Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Save the Date: DC VegFest!

After a little investigating, I discovered that there is a VegFest in D.C. on September 11, 2010. I already have plans for that day, so now I am going to be torn about which event to attend. Chef Tal Ronin author of The Conscientious Cook (I've got this book on my night stand right now!) will be at the D.C. VegFest!

The D.C. VegFest is a FREE outdoor festival celebrating the very best of everything vegetarian in and around the nation's capital. There are so many reasons to choose a vegetarian diet—for our health, the planet, and animals—and Washington, D.C. offers wonderful opportunities to explore meatless cuisine. The DC VegFest has something for everyone to enjoy, so be sure to bring along your friends and family!

WHERE: University Yard at 2000 blk H St.
             N.W., Washington, D.C. 20052
WHEN: Saturday, September 11, 2010 
            12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

I also came across two great vegetarian sites for those of you in the Baltimore/DC area:


NOLA Veggie Fest

I wish I was going to New Orleans for my birthday this weekend! I would love to attend the 2nd Annual NOLA Veggie Fest. Plus New Orleans is just a fun town!  I never seen anything like this where I live near Baltimore, MD . I know Chicago, another one of my favorite cities, has a big Veggie Fest too!

The annual NOLA Veggie Fest promotes vegan and vegetarian food choices. The health benefits of a plant-based diet are well known. The Fest educates how these diet choices benefit the environment and about the cruelty of factory farms, the source of most animal products. Nola Veggie Fest will offer a variety of delicious food samples (Yum!) and also educational materials.  Bonus: One of my favorite organic and vegetarian companies, Amy's Kitchen is going to be there! 

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tip #9 -- Cardio! Cardio! Cardio!

Cardiovascular exercise does more for the health and physical appearance of the human body than any other form of exercise. You will never be able to see your tight, toned muscles, if they are lying under a layer of fat. In general, people who want to lose weight should workout cardiovascular for 20-40 minutes 4-6 times each week. There are countless options for cardiovascular exercise including walking, hiking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, elliptical cross training, dancing, aerobics classes, step aerobics, cardio kickboxing, etc. Learn how much and what type of cardio is right for you. Then refer to Tip #1, and do it consistently and persistently!

Tip #8 -- Keep an Eye on Your Heart Rate

When doing aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, keeping your heart rate inside your target heart rate zone will help you burn calories most efficiently and optimize the benefits for your heart and lungs. Dropping below your target heart rate will not burn nearly as many fat calories, and going above your target heart rate may lead to muscle breakdown. Most modern treadmills, bikes, and elliptical cross trainers have heart rate monitors built in for easy tracking. Other options include purchasing a personal heart rate monitor (see or your local sporting goods store) or manually taking your pulse (count the number of beats for 6 seconds then multiply by 10 to get your heart rate).

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tip #7 -- Watch Your Calories and Where They Come From

Most Americans eat way too much food. Our portion sizes are huge and loaded with a surplus of sugar and fat. Moderation is the key, but that is easier said than done. In this “super-sized” era, many people no longer have any idea what moderation is. Try eating off your lunch sized plates, even at dinner. Eat out less, and prepare your own food more often. Get a small cooler, and pack your lunch and snacks for the day! The word snack is not synonymous with junk food. Your snacks should be more like mini balanced meals. Avoid fried foods, full fat dairy products, butter, margarine, regular mayonnaise, sweets, beer, wine, liquor, and regular salad dressing. Do not give yourself a “cheat” day each week. It is completely possible to sabotage a whole week’s worth of work in one bad day. If you are a normal healthy individual, a few “cheat” days per year are reasonable, but more is absolutely not okay.

