Guilt Free Fair Season

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               This is a great time of year to live in CT- we have warm dry days and cool nights.  There’s bonfires, football, hoodies and fairs.  You can go to the beach during the day and hit a fair at night!

                Fairs are set up to be a sensory overload; the sights, sounds and smells are all amazing and stimulating.  You have probably already been to one or two so far and the season is just getting started. 

                While it’s an exciting time of year, with the good comes the bad.  Fair food tastes good but is high in calories and nutritionally devoid.  With the competition of so many fairs they are starting earlier every year.  The season now starts the end of August and goes right through til almost Mid October.  Then there is two weeks of halloween candy which brings us into Thanksgiving and then look out! All bets are off through the end of December.  With Christmas cookies, holiday parties, drinks, dinners, and chocolate covered everything.  Until the first of the year and it’s time for…you guessed it,  New Year’s Resolutions!

                If we were about to go for a drive, you grab shotgun seat and I head over to the drivers side, sit down, put on my seat belt, adjust the mirrors and put the key in the ignition, turn it aaannnd…nothing- no sound or light.  You wouldn’t think anything of it if I turned the key and tried a few more times.  If I was still repeatedly trying two hours later, you would question and rightly so, my sanity (and if you are still there I would question yours).  The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Said some smart unknown person once.

                But here we are again on an out of control roller coaster without a plan.  This coaster will most likely dump the average person off January 1st at a gym near you without any knowledge of strength training, healthy eating habits and with only a desire for something better.

                You are not average and if you are- don’t be.  So have a plan.  Knowing what we are up against is a start.  It’s easy to go to a fair (party, get together) and assume that if you don’t sample all the junk food somehow you are not experiencing the whole event.  I have overindulged too many times to count. The perceived need for junk food is imagined, the resulting stomach ache is real. I know being shaky from a sugar high, bloated, and lazy isn’t a good way to experience anything.  So here are a few tips that I have learned (the hard way) that will hopefully help you:

1.       Have a plan: you are not in congress- you probably have a spending budget at your house.  Have a spending/eating budget ahead of time and stick to it.  Budgets get a bad name but there is freedom in knowing your limitations.  If you have $300.00 spending money for a weekend trip, you don’t feel guilty for spending it, you enjoy it.  Same with budgeting junk food. 

2.       Pace yourself: like I said before, you will be tempted at every turn for the next four months.  You don’t need to experience it all today.  There will be no shortage of chocolate covered anything, ever.

3.       Know what is going on behind the scenes: With shorter days we get less exposure to the sun and vitamin D.  There is a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression/feeling down.  Turning to comfort foods does not help- it is only a temporary fix.  Self -control and a strong will are more comforting.  There is a lasting self- satisfaction that they bring.  Eating healthy is always better for your self opinion and mood. 

4.       For the foods you really want to enjoy, find someone to split it with (do not pressure them- I know that technique).  This is coming from someone who rolled up a fried dough like a cannoli and powered through it.  I should have had back up!

5.       Get a smaller size or ask for half.  One of the foods you will see at every fair now is a fried onion.  NO ONE NEEDS A WHOLE ONION! Six people could easily enjoy that.

6.       Wait until you are leaving to find something you want to try and eat half of it.  That way you can share half with someone later or ration it over a longer period of time. 

7.       And no one under any circumstances needs the x-Large bag of kettle corn.  It’s not a sleeping bag o’ happiness.

8.       If all else fails, just say NO.  Remembering the satisfaction that comes from self- control. Fair food tastes good but never quite as good as we imagine when standing in line, hungry. 

Pro Tips:

1.       Throw a temper tantrum and demand a free sample. Then politely thank the vendor for the sample and walk away. 

2.       Perform walking lunges from one from one food vendor to the next, screaming calories in, calories out. 

3.       Since most fair food requires no utensils, place your plate on the ground under your face in a push up position.  Lower yourself to take a bite, return to starting position to chew and swallow.  Always remember to keep the core tight!

4.       Swipe a bite from a stangers plate.  If they become enraged, just point to a random person holding a cell phone (they are everywhere), say “He is filming and this is a practical joke show.”  Hug it out and enjoy your sample.

These pro tips should get you thrown out pretty quickly, which has the same calorie restricting effect.

                In all seriousness, fair food is good and you should enjoy it, but don’t make it the focus of the experience.  Quality and quantity of time with loved ones is what makes life awesome.

Buy Local, Eat Healthy


Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar

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               Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar is the latest addition to a growing health and fitness scene right here in CT.  Vitality is located at 23 Oak Street in Manchester.  Opened a little more than a week ago by Chef Shawn Dickensheets who also owns 21 Oak, a vegetarian vegan restaurant right next door. 

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                21 Oak has been opened for over 2 years and is very successful.  I expect nothing less for Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar. In his new store Chef Shawn continues his trend of using high quality ingredients sourced locally when possible and adding his expertise to every item they serve. 

                The store is new and clean with nice features like easy to read menus and a list of the ingredients they use and the health benefits of them.  It’s easy to see Shawn’s passion for a plant based diet.  Take the list for example, while you are in line you can learn about the foods you are consuming and how they positively affect you.  That adds a layer of connectivity to your food that you don’t normally get. 

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                When there, I tried the Melon Spritzer- cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, lime and mint.  I also sampled the Beet Power- beet, carrot, celery, cucumber and red apple.  The juices were amazing with rich natural flavor without the overly sweet artificial taste that comes with smoothies made with cheap added syrups.

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                They also serve flavored drinks like Italian sodas, green teas, and lemonades.  They flavor those drinks using Monin flavors with no added artificial colors or flavors.

                It’s hard to keep up with Shawn, when I talked with him he was getting ready for a grand opening, donating smoothies to an organization around the corner that is trying to build and revitalize a neighborhood.  He was also telling me about his upcoming classes that he is teaching for the Manchester Adult and Continuing Education.  He is teaching his Veggie Vibes classes for them.

 If you are in the area, either of Shawn’s places should be on your list to try. 

More about Shawn and 21 Oak

Buy Local, Eat Healthy

Corn and Black Bean Dip

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Corn & Black Bean Dip

This is one of those great go to recipes that you will use over and over.  There are so many ways to use this. It can replace your regular salsa.  Add it to plain rice or use it as side dish by itself.

·         2 cups corn -fresh works best but frozen will do

·         1 -15 ounce can black beans rinsed

·         1 chopped colored bell pepper

·         1  jalapeno chopped  (you can keep the seeds in if you like it spicy)

·         ¼  chopped red onion

·         1  tablespoon  cumin powder

·         Juice of 2 limes

·         ¼ cup red wine vinegar

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         10 dashes of hot sauce  -choose your favorite

  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. You can enjoy right away, but its best to let the flavors come together awhile. This recipe is a good starting point but play around with it to make it yours. You can adjust the heat levels easy enough or substitute vegetables.

  Farmers market season is in full swing so be sure to support your local market.  Use this link to find a Farmers Market near you.

Buy Local Eat Healthy
Live Fit Connecticut