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The key to not packing on the pounds during the holidays is moderation! Here are some tips to keep your health and fitness goals on track:

  • Be sure to have a plan that incorporates fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out and/or eating healthy meals. Schedule your workout on the calendar and treat it like any other not-to-be-missed appointment.
  • If you can’t exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise to fit in. It’s much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.
  • On the day of a party, be sure to eat regularly during the day. If the party is in the evening, eat breakfast, lunch and a snack before hand (just as you would on any other day). An apple or other fruit is a great snack because it’s good for you and the water and fiber it contains, fill you up. Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you probably will find that you aren’t tempted to go overboard and eat everything in sight. However, if you starve all day long attempting to save up all your calories for the party, you will be so famished by the time it begins that you’ll most likely over-eat.
  • When at a party, start by eating some of the healthy offerings. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit, plain chicken strips, etc. Then, if you move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings, you’ll be less likely to overindulge on these foods since you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items.
  • On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up devoting 10 minutes, that’s still a lot better than nothing.
  • When presented with a large variety of food options, it’s tempting to want to eat everything. Rather than eating one large slice of chocolate cake or a huge plate of meatballs, select a sampling of bite size pieces of several of the desert or appetizer offerings. This way you get the enjoyment of trying many different foods without overeating.
  • Exercise at home. You can either use the BELLYTWINS exercise videos or maybe you have your own regimented routine. You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive.
  • Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve drunk the equivalent calories of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water. This will help cut your calories in half.
  • When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.
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VEGAN ACORN SQUASH BISQUE
Serves: 6Great on a cold December night!1 tablespoon oil – canola, extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil for nutty taste
1/3 cup finely chopped organic white (or yellow) onions
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 medium size acorn squashes (about 3 pounds)
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
stock: approximately 1 quart filtered water with � cup liquid aminos or for non-vegan, you can use chicken stock
2 tablespoons toasted acorn squash seeds, (optional)
rosemary – preferably fresh and organic (optional)1. Preheat oven to 350�F.
2. Pierce the squashes several times and cook over frying pan (or in the microwave on high power for 3 to 5 minutes) until the shell softens. Cut the squashes in half, scoop out the seeds and reserve them for making the Toasted Squash Seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Let cool. Reserve the juice on the baking sheet.
3. Scoop the pulp out of the squash skin with a spoon and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a deep saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add the squash pulp and “stock” and bring to a boil over high heat.
6. Reduce the heat and simmer until the onion and celery are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
7. After removing the bay leaf, puree the mixture in a blender. If you do it in batches, it’s easier not to overfill the blender.
8. Reheat the bisque. Add “stock” if it is too thick.
9. Serve hot, sprinkled with the Toasted Squash Seeds and rosemary.Serving Size: about 1/2 cup

CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

Add a touch of India to your turkey meal!

1 lb. cranberry sauce
1/4 – 1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped cashew or pistachio nuts (optional)
1/2 cup peeled, diced apple
1/4 cup raw sugar or pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon allspice and/or nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
dash nutmeg
very thin slice of fresh lemon peel

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size saucepan except nuts and lemon peel. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Add lemon peel and nuts, and cook another 5-10 minutes.

Serving Size: about 2 1/2 cups