But Turkey Day needn’t leave you feeling so stuffed that you need to loosen your belt at the end of the day. If you’re cooking this Thanksgiving, then you’re in control of your own destiny because you can decide how much butter, cream and sugar goes into each and every dish. By making some smart substitutions for each recipe, you can easily save calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. A few years ago I began to experiment with upgrading my favorite family holiday dishes into less guilty versions, that were just as tasty. The responses I received from my friends and loved ones were the confirmation I needed to continue to find more ways to indulge guilt free and pain free. These recipes have now become our family traditions for years to come. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article to try some of my favorite recipes!
My 3 Tips and Tricks to a Better Thanksgiving Dinner. Cheers to no longer feeling disgusting!
- Make your side dishes gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in what products (stuffing, breads, crackers etc.). Gluten acts like a glue in our belly (it literally is used as a glue to make things like envelopes stick together) You can imagine how it makes everything stick together in our digestive tract. Want to feel like there’s a big boulder sitting in your belly? Want the feeling like you have to hunch forward after your meal, because it hurts to stand? Then keep enjoying your gluten. I on the other hand decided about 3 years ago to try a different path, as I realized gluten wasn’t making me feel my best. I brought home a gluten free stuffing and as I reached for my second helping to my great surprise there was none left to be enjoyed. My family was so impressed by the fact that my stuffing tasting just like theirs, even better they said. As I left my relatives they requested that for now on we only have gluten free stuffing. SCORE!!!
- Make your side dishes mostly vegan. This is a great trick to decrease your calories. Substituting heavy creams for lower fat milks or even better for veggie/chicken stock. Using olive oil instead of butter can decrease your calories and fat significantly and you’d be surprised at how little of a taste difference it makes. I began to make all of my desserts vegan and to be honest I think they taste better! There is also a psychological difference when you know that what your eating isn’t that god awful for your health. You tend to enjoy yourself more and can really be in the moment with your food.
- Decrease your sugar. Go ahead blame the bird for making you want to fall asleep at the table, but just know that you are pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. It is a total myth that turkey makes us sleepy. Over dosing on sugar and carbohydrates is really what contributes to this state of comatose. Decreasing my gluten definitely helped me with this feeling, but what really does the trick is substituting refined sweeteners like white and brown sugar for lower glycemic sweeteners. My favorite is Coconut Palm Sugar. Click Here for other sweetener alternatives. Making your cranberry sauce or baking with these sweeteners are so much better for your health and your waistline. My gluten free, vegan, pie made with coconut palm sugar is the biggest hit of our thanksgiving!
The human body is an amazing machine. It is capable of putting up with and even thriving in our modern world that is often less than ideal. We get on just fine, despite our modern lifestyle fraught with physically compromised positions such as sitting (at a desk, in the car/bus, on the couch), ingesting harmful chemicals in our foods, and breathing in toxic fumes in the atmosphere. Despite our best efforts, we all are subject to these environmental toxins. Thankfully, we can mitigate the detrimental effects of these stressors by eating minimally processed foods, standing as much as possible, and having a consistent movement practice through exercise.
However, as Americans, we live in a culture where “more is better.” We believe in a world where super-sized effort equals super-sized results. ”If 3-4 workouts a week is good for me, why wouldn’t 6-7 be even better?” Unfortunately, there is a point of diminishing returns. A point where 10x effort does not equal 10x return. So once you reach that point, what can you do? The answer lies in one of Unite’s core values: train smarter, not harder.
This is accomplished through the smart programming that puts an emphasis on periodization, and making sure to change things up regularly. But just as importantly, as someone who has trained consistently at Unite for 7, going on 8 years, I’ve come to value the importance of rest and recovery. If you are someone who feels guilty that you “only” made it in to workout 5 times this past week, I have great news for you: No matter what your goals are, you will bring yourself closer to them if you take some more time off in between workouts.
R&R for Fat Loss
“I’ve increased the amount of workouts I do each week, and I’m still fat!”
Constantly hitting the gym on a daily basis in an attempt to lose weight is a recipe for frustration and self-sabotage. Over time you reach an overtrained state, where fat loss is nearly impossible due to adrenal fatigue, which will result in excess food cravings, a lack of energy, and poor mood. We’ve said it before, but you will see much better results if you allow your body to rest, eat nutritionally dense foods, and treat yourself well. Unfortunately it takes a ton of exercise (more than you have time for) to burn off just a little bit of that unhealthy food you just ate.
R&R for Injury Prevention
“I work out almost every day and I’m starting to feel strange aches and pains”
In today’s world of high intensity exercise, we are able to push our bodies to the limits. Push to the limits one day, and your body will be able to bounce back. Do it over and over again over the course of weeks, months, or even years will end in disaster in the form of a devastating injury. Recovery will allow the muscle fibers, ligaments, and tendons to repair and be stronger than ever. But without rest, you are taxing all of the systems that are designed to keep you moving to the point where something will eventually break. For those of you who are addicted to high intensity workouts and simply just love to move your body every day, just think of the cost. If you get hurt you will be out of commission for months or even life. Try going for long walks, take a restorative yoga class or simply just stretch at home and you can feel good about doing something with your body that day.
R&R for Improved Performance
“I haven’t been able to run as fast or lift as heavy as I used to.”
Training in and of itself does not make you stronger. In actuality it is very destructive to your body. It is the time in between workouts, where the muscle fibers are repaired that you realize the strength gains and benefits of exercise. If you find yourself losing strength, speed, or have been stagnant in your gains, take some time to allow the body to rebuild itself, and you’ll be back on track before you know it.
