Instructor Spotlight – Jennifer Rashidi

In many ways I feel like my life has been leading me towards being a Pilates instructor.  My most passionate interests always revolved around the human form, how we move and how our bodies work.  I started taking ballet when I was four years old and loved the way I felt and could express myself through dance. I continued learning all forms of dance through high school.  I eventually decided I wanted a career as a dancer and came to California to pursue it at University.  I was going to be the next Paula Abdul!

Life takes interesting turns, however, and after a few years of my education I discovered another passion, archaeology.  I found the human past fascinating; I was intrigued by the fact that we could discover the people of the past through their remains, their skeletons and their mummies.  In retrospect I realize I had always been interested in the relics of once-living creatures.  When hiking as a child I would find the bones of animals and would want to learn about them and their lives.  Just like those animals, our skeleton is the foundation for our body in terms of support, muscular movement and, as it turns out, our life history. It is also the only part of us which typically is left once we pass.  Our activity patterns, health, disease and culture can be evidenced from these remains because in life our skeleton is a dynamic responder to what we do.  If we exercise and use our muscles our bones grow stronger and when we do not the bones weaken and atrophy.  Physical activity helps preserve the foundation of our lives and movement.  All of this fascinated me and motivated me to learn about human health through time.  Archaeology was the way to do it.

I went to graduate school at UCLA to pursue a Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology and Archaeology.  I was primarily interested in infectious diseases – which are amongst the leading cause of death and illness worldwide – and how they affect our skeletons.  I began to learn that our overall health, activities and nutrition could make us more or less susceptible to many types of illnesses and injuries.  I completed my Ph.D. in 2011 from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and began to teach at Santa Monica College and UCLA where I still hold positions as adjunct Professor and Lecturer in Physical Anthropology and Archaeology.  I love teaching and found myself eager and excited to help students understand who we are as humans through our understanding of biology, physiology and culture.

But I found that as much as I love studying the past, the people I study are beyond our help.  I can understand their health and their illness and injuries, but I wanted a way to help living people through the knowledge that I have, beyond just as an educator.  This is where Pilates comes into my life.

Melanie Archer has been one of my dearest friends for the last 14 years.  I watched as she grew her business and saw her passion for what she does, and her ability to help people improve their health.  However, I had never tried Pilates. I was running, riding horses, and doing acro-yoga.  I also found myself getting injured fairly frequently with back pain, a strained shoulder, etc.  I wasn’t building strength but was stressing my body though overexertion and poor form.  Melanie told me Pilates could help but I didn’t really understand how.  She finally got me to try it and after my first beginner session I walked out feeling amazing, taller, more relaxed, and stronger.  All this after just one session!   I could say the rest is history…but that’s just the beginning.

 When Melanie began her teacher training course as a Master Trainer I realized, “I could do this! I could learn how Pilates works and how it can help us be stronger and heal our bodies.” The training course was very rigorous, requiring long hours of class, practice teaching and a foundation in skeletal and muscular anatomy.  But as a lover of learning and of school (after all I had been in college for 13 years already!), I was excited.  It tied in with my love for dance, form and movement as well as my love for anthropology and human health.  As a child, Joseph Pilates studied animals and their movements in order to increase his knowledge of the human form just as my fascination for animals fueled my own quest for knowledge.  My most passionate interests have always revolved around these things.  I already had a great deal of training in anatomy and found the work to be incredibly rewarding.  The circle was complete; I was finally able to apply my knowledge of health and the human body to help living people – including myself.

That’s me:  a lover of the human form and structured movement to inform on improving health – at your service!  Book a class or private with me today and let me share my passion with you.

 

 

 

 

Archer Pilates Academy Tips to Relieve Pain During Summer Days

Have you been feeling extra achy in your joints, or having flare ups in your arthritis? For our #FridayFacts, we wanted to let you know, you are not alone and there is a reason!  The humid heat wave we’re currently experiencing in Los Angeles is a big change from our normal, dry, desert type heat. This change in what we’re used to, is also going to affect our bodies!  The body’s tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand when humidity rises.  Humid days can also cause the body to become dehydrated, which can decrease the concentration of fluid around the joints and create more joint pain.  We’re used to one of those random rainy LA days to feel that extra ache and pain, but the humid heat can do it too!  Dry heat can actually relieve some of the stress of arthritis, and joint and back pain….  Just a great excuse to take a weekend trip to Palm Springs!  At Archer Pilates, we want to give you some tips to relieve some of that pain all summer long!

