My 30 Minute YouTube Zumba Workout

by Lynn on February 22, 2012

I love Zumba! I go to a Zumba class 2 times a week, but at $5 a class I can’t afford much more than that. I also have a couple Zumba DVD workouts, but I like to change it up. I’ve found quite a few Zumba workouts on YouTube, so I’ve put them together to come up with my own 30+ minute workout.

The cool part is, it doesn’t cost me any money, and I can do these right at home whenever I have some spare time. I can do one or two, or the whole list.

Here’s the warm up to Party Rock Anthem:

Rock That Body! Love the little girl in the fluffy pink slippers! I think I’m going to make that my standard Zumba-wear.

Sexy and I Know It! What can I say I’m an LMFAO fan! Plus this song is perfect for working out too! I have it on my mp3 player too. This same YouTube user has quite a few other really good workouts if you want to find more.

Moves Like Jagger!

J Lo On The Floor

Pause by Pitbull~ Love this song!

Shakira Time For Africa

Shake Senora

How about a little Adele for the cool down?

I change up my routine some days, so I have more on my Workouts Play List if you want to check them out!

This workout works for me, but you should always contact your doctor before you start an exercise routine!


Homemade Fresh Salsa Recipe

by Lynn on February 21, 2012

I love serving fresh salsa. I used to eat it on chips or crackers, now I eat it with salads or sliced veggies. However you want to eat it fresh homemade salsa beats the stuff you buy in the jar at the grocery store every time!

It’s easy to make, I usually give everything a rough chop, then throw it in the food processor. The salsa is delicious any time of the year, but it’s extra yummy during the summer when tomatoes are in season and you can pick them straight from the garden!

Homemade Fresh Salsa

  • 3-4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 banana pepper
  • 2 hot peppers (Jalapeno, Pueblo, Habanera, your choice and heat)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • cilantro (optional)
  • 1 small onion

Give everything a coarse chop, then feed it all together into a food processor. Refrigerate the salsa when you’re done to let all the flavors blend together. This salsa is actually even better after a couple hours when the flavors are all melded together.

Serve with veggie sticks or over a taco salad with ground beef/turkey, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and avocado. Yum! I like to make a batch regularly to keep on hand in the refrigerator for a quick snack or lunch.

Beware! This salsa is addicting, once you start, it’s hard to stop.

You can also throw all your vegetables on the grill for a few minutes before you chop them to bring out some extra flavor.




Tropical Berry Smoothie Recipe

by Lynn on September 25, 2010

I start every morning with a yummy fresh fruit smoothie. I’ve been taking some photos lately so I can share the recipes here. First up is the smoothie I had just this morning for breakfast. It’s a blend of mixed berries, with pineapple, peaches, and my favorite smoothie staple, banana.

Here’s the recipe:

Tropical Banana Smoothie

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 large peach, or 2 smaller peaches
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or agave (optional)
  • about a handful of ice (more or less to get your desired consistency)

Throw everything in the blender and hit the button. Blend until everything is creamy smooth. Pour and drink, it’s that easy!

This recipe will make enough smoothie to fill two large glasses, so you can share a glass or keep them both for yourself.

I used to make excuses that I didn’t have time for a healthy breakfast, but smoothies take less than 10 minutes to make from start to finish. I rinse the blender cup out right away, and it’s ready to go again the next morning.

I used to sweeten my smoothies with a little agave or honey, but now I usually don’t add any sweetener at all. It’s up to you.


Thoughts on the Biggest Loser Season 10

by Lynn on September 24, 2010

I’ve never really watched The Biggest Loser. I’ve sat down and watched bits and pieces of shows when I came across it channel surfing, but I’ve never watched a whole episode, let alone a whole season.

Over the summer I’ve become a Jillian Michaels fan. I’ve read a couple of her books, and I own 30 Day Shred (review coming soon). This last Tuesday was the season premiere of The Biggest Loser’s 10th season. I made sure I was there to watch. Let me tell you it definitely brought tears to my eyes seeing all those people so desperate to lose weight, and not able to do it.

I’ve been there! For quite a few years I watched the scales go up and up and up. I tried several different diet plans, and some crazy fad diets. Nothing really worked until I decided I wanted it badly enough.

This spring when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure I decided that was it. I was going to learn to fuel my body and eat healthy. So far it’s been a 6 month journey, but I’m coming up on 50 pounds lost, and I have more energy than I did in my twenties.

I was heartbroken when I saw some of the contestants being cut before they even made it to the Biggest Loser Ranch. How frustrating it must have been for them! I hope they get motivated and lose the weight anyway on their own.

From the previews of next weeks show it sounds like a couple of them may still make it on the show. I think I’m hooked. I’m sure I’ll be tuning in again next Tuesday to see what happens next, and maybe learn a little more about a healthy diet and fitness myself.


