The Finest Chefs

Archive - September 2014

How I Got A Toned and Sexy Butt with these 5 Workouts!


The butt is the object of many of our weight loss efforts. For some of us, it’s the one thing that just doesn’t seem to get smaller even when the rest of our body does. The good news is that there are some exercises that can help tone your butt, if you use them alongside regular exercise.

Make sure to perform the exercises below with dedication 3 to 4 times a week. Every alternate day is a good schedule, since the day off will help your butt muscles recover and strengthen. The exercises below should each be repeated for 15-20 times at least for some effectiveness, and of course more repetitions are a good thing.

#1 Lunges

You can perform a lunge by stepping forward with one foot and bending both knees to come into a lunge position. Variations of the forward lunge include the side lunge and backward lunge. If you want to increase the intensity of your lunges, hold light weights in both hands while doing them.

#2 Squats

Squats are performed by standing with your feet still apart and bending your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing you into a position that looks as though you are sitting in an imaginary chair. When performing a squat, hold both your arms straight in front of you for balance.

#3 Kickbacks

The starting position for this exercise is you being on your elbows and knees on the floor. To do a kickback, lift one leg so that it is parallel to the floor (be careful not to lift too much as this may strain your back). Squeeze your glutes as you do this and pulse your foot slightly upward. Repeat again for your other leg.

#4 Step Ups

Step ups are simple moves that really work your buttocks. Get a platform that is high enough to work out your butt effectively, and after placing one foot on the platform, push up with the same foot and step onto the platform, bringing the other foot up on the platform as well. Repeat again, this time stepping first with the other foot. If you want a simple version of this exercise that doesn’t use a platform, climbing stairs as much as you can is just as good. Step aerobics is also a more interesting way to perform this exercise.

#5 Butt Squeezes

While not technically an exercise, the butt squeeze is a great move that you can do no matter where you are. Just squeeze in your butt muscles and hold for a few seconds, then release. You can do this daily multiple times, at any time. Why not do butt squeezes when you are waiting in line, in the car stuck in traffic or even at the office sitting at your desk all day?

Do remember that, besides the strength training exercises above, you should also incorporate a daily dose of cardio exercise such as running, walking, cycling, dancing, and so on into your exercise regime as well. This is to ensure that the fat layers on your butt are burnt away, showing off the beautiful butt muscles you have underneath that give off the toned look. With some persistence, you will have a butt that everyone will envy!

Share your own secrets to great looking butt at the comments as well.


How to Get Started Running For Fitness


Running is a great way to exercise for cardiovascular fitness, overall health, and to lose or maintain your ideal body weight. Running is also enjoyed by many as a great stress reliever, especially when choosing to run outdoors. Getting fresh air after working indoors all day and enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery is a nice perk of running.

If you want to experience all these benefits, or even just a few, there are some steps to take to get you started in the world of running. It takes time and dedication, but with patience, you will easily begin to accumulate miles on your running shoes.

Set Your Goals

No matter if your goal is to increase your physical activity level or to lose weight, the first step to starting a running program is to set goals specific to you. When you set goals that are personal to you, and are achievable, you will be more likely to stick to obtaining your goal.

Obtain Medical Clearance

If you have never exercised, it is important that you make an appointment to see your medical doctor. Ask for a complete physical, and let your doctor know that you are considering starting a running program. He or she will be able to tell you if a running program is appropriate to your current health.

Plan Running Days

You should make a commitment to schedule time in your busy calendar for a running session. Anywhere from three to five times a week, beginning with a minimum of 10 minutes, is great to start a running program. You can slowly build up this time, but in the beginning, your focus in on making that commitment to running.

Purchase the Right Running Shoes

With each sport, there is certain equipment that is needed to protect you from injury. Running is no different. When it comes to running shoes, ensure that you purchase shoes that are designed specifically for running – not walking or cross-training – just running.

Running shoes have more cushion and support that is needed for this kind of exercise. If you are unsure as to which running shoes are good for you, visit a sporting store that sells running shoes and speak to a professional sales person. He or she will be able to guide you in your particular needs.

Build Your Endurance

Now that you are prepared, it’s time to begin your running program. Don’t start off by thinking that you have to run fast and run many miles. In the beginning, focus just on time spent running. If you start off running too fast, too soon, you could be setting yourself up for injury, which will ruin your running goals.

