The Health Benefits of Swimming

Happy senior man swimmingThe heat of the summer makes it hard to find a comfortable time to exercise outdoors. In addition, as we age it becomes more difficult to find ways to exercise without putting a lot of strain on joints, muscles and bones. Luckily, low-impact swimming is a fantastic way to address these concerns, exercise many parts of the body and beat the summer heat. Let’s look at a few of the major health benefits of swimming for exercise.

  • It’s good for the heart – Over time, swimming can help lower your heart rate and improve blood pressure and circulation. It has even been prescribed by doctors for patients recovering from heart failure or artery disease.
  • It’s easy on joints – While running gives a great cardiovascular workout, the impact of your heel hitting the ground can be very rough on hips and knees. The buoyancy of water removes that impact, allowing your joints to strengthen more slowly and safely.
  • It works all the muscles – Swimming (especially lap swimming) is a full-body workout, exercising muscles in your core, arms, legs and back without the risk of improperly using heavy weights.
  • It’s great for pregnant women – Every woman’s pregnancy affects her body differently, but most expectant mothers experience joint pain and muscle discomfort during their pregnancy. Water aerobics are a perfect way to work out some of that pain and ease discomfort from tight muscles.
  • It helps manage cholesterol – If a trip to the doctor’s office reveals your cholesterol levels are high, hop in the pool! Swimming helps reduce LDL cholesterol while improving HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
  • Warm water is great for achy joints – The higher temperature helps soothe problem areas during your workout, making it a great choice for water aerobics exercises.
  • Cold water is great for controlling blood pressure – While you swim, your body inevitably starts to heat up as energy is transferred to your muscles. A cold pool will help keep your blood pressure from escalating too quickly.

Achy joints and sore muscles don’t have to keep you away from exercise as you age. With a slow, methodical approach and some care, swimming can positively impact your health in a number of ways. As with any workout routine that’s new, be sure to consult a medical professional before trying swimming for exercise. Your health needs may differ from others, requiring certain precautions or changes to the way you swim. How do you like to use swimming to stay healthy? Share with us in the comments below!

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5 Healthy Fourth of July Snacks

Independence Day is always full of fireworks, flags, friends and food. Whether you’re hosting a get-together this year or you’ve been invited to a patriotic party, the snacks need to fit the holiday. This year, try mixing up your usual routine of hamburgers and sugary sweets with some healthy options that are just as tasty and just as American. Here are five we love.

Spicy Turkey Burgers – Try to find the leanest ground turkey you can to cut down on saturated fat per serving. Since ground turkey doesn’t have as much natural flavor as beef, adding spices such as red pepper flakes or cumin gives the meat a great kick. Skip the condiments and top it with some red onions and avocado!

Homemade Healthy Turkey Burgers

Potato Salad – Yes, you read that right. By swapping out fat-heavy mayonnaise for non-fat Greek yogurt or homemade mustard vinaigrette, you can make a potato salad that’s just as tasty with so much less guilt. We like using purple potatoes for a touch of color and garnishing with chives or some other type of fresh greens for presentation.

Potato salad

Patriotic Cake – Arranging berries in the style of the American flag is a staple of Fourth of July foods. To cut down on fat, make a whipped cream from egg whites and fat-free dry milk. Also, there are plenty of recipes for moist, delicious gluten-free cakes that are low in sugar. Try adding hydrolyzed collagen peptides to the mixture for a gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free supplement that supports healthy skin, bones, joints and muscles!

Patriotic American flag cake with blueberries and strawberries

Watermelon Cocktails – A nice, light liquor like gin would make a great base for a summery cocktail, and nothing says summer like watermelon. We recommend keeping it simple by modifying the classic gin & tonic drink, but how you make it is up to you. The natural sugars of the watermelon give the drink a nice sweetness, and a wedge of lime adds a touch of Vitamin C.

watermelon cocktail

Red, White & Blue Yogurt Pops – With a little food coloring, you can make healthy, patriotic treats for all your guests. Just layer the yogurt (try vanilla flavor for a sweet, subtle taste) in each frozen pop holder and leave in your freezer overnight.

4th of July Popsicles

Just a few small substitutes can turn your 4th of July foods from filling and heavy to light and refreshing. What are some of your favorite snacks for Independence Day, and what are your favorite ways to substitute fatty, sugary ingredients? Share with us in the comments below!

 

Healthy Delicious Raspberry Bars

It’s berry season, well almost. The raspberries in the grocery store right now are pretty tasty. This recipe is a healthy take off of the popular raspberry and oat bar. Raspberries not only taste great, with their gritty burst of sweetness, but they are an excellent source of nutrition. Raspberries are high in vitamin C and potassium. High in fiber, they also aid the body in detoxing and reducing inflammation.

You will need two mini loaf pans, or similar baking pan.

