Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

New to the Gym? Need a New Workout?

via – popsugar.com

00:00-3:00 3 130 Warm up
03:00-5:00 5 130 Warm up
05:00-10:00 5 140 Speed up
10:00-15:00 7 140 Backward
15:00-20:00 7 140 Forward
20:00-22:30 7 140 Push
22:30-25:00 7 140 Pull
25:00-30:00 5 140 No hands
30:00-35:00 3 130 Cool down

*SPM = strides per minute
Incline = 20 percent

Use this workout as a guideline, and adjust the resistance and the strides per minute to your level. Click here for a printable version of this workout to take to the gym.

Visit www.avac.us to discover the AVAC® difference today!

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Quinoa

via – Shape.com

For starters, it’s not a grain at all. Read on for more fun facts about the popular superfood.

Getty Images

The International Year of Quinoa may have come to an end, but quinoa’s reign as one of the healthiest foods of all time will undoubtedly continue.

If you’ve only recently jumped on the bandwagon (it’s KEEN-wah, not kwin-OH-ah), there’s probably a few things about this ancient grain you don’t happen to know yet. Read on for five fun facts about the popular superfood.

1. Quinoa isn’t actually a grain at all. We cook and eat quinoa like many other grains, but, botanically speaking, it’s a relative of spinach, beets, and chard. The part we eat is actually the seed, cooked like rice, which is why quinoa is gluten-free. You can even eat the leaves!

2. Quinoa is a complete protein. A 1955 paper dubbed quinoa a superstar long before 21st century publications were touting it for its nutritional powers. The authors of Nutritive Values of Crops, Nutrient Content and Protein Quality of Quinoa and Cañihua, Edible Seed Products of the Andes Mountains wrote:

“While no single food can supply all the essential life-sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom. That’s because quinoa is what’s called a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food.”

3. There are more than 100 types of quinoa. There are roughly 120 known varieties of quinoa, according to the Whole Grains Council. The most commercialized types are white, red, and black quinoa. White quinoa is the most widely available in stores. Red quinoa is more often used in meals like salads since it tends to hold its shape better after cooking. Black quinoa has an “earthier and sweeter” taste. You can also find quinoa flakes and flour.

4. You should probably rinse your quinoa. Those dried seeds are coated with a compound that would taste pretty bitter if you didn’t wash it off first. However, most modern-day packaged quinoa has been rinsed (a.k.a. processed), Cheryl Forberg, R.D., The Biggest Loser nutritionist and author of Cooking With Quinoa For Dummies, writes on her website. Still, she says, it’s probably a good idea to give yours a rinse before enjoying, just to be safe.

5. What’s the deal with that string? The cooking process releases what looks like a curly “tail” coming from the seed. That’s actually the germ of the seed, according to Forberg’s site, which separates slightly when your quinoa is ready.

Schedule a Nutrition consultation at AVAC® to learn more about superfoods like Quinoa.


AbsoluteFIT with Lydia: A Few Good Things… The Endorsements 

via – Lydia M., AbsoluteFIT Champion


Balance is good, people — that’s why I’m balancing last week’s thumbs-down with this post full of thumbs up! It’s mostly food-related, because that’s kind of my jam. (JAM, geddit? haha!)