You have probably heard this several times before, but it bears repeating: drink lots of water! You need to keep your body hydrated, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outside. Aim to drink 1-2 glasses of water for every hour you are outside. This will help you to restore your fluid levels and reduce water loss. Dehydration can cause stiffened tissues in the back, as the blood isn’t circulating properly. This is why it is so important to drink as much water as possible.

Los Angeles Best Pilates Studio

Go Swimming! Swimming is a great form of therapy for joint or back pain.  If you have back or spinal pain, biking is also a great low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the back. When not exercising, a heating pad can also help to soothe joint and muscle pain.

Last, but certainly not least, STRETCH!  Make sure you are lubricating and stretching through the tightness in your muscles and joints.  You can use a chair, bed, sofa, even a towel to assist you with your stretches.  Take a few minutes every morning, before you get out of bed, to do some ankle circles, tope taps, leg circles, bridges, whatever feels good to loosen up your body for the humid summer in LA!

 

Happy National Sunglasses Day

We all use sunscreen to protect our skin, but don’t forget to protect your eyes as well. Summertime means more time spent outdoors, and studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer. The same risk applies when using tanning beds, so be sure to protect your eyes from indoor UV light as well. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis, the condition responsible for snow blindness, so beach- and pool-goers take note.

“UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens,” said Michael Kutryb, MD, an ophthalmologist in Edgewater, Fla., and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors.” It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to protect your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure.

According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying.The good news is that you can easily protect yourself. In order to be eye smart in the sun, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following:

Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection”: Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection.

  • Choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
  • If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need sunglasses.

Wear a hat along with your sunglasses; broad-brimmed hats are best.

Remember the kids: It’s best to keep children out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Make sure they wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun.

Know that clouds don’t block UV light: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds. Sun damage to the eyes can occur any time of year, not just in summer.

Be extra careful in UV-intense conditions: Sunlight is strongest mid-day to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off of water, ice or snow.

By embracing these simple tips you and your family can enjoy the summer sun safely while protecting your vision.

 

Scoliosis Pilates Therapy in Los Angeles

Individuals with scoliosis are all too familiar with the discomfort that comes with the curvature of their spine. For those who are born with scoliosis and have a greater than 15 degree curve at a young age; scoliosis can be painful throughout their lives. It can also worsen with age if it is not properly cared for.

Pilates is an ideal exercise that can actually help with scoliosis.  At Archer Pilates, we have worked with many clients with Scoliosis on different levels.  And we teach our clients that the work doesn’t stop once they leave our studio.    Not only does this type of exercise support the spine by strengthening the low back and mid back paraspinal muscles, but it also can ease the pain symptoms commonly associated with scoliosis. In this population (and in all people) Pilates offers three primary benefits: core strength, flexibility, and improved posture.

CORE STRENGTH

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates who was a physical therapist. It is a combination of a yoga-focused practice and strength training. Accordingly, it is a great exercise for building muscle without bulking up. Pilates incorporates balanced moves that require significant focus on the core. With a stronger core, people are able to better support their backs. Strengthening abdominal muscles and back muscles enable those with scoliosis to gain more control of their bodies.

POSTURE

In Pilates, form is key. Without proper posture and positioning, participants do not receive the full benefit of the practice. At Canyon Physical Therapy, our instructors ensure that each participant maintains proper form. Practicing active correct postural control helps those with scoliosis get the most out of Pilates and avoid injury. Instructors ensure participants maintain good posture and extend their bodies while strengthening.

FLEXIBILITY

Scoliosis can lead to stiffness, uncomfortable posture, and pain in the low back, mid back, or neck. Pilates helps by greatly improving flexibility in all these areas. This newly gained flexibility allows tension relief, decreased stress, and muscular discomfort. Pilates also caters to those with scoliosis as it adds modifications that can be done with a barrel, physioball, or bosu.
If you are ready to gain control of your life and body and say goodbye to the unpleasant symptoms of scoliosis, pilates might be your answer! Our physical therapists and certified Pilates instructors will ensure that you gain all that you can from pilates. They also challenge you to become better with each session! For August and September you can have a “taster” session for FREE! What are you waiting for?  Contact us today to get started.