To begin, start with a brisk walk for about two minutes and run slowly to moderately for one minute. Keep repeating this process until you have completed 10 minutes. You can slowly increase this time to 20 minutes as you feel stronger. Once you are at 20 minutes, try increasing your running time to your walking time. For example, run for four minutes and walk for one minute.

You can then slowly increase this time to 30 minutes. Once you are running more, you will notice that you are covering more distance. This is a great time to start re-analyzing your goals if you just want to keep running just for weight loss or weight maintenance at 30 minute sessions, or whether you want to get into long-distance running and races.

3 Ways To Reduce Emotional Eating


Emotional eating is a big issue that needs to be dealt with right away if you plan to lose weight. While it is possible for emotional eaters to lose weight, if the issue is not resolved, you’ll almost always put the weight right back on again. It isn’t easy, but here are 3 ways to reduce your emotional eating.

Eat Only When Really Hungry

The first step to prevent emotional eating is to learn to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is when your body really needs food, and emotional hunger is when you are stressed (or bored) and feel like distracting yourself with food. If you just had a big lunch and something at work upsets you and you are magically hungry again, that’s not physical hunger.

Don’t forget that thirst can also be mistaken for hunger. So if you feel you are hungry at a time when you shouldn’t be, just drink a large glass of water. If that doesn’t help, do something to distract yourself instead of eating.

Find Other Ways to Manage Stress

Of course, the best way to manage emotional eating would be never to get emotional at all. But since that isn’t possible for most of us (though you should try and stay away from triggers like fighting with your spouse or reading the newspaper when it makes you feel bad), the next best thing is to manage those emotions in other ways.

Think about it this way: if you eat something because you are emotional, you will feel better for a minute, and afterwards feel awful that you broke your diet. This will lead to more stress and more eating, and it is a vicious cycle. Instead, use other methods to channel your emotions, such as writing down your feelings in a journal, talking to a friend, going for a long walk, dancing to some music, or watching a feel-good movie. This way, you won’t be breaking your diet, and you’ll learn new ways to help yourself feel better. It’ll get easier over time.

Don’t Deprive Yourself Too Much On Your Diet

Sometimes when you are on a rigid diet, it’s easy to think that completely cutting out the foods you love is a good idea. The thing is, if you are an emotional eater, these are the very foods you will eat too much of to make yourself feel better when you are down. Instead, eat the foods you love in small quantities occasionally. This way your willpower is stronger when you feel like eating, because you don’t feel totally deprived.

These steps can help you manage your emotional eating when you are on a diet, but do remember that to maintain your weight loss later on, you will have to nip this bad habit in the bud and develop a healthy approach to managing stress instead of emotional eating. As mentioned in the second tip, this means finding ways to manage your stress permanently through other channels.

What do you think of these strategies? Do you have one you would like to share ? Please leave a comment with your ideas and empower others.

The Juicing Lifestyle


Thousands of people enjoy juicing as a lifestyle and some enjoy the benefits because they are juicing for health. Either way, juicing has established a strong foothold in our food culture. Adding fresh juices to your diet has been known to lower the risks of acquiring curable diseases and with the right equipment, juicing can also be quick and fun. Remember, it may not be for everyone every day, so develop an easy habit at first. Just be consistent.

What Kinds of Juices Can I Make That Won’t Get Boring?

There are several very specific combinations that can be made daily to help combat the symptoms of disease and eventually help restore damaged cells. Beets are particularly good because they are known to help purify the blood and reduce the risk of heart health challenges. Actually, beets contain several really important compounds that can enhance health. They are a great source of nitrates, which have been shown to boost exercise performance.

Tomato based juices are also fun, especially when tomatoes are in season. They add a delicious flavor and can be crafted into sweet juice combinations or made into savory juice combinations. They are very juicy, so these fruits (commonly mistaken for vegetables) are great additions to juicing recipes when in season.

Juicing greens that contain high amounts of minerals have been known to provide dense sources of calcium and magnesium – essential to maintain healthy bones and teeth and organs. Juicing roots including turmeric, ginger, carrots and beets contain abundant nutrients that have been known to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. Juicing citrus fruits that are known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal and contain abundant amounts of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, which are essential to keeping the immune system fortified.

Take a stroll on the internet to find different recipes that will give you great ideas for different juice combinations that suit your nutritional needs. After making a few juices during the first week, preferences will begin to emerge and customizing recipes then becomes easy. Balancing the intake of green juices to fruit juices can be tricky, just remember fruits are higher in fruit sugars than vegetables. More sugar means more calories so it is generally recommended to consume more vegetable juices than fruit juices.