Crust:
2/3 c Linwoods Ground Flaxseed, Pumpkin Seed, Sunflower Seed Mix
2 scoops Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen
1 1/2 T coconut oil
1 T maple syrup
pinch of salt
Filling:
2 T raspberries preserves
Topping:
2 T pistachios
microplaned chocolate bar

Add crust ingredients to mini food processor. Chop/Grind until the mixture comes together. Divide between two mini loaf pans. Press crust into loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges are browned. Allow crust to cool before preceding.
Stir the preserves until they are easy to work with. Sread onto crust.
Chop with knife or grind pistachios in mini food processor. Sprinkle over top of preserves. Microplane dark chocolate over the pistachios.
Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Perform 100 Fruit Filled Popsicles

Yep, popsicles! We know it’s a little early, but with the warm weather spreading across the country, we could not resist. Who doesn’t love a naturally good for you and delicious popsicle?! Whatever combination of Perform 100 and fruit you choose, you are getting a protein packed, vitamin rich popsicle! At about 35 calories each, Perform 100 Fruit Filled Popsicles are a healthy low calorie treat. We used a Crate and Barrel popsicle making kit. But these could easily be made in paper cups with wooden sticks or even an ice cube tray.

Make a shaker cup of your preferred Perform 100 flavor, we used the cherry flavor. Pour the drink into the popsicle molds you are using and place them in the freezer. After about an hour, add your fruit and the popsicle sticks. You might have to gently smash through the top layer of ice. For our popsicles we added blueberries. Wait for the popsicles to come to a hard freeze, unmold and enjoy!

Let your imagination be your guide with your own Perform 100 Fruit Filled Popsicles – Cherry-Lime Perform 100 with blackberries would be a great combination, Perform 100 Lemonade with stawberry pieces, Perform 100 Peach-Mango with raspberries….

Bring on summer!

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Homemade Marshmallows

Today the Protein Essentials test kitchen tried out a recipe for homemade marshmallows. We used a recipe from The Clever Carrot website. We picked this recipe because it does not use corn syrup. These marshmallows taste great and they are fun to make! We had several taste testers of all ages and everyone loved them.
The Clever Carrot website is great – lots of recipes – we appreicate them letting us test out their recipe and share it with our customers!

1/2 C water plus 1/4 C water
3 T Protein Essentials Gelatin
2 C sugar
1/2 C evaporated milk
1 T pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 C corn starch

Generously grease the bottom and sides of 8×8 or 9×11 pan. Cut parchment paper to fit inside your pan, lengthways and sideways, overlapping.
Pour 1/2 C water into bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften, about 10 minutes.
In a large saucepan combine the sugar, evaporated milk and 1/4 C water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, without stirring until a candy thermometer registers 247-250, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add the vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy and tripled in volume – about 10-15 minutes. You are looking for a glossy white, almost meringue looking mixture.
Using a greased rubber spatula, working quickly, scrap the marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and smooth surface.
Allow to set, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. After the marshmallows have set, combine powdered sugar and corn starch in large bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Dust some of the powder onto the marshmallows and a cutting board. Lift marshmallows out of pan using parchment paper as handles. Using a knife and or pizza cutter, cut marshmallows into 1 inch squares. Toss marshmallows into powder mixture to prevent sticking. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

Here’s a Classic Smoothie that Will Make You Smile

The Strawnana

Today’s recipe is a simple yet delicious fruit smoothie that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth while providing natural vitamins, nutrients, and needed protein to your diet. Adding Protein Essentials Peptan® Hydrolyzed Collagen to the Strawnana will give you essential amino acids, aid in muscle growth, promote skin health and rejuvenation, improve skin elasticity and moisture, and reduce joint and muscle pain. Transform your morning smoothies into a healthy super drink with Protein Essentials. Here’s how-

Ingredients:

 15 small strawberries

 1 banana (frozen)

 2/3 cup skim milk or almond milk

 Splash of orange juice

 1 scoop of Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen

Add 5 strawberries, the milk and scoop of Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen into a powerful blender and mix at medium speed. Whenpartially liquified add banana and continue to blend until banana is pulverized. Add 5 more strawberries and blend at a higher speed. Add the splash of OJ and the remaining strawberries and blend until the smoothie is at your preferred consistency.

Pour into a tall glass and drink up!

Makes about 3 cups (24 oz) and contains approximately 105 calories per Cup (8 oz)

Which Fitness Watch to Buy? Protein Essentials Gives You the Run Down

Image: Forgemind ArchiMedia, Flickr

This summer is looking like the summer of wearable fitness tech. So how should you go about navigating the crowded market of fitness watches? It’s confusing enough accepting that gadget watches are no longer just for the movies, picking one is a whole different story. Here at Protein Essentials we did some digging to lay out the features of five popular watches so you can decide which watch best fits your needs.

