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Music Monday: Nelly’s In-Shape “M.O.”

Written on October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am , by

Nelly’s latest album? Perfect for long runs. (Photo courtesy of Universal Records)

Nelly was one of the first rappers I listened to. Although I consider myself more of a country girl (um, his collab with Florida Georgia Line in this summer’s smash hit “Cruise (Remix)” was the soundtrack to my windows-down car rides…), back in my early teens my friends and I would “Ride Wit” him en route to field hockey games, sporting Band-Aids on our cheeks and all—just like he did. Yes, it was a trend that lasted a few weeks in my preppy shoreline town. Don’t ask.

I’ve followed Nelly’s career ever since, and when his seventh album, M.O., was released last month, I couldn’t pop it into my running playlist fast enough. “There’s a bunch of good workout songs on it,” Nelly told me when we recently chatted. “From top to bottom, I think you’ll find there’s a lot of great music on there to do your thing.” He called me “sweetheart” at the end of our conversation, I might add, but I digress.

Featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Nelly Fertado, T.I. and others, Nelly’s newest pace-pushing beats are sure to get your rear in gear as you take your runs indoors. And if you’re anything like Nelly, maybe that athlete mentality will translate into your career. “The competitiveness, the will not to quit and basically being in attack mode definitely helped me,” he says, explaining that the new album’s title not only stands for his home state of Missouri, but also “Method of Operation.”

So what is the workaholic’s method of staying in shape? I mean, don’t mess with those biceps! “The majority of the men in my family are super duper skinny, so the hardest part is putting the weight on,” he admits. “If I’m working, I probably get to the gym three times a week. I’m not going as heavy, just trying to maintain.” And when it comes to cardio, you won’t find the singer on the treadmill, but on the court. “I think basketball is the best cardio in the world, especially with all of the movements—the stops, jumps, the agility part of it and just the constant running.”

When I asked the former vegetarian about his diet, Nelly couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what you eat. To keep his pumped-up physique, the artist tries to take in a lot of protein and loves turkey burgers. “When I started filming The Longest Yard—they wanted me to play a running back—I started eating chicken and turkey again because I only had two months to get as big as possible.” Another staple in Nelly’s daily eats? Oatmeal. “I eat a whole lot of oatmeal with cinnamon. I’ll chop up some bananas and put some raisins in it.” Whoa, Nelly! We’re impressed!

In honor of his new album, here’s a Nelly-fied playlist (a nice mix of old and new) to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” to. Sporting a Band-Aid? Optional, but strongly encouraged.

2 Recipes For a Heart-Healthy Mother’s Day Brunch

Written on May 10, 2013 at 9:24 am , by

There are few better ways to show mom how much you care than breakfast in bed. That tray of goodies—perhaps pancakes with sausage or Eggs Benedict—sure tastes great, but may not be too nice for her health, though.

New research found that a meat-free diet can cut risk for heart disease by 32 percent, so the two vegan recipes below from The China Study Cookbook, will keep mom’s heart happy, too. By the way, all of the dishes in the book are not only vegetarian, but vegan!

Scrumptious Apple-Filled Turnovers
Serves 8

Turnovers

Baking apples like Macintosh, Jonathan or Cortlands work well in these turnovers.

  • 3½–4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2½ teaspoons instant (fast rise) yeast
  • 1½ cups warm water

Filling

  • 3 cups apples, diced finely
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Mix all the turnover ingredients together in a bowl. Knead with your hands for 8–10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Separate into 8 balls; cover, and let rise for 40 minutes.
  2. Once turnovers are covered, prepare filling by mixing all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. After 40 minutes, roll out each ball to a diameter of about 3 inches. Place one heaping tablespoon of filling into the center. For each turnover, fold the edges together to form a half moon. Pinch the edges together with a fork so there are no openings.
  4. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  5. Let your turnovers rise on the counter for 15 minutes, then place turnovers on nonstick baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 425˚F for 20–25 minutes.

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Taste and Tell: Slow-Cooker Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

Written on February 18, 2013 at 9:05 am , by

Time to sharpen my knife skills!

The recipes in FITNESS magazine can’t really be as easy and tasty as the mouthwatering pictures in the magazine make them look, can they? Some readers write in and say they are a bit skeptical, so I (quite an amateur when it comes to the kitchen), decided to put a dish to the test. My hands know their way around a keyboard way better than a cutting board, so believe me when I say everything that I can do, you can as well!

The evening I needed dinner, I was going to indoor cycling class soon after work—meaning I didn’t have much prep time the day of. This also meant that I would need something filling (it was going to be a late meal) yet nutritious (so I wouldn’t undo all of that hard work at the gym). I stumbled upon a yummy-looking fix: Vegetable and Chickpea Curry.

The evening before, I took about 20 minutes to chop all of the vegetables and scooted them into my little slow-cooker dish with the rest of the ingredients to be cooked, which I then placed in the refrigerator. When I came home to change for my workout, I poured in the vegetable broth, put the meal into the slow-cooker and flipped it on high.

By the time I returned from class, my kitchen smelled like an Indian restaurant. I stirred in the light coconut milk and prepared some quick-cooking stove top brown rice, and dinner was ready!

I surprised myself and a pal who joined me for dinner with the gourmet result, which really looked fairly similar to the image in the story, and the taste lived up to the description from the recipe developer. Click below to see the side-by-side pictures and get the recipe to try yourself.