  • Finnish Ruis bread: It’s this stuff. It’s awesome. I ordered some as a gift for my father-in-law, who is of Finnish heritage, and I ended up loving it more than anyone in the family! One of the “small rounds,” which is roughly the size of an English muffin, is only 160 calories and contains almost 50 percent of your day’s fiber. I keep it in the freezer, then toast one up to eat; add a schmear of butter (or cream cheese, or avocado, etc.) on top, put some scrambled eggs on the side, and you’ve got a delicious and ridiculously filling meal.
  • Tomato juice: Excellent along with the Ruis bread, or a tasty snack anytime — especially if you add some celery salt, lime, and Worcestershire sauce (aka a virgin Mary). Fewer than half the calories of orange juice, one 8 oz. glass has 110% of your day’s vitamin C. Yay!
  • The new salad bar at AVAC: So much healthy, tasty convenience! I stop by the cafe to pick up lunch at least once or twice a week — they’re always so fresh and good! And it beats the pants off of having cereal for lunch.
  • My new old-school jump rope: It’s been tough to get to AVAC lately — the kids have been tag-teaming on getting sick, so we’re all stuck at home. But! I bought myself one of the old plastic-bead jump ropes (like we used to use in elementary school) and if I can’t fit in a real workout, I just jump rope for a couple of minutes whenever I get the chance. It’s surprisingly invigorating, and a fun way to break up my hours working at the computer — plus, it’s better than nothing, and some days, that’s all I can do!

Got anything to share with the rest of us? Endorse away!

—Lydia M. 



Work Out with Lydia | AbsoluteFIT: Instacart, DoorDash, and My Hair Are Ruining My Body

via – Lydia M., AVAC’s resident AbsoluteFIT blogger!


Breaking news from the “If That’s Your Worst Problem, You’re Doing OK” desk: I had a sudden flash of insight last night, as I was wondering — again — why I gained weight over the last couple of months (besides holiday drinking, grief eating, and indoor-fun-with-kids baking):

Instacart and DoorDash. GOSH, I love Instacart and DoorDash — way too much, I think. Because the convenience of shopping at Safeway and Whole Foods from my laptop (for cheap, with the Express membership!) or effortlessly summoning dinner from as far away as Willow Glen has a dark side: I’m not going to the store, walking all over, walking in the parking lot, running other errands, crisscrossing my own kitchen while I cook … I’m sitting on the couch, with my computer. It’s a little thing, sure, but it adds up: I’m just taking fewer steps.

  1. My Hair: OK, I’m vain about my hair. It’s a well-known thing. I don’t wear makeup, I dress like a college teaching assistant from the early 90s, I don’t even do manicures, but nothing is too good or too much for my hair. And I hate to ruin a good hair day with a sweaty workout, especially if I know I’ve got to see people later. Most of the time, I just go ahead and let my hair get dented by the hairband, because I’m a SAHM and nobody really sees my second-day hairdo … but what do you do during the holidays? You go places and see people! I don’t want to wash, blow dry, and fix my hair every single day (it takes about an hour to get it the way I want it). So … I sometimes just … don’t do the workout. Ugh. I know. I KNOW OK.

So, newly aware of my issues, I’m attacking them head-on; today I actually went to the store instead of using Instacart, and resolved to not worry about the hair tomorrow, because I need a good workout more than I need shampoo-commercial hair. One day at a time, y’all — one day at a time.

Share your weird issues with me, willya? Don’t leave me hanging here!

—Lydia M. 

Check out AbsoluteFIT at Almaden Valley Athletic Club®

Looking for a New Soup Recipe?

via – skinnytaste.com

16 Bean Soup with Ham and Kale

16 Bean Soup with Ham and Kale – a hearty soup, high in fiber and perfect for freezer friendly meals. Weight Watchers Smart Points: 5 Calories: 155

photo via skinnytaste.com

Winter has finally arrived, and there’s nothing quite like a pot of soup simmering all day to warm you up. This soup is hearty and delicious, and loaded with fiber. One bowl will fill you up, and leftovers are perfect to freeze for future meals.

Made with a 16 bean soup mix (if yours comes with a flavor packet you’ll want to discard it) plus smoked ham, vegetables, fresh herbs and kale. You’ll want to soak the beans overnight, then discard the water the next day before cooking.

I’m sure this could be made in the pressure cooker, to speed it up. If I converted this for the pressure cooker I would use less water. Hope you enjoy!

