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2016! New Year, New You

New Year, New You: Healthy Nutrition Hacks to Ring in 2016

Decorate your plate, trim the fat and more ways to ring in next year in optimal health.

Kidney beans in a bowl next to ingredients on a table.

Try your hand at roasted Brussels sprouts or a bean salad.

By + More

With the New Year steadily approaching, it’s time to take a look back at 2015. Did you hit your health goals? Are you getting close? It’s never too late to modify our eating, exercise and sleep patterns, especially around the holidays when an abundance of festive food makes its way into our kitchens, shows up unexpectedly at parties and lurks around office corners. The good news is you can still meet your 2015 health goals, have fun along the way and set yourself up for a new way of eating – and living – in the year to come.

Here are five ways to ring in optimal health in the New Year:

1. Decorate your plate: Aim for seven colors each day. Don’t forget to leave out your plate when you break out the bright and colorful holiday decorations this year. Prioritize dark leafy green salads and glazed carrots, or even try to find a way to get some deep purple beets in your next holiday potluck lineup. Seasonal pureed pumpkin, yams and sweet potatoes now make it easier than ever to sneak in immune-boosting beta-carotene. Be sure to keep this tradition going even after the lights and New Year’s noisemakers are put away.

2. Trim the fat: Embark on a new holiday tradition. Still ruminating over your Thanksgiving dinner?The good news is it’s never too late to start a new tradition that celebrates physical activity and the healthy basics – fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – at your next gathering. The secret to healthful trailblazing: Make it fun, and make it festive!

3. Call the shots: Create a precision eating plan. Keep a food diary, and write down what you eat, the serving sizes and how you feel after you eat specific foods. Which foods help you satiate hunger, and which ones ramp up your appetite? Plan accordingly, and stock up on those that keep hunger at bay.

4. Prepare in advance: Share your favorite recipes. We’ve all been to gatherings with foods that could derail our health and fitness goals. To avoid this situation, make a healthful pit stop along the way. Pick up a veggie platter, or if you like to cook, try your hand at roasted Brussels sprouts or a bean salad. Nobody will know if your next “meatloaf” is actually a lentil loaf, a mix of fiber-packed lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. And if they do, encourage them to have a slice and share the recipe.

5. Reset your mindset: Give it 21 days. Still need help fine-tuning your diet? Getting fit and healthy is everyone’s No. 1 goal this year, for good reason. It’s hard to prioritize our health when other demands – family, work, and the holidays – take center stage. The easiest way to make your health goals a reality, for 2015 and beyond, is to make reaching for disease-fighting foods a daily habit. It takes 21 days to begin to retrain our brains. After a few weeks, everything falls into place. With Jan. 1 right around the corner, now is the perfect time to kickstart your health into high gear. Don’t wait another day.

If you need to help, visit for recipes or to learn more about the link between diet and health.

  • Cameron Wells

    Cameron Wells, M.P.H., R.D., is a registered dietitian for the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Barnard Medical Center. With a background in disease prevention and passion for helping others, Ms. Wells guides clinical research studies, employee wellness programs and nutrition education initiatives at K-12 schools.

    Ms. Wells previously worked as a bariatric dietitian and enjoys helping others improve their health through diet education and lifestyle changes. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech in Human, Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, completed a Dietetic Internship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and recently earned a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in epidemiology from George Mason University.

Recharge, Rejuvenate and Renew

Recharge, Rejuvenate and Renew

Increased body toxins can occur as a result of things we consume, such as air, food, water and chemicals. Stress, anxiety, sadness and other emotions experienced by domestic violence survivors can also increase body toxins.

Mixed opinions on the impact of toxins and the importance of cleansing the body of toxins abound. However, some believe detoxification can recharge, rejuvenate and renew the mind, body and spirit, and play a role in a survivor’s restoration.

Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, one thing that isn’t debatable is that the healing process for a survivor should involve a personalized recovery plan. You should do what works best for you, and body cleansing—or detoxification—may be an option to explore.

When you hear about cleansing these days, it is often talked about in the context of a brief change in diet. While that works for some, there are other activities you can put into play to produce a more holistic experience to create improved balance, harmony and total well-being.

For Your Mind

Meditation. Research has shown that meditation can reduce levels of stress and promote well-being. The primary goal of meditation is to obtain inner peace, which can be achieved by learning to quiet your mind. If you are a beginner, you may want to try guided meditations—listening to a recorded voice that helps you visualize images in your mind to help you relax and quiet the chatter in your mind. This can also help you to eliminate unhealthy thoughts and feelings.

For Your Body

External cleansing. Due to the many chemicals used in soap and cosmetic products on the market today, look for those containing natural ingredients. What you put on your body is absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream. EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit organization that has a large database of consumer products which contain toxic ingredients. Research the ingredients in the products you are using.