 

Los Angeles Top Instructor Spotlight: Kat Walsh

Several years ago, one of my colleagues had asked me if I wanted to go with her to a local Pilates studio and participate in a fitness challenge.  At this point, I knew nothing of Pilates; I only knew that as I was getting older, the pounds seemed to come on more quickly and my toes seemed further and further away as I reached down to tie my shoes.  I developed mobility injuries in my shoulders and neck. Overall, I felt I was aging way too fast!  As many you who know me are aware, I have always been a big lover of the outdoors and stayed as active as possible.  I played volleyball for many years, enjoyed hiking, swimming, biking, boating and other sports. As my flexibility and general level of fitness began to decline, these activities became more and more of a challenge to fully enjoy.  The thought of not being able to stay active when I was eventually able to retire was a bit disconcerting.

So off we went to see what this fitness challenge opportunity had to offer.  Among other physical activities, it was there that I was first introduced to Pilates.  It seemed doable even to a beginner like me – except for the part about keeping my shoulders out of my ears!  After the challenge was done, I stayed with the studio (yes, Archer Pilates!) as I found a great community of caring instructors and fellow clients that truly supported me in reaching my fitness goals.  I was hooked!

The rest is history.  I started taking classes a couple of times a week and eventually became a regular four days a week. It was my new addiction.  The pounds came off and stayed off. My balance improved.  My level of flexibility increased.  I grew stronger.  After a few years, studio owner and Master Trainer Melanie Archer approached me about becoming a certified Pilates instructor. Me? Like many women, my self-image was poor and I still saw myself as overweight and out of shape. I didn’t think teaching was something I’d be able to do.  But with some encouragement, I took the plunge started on my certification and subsequent Pilates instructor career.  And I am so happy I did. I love the ability to share my love and knowledge of Pilates with others so as to empower them to take control of their health much the same way Pilates empowered me.

Check out our schedule and look for me teaching evening and weekend classes at Archer. I am also now available to take on new clients for private sessions, semi-privates and trios throughout the week.   Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @PilatesKat and email me with questions or with inquiries about private sessions at Kat4Pilates@gmail.com.  Hope to see you in the studio soon!

Therapeutic Pilates: Pilates Exercises for Lower Back Pain

At some point in our lives, we can experience lower back pain.  Lower Back Pain In a majority of cases, LBP can be significantly reduced or completely relieved with Pilates.  At Archer Pilates, we want to give our clients the knowledge and body awareness to work in the studio and out to manage this throughout their everyday life.

The combination of deep abdominal strengthening, postural awareness, and release and stretching exercises that we teach at Archer Pilates, is extremely effective in the prevention and treatment of LBP. However, it is also important to apply the techniques taught in Pilates into your everyday life.

Pilates Exercises for Lower Back Pain

The Neutral Spine position that is taught in Joseph Pilates Philosophy and emphasized in every Archer Pilates class, is used as the most functionally ideal or “perfect” posture for our bodies. The curves in our spine are used to create stability and mobility for taking on the weight and pressure of our bodied in our everyday life.  The strong focus on the core (deep abdominal) strength, creates stronger support muscles for the spine. By implementing these techniques into your everyday life, you begin to fix the problem at the cause, rather than only treat the symptoms.  Which is what we focus on, everything begins from the core.

The following exercises are some we do in almost every class.  And we emphasize your form and create body awareness so that you can utilize these principles on your own as well.  Form equals function, so when your form is best, you can really take advantage of every exercise to support your spine, and assist in lower back pain.

1.Pelvic Tilt or Imprinting

This simple but effective exercise gets the deep core muscle switched on and builds strength in the support system of the spine.

  1. Lay on your back in Neutral Spine (relaxed back muscles and natural curves, we call it out “lady bug tunnel”), knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. As you exhale, lift your pelvis, and think about “tilting” your pelvis back to flatten your back or “imprint” your spine. This is the perfect time to Kegel and engage your transverse abs, the deepest part of your abdominals. These are also known as your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Inhale at the top, and as you exhale, you will slowly articulate your spine, roll back down one vertebrae at a time, flatten your back, and tilt your pelvis forward once more, to end in your neutral spine.

2. Chest Lift

This is an exercise to strengthen your core, which will support your lower back.