16 Bean Soup with Ham and Kale – a hearty soup, high in fiber and perfect for freezer friendly meals. Weight Watchers Smart Points: 5 Calories: 155

Servings: 10 • Size: scant 1 1/4 cup • Points +: 5 • Smart Points: 5Calories: 155 • Fat: 2 g • Sat Fat: 0.3 g • Carb: 36 g • Fiber: 18.5 g • Protein: 13.5 g Sugar: 3.5 g • Sodium: 647 mg • Cholesterol: 4 mg


  • 16 oz bag of 16 bean soup mix (discard flavor packet if it comes with it)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 oz low sodium smoked ham steak, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small green pepper, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped


Rinse and soak beans overnight. Discard the soaked water the next day and place in a pot with 12 cups of water, cook uncovered 1 hour on medium-high heat.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add oil and cook ham and cook until browned, 2 minutes, Add onions, carrot, garlic, green pepper, celery, green onions, cilantro, tomato sauce, cumin, salt and pepper and cook another 5 minutes, until soft.

Add to the beans along with the rosemary and thyme.
Lower heat to medium-low, cover and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pot, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until thick and the beans are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Add the kale and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Pull up a cozy chair and enjoy!

MUST READ: New Dietary Guidelines Issued About Sugar Consumption

via – health.clevelandclinic.org

New Dietary Guidelines Target Added Sugars, Healthy Eating Patterns

Focus shifts away from individual nutrients to eating over a lifetime

The federal government issued new dietary guidelines today that, for the first time, advise Americans to cut back considerably on their consumption of added sugars.

The recommendations, designed to help Americans avoid chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight, advise limiting added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories.

For a woman eating 2,000 calories a day, that would translate into 200 calories of added sugar – or about the same amount as a can of regular soda.

Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruits.

The major food and beverage sources of added sugars for Americans are soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.

The World Health Organization and other groups have issued similar advice, citing evidence that eating less added sugar could reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Focus on eating patterns

Also, for the first time, the guidelines advise Americans to focus less on individual nutrients such as fat or protein and to think more broadly about their overall eating habits – to develop “healthy eating patterns.”

A healthy eating pattern, the recommendations say, means

  • Lots of unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
  • At least half of grains consumed should be whole-grain.
  • Fats should be liquid – in the form of oil.
  • Dairy should be fat-free or low-fat.
  • Protein should come from a wide variety of nutrient-dense, lean and low-sodium sources, including seafood.
  • Most people should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt every day.
  • Saturated fats should be limited to less than 10 percent of calories each day. Trans fats also should be limited.
  • Alcohol consumption should be moderate — one drink per day for women and two for men.

Longstanding limits on dietary cholesterol were removed, reflecting new scientific research on the role of genetics. But the guidelines recommend eating as little cholesterol as possible because cholesterol often goes hand-in-hand with saturated fat.

Not specific enough

Registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, says that the recommendations on eating patterns are a good start, but are not specific enough.

“I like the approach for shifting unhealthy choices to healthier, more nutrient-dense options, but I feel this concept, though well-intended, is too broad and needs to be defined further,” Ms. Kirkpatrick says.

People need specific advice, such as replacing refined, white bread with 100 percent whole-grain bread, Ms. Kirkpatrick says. Or guidance such as what is a healthy, non-sugary beverage choice.

“Consumers may assume this means artificially sweetened,” she says. “We should focus on whole foods all around, even in our drinks. What about recommending water as the drink of choice along with coffee and tea?”

The recommendations for grains – where only half should be whole-grain — also do not go far enough, Ms. Kirkpatrick says.

“We need to focus on eating only 100 percent whole grains,” she says. “White grains have no nutrients of value and studies show that their impact on health is negative.”

And while oils are included in the guidelines, they do not define which are superior to others, she says.

Potential to influence

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have the potential to influence the diets of millions of Americans. They form the basis of school lunch programs and help shape national food assistance programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

They are jointly issued by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The recommendations are intended for Americans ages 2 and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease. They were first issued in 1980, and are updated every five years.