What About Variety?

Take advantage of the seasonal harvest to get a variety of fruits and vegetables. Each season ushers in new fruits and vegetables that contain nutrients that benefit a healthy body. Eating locally grown foods are also nutritionally beneficial, especially if the produce is organically grown. You’ll also avoid consuming pesticides and GMO’s and get the best quality juice, if you make it at home and always buy and juice organic produce at your neighborhood market, at the closest farmer’s market or join a local community supported agriculture group (CSA).

Knowing the basics of juicing provides a more solid understanding of the health benefits possible and can be empowering to newbies to create a new healthy habit for the long haul. Good information, the right tools, and a healthy attitude about a new healthy habit, are just the things you need to feel good about the gift you’re giving your body each day. Juicing has become very mainstream and is easy to acquire. It is also a great, economical way to increase your mineral intake with food that supports good heath over time.

7 Cooking Tips To Cut Out Fat And Calories From Your Diet


It can be hard deciding what to cook when you’re trying to lose weight, but you really don’t have to stick with salads for every meal! Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of planning and some minor changes in the way you cook to help you keep your calorie limits and watch those pounds slip away.

Here are some tips you can try when preparing meals to keep calories and fat to a minimum:

  1. Instead of using oil, opt for non-stick zero calorie sprays or butter substitutes with fewer calories. If you are willing to invest more, then get a non-stick pan instead for your basic sautéing.

  1. Include more vegetables in your cooking than meat, dairy, or other items. Vegetables help fill you up with fiber and nutrients, that help keep you full for a longer amount of time. You can also opt to change traditional recipes to reduce their calorie content, such as substituting macaroni in your mac and cheese with broccoli or diced carrots.

  1. Whenever you can, avoid deep frying food items. Instead of eating fried chicken, it’s better to boil, roast or bake it to keep the amount of calories in check. In case you didn’t already know, a tablespoon of oil is about 120 calories, and when you deep fry an item, you will be ingesting many unnecessary calories without even noticing it.

  1. If you feel oil and sugar is the only way to flavor the food you cook, then you are wrong. Seasonings and extracts have lesser calories and give just as much flavor, and you may realize you have an affinity to them after a while!

  1. When baking, try using applesauce to replace sugar as it contains fewer calories.

  1. When making desserts, opt for lower calorie ones like fruits with greek yogurt or banana halves topped with ricotta cheese, cocoa powder and cherries.

  1. The most important step of all is the preparation you take before cooking. The best way to stick to healthy cooking is to plan your meals in advance and ensure your pantry only stocks ingredients for healthy meals. Make a list of the low-calorie meals you plan to make for the week and only buy the ingredients needed for those meals when you go grocery shopping. This will help you avoid changing your mind at the last minute and cooking something you know you shouldn’t be eating.

These easy-to-follow tips are all you need to remember when you prepare your meals from now on. In the end, it’s all down to your calorie intake, so be sure to make it a priority to stick to your calorie limits.

Juicing To Reduce Stress…Sounds Oxymoronic, Right?


Almost every adult and child alike has experienced bouts of stress at various points in their daily life. For most, this is taken in stride until it is no longer possible to do so, and when this happens it almost always affects the health conditions. It is important to reduce stress, as a state of stress produces high levels of cortisol – which can be responsible for a variety of health conditions. It is responsible for inhibiting insulin production and can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. When the health begins to falter, many have turned to juicing to reduce stress as a solution. However, just the simple act of juicing as an activity can cause stress. The cleaning, the preparing, the juicing and then the cleaning again!

So How Can Juicing Reduce Stress?

Apple, cherry and blueberry ingredients have been known to be good health boosting elements where the flavonoid can facilitate better lung functions and with this optimum breathing position the ideal amounts of oxygen is then able to be circulated well with the body system thus relieving any internal pressures felt when stress levels are high and this eventually helps to lower the stress levels.

Fruits like berries, apples and cherries contain antioxidants and can contribute to relaxing the arteries. Leafy greens contain calcium and magnesium which are both really great for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles. Citrus juices can help boost immunity and keep the body’s natural resistance fortified when bacterial and viral infections are present in the environment. When adrenaline levels increase, the body requires more vitamin C and since the body cannot produce vitamin c on its own, juicing can provide an abundant source of this vitamin.