  1. Lay on your back in Neutral spine, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands behind the head. Pelvic floor and other core muscles engaged.
  2. Exhale as you lift your head and chest as you imagine pulling in your belly button into your spine (not doming toward the ceiling), and making you’re your pelvis is still (not tilting toward you.)
  3. Inhale to lay your head back down.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can lift your legs into table top, or move into hundreds.  Which can be done at all levels: legs bent, legs in table top, or legs in 45 degrees.

3. Supine Spinal Twist

 

Rotation helps to stretch the back muscles and controlling this movement also helps to strengthen the oblique muscles to further support the spine.

  1. Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in your proper grounding form with your arms stretched out to the sides.
  2. Keep knees squeezed together (you may want to use a towel under your lower back if you feel any pain keeping your spine in neutral), slowly take the knees over to one side, keeping shoulder blades in contact with the floor.
  3. Breathe out pulling your navel into your spine and drag the knees back to the center.

Repeat the exercise 3-5 times to each side, alternating sides.

You should try and hold the stretch position for 10-15 seconds so that your body can really get into the stretch.

 

4. Hamstring and Hip Flexor Stretch

There is a strong correlation between LBP and tight hamstrings and hip flexors.  Our instructors at Archer are very well versed in tight hip flexors, so we know how they can affect LBP! Stretching these muscles helps to immediately relief tension in the back and continued stretching over time will help improve the posture in the lower back.

Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lay on back. One leg bent (foot flat on the floor) and other leg lifted straight towards the ceiling. (Use a towel or resistance band to hold leg up if you feel you need the extra support to get deeper into the stretch)
  2. Try to keep your leg as straight as possible, but keep a microbend if needed. Pull your leg towards you as much as possible without twisting, until you feel a stretch throughout the entire back of your leg.
  3. Keep breath flowing and try to relax, use every inhale and exhale to go deeper into your stretch.

Hold for 15-20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Kneel on ground with one leg forward (foot flat on the ground). Lift tall in the spine and keep the navel pulling into your spine, then tuck the pelvis under (opposite to poking your bottom out).
  2. You may start to feel a stretch in the front of the hip. Bring your weight forward at your own level to feel if you can handle a deeper stretch.

 

5. Roll Backs

Moving the spine using the abdominal muscles as done in this exercise, helps to not only stretch and relieve tension in the back muscles, but also helps to strengthen the core and abdominals.  You are strengthening your spine, and also creating more mobility as well.

  1. Sit tall with the legs bent comfortably out in front and feet on the floor, hip bone distant apart, so your pelvis has the room to tild forward. Hands placed on the back of the thighs.
  2. Exhale, scoop your belly and begin curving the spine starting from the tailbone, rolling backwards until arms are straight and the whole spine is curved in a C-shape. You should feel as though the navel is the furthest point pulling backwards.
  3. Hold there and inhale. Exhale and bring the body forward, keeping the C-curve, until shoulders are over the hips, then stack the spine up to a straight, tall position. Repeat 6-10 times.

Tip: Try to keep the pelvic floor lifted and each vertebra lifted off one another throughout the entire exercise, rather than a sinking feeling into the curve.  You want to make sure your shoulders are pulled away from your ears, so your lower lat muscles are engaged fully.

 

6. Kneeling Arm and Leg Reach

This exercise works the entire stabilizing muscle system for the torso, and every part of your body should be engaged, for a full body workout.

  1. Kneel on all fours, making sure your wrists are under the shoulders, the knees are under your hips, and the spine is in neutral.
  2. While keeping your torso still and balance, reach one arm forward and the opposite leg back keeping the finger tips and toes on the ground.
  3. Lift the extended arm and leg off the ground, keeping the navel pulled into your spine help stabilize the torso. Make sure you do not lean into your stabilizing arm. Hold for a few second before bringing the hand and leg back down and to the start position.

If you’ve had to readjust, you will know if you have moved the torso during the exercise. This is an oblique exercise as well, as they are the parts of your core that are stabilizing you to not lean into one side. Try to correct this with each repetition. Repeat 3-5 times each side.

If you find it too difficult to control the torso and spine when lifting the arm and leg, you can omit the lift until you have the strength in the core, or do the entire exercise but with arms and legs separately.

Progression: Plank

As always, it is recommended to consult your doctor or specialist before beginning a new exercise program if you do suffer from LBP. Depending on the cause, some exercises may not be advisory. Please contact us at Archer Pilates if you have any questions or concerns about any of the exercises, or just for any additional tips on using Pilates in your everyday  life!

