Total Nutrition Technology


Fitbits Archive

Archive for July 2015

Is Your Fresh Fish Actually Frozen?

Fresh or Frozen? Health Departments Seeking to Enforce 15-Hour Fish Freeze 

Photo credit: Benford Terex

What would you think if your raw sushi had actually been frozen for 15 hours or more before you ate it? If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, that’s how all uncooked fish in the U.S. will be treated.

For several years, the FDA has recommended that any fish that’s served in sushi, crudo, or ceviche be frozen for at least 15 hours or longer in order to kill potential parasites. But since the FDA leaves it to local health departments to enforce the recommendation, few cities actually follow it — until now.

Recently, New York City’s Department of Health decided to enforce the policy and other cities may follow suit. Many cities and states, with the notable exception of California, which has a state code that allows raw fish, have the FDA’s recommendation on the books, but enforcement is patchy.

So what exactly happens to fish when it’s flash frozen? 

In Japan, super-freezing tuna has been commonplace for the last 15 years, according to Mike Kanter, the seafood merchant for FreshDirect, a large online grocer in New York City. Fish are flash frozen to negative 76° F within hours of being caught — sometimes while still on the boat. Sushi kitchens in Japan are often decked out with mini super freezers that keep the fish at the same arctic temperatures until it’s ready to serve.

This is no normal Maytag. If you stick a fillet of fish in your kitchen freezer, the water expands when freezing, forming crystals that break the cell walls of fish. Defrosting it leaves the fish mushy with a pool of water underneath that’s seeped out from the flesh. That doesn’t happen to most fish when you super freeze it, Kanter says. Fish with higher water levels and more delicate flesh, like fluke and sea bass, don’t fare quite as well, though.

The regulation was created to fend off parasites that fish eat in the wild or latch on to the skin. Farmed fish aren’t susceptible in the same way because their food supply is controlled. Experienced chefs can spot most of the parasites while preparing fish because they are visible — but in the larval stage, they can be as small as a pin and ingested.

Exactly how many people get sick is unclear. National agencies don’t track illnesses caused by eating raw fish. Dr. Susan Montgomery, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told the New York Times that “these infections are rare in the United States and generally aren’t fatal.”

While this technology that kills the parasites is well established in Japan, some are concerned it will put a burden on smaller restaurants and local seafood purveyors in the U.S.

Louis Rozzo, a New York City fish monger whose family has been in the business for more than 100 years, thinks the reward of eating locally caught fish far outweighs the risk of eating a fish with parasites.

While Rozzo says that it’s true that fish frozen at some point in the supply chain is a common practice, and that for many things, the consumer’s experience won’t change that much, but he disagrees that consumers can’t tell if sushi has been frozen.

“Of course there’s going to be a texture difference, even for novice fish eaters,” Rozzo says. “There’s a lot more liquid texture to a fresh piece of tuna fish. It will thaw out to be much drier.”
Fresh fish at Greenpoint Fish and Lobster; Photo: Vicky Wasik

Brooklyn-based Greenpoint Fish & Lobster created their small fish market and restaurant with a focus on serving local sustainable fish — 95 percent of what they serve is locally caught and wild. Their smaller-scale suppliers won’t be able to super freeze their fish before they sell it.

While the fish they sell at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster for people to cook at home would be exempt, they imagine that unless they invest in a super freezer, which can cost as much as $50,000, that they will have to remove certain menu items from the restaurant.

“I get that you want to keep diners safe,” says Adam Geringer-Dunn, a co-owner of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster. “But they lump everyone in the same category, and we’re really confident in the fish we bring in.”

However, geography dictates that a lot of the country can’t have that same confidence in local fish. Chris Himmel grew up working on fishing boats off of Marblehead, Mass. He’s obsessive about freshness to the point where he’ll sometimes catch and prep the striped bass himself before serving it to a group of Boston restaurants he owns. But he realizes that for most of the nation, same-day access to fish isn’t possible, and that seafood changes hands several times on it’s way to the table. Having it frozen along that distribution line can help keep diners safer, he says.

