Seasonal 10 Day Detox

Summer’s now in full swing and so is my seasonal 10-Day Detox with 10 brave and awesome Wellness Warriors! My guided system reset isn’t a starve yourself detox that makes food the enemy, it’s a program to help people redefine their relationship with food. Over the course of 10 days participants learn to listen to their body, strip away the junk and walk away revitalized and more in control of their cravings. It’s a healthy dose of empowerment!

Blueberry Beet Detox Smoothie

Interested in a future detox? Whether you live nearby in D.C. or across the ocean, shoot me an email at moarfit@gmail.com for more information.

Lights, Camera…TLC Sunday Brunch!

A few weeks ago, producers for a new TLC show (TLC Sunday Brunch) approached me to be their on air “Health Expert,” sharing several of my MOARfit recipes with viewers alongside the lovely and talented Ereka Vetrini. I could barely contain my excitement despite my best efforts to play it cool. I must say it was kind of a dream come true.

Way back in middle school me and one of my best friends, Jenna, used to do cooking shows for our families or whoever else would stomach our babbling and “creations.” My culinary skills weren’t exactly expert at the time, but both Jenna and I have grown up to work with food and feeding people in our own various ways. Never in a a million years did I imagine, however, that I’d be on TV telling people about my recipes and spreading the good word about how easy, affordable and fun healthy cooking can be.

My brief segments will air today, Sunday, July 27th and next Sunday, August 3rd between 12:00-1:00pm. Get your DVR ready to go! And I just might be filming a few more segments around yoga and mind/body wellness so stay tuned for more info on that!

Here are some photos from my very very cool day:

photo 5

Lights, camera, ACTION. We got to work in my dream kitchen – a HUGE island with tons of counter space and a light, airy vibe.

Amy Rizzotto_TLC Sunday Brunch_Makeup

I got the full treatment with a hair stylist, Daryl, and makeup artist – her name is escaping me but she was so gorgeous and practices yoga and meditation so she’s my kind of chick! I can’t thank them enough for making me look purdy!

P.S. I had those curlers in for nearly 4 hours and was walking around like Betty Draper in my apron and full makeup.

TLC Sunday Brunch_Makeup

I had serious makeup arsenal envy after getting dolled up. A trip to Sephora might be in my near future.

Amy Rizzotto_TLC Sunday Brunch_Headshot

The finished product! They did good, no? If only my hair could look that good every day…

TLC Sunday Brunch_Branded Apron

I even got to rock one of their cute TLC Sunday Brunch aprons. Thank goodness for stylist, Pascale’s handiwork in tweaking it to fit my petite frame!

TLC Sunday Brunch_MOARfit Strawberry Balsamic Tart

Speaking of stylists, my food even had a stylist. Actually, make that two! My Strawberry Balsamic Tart never looked so good.

TLC Sunday Brunch_Crew

A great big THANK YOU to the cast and crew who included me in this wonderful experience and made me feel so welcome and comfortable for my first TV appearance. I don’t know how they do it but they’re amazing!

How to FUEL your body for optimal athletic performance: Part 2

Last week, we kicked off my three part series on how to fuel your body for optimal athletic performance by discussing pre-race nutrition. This week we’ll talk about the ever-confusing subject of what to eat during a long training workout or endurance event. Experiment with different options before running your marathon, cycling your century, or attempting a triathlon to find what foods work best with your body chemistry. Again, remember that fuel should be a balance of nutrients, energy (calories), taste, digestion, budget and convenience.

Nutrition for Athletes Workshop with Amy Rizzotto of MOARfit

How to FUEL your body for optimal athletic performance: Part 2 – What to eat during your training workout or endurance event

(Adapted from The Thrive Diet, by Brendan Frazier)

1. Consume mostly liquid or easy-to-digest foods like gels. Solid food takes more energy and blood to digest than liquid, leaving you with less fire for movement and power. Solid food is also more likely to cause intestinal distress, which can ruin a race. Except for ultra-endurance events, skip the solids. Natural, homemade options to try are:

  • 10 oz of coconut water blended with 1 small banana (hello electrolytes!).
  • 10 oz of water, 2 Tbs maple syrup or honey, and 1 Tbs chia seeds,
  • 2 dates squished up with 1 Tbs of your favorite natural nut butter.

2. For all workouts, take in 4-6 oz of water every 10-20 min. Your goal is to replace most of what you lose in weight, so if you want to get precise, you can figure out what you lose during a standard workout and drink the exact amount you need to replace it. This is a good rule of thumb if you don’t want to go through the trouble. Tip: taking big gulps helps water clear the stomach faster, so if you don’t like that sloshing feeling, chug. Also, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Stay ahead of dehydration by taking every opportunity to ingest water, even if it’s just a little bit here and there.