 

Foodie Tuesday from Archer Pilates Los Angeles: SKINNY CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES

Summer is here and strawberries are in season!  It’s the perfect time to make those light, summer desserts for those times you need a little something to satisfy those cravings.  These parfaits use Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries for a sweet summertime treat.  Better make extra as they are bound to go fast!

  • Author: Christina from Dessert for Two
  •  Prep Time: 4 hours
  •  Cook Time: 30 mins
  •  Total Time: 4 hours 30 mins
  •  Yield: 2 servings
  •  Category: gluten free, dessert, kid friendly

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup 2% plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch (or arrowroot)

STRAWBERRY TOPPING:

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • splash of water
  • drizzle of honey
  • extra yogurt, for garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and fit two mini 1-cup jars into a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with water so the water comes up the sides of the jars about 1″. Set aside.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine the yogurt, sugar, egg, vanilla, and cornstarch. Pulse until well blended.
  3. Divide the mixture between the jars and bake for 23-26 minutes – the tops will appear set and may even start to turn very light brown.
  4. Cover the jars and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, make the strawberry topping in a small saucepan, combine the sliced strawberries with a splash of water.
  6. Cook over medium heat until they collapse and the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in honey to taste.
  8. Let the strawberry sauce cool, then divide it evenly on top of the cheesecake jars.
  9. Garnish with extra yogurt and more fresh strawberries.

NOTES

This recipe is from the cookbook Sweet & Simple by Christina Lane

Archer Pilates Foodie Tuesday! Chicken & Sweet Potato Grill Packets

Summer grilling season is here!  When the weather is nice outside, no one wants to be tied to a hot stove inside to or heat up the house by turning on the oven.  Try this tasty sweet potato and chicken recipe that easily cooks in packets on your grill.  Bonus: that means no pans to wash, either!  This low-calorie, high protein meal is packed with Vitamin A, C and Folates for a healthy immune boost!
 

6 servings Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 large), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 5 cups diced red bell peppers (about 2 small)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small lime, cut into 6 wedges

Preparation

  • Prep 30 m

  • Ready In 50 m

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut six 12-inch lengths of heavy-duty foil. Coat each piece with cooking spray.
  2. Combine chicken, sweet potatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, cumin and oregano in large bowl; stir to coat thoroughly. Evenly divide the chicken mixture among the foil sheets (place on the side coated with cooking spray). Gather together the long ends of each foil piece, then fold up its open ends to form a packet.
  3. Cook until the vegetables are tender and lightly charred, turning halfway through, about 20 minutes total. Serve right away (be careful of steam when opening the packets), with lime wedges.
  • Serving size: 1⅓ cups
  • Per serving: 241 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 7 g fiber; 34 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 82 mcg folate; 55 mg cholesterol; 11 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 19,777 IU vitamin A; 166 mg vitamin C; 61 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 502 mg sodium; 949 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (396% daily value), Vitamin C (277% dv), Folate (20% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2½
  • Exchanges: 2½ lean protein, 2 vegetable, 1 starch

Benefits of drinking water: Recommended intake, uses, and facts

We’ve read the the blogs and health magazines, and we’ve watched Dr. Oz.

But we still tend to take the importance of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day for granted.

Carrying a giant jug of water around all day is tedious, and we’d all rather sip a venti chai tea from Starbucks than boring, flavorless water.

Water may not provide us with the caffeine that coffee does, but it provides us with many other nutrients and health benefits we truly need.

Water is so obtainable. We take for granted the fact that we can easily obtain clean drinking water that provides us with so many benefits.  So, on this #ThirstyThursday, we wanted to give you 8 reasons why water really is the Essence of Life!

1. Water helps the maintenance and balance of body fluids.

Our bodies are composed of 60 percent water.

Drinking water throughout the day helps maintain these fluids, and makes sure we are staying in check with our 60 percent.

2. Water helps with calorie control.

Drinking water is used as a weight loss strategy because it helps you feel full more quickly, thus causing you to consume fewer calories.

Also, eating foods with higher water content will require a slower digestion process, causing you to feel fuller longer.

3. Water is good for your muscles too.

Water energizes the muscles.

 Muscle cells need to be filled with fluids in order to perform at their best.

When your muscles are not filled with the right amounts of fluids, they tend to shrivel and not work to the best of their ability.