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Fit Links: Top Health Habits For Bikini Season and How to Train Like an Olympian

Written on June 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm , by

These bikini body tips will make a day at the beach feel like...exactly that. (Photo by Patrik Giardino)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Filmmaker Aims for “World Vegucation”

Written on November 8, 2011 at 10:37 am , by

Marisa Miller Wolfson shares a new take on the meat-free lifestyle in her new film. (Photo by Stephen de las Heras)

The food movement occasionally seems skewed toward the super-serious (Michael Pollan), the sexy (PETA) or the surreal (Supersize Me). But Marisa Miller Wolfson, a fairly new vegan, is bringing a little levity to the issue with her new film Vegucated. Her unique perspective and six-week experiment trying to persuade three carnivores to embrace a more produce-based diet caught our attention, so we reached out to her to learn more.

Can you tell us more about your personal transition to veganism?

I lived with vegetarians for seven years and rabidly defended my right as a Midwesterner to eat my meat. I thought vegans were from outer space—way too radical. Then I saw a documentary that showed how animals are treated on farms, and I went vegetarian on the spot, and went vegan three months later after I read more about health and environment issues. The whole process felt crazy: to have all these stereotypes of vegans and then suddenly call myself one. The first few months were a little tricky, but I lost 15 pounds and felt amazing, so I stuck with it.

There have been a few movies and books recently related to the topic of eating less meat, but Vegucated seems to be told in a different “voice” than many others. How did you decide to make your film stand out?

I had toured around the country showing award-winning documentaries on this topic and decided to make a film that appealed to a slightly different, younger crowd. I wanted to make it highly entertaining, charged with personality and I wanted people to laugh more than they cry, even when they’re getting exposed to powerful information. I used to do comedy.

Keep reading to discover how the film’s stars are eating now and to learn how you can find a happy veggie medium.

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Celebrate Meatless Monday With the Founder’s Favorite Meal

Written on October 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm , by

We love making chopped salads, like this Greek option with pita croutons, as a main dish on Mondays. (Photo by Joseph Deleo)

Last week at Food Day, we were able to connect with Sid Lerner, founder and chairman of the growing Meatless Monday movement. The group asks us all to cut back or eliminate meat on Mondays, with an overall goal to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent worldwide.

Lerner resurrected the Meatless Monday trend in 2003 with this focus on health and the environment. It originated during World War I to help conserve resources for the war effort. “People have different reasons why they participate, whether it’s ethical, or to lower fat and cholesterol intake,” Lerner says. “It’s a small change you can try each week that’s good for you and good for the planet.”

Reducing meat consumption can lower the overall carbon footprint (did you know animals raised for meat emit more gas than our transportation systems?) and water usage (1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef, while one pound of tofu requires 220 gallons).

Lerner mentioned that, thanks to support from big names like Oprah, Paul McCartney and Mario Batali, 50 percent of Americans polled in a recent survey said they are aware of Meatless Mondays, and 28 percent claim that it affects how they eat. We couldn’t think of a more fitting way than pulling our slow cookers out of the back of our cabinets to give one of Lerner’s favorite Monday recipes a try!

“I love chili. It’s tasty, colorful, high in protein and you can make it a million ways. I like to say, ‘If you think chili needs meat, you don’t know beans,’” Lerner says.

For a one-pot meal to try on future Meatless Mondays, keep reading.

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What’s It Like to Be the NBA’s Only Female Scout?

Written on October 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm , by

Laflin used her broadcast reporting skills last May at an event for Farm Sanctuary, one of her favorite charities. (Photo by Lesley Marino)

Looking at the crowd of scouts on the sidelines at the NBA pre-draft camp about five years ago, you might not have even realized that there was a woman in the mix. “I suited up in baggy sweats and put my hair up in a baseball cap,” says Bonnie-Jill Laflin, the first and only scout for the men’s basketball league. “I didn’t want to be judged by the way I looked or be treated any differently than the men. But I was inspired to be my true self when one of the men in the crowd came up and said, ‘As long as you know what you’re doing, who cares what you look like?’”

Today, the former Miss Dallas-Fort Worth is enjoying her career—without disguises—and is spreading the word about achieving her dreams and supporting causes close to her heart.

What was your career path like to become an NBA scout?

I actually started as a cheerleader, first for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA and later for the San Francisco 49ers NFL team, because I heard that was the easiest way to get into the industry. Then I went back to school at the University of Texas for my broadcast journalism degree to pursue sport broadcasting. I covered the Los Angeles Lakers, and the general manager and owner of the team asked if I was interested in becoming a scout for their organization. They knew I had knowledge of the game and what to look for in a player.

Click below to learn about breaking sports barriers and Laflin’s love of animals.

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Fit Links: The Most Fun Pain Reliever and Skinnier Menus

Written on September 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm , by

Laugh away your pain. (Photo by Diane Vasil)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Links: Break Your Cell Habit and Run Pain-Free

Written on July 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm , by

A sure sign it's time to unplug? You feel like you want to set your tech toys aflame! (Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

One sign it's time to unplug? You daydream about setting your tech toys aflame. (Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Links: Electronics Overload and Meatless Meals

Written on June 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm , by

Photo by Peter Tak

The scale: Love it or hate it? (Photo by Peter Tak)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Now tell us: Would you be willing to shell out a few extra dollars for a more nutritious restaurant meal?