Try New Foods To Broaden Your Taste Buds

by Lynn on September 23, 2010

I’ve completely overhauled my diet in the last 5 to 6 months, and completely changed the way I think about food in the process. I try to eat everything as close to it’s natural state as I can, unprocessed, or minimally processed and raw whenever possible.

I have to say, it’s made a huge difference in my weight, my health, and my energy levels! I wish I would have started way sooner. I’m positive I’ll never go back to my old way of eating.

One of the things I’ve done since I had my major diet overhaul is to be more open to trying new things. I’ve found some new favorite fruits and vegetables along the way, and some new fabulous recipes to add to my recipe box.

Many American diets (and diets around the world) are based on a few foods people eat over and over, and many of those foods have been processed to pieces. That seems kind of boring if you ask me. I star-fruit-397233_7243would like to challenge you to broaden your taste buds and try at least one new food each week, or if that’s too hard try one new food each month.

Trying new foods can add variety to your diet, and improve your nutrition. Over the next several weeks I’m going to try a new food each week, then come back here and tell you all about it. I’m challenging you to do the same.

Recently I’ve tried fresh ginger (I’ve always used the dried ginger before). I’ve been using figs and dates to make tasty desserts, instead of processed sugar. I also had tomatillos, which I’ve had before, but it’s been so long ago I forgot how they tasted.

Star fruit is on my list of foods to try. I’ve always wanted to try them, but I’ve never taken a star fruit home from the grocery store. Maybe I’ll give them a try this week.

What foods would you like to try, but haven’t been brave enough to taste yet?

Image via


What Foods Do You Avoid?

by Lynn on June 23, 2010

I was just reading an article over at the Healthy Eats Blog at The Food Network: 14 Foods Experts Don’t Eat. I agree with most of them, and a few really made me think.

I thought I’d put together a quick list of foods that I avoid for one reason or another. Here are my top 10:

  1. Artificial sweeteners~ I know there’s no proof that they’re bad for you, but doesn’t artificial say it all? It’s not natural, so why put it in your body, plus I’ve never tasted an artificial sweetener that didn’t have a yucky aftertaste, or that made the food taste as good as real sweeteners do. If’ I’m going to splurge on something sweet I want sweet!
  2. Bottled salad dressings, especially fat free salad dressings. I used to use bottled salad dressing, then I started reading labels! There are so many ingredients in the stuff that I can’t even pronounce! Plus it’s super simple to make your own with a few ingredients.
  3. Frozen dinners~ Yes they’re super simple to heat up for a quick meal, but they’re also super loaded with salt and other not so good for you ingredients.
  4. MSG~ Gives me a royal headache, and sends me into a depression, enough said!
  5. Wheat is on my avoid list, because of an intolerance. I used to love anything wheat, but it didn’t love me! When I eat wheat it slows down my metabolism, and gives me a royal case of heartburn among other things.
  6. Hydrogenated oils, they’re not good for you, and they’re definitely not found in nature!
  7. High fat meats~ Can you say clogged arteries?
  8. Packaged ice cream~ Again full of ingredients I can’t pronounce.
  9. Tomatoes in January~ Because you know they had to travel half way around the world!
  10. Hot dogs~ Just not much good to say about them!

What foods are on your avoid list?


Do You Watch Your Salt?

by Lynn on June 5, 2010

I’ve never really had a problem with high blood pressure during my 43 years, but a month or so ago I was having a pain on my right side, and some killer heartburn. I decided to have it checked out, and found out I had high blood pressure.

I thought I read labels and ate fairly healthy, but once I started paying attention to the sodium in the food I ate I was shocked! I found out I was eating over double the recommended daily allowance of salt!

Salt is in almost everything processed, and it’s extremely hard to find low or no sodium alternatives for most foods. And have you ever read the sodium in the nutrition information at your favorite restaurant? Most are through the roof! Many entrees are all of your sodium for the day and more! Even most salads are over a thousand milligrams of salt, and that doesn’t even include the dressing!

I started tracking my sodium in a journal, along with my food intake. It was a huge eye opener.

I’m now reading labels for the sodium content as soon as I pick them up off the grocery shelf. The outside aisle of the grocery store is of course also the lowest in sodium. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and fish are all low in sodium or sodium free. Do watch your meats, some can sneak some added salt in there.

So what are the biggest sodium offenders?

  • Condiments, salad dressings and marinades~ They’re created to add flavor to your food, so of course that innocent ketchup, mustard, and Italian dressing is loaded with flavor enhancing salt.
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, Brats, cold meat, and ham are loaded with sodium, just check out the label. You can find low sodium hot dogs if you look hard.
  • Soups are a huge offender, so are those canned pastas like ravioli, and spaghetti.
  • Frozen dinners and pizzas, some have almost half your sodium for the day.
  • Many baked goods have a surprisingly high amount of sodium.