3. Get 500 milligrams of sodium with every 16 oz you drink. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, and that puts you at risk for hyponatremia if you hydrate without replacing them. For those of you making your own drinks and gels, 500 milligrams is a little less than the amount in a quarter teaspoon of salt.

4. For workouts and races lasting over an hour (and up to 4 or 5 hours), you need 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. You can find where you fit in that range by dividing your body weight in pounds by 4 to get a minimum hourly carbohydrate requirement, in grams. You can give your body what it needs with a sports drink or a combination of energy gel and water. A little bit of protein, in a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio, may help minimize muscle damage during endurance events.

5. For anything lasting much more than 5 hours, the nutrition focus shifts to fat, with a smaller amount of carbohydrate. 

Check back next week for what to eat after a long training workout or endurance event.

How to FUEL your body for optimal athletic performance: Part 1

Training for a half marathon, full marathon, ultra marathon, century ride, tournament, duathlon or triathlon? In this three part series, you’ll learn how to fuel your body for optimal athletic performance. As a certified sports nutrition and performance coach, I’ll share advice on how to fuel before, during and after your workout or endurance event. Experiment with different options before race day to find what foods work best for you. Keep in mind, fuel should be a balance of nutrients, energy (calories), taste, digestion, budget and convenience. There is no one size fits all, so play around, do your research, try it out and be open to change.

Nutrition for Athletes MOARfit Amy Rizzotto

How to FUEL your body for optimal athletic performance: Part 1 – Pre-Workout Nutrition

(Adapted from The Thrive Diet, by Brendan Frazier)

1. Consume carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio; and include a little healthy fat. Depending on how quickly you digest, try eating 30 grams of healthy, complex carbs (whole grains, vegetables and fruits) and 10 grams of protein 2-3 hours before a workout or competition.  If you’ve only got an hour, try half that amount.  If you’re timed crunched, try blending 1 tablespoon hemp protein powder, 1 medjool date (pitted) and 8-oz of unsweetened almond milk. Adding 1 teaspoon of a healthy oil, such as flaxseed or coconut oil, helps slow digestion so your body can absorb fat soluble vitamins and deliver nutrients where they need to go. Coconut oil is ideal for workouts because the liver treats it like glucose (a carbohydrate and your body’s go-to for fast fuel).

2. Include high GI carbs for energy now and complex, non-starchy carbs for later. As noted before, glucose is your body’s go-to for fast-acting fuel. In your favorite pre-workout drink try using one or two dates (glucose) as the high-GI (glycemic index) carb for instant-energy and a couple teaspoons of agave nectar (fructose) for slower energy release. Avoiding high starch foods like bagels is important pre-workout. To convert starch into quick-working fuel your body has to work, and during a workout you want all available energy directed toward movement, not digestion.

3. If you’ll sweat during a workout lasting over an hour, you need lots of electrolytes. Lack of electrolytes can lead to “bonking”—or hitting a wall—and, in rare occurrences, can be fatal for endurance athletes. Hyponatremia is the condition of having too much water and not enough sodium (an electrolyte) in your system. Lots of sodium is lost through sweat so you should take in electrolytes during any high-intensity workout lasting more than an hour. Coconut water contains electrolytes as do most sports drinks and gels, however these often contain a lot of added sugar and preservatives. You can proactively replace electrolytes by adding a little salt or dulse powder to your pre-workout drink – just make sure you experiment first. If it tastes gross to you and you won’t drink it, it’s not the right option for you.

4. Consider caffeinating for improved performance. Caffeine is one of the only ergogenic aids that has been proven to significantly improve performance in endurance events and workouts.  It’s not for everyone and is not something you should rely on for every workout because doing so will result in increased adrenal fatigue and slower recovery. You can, however, experiment with adding caffeine to a pre-workout smoothie/drink by replacing the liquid component with brewed yerba mate or tea.  For the coffee lovers, you can drink a cup of black coffee (dairy is hard to digest so try to avoid it), but that can be tough on both your intestines and adrenal glands so be sure to test it out well before race or competition day.

5. Add health-boosting superfoods to go the extra mile. While the above guidelines should be enough to give your workout a serious jumpstart, you can make your pre-workout drinks even better with the addition of a few superfoods. Chia seeds contain omega-3s which reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function, and your body will absorb them in either whole or ground form. Chia seeds have a very high fiber content, so be careful not to overdo it and give your body proper time to digest. Maca powder is loaded with energy metabolism-enhancing B vitamins and is great for helping the adrenal glands recover from the stress of a workout. Other options to explore are acai, goji berries, spirulina, chlorella, ground flaxseed, etc.

Check back next week for what to eat during a long training workout or endurance event.

Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

Sugar is not the devil, but it’s no secret that most of us overindulge in it – sometimes without even realizing. In moderation, sugar can (and likely will) be included in a healthy diet. The problem is that most of us get our sugar from processed foods like candies, cookies and soda. True, homemade treats aren’t necessarily as convenient as store-bought, but 9 times out of 10 they’re better for you and your family. These Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies take it to the ‘alternative’ extreme of gluten-free and vegan, but even a homemade batch of buttery chocolate chip cookies is a healthier options than Chips Ahoy. Take baby steps first if you’re kicking a processed sugar habit before making your way to the wild side of chia seeds and raw coconut sugar in your baked goods. For those of you that are already on the natural foods path, these cookies are a tasty treat that you can get away with eating for breakfast every now and again. That’s right, chocolate for breakfast.

Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

{makes 12 cookies}

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium banana (really ripe)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 Tbs almond butter
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 oz 100% cocoa dark baking chocolate
  • 2 Tbs coconut palm sugar (or 1 Tbs raw cane sugar)
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 2 Tbs dried, unsweetened cherries (optional)
  • 2 Tbs unsweetened, finely shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix until smooth. In the same bowl (no need to make two messy for this one), add your dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  3. Roll 1 Tbs of the mixture into 1″ balls and place onto prepared baking sheet, using your finger to press down the center of each one. Make sure there’s at least 1″ of space between each cookie.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container counter-top for up to a week, in the fridge for up to two, or in the freezer for up to three months.

 

Recent Events: Fueling Amazing with Athleta and Nutrition for Athletes with Off Road Cycling

The first official weekend of summer was jam-packed with fun. Not only was I at the studio (Yoga Heights) more than usual with my business partner getting some well-deserved R&R, but I had one MOARfit event each day to make it extra special.

First up – Fueling Amazing with Athleta Georgetown:

I had such an awesome group of yogis Saturday, June 21 for the Athleta Summer Solstice celebration down on The Labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park.

Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta 2

More than 25 people braved the temperamental weather and didn’t let a few rain drops during our sun salutations dampen the fun. Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta

A great big THANK YOU to everyone that came out for the event and to Athleta for including me as their teacher for this powerful group!
Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta 3

Stay in the know on future FREE Athleta Georgetown events by following them on Twitter @Athleta_DC. And while you’re at it, follow me @MOARfit! #fuelingamazing

To cap off the weekend – Nutrition for Athletes at Off Road:

Nutrition for Athletes MOARfit Amy Rizzotto

A fit-fabulous group of 15 runners (and some cyclists) came out to Off Road Indoor Cycling Sunday, June 22 for my Nutrition for Athletes Workshop. We covered pre-, during and post-race nutrition, all the while sampling delicious granola from my girl Alicia at Greenheart Wellness and smoothies concocted by yours truly.

Greenheart Wellness

Keep checking the blog for a little fit-focused nutrition knowledge coming your way in July!

Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers

After a weekend of eating way more meat than usual (ballpark franks – go Nationals! – and barbecue), I decided it was high time for a Meatless Monday recipe. I love making homemade veggie burgers because you’re in charge of what goes in, and what stays out. My Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers are loaded with plant-based protein (1 cup of lentils has 20 grams), iron, zinc and antioxidant-rich veggies like asparagus and carrots. I used rolled oats in place of bread crumbs and gelled chia seeds instead of eggs to bind these beauties together, keeping the end result gluten-free and vegan.

Serve them over a bed of fresh mixed greens, some sliced fresh avocado and tomato, and kick it up with your favorite hot sauce for a simple, healthy supper or easy-to-pack lunch for those of you on the go. These would also be awesome for any vegetarians in need a Fourth of July BBQ alternative to burgers and hot dogs.

Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers

Black Rice and Lentil Burgers

{makes 6 patties}

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup asparagus, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds (soaked in 4 Tbs of water)
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Bring the rice to a boil with two cups of water. Reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. (Tip: Do this ahead and save time.)
  3. Cook the lentils in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the water is mostly absorbed.
  4. Add chia seeds to water and let stand for 15 minutes until they gel and thicken.
  5. Combine rice, lentils, chia seeds and add all the remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Take half the mixture and place it in a food processor, pulsing until it forms a thick paste. Add it back to the unprocessed mixture and kneed by hand until combined.
  7. Use a 1/2 cup dry measuring cup to scoop some of the mixture into your hands. Form patties with your hands, flattening on the top and bottom. Refrigerate for 30 min (or up to 24 hours).
  8. Place a heavy skillet over medium/high heat, add the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the patties and cook for 1-2 min on each side or until each side is firm and golden.
  9. Place in a baking dish in the oven for about 15-20 min.
  10. Serve immediately or let cool and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart with Mint

Two weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Gluten Free Pie Crust. On this Meatless Monday, it’s time to fill it!

