Shaping Up for the New Year
Marissa GOULD, intern
It’s January, the start of a brand new year, and with the new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions vary: donate more to charity, quit smoking and save money to name a few. For those interested in getting in shape, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the Crescenta-Cañada area.
For those wanting to break a sweat in a fun way while harkening back to their school days, the YMCAs in Tujunga and La Cañada now feature adult dodgeball and basketball leagues.
Dodgeball requires a co-ed team of at least 12 people 18 years or older. Games will be held on Tuesdays from Jan. 21 through March 18. Basketball also needs a co-ed team of 12 people aged 18 or older. All games will be played on Sunday from Jan. 26 through March 23.
The teams will be playing against other teams from the two YMCAs. There needs to be at least six teams for each sport, and the deadline to sign up is Jan. 14.
“At the Y, we believe that friendly competition helps ignites people’s passion to live life to the fullest,” said Craig Strazzeri, director of Healthy Living at the YMCA of the Foothills.
For those looking for an equally intense but controlled exercise experience, there are pilates. Pilates help condition the body so that it is more flexible, has more endurance, and increases muscle strength through intense core and balance exercises. Wundabar Pilates in Montrose offers small classes that focus on short, intense workouts to achieve the best effect. The classes also incorporate equipment to help with workouts.
Another popular workout is yoga. Yoga studios dot the foothills and include conventional or Hatha yoga and Bikram yoga, a form of Hatha yoga conducted in a heated room. In the Bikram beginning series, participants are introduced to 26 postures and two breathing exercises that are performed in minimum 105 degree Fahrenheit temperature and 38% humidity for 90 minutes.
Taix Extreme Workout in La Cañada was one of the first to introduce military-type bootcamp training to the foothills community. Rigorous and disciplined, the six-week training is designed to put participants in the best shape of their lives. But, as the website reads, it’s hard and demanding.
Finally, good old-fashioned walking should not be discarded as a viable, inexpensive option. Walking can increase strength, improve balance and prompt weight loss. Given the topography of the foothills, results can be rapid, too.
Experts agree that, regardless of the routine chosen, increased exercise is generally beneficial though checking with your doctor is recommended before starting anything strenuous.
Innovations in Home Cooking from the American Cancer Society
It’s time for folks to think about how to add more vegetables, fruits and whole grains to their day while watching refined carbohydrates, sugar and fat intake. The American Cancer Society suggests trying one or two of the following ideas as soon as this week to discover how easy it can be.
Vegetables and fruits
• Add fresh or dried fruits, like chopped apples, raisins, prunes, kiwi, or orange sections, to green, leafy salads.
• Add chopped carrots, broccoli, or a mix of your favorite vegetables to soups, salads, meat loaf, and casseroles.
• Make stir-fries or casseroles with lots of vegetables mixed in.
Beans and peas
• Add favorite canned beans to soups, stews, and salads.
• Season beans with onion, garlic, and herbs for added flavor.
• Try different bean dishes: split pea soup, vegetarian chili with kidney beans or white bean chili, black beans over rice, bean tostadas and tacos, black-eyed peas with garlic and red pepper, or three-bean salad made with green beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
• Substitute whole-wheat flour for up to half (or more) of the white flour called for in a recipe.
• Add ¼ cup of bran or quick-cooking oatmeal to meat loaf or casserole.
• Make muffins using oatmeal, bran, or whole-wheat flour.
• Try whole-wheat pasta for a healthy fiber boost.
• Use whole cornmeal when making cornbread.
Milk, cheese, and yogurt
• Use evaporated skim milk instead of whole milk or cream in baked goods, sauces, and soups.
• Use reduced-fat yogurt to replace all or part of the sour cream or mayonnaise in a recipe. Replace part of the ricotta cheese in a recipe with reduced-fat cottage cheese. Use a puree of cooked potatoes, onion, and celery as a creamy base for soups instead of dairy cream or half-and-half.
• Sharp cheese gives extra flavor, so less can be used. This helps trim calories and fat.
• Select yogurt or milk products without added sugar or flavorings. Mix in fresh fruit for a flavor boost.
Meats, poultry, and fish
• Let vegetables, beans, pasta, and rice be the stars of main dishes – use meats as the side dish.
• Choose lean meats – look for the words “loin” or “round” in the name. Trim meat of all visible fat before cooking. Cook poultry with the skin on to keep it moist, but remove skin before eating to reduce the fat.
• Choose canned fish packed in water. Drain thoroughly before mixing with favorite dressing or condiment.
Use low-fat cooking methods, such as roasting, baking, broiling, steaming, or poaching. Limit deep-fat frying and don’t sauté foods in a lot of oil or margarine. Use a cooking spray, broth, water, or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan to sauté meats.