But What About The Stress Of Making The Juice?

The process of washing, cutting and juicing fruits and vegetables can actually help reduce stress. For some, the act of cutting, peeling, and preparing can shift the mind away from life’s mundane activity to a state of mindfulness. It is well known that mindfulness plays a part in stress reduction.

Also, involving the family reduces the probability of rejection. Kids aren’t that easy to convince, but if they are involved in the process, it can be a heap of fun and a great learning experience.

Take the stress out of juicing and do these simple things to help make juicing enjoyable…every time.

1. Prepare in advance. It helps to prep your fruits and vegetables before you juice them because it will save time. Take the time to wash, peel and/or cut most of what you need for juicing and store in the refrigerator in a clean container that will protect fragile leafy greens.

2. Gather your juicing tools the night before. If you choose to juice in the mornings, gathering the necessary tools and cleaning and organizing them will be useful. It will make the process of juicing a welcome meditation. When things are clean and organized around you, it will feel less stressful.

3. Clean your tools immediately after juicing. Many people don’t like this part. It’s the messy part, but if you make a habit of cleaning your tools immediately after using them, it will reduce the “clean up” anxiety many people feel.

4. Store your juice in containers that reduce exposure to air and light. It is very stressful to spend the money on produce, and the time to clean and make the juice only to have it lose it’s nutritional value because it wasn’t stored properly, or it wasn’t stored at all. Don’t leave juice out on the counter for too long, it will oxidize and minimize the nutritional value of the juice. Keeping juice in air tight, glass containers has worked well for many and is a great way to reuse containers – which takes some stress off the planet.

What If I Get Sick Anyway?

When the body is stressed, the immune system actually becomes depressed. Including ingredients that contain immune boosting properties can be beneficial during stressful times. Consider increasing the consumption of foods and herbal teas that contain nutrients like zinc, vitamin c, calcium and magnesium to support the body’s immunity.

Of course most people try to avoid stressful situations, but sometimes stress is just inevitable. Managing stress with various foods and juices can be very effective and can be a great way to maintain good health.

5 Tips For A Healthy Breakfast That’ll Help You Lose Weight


It’s a tip that is repeated by diet experts everywhere: eat breakfast. There’s a reason behind it too. Eating a healthy breakfast helps kick-start your body’s metabolism in the morning, helping you avoid overeating over lunch and dinner. Not only that, having breakfast helps keep your blood sugar levels under control throughout the day, keeping cravings at bay. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of breakfast. Here are some tips to remember when having breakfast on a weight loss diet:

  1. Keep the calories limited. Of course, in the end you have to eat fewer calories than your body needs to lose weight, so overeating at breakfast is not a good idea. Therefore, avoid high-calorie sweet foods for breakfast such as bagels, doughnuts, and sugared cereals that don’t fill you up much but use up quite a bit of your calorie content.
  1. Eat a balanced breakfast. This means eating a breakfast that is part protein, part carbohydrates and part healthy fat. An example of such a breakfast is a cup of low-fat yogurt with a bowl of oatmeal topped with some flaxseed.
  1. Make a fruit smoothie. If you are on the go and don’t have the time to prepare a hearty breakfast, then just blend a banana, some whey protein and a cup of berries of your choice, and you’ll have a nutritious smoothie that will fill you up. If you can stomach it, you can try green smoothies too so that you can get some vegetables into your day.
  1. For carbohydrates, choose whole grain over white carbs. While the calorie difference may not be much, but whole grain items contain more fiber that will fill you up, and sugars that will keep your blood sugar more stable for a longer time.
  1. If you like a hearty breakfast that is filling but want to stick with regular breakfast foods like bacon, butter or scrambled eggs, then use low-calorie products to limit the amount of calories you consume. For example, you can use a zero calorie spray instead of oil when frying your bacon, use lighter versions of butter for your bread, and use artificial sweeteners like stevia or Splenda with your coffee or tea. Of course, it’s still a good idea to stick to healthier breakfast foods as often as possible.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to a healthy breakfast, but ensure that you can eat foods that you like or at least can tolerate instead of foods that you have to force yourself to eat, during breakfast. The reason for this is that if you constantly drink those green smoothies even though you hate them, you’ll get turned off of eating breakfast, and you will tend to skip it. A healthy breakfast does not have to be bad, so experiment to see which food combinations you enjoy.

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