Seahawks Sustain on Superfoods, Stress Reuction and Sound Sleep!!

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If you live in Seattle, you might agree that it feels nearly impossible to avoid getting excited about the Seahawks mania that’s going on in our fair city. Twelfth Man flags in store windows, flying off of cars and even over the Space Needle, blue and green Seahawks gear being sported by everyone from grocery store clerks to bus drivers to downtown executives. There’s even a 12th man handshake, the official touchdown celebration for Seahawks fans. It’s everywhere!

What’s even more thrilling is learning about the Seahawks nutrition and well-being practices. Reviewing the changes that have been made in a team that went from finishing the 2009 season at 5-11 before new Head Coach Pete Carroll arrived, to securing a spot in this year’s Superbowl.

It turns out the changes that Coach Carroll has implemented are all about a positive and healthful experience. “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?” Carroll explains in an interview with ESPN. His dream was to fundamentally change the way players are coached. Yelling and swearing are frowned upon, everyone in the facility, from coaches and players to personal assistants and valets, is expected to follow Carroll’s mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions. “Do your job better than it has ever been done before,” he tells them. The big idea is that happy players make for better players.

This big idea shows up in many forms around the Seahawks practice facility in Renton, WA. Mac McNabb, the team’s official chef begins breakfast preparation at 4am by cracking 60 dozen fresh, organic, free-range eggs. The Seahawks purchased an organic farm in Olympia, where the chickens roam free and are fed an organic diet including leftovers from the players’ fresh-fruit buffet. In addition, the players are fed all grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, and organic vegetables and fruits. No deep-fried food is made in the kitchen. Even French fries are baked. And no sodas or junk foods are served, but there are fresh-baked cookies on Thursdays.

Along with a foundation of the highest quality foods available, the 91 men that make up the Seattle Seahawks also participate in some wellness practices that are unheard of in the NFL. Yoga classes are part of the team’s regular strength training sessions; daily meditation with Michael Gervais, a high-performance sports psychologist for mental wellbeing; Neurotopia brain-performance testing to manage stress and sleep quality. Carroll has gone to extraordinary lengths to create a culture of happiness and wellbeing for his players, and it shows in their performance.

With this wonderful insight in mind, I am even more excited to cheer on our Seattle team in Sunday’s Superbowl XLVIII! GO HAWKS!!!

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Blueberry Cauliflower Porridge

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I came across the original recipe for this sweet little morning meal while on the hunt for new grain-free, egg-free breakfast options. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, but cauliflower continues to impress me! While it’s about as void of color as a vegetable can get, its nutritional profile offers great reasons to incorporate it into your diet. With 1 cup racking up only 20 calories, it supplies 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and is a great source of vitamin C. In addition, cauliflower, along with other cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy) has been proven to fight oxidative stress and help to detoxify the liver. Set a goal to get at least 3-5 servings of these vegetables a week. Make a cauliflower pizza crust, or perhaps some chicken fried cauliflower rice! It is easier on the digestive system when already pulverized into small bits as in these recipes. Injoy!

Ingredients:

1 1⁄2 cups riced cauliflower

(Pulse raw cauliflower in food processor until it resembles rice.)

1 cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp equivalent sweetener  (coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup blueberries

1 Tbsp coconut flour

Directions:

1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the coconut flour, in a saucepan over medium- high heat. Bring to a rolling boil.

2. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 12-14 minutes. Mash the blueberries and stir occasionally.

3. Add coconut flour, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

4. Choose your own adventure toppings! The photo shows toasted coconut flakes and raw pecans.

10 Healthy Habits for Holiday Parties

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This time of year can be a wonderfully festive time of connection and celebration. It is also full of opportunities to over-indulge and get off track with our wellness goals. Below are 10 tips to survive holiday parties while keeping your health and vitality as a priority.