VivoWatch by ASUS:

$150

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • good battery life
  • step and calorie counter
  • UV level detector
  • goal setting
  • simple companion app
    • no distance tracking
    • no app notifications

Check out Engadget.com’s review for more details on the VivoWatch!

Basis Peak by Intel:

$199

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • sleep tracking
  • step and calorie counter
  • texts, emails, calls, calendar
  • perspiration levels
  • Skin temperature
  • goal setting
  • sync data with Apple Health and Google Fit
  • differentiates running, walking, biking
    • no GPS tracking
    • limited manual options
    • confuses inactivity with sleep

Check out CNET’s review for more information on the Basis Peak.

Alpha 2 by Mio:

$199

  • curved screen built for sports
  • heart rate monitor
  • timer, calories, pace, distance
  • water resistant up to 30 meters
  • very comparable with apps which can add the lacking features
    •  confusing manual controls
    •  too large for smaller wrists
    • no GPS
    • annoying charger
    • no daily movement tracking

Check out Wareable for their review of the Alpha 2.

Vivoactive by Garmin:

$249

  • GPS and sports tracking!
  • Golf tracking with 38,000 courses
  • Daily steps
  • sleep tracker
  • notifies you when you are inactive for too long
  • pairs with smartphone to deliver notifications
  • texts, calls, tweets, etc.
  • touch screen
  • waterproof to 50 meters
    • outdated square design
    • low-res screen that is hard to read in low light

Find out more in Wareable’s review of the Vivoactive.

SmartWatch 3 by Sony:

$195

  • GPS tracking
  • NFC and Wifi capabilities built in (not used by features)
  • powerful processor and 4GB of storage
  • good battery life
  • waterproof up to 60 minutes at 2 meters
  • pairs with smartphone for apps and notifications
    • more sporty than sleek design
    • low-res screen feels faded
    • no optical heart rate sensor
    • wristband attracts lint

Check out Wareable’s review for more on the SmartWatch 3.

We hope our Protein Essentials‘ quick guide to this summer’s hottest fitness watches helps you find the right watch for you. As you pick a watch that will keep you motivated in your fitness goals, remember Protein Essentials Perform 100: Energy & Recovery Supplement can take you to the next level in both health and wellbeing.

The Spring Green Refresher

The Spring season is a time to revitalize and refresh. Why not get the feeling of Spring each day with this delicious smoothie?  Here’s a smoothie straight from Katy’s Kitchen. It has a light sweet flavor that bursts with energy and gives you all the healthy benefits of Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen. Even my teenager raved about this drink! Here’s how to make it for yourself:

Here’s What You’ll Need:

 1  cup almond milk

 15 green grapes

 1/2 orange

 Zest of 1 orange

 Handful of organic baby Kale

 1 Scoop Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen

 6 ice cubes

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Add the ingredients except the Collagen and ice cubes to a powerful blender. Turn the blender to medium speed and let it mix for about 15 seconds. Turn off the blender and add the Protein Essentials Hydrolyzed Collagen plus two ice cubes. Turn the blender to a higher setting and let it mix until the ice cubes are crushed. Turn of the blender and add two more ice cubes and repeat until all ice cubes are completely crushed.

Pour the smoothie into a tall glass and enjoy.

Makes about 20 ounces and contains approximately 100 Calories per 8 ounces.

Big Races Coming Up in Chicago, Prepare with Protein Essentials

The Chicagoland area will host a bunch of road races this summer. Whether you’re new to running or an ultra marathoner, running events are a great way to get involved in the community and kick start your summer fitness goals. Here’s Protein Essential’s list of the top 5 races to run this summer!

1. The Undy 5k Run/Walk, May 23rd, Chicago, IL

This fun run requires little clothes, but supports a big cause. The funds raised through this event support colon cancer research, sign up on their website.

2. The Essence of Freedom Run, May 25, Deerfield, IL

Memorial Day isn’t just about summer and BBQs, participate in this race‘s 5k or 10k to support our veterans and troops.

3. The North Shore Half Marathon, May 31, Highland Park, IL

One of our very own Protein Essential founders participated in this race a few years back. The event features a great course through beautiful highland park, and a grand finish in the track arena.

4. The Color Run Chicago, June 7, Chicago, IL

If serious racing isn’t your style, the Color Run Chicago is the perfect event for you. At this race, you’ll have a blast getting sprayed with colored paint as you race, just remember to leave your nice workout clothes at home.

5. Burgers and Beer 5k, July 13, Chicago, IL

While this race is held at Soldier Field and has all the staples of an official 5k, it’s the post-race party which sets the Burgers and Beer 5k apart from the rest.

Whichever race you chose, Protein Essentials will help you achieve your race goals. Start preparing today. Add two tablespoons of our Perform 100: Energy & Recovery Supplement to your post-run drink and feel the benefits. After all, it’s a Paleo Superfood™.Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 2.50.35 PM