In land-locked Las Vegas, sushi that’s been frozen first has been the rule for years, says chef Ralph Scamaradella, who heads up the kitchen of Tao there, as well as two locations in New York City. All the kitchens have super freezers, nicknamed “blood freezers” because they are also the same quality that hospitals use to cryogenically store blood.

“If you handle the fish the right way, it really doesn’t affect the texture,” Scamaradella says. “I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants to make someone sick, especially a chef who has worked hard and wants to stay in business.”

But frozen fish is not without its own health worries. Last week, frozen tuna packaged in Indonesia was linked to 62 cases of Salmonella in 11 U.S. states.

The tuna that was recalled, however, was regularly frozen (as opposed to flash frozen) tuna treated with carbon monoxide. It’s a trick that some sushi places use to give frozen tuna, which turns brown when it’s dethawed, an artificially red color again to appear fresh. It never loses that watermelon red color, even when it gets old.

If properly dethawed, tuna that’s been super frozen retains that red color naturally, explains Michael McNicholas, who supplies super frozen fish to YO! Sushi, a U.K.-based sushi chain that has begun opening locations throughout the United States.

“This treatment [with carbon monoxide] removes the ability of the consumer to make a value judgment for themselves as to whether they would purchase a given product or not,” McNicholas says.

If super frozen tuna is placed for one to three minutes in a salt bath, patted dry and then dethawed in a refrigerator, it maintains the natural redness without adding carbon monoxide.

Fresh or frozen, for diners it will be a matter of trust.

Les Barnes, who grew up working in the Fulton Fish Market and now operates London Lennie’s restaurant in Queens and is opening another seafood restaurant in Port Chester, N.Y. in August, doesn’t like to buy frozen fish for his restaurants because he wants to eye the fish himself and make sure the quality is there. He’ll try for a while to see what freezes well before deciding what raw dishes he’ll keep on the menu.

“I just don’t trust anyone else to buy my fish,” he says. “It’s a very loosey goosey industry. So you find people you can trust and keep an eye on them, too.”