Tip #6 -- Increase the Number of Meals You Consume Each Day

On average, you should be eating a combination of lean protein and vegetable or whole grain that is low in fat and high in fiber every 3-4 hours. Start by eating your breakfast within one hour of waking up. Then eat a small balanced meal every 3-4 hours after that for a total of 4-6 small meals spaced evenly throughout the day. Doing so will speed up your metabolism and give you an almost unfair advantage over those who only eat the normal three meals or less each day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tip #5 -- Increase Your Water Intake

Water is a vital component to life. No living being can survive without a fresh supply of pure water each and every day. If you do not consume enough water each day, your body will age faster, appear fatter, be more susceptible to germs, illness and stress, lose joint mobility, and much more. Do you often feel tired, run down or confused? Even mild dehydration can cause hazy short-term memory, difficulty concentrating and staying focused, and daytime fatigue. In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of Americans have mild, but chronic dehydration, which is one of the most frequent and common causes of daytime fatigue. Most people who weigh less than 150 pounds require no less than 8-10 cups per day; those who weigh 150 pounds or more require 10-16 cups per day. You’ve heard this before, but now it’s time to implement what you know. Try starting small, add an extra glass of water with breakfast each morning this week. Next week add an extra glass with lunch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tip #4 -- Don't Take Bad Advice!

When it comes to weight loss, nutrition and exercise, there is an unlimited supply of bad advice and conflicting information out there. Only take the advice from people who look strong and healthy themselves, and whom you know to be knowledgeable about health & fitness! This year, Americans spent an estimated $60 billion on diets and diet-related products, with much of that money being completely wasted. Studies have shown that 95% of all dieters regain their lost weight plus some within one to five years. That’s $57 billion dollars wasted! There is no miracle plan, pill, or machine to help you lose the weight. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Some Scary Numbers:
Overweight People Versus Dollars Spent on Weight Loss
Obese People Versus Dollars Spent on Obesity-Related Diseases

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tip #3 -- Surround Yourself with Winners!

A smart strategy that successful people often employ is avoiding negative people and surrounding themselves with other successful people. Seek out other people who are fit and healthy! If your goal is to achieve a healthy weight by eating nutritious portion-controlled meals, exercising regularly, and leading an active life, surround yourself with others who have already achieved and are maintaining a healthy weight by doing the same. Don’t let other people’s procrastination and lack of self-control hold you back or pull you down. Hanging out with people who just talk about getting in shape, but never take persistent action will almost guarantee that you never reach your goals.

Tip #2 -- Write Your Goals Down and Focus on Them Daily!

It’s extremely hard to get anywhere specific, if you don’t know where you are going. Set precise and detailed goals, and write them down! Committing your goals to paper is a crucial step for permanent weight loss. Describe exactly how you will look and feel. Be specific. What will your calves look like, your thighs, your butt, your hips, your lower back, your waist, your chest, your upper back, your shoulders, your arms, your neck and your face? You cannot achieve your perfect body, if you don't have a clue what the perfect body means to you. Find an old photo of you from a time when you were happy with your weight and focus on that, or cut pictures from magazines of what you want your body to look when you reach your goals. Take time each day to focus on your goals. Visualize what you will look like when you reach your goals. Think about how good you will feel once you achieve your goals. Think about what others will say, and what you will say to yourself! Stay focused and positive! Quickly delete any negative thoughts or images that may enter into your mind throughout your day.

I'd love to hear about your fitness, weight-loss or other health-related goals.  Please feel free to share!

Tip #1 -- Be Consistent & Persistent!

Going back to that old adage about the tortoise and the hare: being persistent and consistent is the absolute number one key to achieving permanent weight loss results.  A recent 10-year study suggests that persistence is the single most significant factor in determining the success of any diet or exercise program. The study followed a group of people (group #1) who exercised and dieted very rigorously, but sporadically, and compared their results to a group of people (group #2) who exercised mildly and followed a very basic diet, but never strayed from their routine. Even though group #2 exercised and dieted far less (but did so persistently) they got 68% better results than those who exercised and dieted very strictly but only occasionally. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Now that Christmas has passed, I am really starting to get excited about my New Year's resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight and get my pre-babies body back (or at least get my best possible post-babies body!)

If you are like me and millions of other Americans, you too may be planning to lose weight and get fit in the coming year! Lasting weight loss and fitness require lots of motivation and the right combination of good nutrition, cardiovascular and strength/toning exercises.