How to maximize your recovery: or, Making the most of your down time
The body is more equipped to go from 0-60 much better than it is to go from 60-0. Most of your brain is set up this way for arousal, survival. It’s a simple evolutionary response. Back in the caveman days, if you came up on an angry sabertooth tiger, you wouldn’t have time to “get loose” and warm up before you start your 100% sprint to safety. You have to go, and you have to go NOW.
Because it was not an absolute necessity for survival, there are fewer triggers that send us into sedation, down-regulation, the drousal state. There are ways that you can create the natural de-stimulation necessary to create the environment for relaxation, and in turn recovery to occur.
Compression socks have been proven to improve recovery times in athletes, by temporarily improving blood flow, thus flushing out the muscles. Compression is a great tool to help decrease the amount of recovery time needed between workouts, similar to the ice bath. Another, cheaper way to get a similar result is to lie down with your legs elevated over your heart. This restricts the flow of blood to the lower body, turning down the sympathetic response.
When was the last time you went directly from a deep tissue massage to feeling like you wanted to immediately run a 10k? It doesn’t happen, because deep touch creates condition of relaxation. Obviously not all of us can afford a deep tissue massage every day, so that’s where foam rolling and self-massage comes in. Using a variety of tools and techniques, you can induce that same feeling you get after a massage.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
Sleeping more is not always an option. In fact, sleeping more can be detrimental in some cases. Ever feel extra drowsy after sleeping in? The key is to improve the quality, and increase the amount of time you reach deep sleep. Sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room. Any stimulus to any of your “on-switches” will turn into arousal and diminished sleep quality. If you are unable to black out your room, wear a sleep mask, and ear plugs. I’ve noticed much better sleep after getting a sleep mask through increased dreams, and feeling more refreshed in the morning.
Spread your water intake out throughout the day. Levels of hydration needed are different for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is to take your bodyweight, divide by 2, and that is how many ounces you should drink per day.
Time: 12 noon workout begins, MUST arrive 15 min early, brunch ~1:45/2pm
Enrollment: ONLY 40 MEN, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
There are so many reasons why gay men choose to cross-train @ Unite Fitness here are just a few:
- Top Level Coaches that balance pushing hard with having fun
- All Inclusive Cross-training: multi-sport cardio intervals, functional strength training and yoga stretch
- Friendly Fun Social community that only a studio like Unite attracts
- Creates Lean Build and Athleticism that empowers people to be more confident and active
To celebrate and promote Unite as a gay owned and frequented local business in Philadelphia we are hosting a FREE 40 man workout led by 2 of our hottest young coaches Mark and Austin (and they love to flirt) with curated playlists. With only 40 spots it will fill up fast, so sign up now and get your friends on the stick to register immediately as you don’t want to be looking at the pictures afterwards wishing you were there. And we aren’t holding spots.
After the workout our good friend Tim Adams of Penn6, directly across the street, has invited us all over for a #GayMenUnite post workout brunch. If you cannot get into the gay mens workout you can still meet us at brunch afterwards ~ 1:45-2pm.
We will take about 30 minutes to make our way over there after the workout so feel free to run home to shower/change or just bring some clothes to do that here but we have limited showers. The burn from Unite is Free but the brunch is extra and optional, but brunch is where you will get to talk to that cute guy you saw sprinting on the treadmill. Penn6 also has a great special for the Unite men offering $15 bottomless mimosas with brunch entree.
- Hope to see you there
Do you live for Halloween? Do zombies, mummies, and ghosts get you off? Is running some-thing you actually enjoy doing? Then why haven’t you signed up for Run 4 UR Life yet? If the PSA featuring our one and only Coach Eric hasn’t convinced you yet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3cU18cnz70&list=UUz624DXa8YydPbrO5oBaysw), here’s 5 reasons why you should register for this spooktacular run:
1. Running can be a pain, so we’ve made it easier by adding the opportunity to dress up for the race and *drumroll please*… Beer! That’s right; at the end of the race there will be beer. Beer should honestly be the next four reasons, but if you keep reading you’ll see there are some other pretty good reasons other than beer!
2. Whether they like to run or just want to support, the whole family is welcome to get involved. You’re more than welcome to bring kids, whether they’re your kids or kids you’ve borrowed. But they can’t have beer. Sorry, rules are rules. Even though they can’t indulge in the free-flowing adult nectar, they’re still bound to have a good time cheering on the runners and dressing up.
3. Run 4 UR Life is being held at the West Laurel Hill Cemetery, utilizing a beautiful space we usually forget about. Sure cemeteries are filled with dead people that may become zombies at any moment, but it’s a beautiful, peaceful place. Plus the zombie apocalypse is only scheduled to start in the next five to ten years.
4. All your favorite Unite Fitness trainers will be there! It may be too chilly for them to be run-ning shirtless, but there are plenty of skimpy costumes out there that they may or may be dressed in. Just imagine Coach Gavin in the tri-boob woman costume. Now that’s hot.
5. All profits will be donated to MANNA, a nonprofit who’s main goal is to feed nutritious meals to neighbors battling life-threatening illnesses 3 times a day, 7 times a week, all for free. So those warm and fuzzies you feel after the race aren’t just from the excessive beer you just drank, but also from knowing you just helped out some truly deserving people.
Get ready for a hauntingly good time that supports an amazing cause! For more info and to sign up, go here: www.mannapa.org/run4urlife