9 Water Drinking Hacks to Make Staying Hydrated More Fun!

9 Water Drinking Hacks to Make Staying Hydrated More Fun!

We all know the benefits of water (aside from, um, survival)—weight loss, better digestion, and gorgeous skin, to name a few. But while there are those Nalgene-toting water-guzzlers who have no problem hitting their 8 glasses a day (and beyond), there are some of us—myself included—who just can't help but see it as a chore. These tips make this non-negotiable easier (and dare we say, more fun?) than ever—no wincing necessary.
1. Play a drinking game. Why should the merriment be reserved for tequila? Instead of getting drunk, you're getting hydrated and gorgeous. Take a sip for every minute you're stuck on that conference call, a glug for every BuzzFeed break, and chug a cup if you catch yourself engaging in office gossip. On the weekend, take a swig of that H2O everytime someone on HGTV says, "space."
2. Buddy up. I enlisted another water-phobic friend, and we've made it our goal to drink a glass every hour. We GChat each other throughout the day to quickly check in and make sure we're keeping up.
3. Add a splash of something. Please put down those gross dissolvable packets and pick up a fresh lemon. Or coconut water. Or my favorite addition lately, kombucha. (It's not gross, it's delicious.) Just adding a lil' sumpin' sumpin' transforms that flavorless liquid you're choking back into something a little zesty.
4. Or a hunk of something. Frozen fruit. Watermelon. Cucumbers. Mint. All of the above are revelations. Trust me.
5. Sleep next to a tall glass. And I'm not referring to that good-looking guy. Sure, drinking water near bedtime (and thereafter) is not totally ideal: Getting up to use the bathroom multiple times per night is not great for beauty sleep. Yet my conundrum is that sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night feeling totally parched, but unless someone has a wheelbarrow to take me to my kitchen, I'm not. Getting. Up. This solves that problem, even if it means a quick interruption later on. (And it's definitely better than waking up feeling sallow and dehydrated.)
6. Use a straw. You know how you learned in college that you get drunk way faster this way? That's because there is some unexplainable appeal to sipping out of a tube. Don't ask. It just works.
7. Invest in a water bottle. If you put down a few bucks and carry that sucker with you everywhere, you might just be tempted to justify it with a few sips. Plus, it's better for the environment than the plastic cups at the water cooler, and if you get a large one, you won't have to get up from your desk as much. Here's our favorite!
8. And mark it up. This is a fitspo fave tip from the Pinterest set: Sharpie, meet water bottle. Mark lines on your bottle with different times throughout the day (like so), so you can actually see that you're staying on pace.
9. Some like it hot. As in, hot tea. And if the tips above are still not doing it for you, herbal tea is a way to drink water without truly drinking water. Just avoid green and black teas: The diuretic effect will negate what you're working toward.
And a few quick DON'TS:
1. Don't chew that ice, ice baby. You can't see me, but I'm raising my hand because I'm #guilty. But leave the ice chips to ladies in labor because it's a horrendous habit for your teeth.
2. No, coffee does not count. As mentioned above, caffeine is great for some things, and staying hydrated is not one of them. You may have heard or read that water is water, and juice, coffee, or whatever else can still provide hydration—and it's true that they're better than nothing at all, or in a pinch. But just like you can't say "Hey, this vodka will do wonders for my complexion!", nothing holds a candle to good ole, pure H2O.
3. Don't be dirty. Keep it clean, folks. If you're not sipping from your office water cooler, get a bottle with a built-in filter (or charcoal) to make sure you're not knocking back a bunch of fluoride or other fun contaminants. Same goes at home: Get a filter pitcher, or better yet, invest in a filter for your tap. It's just chump change when it comes to your health.
See? You're out of excuses. Drink up.

Darlene Pittman - 7.29.2015 WCW


July 29, 2015
Darlene Pittman

In 2005, Darlene walked into a small one-person office at a Gold's Gym in Charlotte. Little did she know it would change rest of her life. Darlene met Angela Wilkinson, then the sole employee/owner of Total Nutrition Technology and together they laid out a plan that would soon inspire Darlene to think beyond weight loss. And now, it is Darlene's outlook on life and health that inspires us here at TNT. So here we celebrate the successes and "secrets" of Darlene's healthy lifestyle!

Darlene has been working with Angela and TNT for the last 10 years and her goals include living "a healthy lifestyle, learning, and educating myself on nutrition." Darlene's main goal is to "learn how to be healthy and make it part of everyday life." The best part is that Angela feels she's done an amazing job so we just had to find out...

What are her secrets to success?

Darlene fuels right:
"I usually like apples or pears if just for a normal snack, but after a long bike ride or run I usually go for an English Muffin with peanut butter and banana."

It's incredibly important to fuel properly throughout the day. Eating snacks between meals prevents extreme hunger, poor decision-making, irritability, and fatigue. Before and after exercise, it's also criticial to replace any potential muscle losses. Darlene's choice offers fast-acting carbohydrate (with the banana) to help bring her blood sugar up, while the English Muffin and peanut butter help to keep her sugar up and begin the repair process necessary for building muscle and burning fat. 

She stays focused on the positive:
"You just have to be committed to the process and really try to remove any negative influences that affect your decision making in regards to food choices and or exercise.  For me, it is about having a positive attitude every day and not giving in to bad days or difficult situations.  Stay the course and the results will come."

Removing potential triggers is a critical component to building momentum, especially after the initial "high" one gets from making the decision to change one's life. After that "high" has worn off, and real life has begun to set in, that's when people lose their focus, momentum, and motivation to continue. We humans tend to be all or nothing creatures and that mentality can set many of us up for failure. By removing the negative influences, Darlene has allowed herself to make decisions based on her intentions rather than on her mood (or her habits). 