With all the yummy fresh strawberries I’ve been receiving in my weekly From the Farmer basket, I couldn’t resist making a Strawberry Balsamic Tart. This sweet and savory treat is perfect for a summer night and easy to transport to a friend’s BBQ as long as you leave it in the pan. It’s on the healthier side of dessert so feel free to indulge guilt-free or perhaps break the rules and have it for breakfast!

Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart

Strawberry Balsamic Tart w Mint
What You’ll Need:

  • 1 recipe of Gluten Free Pie Crust
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp raw (or lavender-infused…) honey
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced) – or about 2 cups sliced
  • 5-10 mint leaves
How to Make It:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add balsamic to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by about half. Let cool and it should form into a nice syrup or “reduction.”
  3. Melt honey and add to the balsamic reduction. Stir to combine.
  4. Roll pie crust thin between two sheets of parchment paper. This doesn’t have to be perfect as you’ll press it into your pie dish or tart pan. Make sure you get all the way up to the edges and rim of the pan and spread the dough around evenly.
  5. In a large bowl, mix cut strawberries and balsamic/honey mix. Spread mixture evenly inside crust.
  6. Bake for 25-30 min or until the crust edges turn a nice golden brown. Remove and let cool 10-30 min. 
  7. Cut up mint leaves and sprinkle on top. Serve on its own or with a rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet.
Don’t forget, my readers receive 20% off their first 4 From the Farmer baskets with code ‘MOARfit’ at checkout!

Take Me to Church – Yoga Church

Taking class at Urban Flow in San Francisco yesterday was like going to church. A really really sweaty church. Communal voices. Offerings of goodwill. Intentions of universal interconnectedness. Close to 100 bodies filled the massive Mission Street studio for the talented Stephanie Snyder‘s creative, challenging and playful 90 minute flow class.

Urban Flow

As a teacher, I was trying to pay attention to her sequencing, listen to how she delivered her cues, and learn from her gifts, while simultaneously allowing myself to get lost in the breath and the movement. The first 75 minutes or so flew by and by the time I found myself resting gratefully in half pigeon as Hozier’s powerful Take Me to Church filled the room with spirit and soul, I was melting into my mat–in the absolute best of ways.

Urban Flow Student

I’m so lucky that taking an hour and a half for myself to go to a yoga class, immerse myself in the experience, and try and draw lessons from different teachers can be considered professional development. It had been way too long since I last did this and it reminded me of a few very important things.

I may be a teacher with things to share but more so I’m a student with SO much to learn.

True I know some things, valuable things, but in many ways I know nothing at all.

That’s the best part about this path. It never ends. There’s always growth. It will never be boring, and if I ever think it so, I’ve stopped seeking lessons and closed off to change. Every day is different and all I, or anyone, can ask of themselves is to show up, be open, and welcome whatever comes our way–the good, the not so good, and the divinely sweaty.

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Whether you are one of the estimated 3 million Americans living with Celiac Disease, have a known allergy or sensitivity, or are just curious to see how you might feel, making the switch to a gluten-free diet isn’t easy. Gluten hides in sneaky places like salad dressings, soups and even cosmetics. Beyond deciphering which food and beauty products are truly gluten-free, we all still want and need to enjoy life, and a big part of that big picture happiness is eating. That’s why one of my main nutrition counseling aims is to help those that want or need to be gluten-free learn how to shop and cook without sacrificing on flavor and enjoyment.

Let’s face it, life without bread, pancakes, pasta and most desserts would be pretty devastating for me and most people. Luckily, there is so much culinary creativity out there these days that you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it too. While I’m not tackling an actual cake in this post, I am bringing you the foundation of endless sweet treats: Gluten Free Pie Crust. This crust is light and flaky and can be made vegan by swapping coconut oil for butter. Fill it with your favorite seasonal fruit, a hint of healthy sugar (coconut palm sugar, agave, real maple syrup), a squeeze of lemon and some fresh herbs for a surprising and yummy twist and you’ll forget you’re eating something considered “alternative.”

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Gluten Free Pie Crust

What You’ll Need:
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or your preferred gluten-free flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup organic butter or coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp coconut palm sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
How to Make It:
  1. Soften butter or coconut oil in microwave until just melted.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add your liquid and mix again.
  3. Form into a ball and refrigerate for at least a half hour (you can also freeze this for up to 3 months).
  4. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator and place between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll it to desired thickness with a rolling pin. Drape the flattened dough over your preferred pie dish or tart pan. Don’t worry if the dough falls apart a bit, just press it into all corners and all the way up to the rim and make sure it’s distributed evenly so it cooks through.
  5. Bake at 400 F for 10 min on its own then reduce to 350 for another 35-40 min with your desired filling inside.