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The Sterling studio turns off the lights and turns up the music. By Dora Grote
Image via the Ignight Fitness Facebook page.

Fluorescent lights beam through a dark room, full of dancers in neon attire that glows in the black light. Music pulsates as their hands flail in the air.

What sounds like a typical Saturday on U Street was instead the scene Monday night during black-light Zumba at Ignight Fitness in Sterling, Virginia. Zumba fitness isn’t new, but Ignight puts a spin on the 15-year-old sensation by offering its classes in a “clublike” atmosphere lit solely by black lights. 

I headed to the studio, located near Dulles Airport, for a 6:10 session, which was packed with more than 40 people. After welcoming everyone (especially newcomers to Zumba), instructor Mark Lewis yelled, “Are you ready to work?” as he cranked up the music. The mass of dancers—ranging from novices to experts—started jumping up and down as Latin beats filled the air.

If you’re uncoordinated or too shy to dance in front of others, this is the class for you. The use of black lights is key for the studio’s atmosphere, as it helps participants feel comfortable, says Alexa Tsui, who, along with Lewis, started Ignight almost two years ago. She and Lewis also decided against putting mirrors in the studios, “so people would pay more attention to how dancing makes them feel rather than how they look.”

Five minutes into the workout, my heart was pumping and my clothes were drenched in sweat. The interval-based class, broken up by songs and choreography, is nonstop, but participants could take breaks as often as they needed. Each hourlong sessions includes 16 choreographed routines set to songs such as “Love & Party” by Joey Montana and “El Teke Teke” by Crazy Design and Carlitos Wey. The first three songs compose the warmup, focused on large muscle groups, cardio, and smaller muscle groups. The next ten songs accompany routines ranging from very high intensity to low intensity and incorporate exercises focused on specific body parts. The 13th song is the “last-chance workout,” the hardest routine of the class. It’s followed by a breather song to lower heart rates, and then the lights pop back on for a post-workout stretch. Throughout each song, Lewis kept up the energy, encouraging everyone to keep moving and reminding us to breathe. 

Despite my previous dance training, the cha-chas, hip circles, and shimmies were still a little difficult to catch first time around. Novice dancers might need a few sessions to really get the moves down—but the lights being off means if you can’t get it, you can make it up! The instructors cue the choreography breakdown and encourage the dancers to get crazy—what happens in black-light Zumba stays in black-light Zumba.

And that’s the beauty of Ignight Fitness. I never once worried about what people thought of my moves, leaving me free to focus on having fun—and burning calories. 

Ignight Fitness. 1323 Shepard Dr., Suite C, Sterling; 703-473-7075. Prices range from $50 to $180 for passes and $5 for a drop-in. The first class is free. 

Posted at 11:40 AM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This registered dietitian proves quick and easy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing nutrition or taste. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Anne Mauney is a Washington-area registered dietitian and the writer behind the food and fitness blog Fannetastic Food. Her goal is to show readers that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated—it can even be fun. In addition to blogging, Anne owns her own nutrition counseling practice, working with clients to help them lose or maintain weight, gain energy, and improve their relationships with food. 

Anne is also an avid runner—she’s completed two full marathons and more than ten half marathons, and loves early morning treks along the Potomac River. You will also find her hitting CrossFit, boot camp, and yoga classes. 

Read on to see how Anne fuels her active lifestyle, and check her out on Twitter and Instagram for more daily eats and exercise adventures. 

Pre-workout snack: Ezekiel sprouted-grain cinnamon-raisin toast with peanut butter. “This is my favorite pre-run fuel—I eat a little more or less of it depending on how hungry I am that day, and mix it up with almond butter and cashew butter, too.”

Breakfast: Flour-free breakfast pancake (see Anne’s recipe) with fresh blueberries, and a whole-milk latte. “This pancake is one of my absolute favorite breakfasts—so tasty and easy. As for the latte (we have an espresso machine—it rocks), it’s so creamy from the whole milk that I don’t need any sugar, just a sprinkle of cinnamon.” 