Internal Cleansing. There are natural ways to do an internal body cleanse without having to purchase expensive products from health food stores or websites. The Livestrong Foundation notes that a diet that emphasizes certain foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, organic to limit pesticide exposure, and raw preparations to keep the fiber and nutrients intact) and eliminates others (e.g., caffeine, refined sugars and flours, alcohol, saturated fat and processed foods) can help achieve the objective. Also, it is important to drink plenty of water, which naturally cleanses the body.

For Your Spirit

Elements of Nature: Connecting with nature allows you to release stress. With summer upon us, it’s a good time to enjoy the outdoors. Water hydrates the body and cleanses it internally and externally. Consider submerging yourself in a nearby ocean, lake or river; participating in water sports; or just enjoy the tranquility each offers. Camping and hiking, or even something as simple as walking barefoot through the grass and feeling the coolness of the earth beneath your feet, can work.

When cleansing holistically, keep in mind that it is a process. Therefore you are not limited to the length of time you remain on a cleanse. You can practice these methods at your own pace to experience total well-being as you recover from the after-effects of abuse and live a happier, healthier life.

By Connie Sloane
Revitalization Coach

7 Habits of Fit People- Huffington Post

Edition: U.S.

7 Habits of Highly-Fit People

Posted: Updated:


Have you ever noticed how some people can train and stay fit, while others get stuck in an endless loop of weight loss and weight gain? As the daughter of gym owners, I’ve seen fitness fads come and go. As a yoga teacher myself, I’ve seen people start health regimes with zeal, only to fizzle out without realizing lasting results. But I’ve also seen people, year after year, improve their bodies. To find out what makes the difference I asked some of my favorite fitness icons for answers, and here’s what they had to say.

You can’t go from couch potato to Iron Man racing. At least not quickly. Yoga guru and author Sadie Nardini (The 21-Day Yoga Body, Random House), says a friend’s relationship advice inspired her fitness routine. “Don’t act like today is all you have,” the friend advised. “Assume 30 years.” For Nardini, that means making fitness part of her everyday life rather than trying to add yet another thing to the to-do list. “Make your fitness routine an organic part of your lifestyle,” she says. “Create each day (or so) around something healthy you can fit in without having to make sweeping changes. Start naturally. After work, go for a walk. Or do 20 minutes of yoga that challenges you without overwhelming your body. Increase if and when it feels possible, but allow yourself to look at the big picture, and take actions that will benefit [you for the long haul], not just the smaller moment at hand.”

Denise Mast, president of New York Adventure Racing Association, has been finding new fitness challenges since the 1990s. “Mix up what you’re doing,” Mast advises. “There’s so much out there. After years and years of running I discovered adventure racing. That got me into mountain biking and paddling. Now I do boot camp and obstacle races. Before you find you’re getting bored, find something else that interests you.”

Ann Marie Miller, a USA Cycling Level 2 Licensed Coach at Chelsea Piers, says that training for a goal or a specific date helps keep her training on track. “And you can monitor your progress along the way,” Miller says. “You don’t need to do a full Ironman triathlon or a marathon. Start with more attainable goals like a 5K Fun Run or Walk, a Sprint Triathlon or a Charity bike ride. Charity rides usually offer multiple distances, so you can choose the ride that’s the right length for you.”

Sometimes you need that extra kick. “I met someone who I had to work really hard to keep up with,” says Chelsey Magness, a professional acrobat. “I wanted to see how long it would take until [he was] working hard to keep up with me.” She says that training, playing and exploring together helps them stay fit as a couple, physically as well as mentally and emotionally.


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same is true of fitness. “Setting short-term goals allows you to stay motivated,” says former professional ice skater Jason Cotnoir. But he’s quick to add, “leave yesterday behind. Don’t let your past missteps affect your present. Many people get discouraged if they miss a workout or eat something they were trying to avoid. When this happens, people tend to feel like a failure [which] can quickly derail you from your goals. It’s important to know that you can only control what happens today!”

Whether you’re experienced or new to working out, a personal trainer can help you get results you never dreamed possible. “No matter who you are it’s easy to get in a rut,” says Robert L. Kirchner, my father, and owner of the Holiday Health and Racquet Club. “Celebrities and famous hire trainers to keep them motivated, so can you. You can hire a pro at any gym at just about any budget, and it will inspire your routine.”

This one’s mine. Homework is full of exercises, maybe that’s why the e-word makes me want to run screaming into the night. Yet I’ve exercised my whole life. Before discovering yoga, you’d find me at the gym under my headset, flipping through a magazine while riding a bike or climbing stairs. It wasn’t until I connected with something that was challenging physically and mentally that I became truly fit. That component was missing was, well, love. I had to love what I was doing, so I wasn’t so much exercising as getting to do that thing I couldn’t wait to do. Even when it was (is) hard.


Lisa L. Kirchner is working on her new memoir, Toward a Secret Sky. Her current book, Hello American Lady Creature, is out now.