She uses bad for good:

"I lost my father 5 years ago to cancer and even though I have been athletic my entire life, I never really concentrated on the nutrition side of things.  So in his death I have been motivated to eat as healthy as possible and to live as a healthy lifestyle."

It is aboslutely essential to allow oneself the opportunity to honor loved ones by continuing to learn and grow as a person. Darlene has taken a very hard, and all too common, scenario and refused to become victim to it, but rather to use the loss of her father as fuel to the fire. Success is inevitable for her with motivation like this. 

She has a secret:

Darlene knows what works for her - smoothies. They're fast, easy, convenient, and help ensure she's getting all of her fruits and veggies every day. Everyone needs a good kitchen hack that helps eliminate excuses. The Nutri-Bullet is Darlene's. 

She has support:

I cannot say enough about Angela, she has been a great nutrition, fitness coach to me over the years and has helped keep me motivated with my progress. She is AWESOME!

People are social, we need support, accountability, and a place to share ideas. Total Nutrition Technology wants to be that for you. Be a part of the community - get involved by liking us on Facebook, Following us on Twitter or Instgram, Pinning with us on Pinterest, or Flipping with us on Flipboard. You can even subscribe to this blog to get the latest news sent right to your inbox. We're here for you. 

Darlene has impressed us with her endless motivation, positivity, and incredible outlook on life. Not to mention the success she continues to experience as she reaches, exceeds, and sets new goals. Darlene, it is because of this that you are TNT's #wcw this week: we have a CRUSH on you!! 

#TravelTuesday - Huntersville Area Bootcamp, Strives to Serve Up Hope, Health

Hope.Fit, a Huntersville Area Bootcamp, Strives to Serve Up Hope, Health

Hope.Fit currently offers one class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-9:45am

"Hope.Fit is a dynamic, athletic based program that combines high intensity conditioning, strength training, agility and speed work, flexibility and balance in order to develop a participant’s whole physical being," states the website of one of Huntersville's newest workout solutions, Hope.Fit. And don't worry, the class is for all ages, and all skill levels. Set to some great beats, the class takes place on a lot across from the Journey Church Huntersville Campus (and inside on days when the weather won't cooperate).

Water is provided to Hope.Fit participants

TNT visited the class today to see what it was all about, here's what we learned:

  • Bootcamp-style offers cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and endurance training in a fun, upbeat environment
  • All skill levels are present, and everyone supports each other
  • Water is free and available for all participants, and water breaks are encouraged (you realize how proud this makes us... #31DaysofThirsty)
  • All equipment is provided - you only need to bring yourself (and maybe a towel)
  • Childcare is provided for children ages infant through pre-K via Kidzone at a reduced rate of $5 per child
  • First class is FREE! 
  • Hope.Fit plans to expand its offerings very soon - so stay tuned and checkout their page for more information on classes, instructors, and directions!
Participants of all ages and skill level work hard to achieve their goals together

You've got nothing to lose, except some unwanted fat, cholesterol, and stress. 

#MaintenanceMealMonday - Homemade (Lower Fat) Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

Homemade (Lower Fat) Chicken Fettucine Alfredo


From the Gretka Family Kitchen

Ingredients (serves four):
  • 8oz (one small box) Fettucine
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1lb (4 breasts) boneless, skinless chicken breast (washed, fat trimmed, and pounded thin)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
  • 2 oz shredded parmesan and/or reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • fresh basil (to garnish)

  1. Start the grill.
  2. Prepare the chicken by seasoning both sides with a mixture of 1 tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning and 1 tsp garlic powder. Place on the grill.
  3. While chicken is cooking, whisk together skim milk and flour in medium saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium heat whisking constantly until the sauce thickens (about 7-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
  4. Begin heating a large pot of water, bring to a boil.
  5. Flip chicken on the grill and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Allow to rest.
  6. Add pasta to boiling water, cook for 7 minutes or until tender, but al dente. Strain, rinse, and add 2 tsp olive oil to coat. 
  7. Reduce heat on stove to low, add butter to the thickened milk/flour sauce mixture and whisk until melted. Add cheese and seasonings until well blended. 
  8. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the sauce.
  9. Add about 3 cups of pasta to a large pan or wok.
  10. Add sauce to pan/wok and mix to coat. Serve 1/2-3/4 c. per person and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serves well with a side salad. 

