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Recent blog posts
Say Yes to Chocolate!
If you really enjoy chocolate, there is no need to eliminate it from your diet in order to maintain good health and a fit lifestyle.  The key is to eat chocolate (or treats of any kind) in moderation and of good quality. Eating high-quality chocolate (the higher the cocoa content, the better) can raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol. It also provides your body with antioxidants and fibre.  
 
Here is a recipe for chocolate that uses quality ingredients and tastes great!

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Recipe Makes 2 Servings
 
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3-4 heaping spoonsful of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 pinch Cinnamon, or chilli powder (optional)
1 Tsp. maple syrup, or honey (optional)
Food for dipping (½ banana, zucchini, etc.)
 
Start by melting your coconut oil in a saucepan or microwave until it’s completely liquefied.  Be sure to measure it precisely since coconut oil has 120 calories per tablespoon and you don’t want to go too far over.
 
Next, add 3-4 heaping spoonsful of cocoa powder. Mix together until fully blended.  You may add or subtract the number of cocoa powder scoops to achieve the consistency you like for your chocolate dipping sauce.  
 
Finally, choose your own adventure! If you would like your dipping sauce to have a little kick, add a pinch of chili powder or cinnamon for extra flavour. If you would like your chocolate to have a bit of sweetness, add 1 tsp. or less of a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey.
 
Banana slices, strawberries, zucchini slices (I know, seems strange but the flavour is fairly neutral so the chocolate stands out), nuts, etc. can be used to dip into the chocolate dipping sauce for a more nutritious treat.  
 
This dipping sauce only has 120-140 calories, depending on what you add to it, and it’s a super-satisfying way to get a tasty treat that’s still good for you!
 
 
 
 
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How to Stay Motivated (Especially When It's Cold)

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer has bid us farewell and we’re moving towards the long months of winter. For those of us who live in climates—like Canada’s!—where exercising outdoors gets harder to do with snow and ice on the trails and roads, it can be so easy to lose our motivation for fitness.

It's All About the Mindset

So, what can you do when you don't necessarily have a 5K or another race to train for? How do you stay active?

Change the way you think about exercise!

Fitness is a daily, lifetime pursuit. Even when there’s not another marathon or triathlon on your training schedule, you should be finding ways to stay off the couch and keep healthy.

Planning Makes It Happen

My favorite tool for staying active—one that I’ve used in my own life for more than 20 years—is planning my month in advance. I plan an activity for every day on the calendar, usually five moderate-to-heavy workouts and two lighter activities (e.g. taking a walk) per week, and I check them off as I do what’s on the calendar. Keeping those goals in mind really helps me stay focused—most of the time, I do at least 90% of what I had scheduled (because yes, sometimes life happens and I have to skip a day or two ☺). 
 
(Click here if you’d like a peek at what my calendar looks like—it’s in a video I made about staying motivated.)
 
How will keeping a calendar in this way help you with motivation? First, it gives you accountability, to have specific goals that you want to reach. Better than that, though, you’ll feel good about yourself as you see that you’re checking off your to-do list. There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing that you are meeting your goals on a daily, weekly, even monthly basis.

Getting Started

So, how should you approach this calendar planning? You’ll want to take an approach that isn’t overwhelming or time-consuming, and I find that the best way is to make a monthly calendar—sitting down just once a month to make a plan, rather than trying to do it on a weekly basis. You don’t have to have a schedule as busy as mine; maybe your goal will be three times a week, gradually building to four or five workouts. 
 
This is a great way to keep yourself on track with daily, weekly, and monthly goals—always reminding yourself of how well you’re doing. It’s really easy to think we’re doing better than we think we are, or to go the other way and not give ourselves enough credit for all that we’ve accomplished.
 
Fitness isn’t about running a race, finishing it, and that’s it. That’s a great goal to have, but what do you aim for when the race is over? Using your monthly calendar can help you have those goals and keep yourself progressing even when you don’t have a specific race in mind.
 
 
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Amp Up Your Veggie Satchel

For those who are new to my nutrition coaching, you may be asking yourself, “What on earth is a veggie satchel?!”

Simply put, a “veggie satchel” is any container you use—Ziploc bags, Tupperware containers, and so on—to measure out pre-cut vegetables for your week. (You can see more about it here.) It’s a terrific way to make sure you’re getting enough veggies without having to spend time every day washing, chopping, and slicing.

But, what can you do if you don’t really like the taste of plain, raw vegetables...but you also don’t want the high fat and sugar content of a salad dressing?

You amp up your veggie satchel!

I made a great discovery at my local Safeway supermarket: Herdez salsa verde.

Check out the great ingredients list: Freshly harvested green tomatillos, savory onions, spicy serrano peppers, salt and fresh cilantro.

That’s it! No sugar, low in sodium, fat, and calories—a super-healthy dipping sauce with big taste.

Of course, if you can’t find this salsa at your local grocery store or on Amazon, making your own is simple. Roast peppers on a baking sheet in the oven until they’re soft, then use your food processor or blender to puree them until you get a really thin salsa.

Check out more about the Veggie Satchel 2.0 here.

How do you amp up your veggie satchel? I’d love to hear about it!

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