Over the next few days, I will be offering some tips to help you achieve your 2010 New Year's Health and Fitness Resolutions!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How true!

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~George Bernard Shaw


Shaw was definitely ahead of his time when he said this.  Recent studies have repeatedly shown that much of what was originally thought of as the effects of aging is actually the result of inactivity.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easy, Delicious & Healthy Chili!

Perfect for fall!  Super nutritious! It comes in a can and heats up in minutes!  Dinner doesn't get much more convenient!  My husband and I love Amy's Organic Medium Chili (Kaylin does too, but it whips right through her 18-month-old digestive system!). We've been feeding her Annie's Certified Organic Cheesy Ravioli as an alternative. 

Have more time on your hands and want to make your own hearty, yet ultra healthy chili?  Try this recipe from Vegetarian Times -- Three-Bean Vegetable Chili.  It's been one of my favorites for years.  I usually skip the fennel and cilantro as I'm not a big fan of either, but that's just my personal preference.  This chili gets better with time!  Make extra and freeze it for later!

Don't forget to have a big glass of water to drink with your chili!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good, Good, Good, Good Hydration!

Sing it to the tune of Good Vibrations!  Are you drinking enough water?  Probably not . . . 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Some Interesting Facts about Dehydration:
  • Even mild dehydration will slow your metabolism by as much as 3%.
  • One glass of water made midnight hunger pangs cease for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
  • Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.
  • Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79%, and bladder cancer by 50%. 
Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day?  I know we haven’t been. I’ve been waking up in the morning with my mouth all dry and my skin is so parched it makes me think of the old Lubriderm, “See you later, Alligator” commercial.  My husband likes to drink everything but water, and our eighteen month old throws sippy cups of water on the floor and demands juice or soda instead.

So this week, we are recommitting ourselves to getting and staying hydrated!  We challenge you to do the same!
What we’ll be drinking:
  • Water, Water, and More Water!
  • We’re shooting for five 16.9 ounce bottles each day!
What we won’t be drinking:
  • Caffeinated Beverages – Caffeine is a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration.
  • Alcohol – It’s also a diuretic.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

About My Family and This Blog

My family is just like yours in that we have our ups and downs.  My husband and I both have family health histories riddled with cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  We are concerned about our health, but we don’t always make the best choices.  We sometimes struggle with our weight.  We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday living.  We have more will-power some days than others.  

We don’t always work as a team; occasionally we even work against each other.  Sometimes my husband goes on a baking kick when I’m trying my best to stay away from sweets.  (Let me tell you the man could tempt Jack LeLanne with some of his delicious concoctions.)  Sometimes, my husband is focused, and I’m off track.  It goes both ways. 

Time, motivation and energy are issues for us.  My husband is off to work for twelve hours of everyday.  I’m seven months pregnant, and I spend my days chasing after an eighteen month old who would like nothing better than to eat cookies, drink soda and leap off the furniture all day long. 

I chose to write this blog, because I know first-hand that life can get crazy and that it’s easy to lose your focus when it comes to health, fitness and nutrition.  I invite you to join me and my family as we try our bests to give our fitness and our nutrition the attention and focus needed to achieve the good health that all of us deserve!  I know that like us, you won’t be 100% on track with your health, fitness and nutrition 100% of the time, but every effort you give it is worth it!  Little changes have the power to make a big difference!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Little Bit About Me

My name is Shannon Brennan.  I'm a Wife, Mother (Expecting Baby Number Two this November!), Lifelong Vegetarian, Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor.

I believe that exercise and proper nutrition are paramount to living a full and happy life. The benefits of exercising regularly and eating a balanced and varied diet are countless. I have been an avid exerciser and vegetarian since childhood, and have seen and experienced first hand the amazing impact that an active lifestyle and healthy diet can have.

Since I began working in the fitness industry ten years ago, I have helped thousands of people -- young, old, and in between -- adopt a healthier, more active way of life, and achieve their fitness goals! I hope with my Healthy Mommy Blog to be able to reach and improve the lives of an even larger audience!