Per serving of this dish (salad not included): 2 Starch, 1/2 Dairy, 3 Meat and 2 Fat 

Can substitute zucchini or spaghetti squash in place of traditional wheat noodles. 

#MusicMonday - July 27, 2015

#MusicMonday - July 27, 2015

We are currently obsessed with this song for a workout of just about any kind. The beat, the tone of his voice, the imagery... Just makes us want to #keepgoing.

Get geared up with these awesome accessories

FridayFunnies - July 24, 2015

Some Jokes to Make You Smile Today!

It MUST burn some calories to sneeze... find out!

Okay, I don't have a cool product for this, but this YouTube video with Morgan Freeman makes me laugh - it IS work appropriate/safe.

TGIF - Have a great weekend,
Stacey G.

The Ultimate Smoothie Guide

Jean Wassenaar - 7.22.2015 WCW


July 22, 2015

Jean Wassenaar

The amazing Jean has been a TNT client for 10 years now and, working with Angela, she has been able to not only meet her goals, but, most importantly, maintain them!We couldn't be more proud of all that Jean has accomplished since that fateful day when she was teaching a group exercise class in University Area! And that's why Jean is this week's #wcw! Read on for Jean's tips on staying fit!

  • Jean's go-to snack is a Chobani Flip right before bed! 
  • Her favorite maintenance meal is 3oz of chicken, sweet potato, and green beans!
  • Jean cannot live without her kitchen scale!
Her secret to success: 

"The only way I succeed is if I plan ahead and have my meals prepped.  And of course the support I get from Angela is always helpful."  

Jean continues to impress us with her commitment to great health. Her motivation? 

"I always want to be better than I was yesterday and I always think about my dad and want to make him proud of me."

Jean, thanks for being you! TNT has a total crush on you!

TNT Approved Recipe: Saucy-Q Chicken Soft Tacos

 TNT Approved Recipe: Saucy-Q Chicken Tacos


From the Kitchen of TNT Health Educator, Stephanie Matson
Here is the recipe for the BBQ mango chicken soft tacos that have become such a huge hit in our household! Originally a Hungry Girl recipe, I altered it a little bit to better suit my tastes and health needs. Instead of store bought BBQ sauce- I made mine from scratch (recipe at the bottom) and instead of the white corn tortillas, I made them from scratch also (recipe below)!

Saucy-Q Chicken Soft Tacos PER SERVING (1/2 of recipe, 2 tacos): 336 calories, 3g fat, 712mg sodium, 47g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g sugars, 29g protein OR 2 Starch, .5 Fruit, .5 Vegetable, 4 Meat 
8 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlets
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup chopped mango
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, or more for garnish
1/2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup BBQ sauce with about 45 calories per 2-tbsp. serving
Four 6-inch white corn tortillas

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Place chicken in the skillet, cover, and cook for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside to slightly cool. In another bowl, combine mango, onion, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and vinegar; mix well and set aside.

Shred chicken using two forks (or these handy meat shredders) -- one to hold it in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Add BBQ sauce to the bowl of chicken and toss to coat.

Lay tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and warm in the microwave, about 15 seconds. Evenly distribute BBQ chicken among the tortillas; evenly top chicken with mango-onion mixture.

Fold each tortilla around its filling and, if you like, garnish with a little extra cilantro. Bite right in! 

 Photo credit: Stephanie Matson, Total Nutrition Technology
BBQ sauce (another Hungry Girl recipe- I altered it a little bit)
1 cup canned tomato sauce (I used 1 cup pureed tomatoes instead)
1/2 c. ketchup
2 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder 

Whole wheat tortillas (found this recipe on pinterest..this was my first time making these- came out pretty good, but next time I'm going to decrease the amount of oil and add some water so it's not so greasy)

#TravelTuesday - TNT Visits Historic Racquet Club

TNT Visits Historic Racquet Club

Amid the beautiful neighborhood of Olde Providence sits a 20 acre club infamous for its many firsts over the last 53 years, the Olde Providence Racquet Club. And Susanne Ware of Total Nutrition Technology enjoyed the honor of visiting their members to help take them to the next level. 

TNT loves to educate athletes (both professional and recreational) how to properly fuel their bodies for their optimal energy and performance! If you are also in the Olde Providence area, contact Susanne today to book your next group event, workshop, or one-on-one consultation! 

Dan Ziehm - 7.20.15 #mcm

July 20, 2015
Dan Ziehm

A little more than a year ago, Dan Ziehm, 41, of Charlotte, was appalled at photographs of himself from his 40th birthday party. He’d been recently remarried and was happy in his job, with his daughter and his life. “I had fallen into a category of fat and happy,” Ziehm said.
Even more appalling was the occasional chest pain he felt walking from one office to another at work. “It scared me to death,” he said.
Dan Ziehm after he’d lost l06 pounds at the 11-month mark.
So Ziehm set a goal of losing 110 pounds before his niece’s wedding. He plans to be there in Central Bridge, N.Y., on Saturday, after losing 126 pounds in 13 months.
Instead of dieting, Ziehm changed his lifestyle by using an app on his phone to track his eating and exercise. MyFitnessPal, both a website and a mobile app, includes a free calorie counter that gives users access to a database of more than 5 million foods.
Because of degenerative arthritis in his knees, Ziehm started swimming at two local YMCAs as a way to exercise without the pain of weight-bearing activities.

The challenge

Staying motivated despite such a big weight loss goal, knee pain and a craving for sugar. “I used to joke around, ‘Hi my name is Dan and I’m addicted to sugar.’ I was addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts. I grew up in the Northeast and we had them on every corner.” Also, he generally eats out twice a day, breakfast on the way to work and lunch with co-workers.

How I did it

“The MyFitnessPal teaches you your foods to stay away from. It will tell you if food is high in saturated fat and sodium. I’ve learned to change my diet. I used to stop every morning on the way to work and get an extra-large coffee with cream and sugar. I’d drink two of those a morning. That’s 600 calories of just coffee. Now I only drink coffee black, and it’s 15 calories. Thirteen months ago I would eat sausage, egg and cheese on a bagel. I replaced that with Greek yogurt. I went from eating and drinking 1,000 calories at breakfast to eating and drinking 200 calories at breakfast…. A majority of people underestimate what they eat. The app keeps me honest.
“When a lot of people start dieting, they fall off bandwagon because it’s such a dramatic change. With MyFitnessPal, you put your starting weight in and your goal weight – you tell it how long you want to take to get there. It figures out how many pounds a week you need to lose to make it to goal. It doesn’t say ‘We’re going to cut out 1,000 calories from your diet every day.’ For every pound you lose, it takes away 20 or 25 calories a week, so you don’t notice it as much. I’m around 1,700 calories a day, and to me now that seems normal.
“I was looking for a cardio workout and not have it where the next day I couldn’t walk, so I decided to try swimming. I struggled swimming 10 laps when I started. Little by little I got up to swimming 20 laps, and I did that for a while. After every five laps I would jog in the pool for four laps. Now I’m swimming six days a week, and I’ll go for 90 minutes or just under 2 miles. I have a heart rate monitor that gives me an accurate count of how many calories I burn when I’m swimming. Being an engineer I like numbers.”

The result

Ziehm has gradually dropped from 2,500 or 2,600 calories a day to about 1,700. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Ziehm is down from 390 pounds to 264. At the end of April, he bought a new suit to wear to his niece’s wedding, and he was able to buy it off the rack.

What I learned

“My big thing is if I can do this, anybody can do it. There’s nothing special about me. I set a goal, and once I saw the weight starting to come off, it was easier to stick to that goal. I’ve learned no matter where you go to eat – you have to look – but you can find healthier options on the menu. I absolutely love Bang Bang Burgers on Pecan and Seventh. I go in there and get a grilled salmon burger.”