4. Water keeps your skin looking its best.

When your your skin is dehydrated, wrinkles and lines are more noticeable.

Drinking eight glasses of water a day will help keep your skin hydrated and looking its best.

Over time, drinking lots of water will help your skin maintain its perfection.

5. Water maintains kidney function.

Our kidneys are responsible for processing 200 quarts of blood each day.

In order to do that efficiently, the kidneys need to be supplied with lots of fluids.

6. Water is actually better for fighting off fatigue than coffee.

Who knew, right?

Dehydration is a common symptom of tiredness.

Drinking water first thing in the morning will help hydrate you.

It’ll get you feeling your best in order to start your day.

7. Water is a brain booster.

Studies have shown that water promotes greater thinking.

Water can help your brain feel refreshed, ready to think and learn.

8. Water helps fight sickness.

Drinking lots of fluids can help with decongestion.

Water also provides you with the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy immune system.

It may seem difficult to find the time in your busy schedule to drink a lot of water, but it’s so worth it.

Drinking eight glasses of water can be easy if you find a scheduled routine and stick to it.

Buying cute water bottles and tumbler cups will make drinking water more fun.

I recently purchased a 24-ounce Starbucks tumbler, and it’s decorated with the cutest black and floral lace print.

It matches my attire, and it has become the perfect fashion accessory.

The best part is, it’s an incentive for me to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Once you find your awesome water cup or bottle, set a schedule for how often you should refill it.

A good rule of thumb is this: Every time you get up from your desk or leave your room to use the bathroom, go and fill your cup up.

It will be easy to remember because you’ll be using the bathroom so often thanks to all the drinking you’ll be doing.

Los Angeles Pilates Foodie Tuesday

Hi Challengers! Here’s a great recipe to help you flush out the crazy Holiday weekend and get back to freshness.  It’s an easy and fun recipe that even the kids will enjoy making these. Vietnamese healthy spring rolls with creamy peanut butter sauce are a perfect treat to yourself at home.  Filled with fresh veggies, noodles, fresh herbs like mint and lightly sautéed shrimp that create a flavorful healthy combo for lunch or dinner. It is an easy 30 min recipe and these spring rolls are so delicious that you would want to prepare them again and again.

Ingredients
Serves 4
Seafood
  • 10 Shrimps, large
Produce
  • 1 1 small head iceberg lettuce, leaves from
  • 2 Carrots, small
  • 1 cup Coriander, springs
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1/2 cup Mint, fresh leaves
Condiments
  • 1 tbsp Chili garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup Peanut butter, plain
  • 4 tsp Soy sauce
Pasta & Grains
  • 3 oz Buckwheat noodles
  • 10 Rice paper wraps
    Baking & Spices
    • 1 tsp Avocado oil
    • 1 tsp Corn starch
    • 1 Salt
    Frozen
    • 1 Spring rolls
    Liquids
    • 1 cup Water
    Other
    • DIPPING

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp, 1 tsp soy sauce and salt if necessary. Sauté the shrimps for about 2-3 min or until well done. Let it cool for about 5 min.
  2. Meanwhile cook noodles according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to avoid further cooking.
  3. Combine all ingredients listed under ‘DIPPING’ into a small sauce pan. Cook the mixture on medium heat for about 3-5 min or until corn starch is cooked.
  4. Cut cooked shrimp into half lengthwise.
  5. Take very warm water in a large skillet or large plate. Dip rice paper wrap in the water for 10-15 sec and then spread it carefully on a slightly wet cutting board.
  6. Now put lettuce, some noodles, 2-3 carrot juliennes, 2-3 cucumber juliennes, some cilantro leaves, 3-4 mint leaves on one side of the wet wrap. Also layer 2-3 shrimp halves ahead of veggies leaving some gap in between. Gently fold the rice paper wrap from noodle and veggie side once. Then tuck in the side edges of the wrap and continue to fold over the shrimp and roll until seam is sealed. Repeat this step for each roll.
  7. Enjoy these fresh healthy spring rolls with prepared peanut butter dipping.

Recipe Notes

  • Also, sprinkle some water over the cutting board or flat surface before putting wet rice paper wrap first the time.
  • Do not dip rice paper in warm water for longer else it will be difficult to spread it on a flat surface.
  • It may take some practice initially to roll these wraps.