Lunch: Salad with baby kale, lentils, avocado, yellow pepper, brown rice, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette (this recipe minus the garlic). “I love having huge grain/bean salads for lunch—the volume from the veggies helps to keep me full, and the healthy fat from the avocado and the salad dressing go a long way with satiety. In addition, adding a carb or whole grain really makes a salad more satisfying and well-rounded. I used 90-second plain brown rice. I have some variation of this salad (with different beans/veggies/grains) most weekdays because it’s so easy and tasty.”

Afternoon snack: “While out and about for client meetings I had a peanut butter and wild cherry Nouri bar. The bars are delicious—just mashed-up dried fruit and nuts—and I love that they donate funds to a good cause, too.”

Second afternoon snack: Cheese and crackers. “I love these Blue Diamond crackers, and Cabot cheese is my fave. I eat a lot of afternoon snacks to keep my energy up and to make sure I don’t get overly hungry by the time my (usually late) dinnertime arrives. Getting too hungry means it’s very hard to make good food choices, and to eat slowly and savor your food.”

Dinner: Saucy tomato-and-artichoke chicken (see Anne’s recipe), served atop a bed of microwave-wilted spinach. “I love this dinner because it’s so quick, easy, and versatile—it’s on the table in minutes. To wilt spinach in the microwave, just place a big handful on a plate and pop it in for about a minute. Easy!”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 07/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Between reporting on food and nutrition and feeding her three children, see how she manages to maintain a healthy diet. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

If you’re a fan of NPR’s food coverage, you’re likely familiar with Allison Aubrey’s work. The award-winning correspondent’s stories about food and nutrition appear on Morning Edition and All Things Considered; she also hosts the video series Tiny Desk Kitchen, and she and her colleagues at The Salt won a 2012 James Beard Award for Best Food Blog. 

Though Allison explores the food world for a living, she doesn’t always have time to plan elaborate meals for herself. “Since I am feeding three kids—from toddler to teen—my day-to-day food choices tend to be more functional than frivolous,” she admits. “Usually, my most exciting meal is lunch, which I eat out, at food trucks, media lunches, or the NPR Café.” She also enjoys checking out new restaurants, occasionally stopping by for a drink and a snack from the bar menu on her way home from the office.

To keep herself fit, Allison is a fan of yoga, but she recently underwent surgery on her ACL, which she tore in a skiing accident earlier this year. She is building back up to her usual routine by taking a 30-minute class online in the mornings. “My surgeon Scott Faucett has also turned me on to the stationary bike, because I’m not cleared to run yet,” she says. “And I love aqua-walking (walking in the lap lane) as a low-impact way to get a lot of resistance and build back strength.” 

To fit her demanding schedule, Allison relies on simple, make-ahead meals that can carry her and her family through the week. Read on for a look at her typical daily diet. 

Breakfast: “A small bowl of steel-cuts oats—I make a big pot on Monday, and it lasts through much of the week—with apricots and blueberries from the Kensington farmers market, some full-fat plain yogurt (I’m not fat-phobic), and a little honey drizzled on top. I usually have a cup of coffee at home, and one perk of working at NPR is the free Peet’s coffee.”

Snack: “Radishes, snap peas, and leftover roasted beets with a small serving of guacamole (not homemade; I’m fan of the individual-serving cups from Costco).”

Lunch: “I took some leftover pesto and stirred it into cooked lentils, which we always keep on hand in refrigerator. I also had some fruit and a green salad with cherry tomatoes from my neighbor’s rooftop garden. This all took about three minutes to put together.” 

Snack: (not pictured): “I shared an ice-cream sandwich with my daughter at the pool. Nothing fancy—snack-bar fare.”

Dinner: “Leftover squash-and-ricotta galette, from a recipe I got from Cooking Light, and a simple green salad with fig balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mom trick: I drizzle the fig glaze on lots of vegetables. It makes them slightly sweet, and my daughter is much more likely to eat them.”

 

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 07/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Options for every day of the week. By Dora Grote
From early morning group runs to Zumba, free workouts you can do every day of the week. Image via Shutterstock.

Earlier this summer, we brought you a roundup of free workouts to do in DC every day of the week. Now, as promised, here are even more options in Maryland and Virginia. 

Monday

Beat the beginning-of-the-week blues with this 6:30 PM Monday Runday starting at Lost Dog Cafe in Merrifield. Boost your endorphins with a three-mile run, then head back to the cafe for extended happy hour the rest of the night.

For a twist on your workout, try Study Body Logic’s barre body ballet workout, which combines classical and upbeat music. A free class is offered in Arlington at 8:15 PM on Monday, July 14, and on Monday, July 21, at 5:15 PM in Alexandria. 

Tuesday 

Running enthusiasts can meet at City Sports Bethesda for a 6:30 PM route tracing the Capital Crescent Trail or exploring nearby neighborhoods. Follow a Sport & Health trainer in a cross-training workout to intensify your run and enjoy a post-run cool-down with discounted drinks from Mussel Bar—both partnerships begin July 1. Also try a 6:15 PM Pilates class with Studio Body Logic at the Alexandria location on August 5. 

Wednesday

Make the best of your lunch hour by heading to BelovedYoga for a noon relaxation session. Yogis who are able to sneak out of work early can wind down with Down Dog Yoga at 4 PM in Herndon. 

Thursday

All yoga levels are welcome to join Evolve Yoga + Wellness at 5:45 PM for a peaceful stretch. If you’re looking for a faster-paced workout, get your heart pumping with the Capital Striders Running Group at 6:30 PM along the W&OD Trail. Meet at Vienna Caboose. 

Friday

Rise before the sun and head out to Old Town Alexandria for an energizing group run. The Pacers group meets at 5 AM in front of Starbucks, so there’s time to grab a cup of coffee and still make it to work on time.

Saturday

Plunge into the weekend with Knockout Fitness, which leads a boxing boot camp at 8 AM. Or bring out your inner salsa dancer during Zumba with Canton Club at 9 AM. Both classes are part of the Waterfront Wellness Series taking place all summer at West Shore Park. 

Combine power lifting, running, and rowing and conquer CrossFit with Ballston CrossFit at noon, or ease into the morning with 7:30 AM yoga with BelovedYoga. Want to start the day off with a bang? Hustle through 8 AM FreeStyle fitness boot camp with Rezults Fitness that uses bodyweight for a high-intensity workout.

Sunday

For a different kind of workout, try Xpose Fitness’s noon introduction to pole dancing class that enhances flexibility, strength, and aerobic capacity. You can also join Pulse Fitness at 10 AM as Ochieng Asugo leads a group run to improve running techniques for all levels. Meet at the reception area, and bring a water bottle. And to really spice up your regular running route, jump, climb, or skip over man-made obstacles through the city during Parkour with Urban Evolution at 9 AM as part of the Waterfront Wellness Series.

If you’re looking for a gym to join this summer, the first week is free at CorePower Yoga Studio and Pulse Fitness; Zengo Cycle, UFC Gym, and Chakaboom Fitness offer their first class for free. 

Posted at 12:25 PM/ET, 07/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Nothing says summer like this refreshing marriage of produce. By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Emily Codik.

Whether packed up for an afternoon picnic or enjoyed at a weekend barbecue, tomatoes and watermelon are a delicious, healthy way to beat the summer heat. While they’re great on their own, they’re even better together, paired in a cool salad bursting with bright colors and tons of flavor. 

Food writer Emily Codik likes this simple recipe, which keeps the focus on the produce. “This salad is super-refreshing, thanks to the combination of chilled watermelon and ripe tomato,” she says. “And since it tastes somewhere between savory and sweet, it feels more indulgent than it actually is.”

Codik adds that the trick to the salad is letting it rest for a bit to allow the flavors to blend, with the watermelon picking up hints of tomato and vice versa. 

Tomato-Watermelon Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
1 pound chilled watermelon, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ pound tomato, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed pistachios
1 tablespoon crumbled feta
4 mint leaves, thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste

Directions
1) Combine watermelon and tomato in a bowl. Season with sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and stir gently. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
2) Garnish with pistachios, mint, and feta. Add more salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 07/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find out how this trainer and health coach uses a healthy diet to manage both her busy schedule and her Crohn’s disease. By Francesca Saunders

Erika Elko is a coach and VP of business development at Adams Morgan’s Solidcore studio, as well as a yoga teacher and an avid proponent of healthy living. But she wasn’t always so health-focused. At age 11 she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which affects the gastrointestinal tract, and struggled for a long time with her diet and medications. “I used to eat a ton of sugar, dairy, and processed, out-of-the-box foods. I was constantly sick with stomach issues, tired, moody, and never felt my best,” she says. “I was so sick for so long I actually forgot what it felt like to feel good.” 

Eventually, Erika figured out how to use food to help, not hurt her. She now sticks to a diet full of whole, unprocessed foods that helps her manage her Crohn’s disease without medication—but she still indulges in the occasional square of dark chocolate to curb her once insatiable cravings for sweets. 

Those natural foods give her the energy to keep up with her busy lifestyle, which includes a tough personal workout regimen. “I do everything from running, biking, and swimming to yoga and lots of Solidcore,” she says. “I love to mix it up and keep my body challenged.” 

Read on for a look at Erika’s typical routine and diet.

 

Pre-workout snack (5:45 AM): “I wake up every day starving. This morning, I swam 2,500 meters, so I fueled myself with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter. This is my all-time favorite snack—it’s easy, it tastes good, and the natural sugars from the banana and fat and protein in the peanut butter are enough to keep me going during my workout. If I do not have at least two dozen bananas in my kitchen at all times, something is seriously wrong.”

 

Breakfast (7:30 AM): “After my workout, I scrambled two whole eggs and added spinach and grape tomatoes. Something else I always have in my fridge: lots of greens and veggies. Adding them here and there throughout the day makes it easier to get in all your daily servings.” 

Coffee (not pictured): “Every day I get a Starbucks Venti blonde roast. Today I ordered mine black and added almond milk when I got to the office. Crohn’s patients typically should stay away from coffee, as it is highly acidic, but it never has given me issues.” 

 

Snack (10 AM): “I can never make it to lunch without a snack, especially with a morning workout. My other go-to snack is roasted, unsalted almonds. I go through about a bag a week. They are easy to grab and, again, taste delicious!” 

 

Lunch (11:30 AM): “Okay, I made it to 11:30 for lunch. Today I had a Sweetgreen salad. They are filling, fresh, and use local and organic ingredients. I create my own with mesclun mix greens, tomatoes, avocado, a hardboiled egg, mushrooms, broccoli, green and red peppers, spicy pickles, and carrot-chili vinaigrette.” 

 

Afternoon snack (4 PM): “For mid-afternoon nourishment, I usually reach for an apple. My favorites are Honeycrisp, but I had a fresh Braeburn on hand today. Since quitting sugar, fruits now are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, plus they’re high in fiber, which means filling and great for the digestive system.”

 

Post-workout snack (7:30 PM): Goûter Tonic in root punch flavor. “I worked out at Solidcore after work. It’s one of the hardest workouts, so I like to hydrate and supplement my body immediately afterwards. I drink at least one of these tonics a day, to help refuel, refresh, and revitalize myself.”

 

Dinner (8:15 PM): “I had dinner plans tonight, so I went out—a rarity on weeknights for me, since I usually get home late and make myself something quick. I treated myself to a green salad with seared scallops and extra avocado. The dressing used on the side was made from yuzu—delicious!” 

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Posted at 01:50 PM/ET, 07/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The small studio’s RealRyder workouts pack a big punch. By Francesca Saunders
PureRyde Bethesda features RealRyder cycles that simulate the movement of outdoor riding. Photograph by Francesca Saunders.

Humility is necessary in life—sometimes you need to be knocked off your high horse to regain it. In my case, the high horse was a stationary bike at Bethesda’s PureRyde studio, and while I never actually went flying off, I certainly got my fill of humble pie as I realized I’m not nearly as coordinated as I thought. 

PureRyde opened in Bethesda in May, the only East Coast branch of the boutique fitness studio that offers +Pilates classes and cycling on RealRyder bikes, which have movable frames that simulate riding outdoors. They’re known for making difficult indoor-cycling classes even harder by engaging more of the body, and burn 20 percent more calories than riding a standard stationary bike. 

PureRyde co-owners Laura Cronberger and Kelle Ilitch started their studio because they wanted to give patrons one-on-one attention and a community feeling with their workouts. While PureRyde is not the only area studio with RealRyder bikes—a technology employed by studios such as Vida, Pulse, and Level Fitness, the Courts at Huntington Station, and Launch Sports Performance—its unique fusion of +Pilates and cycling provides a targeted total-body workout. 

As I walked into the 1,900-square-foot studio (the smallest of their four locations) in Bethesda’s Bradley Shopping Center, the camaraderie was palpable. The space—a small lobby area with a few shelves of workout gear for sale, two bathrooms, a little locker nook, the +Pilates studio with nine Allegro 2 Reformers, and the cycling room with 18 RealRyders—made the studio feel welcoming, rather than cold and intimidating as some studios can. 

The 50-minute class started with a helpful introduction by instructor Katherine Driggs on the speeds we would be using (baseline, medium, hard, sprint—never slow); then the lights dimmed, and we were off. Driggs led us on a series of jumping, turning, and speed resistance, using the turning flexibility of the RealRyders and moving her legs at the speed of a sewing machine, all while keeping up a steady stream of commentary somehow unhindered by any panting. The music was loud, but not in a claustrophobic, head-pounding way, and Driggs’s precise use of the beat was extremely helpful. Though she certainly helped keep us motivated, encouraging us to keep pushing and maintain technique, she employed a certain element of fun and support as opposed to a “no pain, no gain” philosophy. 

Near the end of class, Driggs dismounted and handed us each a set of weights (two pounds for the normal, four for the brave), dancing along as she led us through a series of overhead presses and bicep curls.

Then we had one song to do whatever we needed to prepare ourselves for the last push, which involved half the class sprinting for 30 seconds while the other half of the class pedaled standing out of the saddle, and switching off for the entirety of Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” I certainly didn’t find love, but I did find a last little push in my hopelessly sweat-drenched body. After my cooling eucalyptus towel—a nice touch—I left the studio feeling light and good about myself. That is, until I hit the Bethesda Metro stairs and my legs started quivering.

PureRyde Bethesda. 6910 Arlington Rd., Bethesda; 240-743-4049. Cycling classes range from $18 to $22 per class, and +Pilates from $28 to $35 per class, depending on purchased package. First time ryder specials: two +Pilates classes or 3 cycling classes for $45. Towels and shoes are complimentary. 

Posted at 04:03 PM/ET, 07/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
For this registered dietitian, it’s all about balance and moderation. By Tanya Pai

Cat Taylor, a registered dietitian with DC’s Vida Fitness, grew up in Northern Virginia in a family of food connoisseurs and runners. She studied dietetics and gerontology at James Madison University, where she discovered her love of helping others improve their lives through nutrition. Cat believes in a total-diet approach to healthy eating based on the principles of balance, adequacy, moderation, variety, and portion control. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ in nutrition,” she says, and her job at Vida is to help her clients find strategies that work for them and that they can maintain.

To keep herself fit, Cat relies on running, biking (both indoor and outdoor), and high-intensity interval training classes, interspersed with weight-training sessions and yoga and barre classes. “Since I started lifting, I spend a lot more time on stretching and mobilization exercises,” she says. She’s also training for the Nation’s Triathlon, coming up in September in DC. 

Read on to find out how Cat plans a balanced diet that keeps her energized.

Breakfast: Overnight oats (13 cup old-fashioned oats, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, 13 cup Lactaid skim milk, ¼ cup frozen blueberries, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, a dash of cinnamon, and fresh raspberries), orange juice, and coffee with skim milk. “I prep the oatmeal quickly the night before, throw it into a Tupperware in the morning, and I’m on my way. An orange would be better than orange juice, but they’re messy and time-consuming; I make sure to keep the portion small.”

Snack (not pictured): Fruyo fat-free Greek yogurt by Fage topped with ½ ounce raw almonds and about ¼ cup Go Lean Original cereal by Kashi. “If yogurt isn’t part of my lunch, it’s almost always a snack. I like to spread my protein intake out over the day, as I recommend to my clients for optimal utilization by the body.”

Lunch: Four ounces of grilled chicken marinated in Annie’s Organic barbecue sauce, a medium sweet potato, and Baby Bella mushrooms sautéed in olive oil. “I absolutely love sweet potatoes as a starch—they fuel me so well, my workouts are noticeably more powerful! Mushrooms are easy to sauté without too many added fats, because they produce their own juice when cooked. I could use a green vegetable in this meal, but hey, we can’t always get it perfect. I aim for a lean protein, a healthy carb, and a small amount of healthy fat with each of my meals.”

Post-workout snack (not pictured): From Vida’s Fuel Bar, either a Strawberries Gone Bananas smoothie (strawberries, banana, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla whey protein powder) or a peach-mango smoothie (peaches, mango, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla protein powder).

Dinner: Nature’s Promise organic spring and herb mix topped with sliced orange and yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes, raw baby portobello mushrooms, beets, 13 cup quinoa, a hardboiled egg, two tablespoons of sunflower seeds, and four ounces of baked salmon topped with homemade sundried-tomato pesto, with balsamic vinegar as dressing. “I love loading up on veggies at night, and when I slice the veggies ahead of time this is a very quick dinner to throw together. It offers a balanced blend of non-starchy vegetables, portion-controlled healthy grain, lean protein from the salmon, and fats from the egg yolk and sunflower seeds.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 07/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Who says no to a guilt-free cookie? By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Kate Headley.

One of the saddest food myths out there is the idea that eating healthy means cutting out desserts. Here at Well+Being we’re all about the idea of everything in moderation, including sweets—especially when they involve nutritious ingredients, as in this recipe from registered dietitian Janis Jibrin and restaurant consultant Sidra Forman.

We loved their kale salad recipe so much, we asked the duo to dip back into their book, The Pescetarian Plan, for a healthy treat to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. These mild-flavored cookies will curb any dessert craving without the unnatural ingredients typically found in super-sweet junk foods.

“Especially this time of year, this is a perfect cookie to pair with pretty much any variety of summer fruit--stone fruit, berry, or melon,” Forman says. “The richness of sesame seeds, coconut, and olive oil make for a satisfying treat.”

Sesame-Coconut Cookies

Serves 8

Prep time: 5 minutes; total time: 20 minutes

Nutrition per serving: 114 calories, 2 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar, 7 grams total fat, 2.2 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams total omega-3 fatty acids, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 17 milligrams calcium, 51 milligrams sodium.

Ingredients

½ cup whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup coconut flakes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
Dash of salt

Directions

1) Combine the flour, sugar, coconut, sesame seeds, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in the oil, tahini, salt, and 2½ tablespoons water. Combine thoroughly using your fingers.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the cookie batter into 8 parts, rolling each into a ball. Place cookies on the parchment paper and gently flatten with the palm of your hand.

4) Bake until cookies begin to turn golden brown, approximately 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 06/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Katherine Thornhill sticks to a Paleo, gluten-free diet throughout her busy schedule. See how she manages it. By Tanya Pai

Katie Thornhill knows plenty about choosing a diet that keeps her energized. During the day she’s a full-time political fundraiser and an ambassador for the DC meal company Power Supply, and just launched her own health-coaching company called Grip DC. She’s also a Yoga Sculpt instructor at Georgetown’s CorePower Yoga, a class she describes as “an intense mix of sun salutations, plyometric work, ab work, cardio, and a whole lot of booty whooping. My students love the class, and I love seeing their energy soar.” On top of all that, she finds time to fit in runs along the C&O Canal. This leads to some long days—as in, 5 AM to 11 PM.

“My days are long, especially on Monday and Thursday when I teach Yoga Sculpt at 8:30 PM,” Katie says. “Maintaining my energy levels so I can perform my best at work while also working out is important to me.” To keep her fueled for her marathon schedule, she relies on a Paleo and gluten-free diet, including periodic healthy snacks, and stays hydrated with lots of water. Read on for a closer look at her typical daily diet.

Breakfast: Cold water with apple cider vinegar and lemon, two eggs sautéed in grass-fed butter, and spicy V8 tomato juice. “I highly recommend adding apple cider vinegar to your daily diet because it is rich in potassium and acetic acid, and can help regulate blood pressure, clear up skin conditions, and boost your metabolism. At first the flavor threw me off, but after the first few times drinking it I really enjoyed the taste.”

Coffee: Grande Starbucks iced coffee with sugar-free mocha syrup. “If I don’t have time to make my own iced coffee to take to work, I pick up a grande iced coffee with one pump of sugar-free mocha. I know there are a ton of artificial ingredients in this mocha syrup, and I really try to stay away from artificial anything, but try going off five hours of sleep each day! If there is something you don’t mess with, that is me and my coffee. I also picked up five Power Supply Paleo lunches from Balance Gym in Glover Park, because I don’t have the time to prep all my food for the week, and these list both the ingredients and the nutritional value so I know exactly what I’m putting into my system.”

Morning snack: Wonderfully Raw Brussels Bytes. “These are the best. I will try any flavor, but my favorite is the tamarind-apple crunch. I love that they are raw, gluten-free, and organic—everything I want in a health snack.”

Lunch: Power Supply chicken, shiitake mushroom, carrot, and bok choy sauté.

Afternoon snack: Epic Bar in turkey-almond-cranberry. “Naturally low in fat and loaded with vitamins and minerals, turkey is an exceptionally dense source of nutrient-rich protein. This delicious bar is loaded with almonds and cranberries to add both texture and balance to the meatiness of the turkey.”

Pre-class snack: “Since I had some time before teaching my class at 8:30, I changed into my running gear and headed out for a run along the canal. It felt great to squeeze in a six-mile run; it may seem like a lot in one day, but I am passionate about running and working out. It makes me feel good! Then, for a little boost before class, I grab a handful of my PaleoKrunch cereal. This is the perfect mix of gluten-free, grain-free cereal made from a blend of raw almonds, raw walnuts, shredded coconut, raw sunflower seeds, and raw pumpkin seeds with a hint of honey, vanilla, and maple syrup.”

Dinner: Sautéed vegetables and kelp noodles with chicken sausage. “Once class is over and I say bye to all my students, I make my way home to fix dinner. I love to cook, but at 9:45 PM I want to fix something quick that will refuel my muscles and glycogen stores quickly. While rehydrating with more water (have to stay hydrated!) I throw into a skillet a cut-up Japanese sweet potato, kelp noodles, green beans, purple cabbage, and an organic chicken sausage, and sauté it all with some coconut oil and Braggs liquid amino. Once the vegetables are cooked and the sausage is perfect, I top it all with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. I sit down to enjoy my dinner and talk to my fiancé about his day. Then it’s lights out by 11, because before you know it, it’ll be 5 AM!”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Posted at 03:15 PM/ET, 06/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()