This article originally appeared in The Charlotte Observer

Read more here:

#MusicMonday - July 20, 2015

#MusicMonday - July 20, 2015

This week's feature is a new release by Thomas Jack that is perfect for your interval training. 
Have a listen on YouTube (below) or Spotify! #workappropriate

How to Tell When These 8 Fruits are Their Tastiest

How to Tell When These 8 Fruits are Their Tastiest

Fruit is a high risk, high reward game. A bright juicy strawberry is the epitome of late summer but too often you spring for produce only to get home and find your fruit only looks good—if that. To help prevent that post-purchase regret, we've rounded up some tips for picking the ripest, most delicious summer fruit.


Don't judge a pineapple by its color—even a green pineapple could be perfectly ripe on the inside. When judging appearances, look for one that seems fresh with bright green leaves and a sturdy shell. But the real test is in the smell. Give the pineapple a whiff—it should smell sweet and like, well, a pineapple. If you can't smell anything at all, that particular one probably isn't ready yet; if it has a sharp, vinegar-y smell it's overripe. Once you've picked the best pineapple, eat it quickly, because they don’t ripen after they get picked. 

Need a pineapple decorer and slicer?


The rule with strawberries is: If it's not bright red, it's probably not sweet and delicious—but the corollary doesn't apply. Just because a strawberry looks straight out of a staged summer catalog doesn't mean it will taste good. Strawberries continue to redden, but not ripen, once they've been harvested, so the color will change but not the flavor. How do you make sure you're not succumbing to the false advertising of a ruby red, unripe batch? Just like with pineapples, the proof is in the scent. Check for the pint that smells the sweetest and you should avoid wasting money on flavorless fruit.

Don't care for the hulls? Use this awesome duel purpose device (also works great with tomatoes)!


Be it cantaloupe or honeydew or watermelon, the tough rind of melons makes them particularly tricky to get a read on. First, as with all fruit, make sure the visible parts are relatively blemish-free, even though you can't see what you'll actually be eating on a melon. Smooth melons, like watermelon or honeydew, should be matte rather than shiny (which usually indicates under-ripe fruit) and textured melons like cantaloupe should be golden orange underneath the "netting" (unlike the green one above). As with all fruit, check for a sweet smell to rule out unripe options. The final test comes down to a weigh-in. Ripe melons will feel especially heavy for their size, so pick through the pile and compare like-spheres to get the juiciest fruit. If it's a watermelon, go a step further and give the outer shell a tap. Ripe watermelon will sound hollow inside.

This double-sided melon baller makes #sundayprep even easier. Or try a melon slicer if you prefer!


First of all, it matters what kind of cherry you're dealing with. If you're in the market for the pink-and-gold Rainier cherry, don't let the yellow coloring turn you off. However, when it comes to sweet red cherries, you want to look for highly-saturated, deep reds. If there's still a stem attached it should be bright green. And avoid cherries with wrinkles around the area where the stem meets the fruit.

This amazing, one-handed tool makes cherry and olive pits a non-issue!


The color of the skin will depend largely on which part of the peach receives the most direct sunlight, so don't wait for those yellow patches to turn red. However, peaches with green or white spots—check near the stems, in particular—won't be ripe for a few more days. And of course, give a (very light!) squeeze to confirm ripeness.

Peach pits driving you crazy? Not anymore! 


First, don't worry about color. Mangoes come in a range of colors that vary based on things that have nothing to do with quality. The only way to really tell if a mango is ripe is to see if it gives a little when you touch it.

This softer fruit can be very messy; try this mango corer/slicer to help make the job a bit easier!


