, but to eat (as you normally would) throughout the day.
Your body isn’t balanced when you’re hungry, and skipping meals to make up for a big one can cause all sorts of havoc with the body – including storing MORE weight.
So aim to eat a filling, healthy breakfast, a light lunch and some healthy snacks. It’ll be easier to resist more indulgence if you do.
Another thing, you know that bread basket a lot of restaurants bring out while you’re deciding on what to order that’s always tempting? You don’t need it.
If you really want to snack on something before your main meal is served – opt for a lighter starter like a prawn cocktail, or stuffed mushrooms. Save room for the nutritious meal you’ve ordered and cut down on calories too.
And one more tip, if you want your food cooked a certain way to make it healthier, most of the time you can!
Don’t be afraid to put in a special request. Instead of my chicken fried, I sometimes ask for it to be grilled or roasted. Most places are willing to adapt their meals to suit your taste. It’s amazing how much power we have at diners that we never realize we can use.
So there you have it! Simple ways to make eating out healthier and enjoyable at the same time. Sticking to a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to avoid dining out and say no to plans.
It’s all about making different choices, and enjoying the food we put in our mouths. Restrictions will only make it harder in the long-run, and make it more likely for you to sway off track.
Here’s to sticking to healthier choices!
Exercise of the Week: High Plank
The Empire Update: Wk of 1/4
Blueberry Smoothie Bowl
Feeling the need to reset after the holiday season? Try focusing on what you're adding back to your diet rather than taking away. If you feel like you overindulged in Christmas cookies, a fruit smoothie is a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth. This blueberry smoothie bowl is a great source of antioxidants (from the blueberries), fiber (from the banana) and protein (from the almond butter). Enjoy!
100 g frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, roasted
1. Add the frozen blueberries and frozen banana to a blender with a splash of water. Blend well until thick and creamy (add extra water if needed).
2. Spoon out the smoothie into your favorite bowl
3. Top with more frozen blueberries, pumpkin seeds and drizzle of almond butter.
2021 Insurance Reminder!
New year...new insurance?
Friendly reminder that if your insurance has changed for 2021, let us know so we can update our records with the correct billing information. Same goes for any new insurance cards you may have received for the new year.
Not sure what your new insurance covers for physical therapy?
Give us a call and we'd be happy to look it up for you prior to your next visit!
Stretch of the Week: Plank on Elbows
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach