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Stephanie Wimer relies on small, frequent meals to power through her busy schedule. 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 tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Stephanie Wimer owns and writes for the website Strong Figure, which aims to inspire and aid people in their health and fitness goals through providing training and nutrition tips, recipes, and more. In her Strong Figure bio, Stephanie says, “Losing weight, discovering how to make the right food choices, and learning how to lift weights and exercise properly has taken me on a years-long journey of experimentation, trials, success, and even failure. I created Strong Figure to write about what I’ve learned and to help people who might be struggling in the same ways I have before.”

In addition to her work for the website, Stephanie works as a recreation specialist for Harrisonburg City, Virginia, where she plans fitness regimens and teaches boot-camp classes. With whatever spare time she has remaining, she coaches CrossFit and trains as a strength athlete. To fuel her active lifestyle, she makes time for frequent small meals throughout the day, filled with protein and healthy fats. Read on for a look at Stephanie’s typical daily diet.

Breakfast: “My first meal is my Accelerator Shake, which is coffee, whey protein, and organic coconut oil. This gets me going and gives me the energy to start my day.”

Lunch: “My second meal is around lunchtime and is always made up of protein, good fats, and vegetables. Here, I’ve got grass-fed sirloin cooked medium-rare, steamed kale, and cauliflower rice made with ghee (organic clarified butter) and part-skim mozzarella cheese.”

Snack: “My third meal is typically a snack similar to my lunch: high in protein, vegetables and good fats. Today I’ve got about three ounces of ground turkey, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, snap peas, and some heart-healthy mixed nuts. This meal holds me over and gives me the energy I need for my workout.”

Pre-workout drink: “Around my workout, I drink BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), typically at least 24 ounces. BCAAs spark protein synthesis and reduce muscle soreness.”

Post-workout snack: “My post-workout meal always includes carbs and protein for optimal muscle recovery and growth. One of my favorite meals is mashed sweet potatoes and applesauce with a little cinnamon, and a protein shake—typically vanilla flavored—with almond milk.”

Dinner: “I eat this chicken stew weekly—it’s my favorite! I throw organically raised/hormone-free chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, frozen cauliflower, and plenty of spices into a crockpot and cook on low for about eight hours. I can get a week’s worth of dinners out of this.”

Nighttime snack: “My last snack or meal is probably my favorite of the day and is an excellent way for me to both unwind and help refuel my muscles from my lifting session: hot, organic steel-cut oats with frozen blueberries and half a scoop of protein powder. Yum!”

Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 11/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A tasty, satisfying breakfast that’s free of sugar, dairy, and grains. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Last week, we shared a recipe for dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s delicious healthy pumpkin-banana bread. But if you, like our most recent food diarist, are on a Paleo diet, you may have felt a bit left out. So here’s a recipe just for you: These pumpkin-spice pancakes are easy to make and free of dairy, added sugars, and grains. They’re also packed with protein and vitamin A to keep you full and give your immune system a boost.

The recipe makes enough for two; we recommend serving it with grade-A medium amber pure maple syrup for an all-natural topping to sweeten the deal.

Ingredients
1 can all-natural pumpkin purée
2 eggs
½ cup all-natural peanut butter (Note: check the ingredients to make sure there are no added sugars. Some “natural” peanut butters are still full of additives.)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1) Warm an electric griddle to 250 degrees or use a nonstick frying pan on the stove at a medium heat. Coat the surface with cooking spray.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth.
3) Spoon the batter onto the hot griddle or pan surface, creating circles no larger than 3 inches in diameter.
4) After at least 5 minutes, carefully flip the pancakes to cook the opposite side. Due to the density of the batter, these pancakes take much longer to cook than regular pancakes, so make sure to look at the edges or test them with a spatula before flipping.
5) Allow the pancakes to cook another 5 minutes until they are firm and no uncooked batter is visible on the sides. Serve warm.

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

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 11/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Join instructor Nya Alemayhu for vinyasa every weekend this month. By Caroline Cunningham
Head to Union Market for a free Sunday yoga class throughout November. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Angela N.

On Sundays throughout November, local yogis can drop by Union Market’s Dock 5 at noon for a free class with local instructor Nya Alemayhu. The Yoga Alliance-certified Alemayhu—who teaches at Buddha B Yoga, the Studio DC, and Georgetown Yoga—will lead participants in vinyasa, an energetic yoga style that emphasizes coordinated breathing with flowing movements. The class is suitable for all levels; participants should bring their own mats and blocks and arrive 15 minutes early.

While the class is free, a $5 donation is suggested. After your workout, refuel with offerings from one of Union Market’s many artisans; check out our definitive guide to the space for ideas.

Posted at 01:20 PM/ET, 11/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sticking to the diet helped Stacy Toth drop more than 100 pounds and manage her autoimmune disease. By Caroline Cunningham

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

Four years ago, Stacy Toth had just given birth to her third son and had undergone surgery to remove her gallbladder. At 336 pounds, she felt defeated and overwhelmed when it came to weight loss, but she knew she needed to make a change.

After discovering the Paleo diet, Stacy was surprised to find how quickly she adapted to the lifestyle. Her intestinal problems disappeared, and she had more energy than ever. Just a year after adopting the new eating habits, she had slimmed down by 120 pounds.

Today Stacy, her husband, Matthew, and their three sons follow the dairy-, grain-, sugar-, and legume-free regimen, and Stacy documents their progress on her blog, Paleo Parents. Read on to see how she keeps herself full with protein-packed meals.

Breakfast: “This is an egg-white protein shake with almond milk, water, frozen banana, ice, cold-soluble gelatin, and maca. It tastes like such a treat with hints of nut butter from the maca! I love that it sustains me for hours and is a protein-rich way to start the day without too much meat.”

Morning snack: “I continue the day with my antioxidant-rich green tea matcha powder and Pete’s Paleo Gut Gummies gelatin snacks. Collagen-rich gelatin has been a huge part of my healing and health journey, from soups to smoothies to gummy snacks; I try to eat it where I can. I have two autoimmune diseases that affect the lining of my intestines, and when I am eating gelatin regularly (about five times a week) it not only helps me manage my AI diseases, but it also helps my skin and hair, and eases joint pain that use to be near debilitating.”

Lunch: “A lot of people think the Paleo diet is full of only meat, but I was a vegetarian for seven years before this diet, and I find I eat way more vegetables now. Instead of a sandwich with chips or leftover pasta, I have the same portion of protein and replace the refined carbohydrates with vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Today I am having leftover pork roast from Beyond Bacon with organic greens. I add sea-vegetable salt for umami flavor and natural iodine, as well as dressing from Tessemae’s, a local company that makes its products without processed oils high in inflammatory omega-6 fats. Paired with local pastured pork from Heritage Hollow Farms, it’s a perfect match.”

Dinner: “This is the Baked (Not) Potato Soup from Real Life Paleo (get the recipe). I try to limit dense carbohydrates to the days I train, which makes this low-carb, veggie-rich soup a great choice for my rest day today.”

Post-dinner snack: “The bacon slivers on my soup weren’t quite enough protein for me, so I’m having two scrambled eggs, as well. Nothing fancy, just a little leftover bacon fat and some whipped eggs.”

Posted at 11:25 AM/ET, 11/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This spicy-sweet treat is chock-full of whole grains. By Tanya Pai
Pumpkin and banana combine for a nutritious breakfast treat. Image via Shutterstock.

Happy Halloween, Well+Being readers! While pumpkin-flavored everything has been clogging the shelves practically since August, we’re still (somehow) not sick of it—especially when it makes an appearance in one of our year-round favorites, banana bread. Registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield created this recipe for a healthy version of the classic baked good that packs in plenty of whole grains, gets its sweetness from natural maple syrup, and adds a dose of vitamin A, iron, and potassium from the pumpkin. “This recipe is perfect on its own for a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert,” says Scritchfield. “It also pairs well with a bowl of roasted vegetable soup or hearty bean chili, and is great to make in advance and store in the freezer.” If you have a mini loaf pan, bake individual loaves and defrost them whenever you want for a take-anywhere treat.

Pumpkin-Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour for one loaf, or 40 minutes if using mini loaf pans
Serves: 12
Nutrition information: 183 calories, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 152 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar, 4 grams protein, 53 milligrams calcium.

Ingredients
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 can pumpkin purée
¼ cup vegetable oil (you can use corn oil, canola oil, or olive oil or experiment with your favorite)
½ cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups flour (try whole-wheat pastry flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour)
½ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Lightly coat an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan (or four mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil, and wipe off the excess.
3) Place mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electronic mixer on low speed.
4) Place flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
5) Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, and stir or lightly beat until just moist.
6) Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for one hour or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and Founder of Capitol Nutrition Group in Washington, DC. Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com with details for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 10/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sara Lavan strives to create healthy meals that are still kid-friendly. Find out how she does it. 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 tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Among all the wonderful things about children, an adventurous palate is unfortunately not always one of them. As the mother of a nine-year-old and a six-year-old, it’s a challenge Alexandria resident Sara Lavan understands well. She aims to feed her kids balanced meals with plenty of vegetables and whole grains, but still makes time for the occasional indulgence, such as homemade ice cream. (You can find some of her recipes on her blog.)

Sara is the owner and operator of Alexandria’s Local Motion Studio, where she develops the adult classes and creates the curriculum for the children’s dance program. She also teaches Pilates and barre, dances in the local modern company Choreographer’s Collaboration Project, and in her free time volunteer-teaches dance at Mount Vernon Community School, where her children go.

Read on to find out how Sara keeps herself—and her kids—fueled for busy days.

Breakfast: “One of my favorites: greens (chard, spinach, and/or kale), two free-range eggs, and hot sauce.”

Morning snack: "To sip during the morning at the studio—either during teaching, or before or after class—juice (this time celery, carrot, green apple, spinach, and orange), and a yogurt-and-fruit smoothie. (homemade yogurt, grass-fed gelatin, chlorella, spirulina, and fruit)."

Lunch: "Gluten-free lasagna with spinach and grass-fed beef, left over from the night before."

Snack: "An oatmeal-applesauce cookie—flour-free!"

Dinner: "Had dinner with the kids—brown rice and shrimp stir-fry with fresh ginger, half an avocado, a Caesar salad, and mushrooms."

Dessert: "Homemade pumpkin ice cream. Really made for the kiddos, but of course I had a little.”

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 10/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A first-time marathoner shares her experiences. By Kelsey Lindsey
Skydivers kicked off the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon. Photographs by Kelsey Lindsey.

Now that my endorphins have settled and my feet have returned to a semi-functioning state, I can say definitively that my Marine Corps Marathon experience was a success. Sunday morning brought clear skies, great weather, and hordes of eager runners ready to hit the trail.

After clearing security at the starting area near Memorial Avenue in Arlington, I joined the mass of runners peering up to the sky to watch skydivers, including Medal of Honor recipient Ret. Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, descend to Earth before the 7:55 AM start. Carpenter went on to compete in the race, along with the honorary starter, actor Sean Astin from Rudy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Once the opening ceremonies were complete, the patter of nearly 60,000 sneakers sounded as runners slowly made it to the start line to begin their races. The weather continued to be agreeably sunny and cool; the only minor complaint I could offer is the gusty winds I encountered while crossing the I-395 bridge back into Crystal City between miles 20 and 21. Many people seemed to putter out on this bit, walking the length of the bridge or even pulling to side to stretch cramping legs.

Most of the course—winding its way through Georgetown, up and down Rock Creek Parkway and through South Potomac Park, and down the mall before finally ending in Rosslyn next to the Marine Corps War Memorial—was much more scenic than the bridge, which helped distract me from my throbbing feet. And when questions like “Why am I doing this?” and “I can still say I ran a marathon even if I walk a few miles, right?” popped into my head, they were quickly dispelled by the cheers of thousands of volunteers and spectators lining the roads, holding hilarious posters and shouting encouragement. That—okay, and the motivation of unlimited pizza brunch awaiting me after the race—kept me pushing to the finish line.

Fittingly, the Armed Forces were well represented at the top of the podium, with two members of the Army finishing first in the men and women’s categories. US Army Specialist Samuel Kosgei, 30, from Junction City, Kansas, finished first in the men’s category at 2:22:11 in his inaugural MCM race. New Jersey native and US Army Capt. Meghan Curran, 29, snagged first place in the women’s division with a time of 2:51:46, all the more impressive for her being a first-time marathoner. Arlington natives Michael Wardian, an ultramarathoner, and Graham Tribble came in fourth and fifth overall, respectively, finishing ten seconds apart (2:25:45 and 2:25:52).

And me? I was just happy to come close to catching Oprah Winfrey, who ran the race in 1994 in 4:29:15. I came in just 14 seconds later. Looks like I have a new goal to beat next year.

The view from the running route.
The race finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 10/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
An easy, filling solution for busy mornings. By Tanya Pai
Photographs by Tanya Pai.

On chilly mornings, a hot breakfast feels like a delicious luxury—but crawling out of your warm bed early enough to whip something up can be a challenge. When you don’t have time to linger over your first meal of the day, this baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead solution. It’s packed with whole grains, reheats well, and makes multiple servings. Even better? It’s infinitely customizable. You can add any kind of fruit and spices you want, replace the sugar with honey or maple syrup, and even substitute chia seeds for the egg if you’re trying to go vegan.

Play around with whatever flavor combinations you enjoy; you may never go back to those instant-oatmeal packets again.

Baked Oatmeal With Peaches and Almonds

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup white or light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups frozen or fresh peach slices


Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
3) In another medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, egg, and vanilla.
4) Arrange peach slices on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, reserving a few for top of oatmeal (optional). Pour oat mixture evenly over peaches. Pour milk mixture over the oats. Gently tilt the baking dish to make sure the milk covers the oats evenly. Sprinkle almonds evenly over surface of oatmeal. If using, add a few peach slices to the top of the oatmeal.
5) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and set. Serve warm or cool.

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

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The studio celebrates the grand opening of its second location with gratis workouts starting Saturday. By Caroline Cunningham
The new Fuse Pilates studio includes a Ladder Room. Photograph courtesy of Fuse.

Fans of Fuse Pilates, time to clear your weekend schedule: The Dupont Circle studio’s first sister location opens Saturday, and to celebrate, co-owners Roxanna Hakimi and Mariska Breland are offering free classes at both outposts.

Fuse, which has earned devotees for its blend of traditional Pilates with high-energy music and other types of exercises, is expanding into a 2,500-square-foot space on the second floor of 1401 14th Street, Northwest. The new location features two large group fitness studios and a third for one-on-one classes, rehab, and health coaching. One of the group fitness rooms is equipped with 11 ladders for the Fuse Ladder full-body workout, which involves climbing, hanging, lunging, and squatting on the apparatus; the second will be used for mat classes, such as Fuse Toys, which uses weights and balls in the all-levels exercises.

The weekend kicks off with gratis classes on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 AM at both Fuse locations and continues with a free lunchtime class on Monday at noon and three Thursday “happy hour” classes—including an ’80s-themed session at 8 PM—at the 14th Street studio. Wrap up the Pilates party with an actual happy hour with snacks and drinks Thursday night. (See the full schedule online.)

Also good to note: If you sign up for a five- or ten-class package this weekend, you’ll receive 30 percent off the regular price.

Fuse Pilates. 2008 Hillyer Pl., NW, 202-525-3767; 1401 14th St., NW.

Posted at 01:48 PM/ET, 10/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Protein is key for fueling her intense workouts. By Tanya Pai
Christy Adkins. Photograph courtesy of DC Brawlers.

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

Christy Adkins is a member of Washington’s newest professional sports team, the DC Brawlers. The team—one of eight groups in the National Pro Grid League and the inaugural champions—competes in coed functional fitness “human performance races.” Christy, 29, is a graduate of George Washington University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse; she now works as a registered nurse and a personal trainer. She started CrossFit workouts seven years ago, and has placed in the top ten in the CrossFit Games three times since 2009.

As a pro athlete, her daily schedule involves plenty of physical activity, so to fuel up for her grueling workouts, she relies on a diet rich in protein and healthy fats, plus plenty of vegetables and even the occasional chocolatey treat. Between training sessions and indulging her love of bacon, she likes to spend time with her husband, Tim, and their yellow Lab, Bella. Read on for a look at a typical day of eating for Christy.

7 AM: “I always wake up hungry and ready for coffee right away. Luckily, my husband makes coffee before he leaves the house at 5, so there is some waiting for me. I like to drink it black or with heavy cream if we have it. I love when I have the time in the morning to sit, sip coffee, and eat an About Time bar with almond butter. If I’m heading into DC for work, I eat this on my drive.”

8 AM: “I cooked applewood-smoked bacon in a pan, threw in some frozen veggies or the leftovers from dinner, and let them cook in the bacon grease. Then I added three eggs for a delicious scramble.”

11 AM: “After an hour and a half of lifting (five sets of five back squats, heavy double snatches, and snatch pulls), this fuel pack gave me the energy I needed to get through my sets of weighted pull-ups and powers me through a conditioning workout with rowing on the erg, muscle-ups on the rings, and dumbbell clean-and-jerks. The Fuel for Fire packs are just puréed sweet potato, apple, and whey protein. I like that they don’t upset my stomach while giving me the carbs I need without any of the fake stuff like some of the goos and gel packs have.”

12:30 PM: “My post-workout protein shake—just water and chocolate About Time protein.”

2 PM: “Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night: grass-fed, organic ground beef purchased from the Organic Butcher, cooked in a no-sugar-added marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s, and served over spaghetti squash.”

2:30 PM: “Afternoon coffee with something special added. CrossFit friends and some of my Grid teammates got me hooked on coffee blended with organic butter and coconut oil. Add a tablespoon of each to hot coffee, blend on high, and get a yummy, creamy, high-in-good-fats coffee treat.”

5 PM: “I needed a snack to tide me over until dinner. I made an open-face pb&j sandwich with Paleo bread, almond butter, and Crofter’s organic raspberry fruit spread. My mom visited last week and bought this bread for us, but I usually make my own with a really simple recipe that consists of almond flour and eggs.”

7 PM: “I roasted an organic brined chicken I bought at Trader Joe’s following this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. I used sweet potatoes and a regular onion instead of her suggested veggies. I cooked some more bacon in a pan, then sliced Brussel sprouts in half and tossed them in. I could seriously cook all my vegetables in bacon fat; sometimes I’ll do coconut oil instead, but my true love is bacon.”

9:30 PM: “Sometimes at night I will have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or some Paleocrunch from Steve’s Club. Almost every night, I make a shake with chocolate About Time nighttime protein, a frozen banana, a spoonful of almond butter, ice, and water. It’s a sweet treat that helps me not wake up hungry in the middle of the night!”

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 10/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()