As with mangoes, coloration is not particularly informative when it comes to judging an avocado. Fortunately, there's a clear and simple test for finding out if your avocado is ripe before cutting into it. All you have to do is pull off the stem nub or cap at the end of the avocado. If it falls off easily to reveal a green patch underneath, you're good to go. If it's hard to remove, the avocado likely isn't ripe yet, and if it leaves behind a brown patch the fruit is already past its prime. (Note: be prepared for angry looks for flicking the stems off avocados in the store).

If you eat avocadoes more than once a week, you need one of these in your toolbox.


You want deeply saturated, firm flesh with just a slight give when it comes to selecting a prime tomato. Get an idea of just how flavorful it will be by giving it a whiff—the best ones have a sweet, woody smell. And beware of any wrinkles, which indicate produce that has been left out at room temperature for too long.

Get clean, perfect-sized sandwich slices everytime with this handy gadget!

All photos courtesy of iStock.
Article originally appeared on Mental Floss.

How This Woman Gave Up Processed Food for a Year—On a $16,780 Salary

How This Woman Gave Up Processed Food for a Year—On a $16,780 Salary

Photo credit: getty images

 You can, too, by starting small

We all know it’s healthier to “eat clean”—but convenient packaged foods, and weird ingredients seem to lurk everywhere. Just ask Megan Kimble. The Tucson-based food writer spent an entire year avoiding all processed foods, a daunting challenge she chronicles in her new book, Unprocessed.

As a busy grad student living on an annual salary of $16,780, Kimble discovered creative and affordable ways to trade packaged staples for a real-food diet. It wasn’t easy, she told Health: “But I found that once I got going and formed new habits and figured out favorite meals, it became automatic.” That said, she doesn’t recommend going cold turkey. “Start small,” she said. “Try unprocessing one kind of food, see how it feels, and take it from there.”

Below, Kimble shares her eight best tips for eating cleaner:

Read the label on everything you buy

“If the ingredient list contains a word you don’t really know, the food is probably processed,” Kimble advises. Think additives like modified food starch, soy lecithin, and xanthan gum, and added sugars and artificial sweeteners such as dextrose and high fructose corn syrup. Mustard, marinara sauce, and salad dressing are often surprising sources, she notes, adding, “Luckily these foods are easy—and cheaper!—to make at home.”

Pick up single-ingredient foods

Buying products with only one ingredient (like milk, oats, honey, and fruit) is the simplest way to avoid emulsifiers, preservatives, and other additives. Says Kimble: “These whole foods are 100 percent real.”

Create versions of your favorite unprocessed treats

Rather than trying to conquer your cravings, satisfy them with healthier options. “I personally have a raging sweet tooth,” Kimble notes. “But instead of chocolate chip cookies, my former snack of choice, I’ll reach for a banana with almond butter, or some yogurt with honey and fruit.” Do you crave salty foods? Try homemade kale chips or roasted sweet potato fries.

Seek out brands you trust

“I carry Cherry Pie Larabars in my handbag in case of hunger emergencies: They’ve got nothing but dates, cherries, and almonds,” Kimble says. “You’ll start to recognize—and appreciate—food companies that don’t add wonky ingredients to their products. Another one of my favorite brands: Food for Life, which sells bread, tortillas, pasta, and cereal made with only whole, sprouted grains.”

Join a CSA

“I found that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs offer the best organic and local bang for your buck,” Kimble notes. “My produce conveniently comes with a newsletter featuring recipes that incorporate vegetables from that week’s box.”

Prepare food in bulk

It saves money and time, and ensures you have unprocessed options at the ready, Kimble says. Roast veggies at the beginning of the week, make a big batch of grains, cook dried beans in your crockpot, or keep cornmeal on hand for quick polenta.

When traveling, plan ahead

“I’ll map a route to the local natural food store when I’m away from home,” Kimble says. “Their prepared foods tend to be simpler, healthier, and cheaper than restaurant meals.”

Make deliberate exceptions

“During my year-long experiment, I learned how to make my own chocolate since I didn’t think I could survive a year without it,” Kimble admits. “But today, chocolate bars are a wonderfully convenient exception to my nearly unprocessed diet.”

- Copyright © Fitbits-