What do trainers do to stay fit? Huffington Post

The Blog
Chris Freytag Headshot

Fitness Trainer Tricks to Get Fit

Posted: Updated:


I am often asked for my trainer tricks or what I do to get and stay fit. People ask what I do when the munchies strike, how often I work out, and if I ever indulge in adult beverages! The answer is YES, I do, but I live by the 80/20 rule. (Actually, I’m closer to the 90/10 rule.) I stick to healthy habits 90 percent of the time and allow for some indulgence 10 percent of the time. Here are some of the things I do regularly to stay fit.

Breakfast: For breakfast, I typically make a green smoothie with frozen banana and pineapple, almond milk, coconut extract, kale and spinach. I just stuff all of the ingredients in the blender. This smoothie has vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients. With all the greens, I’m loaded with energy!

Exercise: I am scheduled to teach seven classes per week. Since I travel so much, I usually end up teaching an average of five hours and I am lucky to have amazing coworkers who fill the gap. I’m an extrovert (can ya tell?) so group fitness has been a part of my exercise routine for more than 20 years. Every day I teach something different — kickboxing, strength training, cycle, yoga… I love to have a varied workout schedule. When weather permits in my cold state of Minnesota, I walk or jog outside, teach boot camps and bike. I love the warm weather, but once it turns around 40 degrees, I take it inside. Bottom line, I aim for an hour a day but often miss a day or two due to travel. I use my two-day rule: I never go more than two days in a row without exercise. I will run the stairs in an office building if I have to!!

Most tempting food: I love ice cream, but most of the time I will substitute it with Greek yogurt sweetened with Truvia, and I add dark chocolate chips, berries and walnuts.

For the munchies: When I really need to munch, I make popcorn because you can eat a lot for not many calories. I make six quarts and I can literally eat the whole thing. But even if you succumb to the whole thing, it’s only 500 calories, full of fiber and my kids usually wrestle some away from me. A grande egg nog latte is 500 calories and full of sugar and fat! I’d much rather have a whole bowl of popcorn. On a healthy note, I am a big veggies and hummus lover — my snack of choice.

Monitoring: I love my FitBit Flex armband because I can track my steps and see my levels of activity throughout the day. It’s Bluetooth compatible, and it syncs quickly with my phone to give me feedback on my activity levels, steps and sleep. It holds me accountable; I look forward to achieving my 10,000 steps a day. I love that you can change out the bracelet with different color options… fitness can be fashionable!

Cocktails: My drink of choice is red wine. A five-ounce glass typically has about 125 calories, much lower in calories than many other alcoholic beverages. (Some mixed cocktails can have up to 800 calories!) Red wine also has antioxidants, making it good for your heart. In the summer, we make homemade margaritas. The juice of real limes and a little simple syrup (mix sugar and water). Add triple sec and tequila… way lighter than adding a sugary pre-made mix or tons of fruit juices. Liquid calories add up fast, so pay attention.

Parties: The most important rule for parties is to not go to them hungry. Don’t make the mistake of saving up your calories for the end of the day when you head to a party. It isn’t a smart strategy because when you are hungry your resolve for portion control goes out the window. Plus, you are setting yourself up to eat more than you should if you go to a party thinking you sacrificed all day so you can really indulge. I always make sure to eat normally the day of a party, and then my trick for parties is to only fill my plate up once with my favorite appetizers and then I stop eating.

Water: I love my LifeFactory water bottle to drink water throughout the day. It’s easy and convenient and cuts back on all the plastic going to landfills. Glass is also the perfect container for adding fresh sliced fruit to your water also.

Attitude: I am a big believer in having a positive attitude and positive thoughts. Your thoughts determine how you feel and often determine what you can accomplish. As Napoleon Hill once said, “What your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals.

Be prepared: It’s always good to keep healthy snacks on you — especially if your schedule is crazy. I make apple cinnamon energy bars and freeze them so they are easy to grab on the go.

Adapt some of these healthy habits in your routine, and you will reap the rewards.

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Food Journal


Food Journal


Market to Market Relay Race – CIAC Team

CIAC will have a team to run in the Market to Market Relay race on May 9, 2015.  We still need two team members, if you, family or friends want to join us!

Iowa Market to Market® Relay


Jefferson to Des Moines
Saturday May 9th, 2015

Market to Market® Relay Iowa | One Day Team Running Relay

The Market to Market® Relay is what Iowa runners are talking about! A team running relay from Jefferson to Des Moines, the Market to Market® Relay Iowa covers 75 miles over 17 stages on a scenic and varied course. Join 6 of your closest pals, hop in a van, run, rest and repeat. The course follows the Raccoon River Valley Trail System, paved streets, and gravel back roads through a diverse and scenic slice of west central Iowa. Combine the running with outrageous costumes, memorable van rides, and a lively Post-Race Shindig & Expo in downtown Des Moines and it all adds up to 1 unforgettable day. This is one running event you won’t want to miss. Capacity is limited to only 300 teams. Register before it sells out!