START THE YEAR OFF RIGHT
Happy New Year from Northwestern Medicine Executive Health! It's a great time to take stock of your lifestyle and think about small ways in which you might get even healthier this year! To that end, we're sharing two of our favorite healthy recipes to try; a new, quick high-intensity circuit workout to do when you're pressed for time; and some quick mindfulness exercises to practice. We look forward to seeing you in 2015!
Steamed Halibut and Asparagus in Parchment
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1½ pounds small red potatoes, sliced about ¼ inch thick
4, 6 oz. halibut fillets, skin removed
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Parchment paper, cut into 8, 15-by-15 inch sheets
Heat oven to 400ºF. Divide 4 of the parchment paper sheets between 2 baking sheets. (The paper sheets may overlap slightly.) Place ¼ of the potatoes in the center of each sheet. Rinse the halibut fillets and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the fillets on top of the potatoes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the tarragon, scallions, and asparagus. Drizzle with the oil. Top with the remaining parchment paper sheets and fold the edges over several times to seal.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Although you can’t check for doneness, this is ample time for the fish and potatoes to cook through. To serve, place each packet on a plate and cut open.
Calories 384, Fat 8g (1g saturated fat), Protein 42 g, Fiber 6g. Recipe from Real Simple
Grilled Chicken with Curried Couscous, Spinach, and Mango
Ingredients (Serves 4)
5 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. thinly sliced shallot
1 tsp. curry powder
3 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6oz. each)
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 small firm-ripe mango, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 oz. baby spinach (2 lightly packed cups)
Prepare a medium (375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in an 8-inch skillet over low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the vinegar and 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Coat the chicken with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill the chicken, flipping once, until well-marked and cooked through (165°F), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest.
Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water with 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Put the couscous in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil and toss with your hands to coat the couscous. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, stir, and cover. Let stand 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Toss with 3 Tbs. of the vinaigrette, the mango, almonds, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss the spinach with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly.
Divide the couscous among 4 plates. Top with the spinach, the chicken, and a drizzle of the remaining vinaigrette.
Calories 640, Fat 29g (4g saturated fat), Protein 44g, Fiber 9g. Recipe from Fine Cooking
15 MINUTE CARDIO SCULPT
If you are short on time but still want an efficient workout to blast fat and sculpt muscle, then circuit training is the answer. This 15-minute circuit really packs a punch while maximizing caloric expenditure and keeping your metabolic rate elevated long after you’ve stopped working out. Focus on your form throughout the workout and take breaks when you need to. You will get stronger and faster the more you do this workout, so take the time to do it right! Be sure to start the following workout with 3-5 minutes of dynamic movement prep such as hip swings, high knee marching, jumping jacks and arm circles. As always, cool down by foam rolling and stretching.
Mountain Climbers: 30 seconds
Get into a push-up position (arms straight) with the balls of your feet on the floor. Lift your right knee straight up towards your right arm, then back down. Repeat with your left knee to left arm for 30 seconds.
Squats: 40 seconds (with or without dumbbells)
Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower body by pushing hips back and bending knees. Pause, then push back to the starting position and repeat, keeping weight in heels, not toes, during the entire movement.
Inch worms with push-ups: 30 seconds
Start in a standing position. Reach down as though you are going to do a standing hamstring stretch. Walk out with your hands until you reach plank / push-up position. Keeping core engaged and back flat, perform a push-up. Walk back to the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds. Rest: 30 seconds
Inverted Flyers: 30 seconds
With the right foot planted on the ground, lift the left knee to hip height. Bend the elbows to ninety degrees. As you raise the left knee, swing the right arm forward and the left arm back.
Continue to brace the abdominals to keep the torso rigid and the spine straight. Lean forward on the right hip as you extend the left hip behind you. At the same time, reach the right arm forward and the left elbow back.
Keep the right foot firmly planted into the ground to maintain balance and stability. To help maintain balance, find a spot on the floor and fix your gaze on that spot. When you have reached what you feel is your end range-of-motion while balanced on your right leg, fully straighten the left elbow, keeping the arm at shoulder height. At the same time straighten the knee straight back to create full hip extension. Point the toes of the left foot toward the wall behind you in order to move into full extension of the left hip. Maintain abdominal bracing to ensure balance and stability. Try to keep the hips level. Do not let the left hip drop towards the floor or lift upward.
Keep the abdominals engaged as you return to an upright, standing position. Repeat this movement for 30 seconds.
Change sides and repeat for 30 seconds.
Glute Bridge: 45 seconds
Lay on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal and glut muscles. Raise your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your gluts and try to pull your belly button back toward your spine. The goal is to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Slowly lower your hips, letting your lower back touch the ground but not your butt. Repeat.
Forward Lunges: 45 seconds
Stand with your feet together. Engage your abdominal/core muscles and step forward with one leg. As you step forward into the lunge, focus on a downward movement of your hips toward the floor.
Avoid driving your hips forward. This will help control the forward movement of your shinbone over your foot.
Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor. Keep the back straight.
Push off with the front leg, activating both your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position.
Rest: 30 seconds
Bear Crawls: 30 seconds
Get down in an all fours position, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Rise up onto your hands and feet and crawl forwards and backwards as fast as you can.
Crunches: 30 seconds
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and heels about a foot from your hips. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
Exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Nod your chin slightly as you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat. Pull your rib cage together and toward your pelvis. Keep the neck relaxed. Your feet, tailbone and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the mat. Hold this position briefly.
Gently inhale and lower your torso back toward the mat slowly and with control
Jump and Reach: 30 seconds
Gently inhale and lower your torso back toward the mat slowly and with control.
Shift your hips back and down. Continue to lower yourself until you feel your heels about to lift off the floor. Try to maintain a flat back by bending forward at the hips.
With ONLY a very brief pause at the bottom of your downward phase, reach your arms behind you to prepare to jump.
Swinging the arms forward and up will help upward momentum of the jump. Explode up through your lower body, fully extending your hips, knees and ankles. Shoot your arms forward and up in the air, reaching overhead. As you jump into the air, keep your feet level with each other and parallel to the floor.
Extend all the way through the body to create a straight line from your toes up through your arms and out of your hands. Try to land softly and quietly on the mid-foot, rolling into the heels. Do not lock out your knees on your landing.
Side plank: 20 seconds/side (40 seconds total)
Lie on your right side on an exercise mat with your legs straight and the left leg stacked directly on top of the right. Bend the right elbow and place it directly under your shoulder. Align your head with your spine and keep your hips and right knee in contact with the exercise mat.
Exhale, keep the abdominals engaged to brace your spine. Lift your hips and knees off the mat. The side of your right foot stays in contact with the mat. Keep your head aligned with your spine and your right elbow positioned directly under your shoulder.
Inhale and gently return to your starting position.
After 15 seconds, repeat on the other side.
Rest: 30 seconds and REPEAT
"If you are depressed, you live in the past. If you are anxious, you live in the future. If you are at peace, you live in the present."—Lao Tzu
Mindfulness is a practice in awareness, namely, awareness of the present. Once obscure and esoteric, it is now widely regarded as a healthy and effective stress management strategy, adopted in business, education, and medicine across the country and around the world.
We can begin and practice anytime, just by taking one deep breath and noticing. Here are some tips on getting your mindfulness practice going:
Try to avoid judging your sensations and emotions; mindfulness invites us to simply notice and *be*—be with things the way they are, without judgment.
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