  1. Do not arrive to parties on an empty stomach. Eat a cup of vegetable soup or a small salad 30-60 minutes beforehand. Especially on big holidays, make sure to eat breakfast and a balanced snack with fiber and protein earlier in the day.
  2. Make sure you get a physical activity in. Workout before attending holiday parties, or rally everyone to go for a walk after a big meal.
  3. Stay well hydrated. Thirst signals can be mistaken for hunger signals. Make sure you’re drinking at least half your body weight in ounces daily. Also, drink alcohol lightly, and alternate alcoholic and sugary beverages with glasses of water at get-togethers.
  4. Bring a healthy dish to share- quinoa salad, smoked salmon, bean dip, fresh veggies, hummus and lean meats, shrimp cocktail.
  5. Mingle with guests away from the food table. Don’t make it easy to snack mindlessly.
  6. Use a small plate at the buffet and choose just a few of the dishes to try. Moderation is key.
  7. Do not dress for bloat. No baggy pants at holiday parties. Wear that slimming dress that hugs your figure or a nice suit that fits perfectly.
  8. Eat slowly. Take the time to sit and savor your food. Pace yourself and try to be the last person to finish each course.  Take small bites and chew slowly and thoroughly. It takes about 20 minutes for you brain to get the message that your stomach is full.
  9. Ask the host of the party what you can do to help. Keeping yourself occupied and social will cut down on the time you are standing around munching.
  10. Plan your calendar to include holidays as higher calorie days. Eat lightly the rest of the week and avoid excess sugar and simple carbohydrates.

In conclusion, enjoy the holidays! Take time to be present with those around you, focus on non-food related activities and relax! Your body will thank you!

 

 

10 Steps to a Healthier Halloween

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Halloween kicks off the string of seasonal holidays where food imbalance and overindulgence is at an all-time high. Make this Halloween more about the tricks and treasures than the sweet treats, and discuss openly the importance of making healthy food choices. Following are 10 easy tips to implement during the holiday season, starting with Halloween!

  1. Prepare an extra-nutritious dinner of a good lean protein source, plenty of fresh vegetables and whole grains for you and your family. Fill up on healthy foods before hitting the streets to trick-or-treat, avoiding the urge to consume far too much sugar.
  2. If you will be handing out candy to your neighbors, choose a brand like Unreal to give rather than the traditional Hershey’s. Unreal makes all sorts of delicious candy varieties that are every bit as tasty as other brands without all of the chemicals and preservatives. “No artificial stuff, grass-fed dairy, no GMO’s, gluten free, no corn syrup, traceable cacao.” Check out their website and pick some up at your local grocer.
  3. Pillow cases are for pillows- prepare your kids with smaller treat collectors, then feel okay about them filling it 75% full.
  4. Think outside the raisin box. Instead of candy (or raisins) hand out tricks and toys! Visit Archie McPhee’s or a Dollar Store for stickers, erasers, bubbles, removable tattoos, pencils, bouncy balls or any other small toys you can creatively come up with. This is sure to add some fun to the night without contributing to the $2 billion in candy sales estimated for this Halloween. Eeeek! Now that’s scary!
  5. Power trick-or-treat. Incorporate a little physical activity to balance out the sugar consumption and tucker out the kiddies in time to hit the hay. Take the long way, take a few laps around the block or race from house to house.
  6. Bring a water bottle and drink while you’re gallivanting around. This will also curb the appetite for snacking.
  7. Out of sight, out of mind. Let your children choose 5 candies to consume when they get home, then save the rest to disperse as treats for good behavior or dessert. Avoid the inevitable begging for the candy by hiding it away in a closet and only bringing it out for trade or treat time.
  8. Donate extra candy. Many doctors and dentist offices set up donation centers to turn in excessive candy. Teach children the importance of giving when they have plenty to share.
  9. Create an exchange program. 10 pieces of candy for a toy they’ve been wanting or a fun, recreational outing. Let them use the candy as currency for healthier treats.
  10. Skip the candy and trick-or-treating all together. Let your kids dress up and take the to buy a special toy or go to a fun community event.

And above all else, the bonus #11… Set an example for your children, coworkers, family etc. Limit your consumption of sweets and practice your healthy lifestyle habits throughout all of the fun events!

Besides candy, what is your favorite part about Halloween?