The journal has helped me to pay attention to my sodium, and I’m happy to say with cutting the sodium, and stepping up the healthy fruits and vegetables, cutting back on processed food my blood pressure is coming back down! I’m really hoping to get back off of the blood pressure medicine. Only time will tell.

Another positive side affect? When I cut the sodium I dropped about 5 lbs within a couple days! I’m fairly sure it was all water I was holding from all the salt I ate. But still woot!

I’ll be back to share some of my favorite low sodium recipes!


Are you taking full advantage of the fresh local foods available in your area? Better yet are you growing your own spring fruits and vegetables?

Here are a few yummy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season during May, and early June. Some of these will last through the summer, but the early spring growth is the best!

  • Salad greens
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Strawberries
  • Onions
  • Snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Spring blooms add color and flavor to your salads, try violets, or dandelions.

Many cool weather crops are fabulous right now. Take full advantage of these in season fruits and vegetables by finding them at local farmers markets, and garden stands for lower prices. You’ll get fresh from the garden flavor, and you’ll be helping your local economy.


Healthy Eating Habits For Children

by Lynn on May 12, 2010

A while back I had the opportunity to do an interview with Susan Burke March from Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally. I was actually interviewing her for some healthy entertaining ideas for one of my other blogs, but we also chatted a little about children and how to help them develop healthy eating habits.

She shared several wonderful ideas to help children develop healthy eating habits. Susan’s believes one of the most important things parents should do is demonstrate healthy eating to their children, and set a good example themselves by eating healthy foods. They should also set a healthy example by having a regular exercise plan. It’s just like anything else in life, leading by setting a good example yourself can go a long way towards raising healthy children.

Here are some ways Susan shared to help children develop a healthy way to deal with eating:

  • When we use portion control and eat healthy ourselves we’re teaching our children to do the same. Large portions of “bad” (high fat, high calorie, low nutrition) food on a regular basis teaches your children to do the same.
  • Make “treats” a treat. Don’t keep treats in the house, make them for special occasions only.
  • Home food is good food. Cooking food at home can be a healthy way to show your kids how to eat.
  • Make it fun, let your children help prepare the meal by mixing, and measuring. Make it a fun family time.
  • Let your children help read the ingredient label. They’ll learn what to look for. Have fun with it, make it a game.

Making Weight Control Second Nature also has some delicious recipes inside. Tonight my son and I made a Chocolate Banana Frosty, and it turned out delicious! I’ll be back to share the recipe!

You can find Susan’s book Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally
at major bookstores, and online at, and I want to note that I was sent a review copy of this book to check out, and I’ve had a great time doing just that. All the opinions here are mine.


10 Healthy Pantry Changes

by Lynn on April 22, 2010

There are many changes we can make when we decide we want to live a healthy lifestyle, one of the biggest changes we can make is to the food we stock in our kitchen and pantry. If your pantry is loaded with quick unhealthy snacks, then that’s what you’ll grab when you get hungry and your in a hurry, guaranteed!

If you want to get healthy you have to start by going through the food you have now and getting rid of foods that don’t fit your healthy lifestyle. Donate them, throw them out, give them to friends, whatever you have to do, just get them out of the house.

Here are ten changes you can make to your pantry (and refrigerator) to help you stick to your healthy eating plans.

1. Stock foods that are as close to nature as you can. The less processing the better. Natural foods are generally healthier for you. For example whole grains, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. It will take less of these foods to satisfy your hunger. Stay away from processed foods.

2. If it has ingredients in it you can’t read, don’t buy it, your body’s probably never heard of it either.

3. Replace sugar substitutes, and refined sugars with evaporated cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey.

4. Buy organic whenever your budget will allow.

5. Buy as close to the producer as possible. The recent salmonella scares are a good example of why it’s good to know the source of your food. Go check out your local farmers market, ask them if they grew their produce, if not where did it come from?

6. Read those labels before you buy, this ties back to number 2. Read the label on everything you put in your pantry. Then you’ll know how much fat, and how many calories, versus vitamins and fiber you’re putting into your body. Make this an automatic habit when you add something to your cart.

7. Keep your pantry stocked with healthy foods. When my pantry and refrigerator are stocked with healthy choices I’m less likely to go to the grocery on a whim, or order out. When the cupboards are bare, I’ll tend to run out to the grocery, or local fast food place to find something quick to eat.

8. All oils are not created equally. Again check the label and avoid anything with hydrogenated oils, or saturated fats. Stock your pantry with polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated oils such as olive oil, or canola oil. Expeller pressed is best because the oil is produced without harsh chemicals.

9. Avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Again I say read the label on everything you buy. Corn syrup is a cheap sweetener, but it doesn’t do much for your body. Manufacturers put it in everything from chips, to salad dressing.

10. What’s your best tip for keeping your pantry healthy? I know I didn’t cover everything. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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