Winter Exercise Tips & a Hot, Hearty, and Healthy Recipe

Winter weather is just plain unpredictable. Here in California, we’re facing serious drought conditions and record-high temps. In other parts of the country, ice storms and polar vortex conditions complete with sub-zero temperatures are crippling commutes and shutting down schools and businesses. And everywhere, the shorter, darker days of winter are taking a toll on mood, energy levels, and more.

I realize it can be difficult to break out of hibernation mode and rev up your desire to exercise, but please, don’t let winter hijack your workout routine. Whatever it takes, just get off the couch and do it. 

Exercising outdoors is still a possibility—even in colder climates. Just aim for the daylight hours and dress warmly in layers. Look into local health clubs, indoor public pools, and yoga, Pilates, and dance classes. Consider walking in malls or other indoor areas—many places even have organized “mall-walks.” You can also exercise at home. YouTube offers several free workouts at varying fitness levels, or you can check out exercise DVDs at your local library. Rather than purchasing high-powered equipment, get some inexpensive hand weights, a jump rope, an exercise ball, or a mini-trampoline. Another option is to purchase a copy of my bookThe Whitaker Wellness Weight Loss Program, which includes a step-by-step resistance training program that requires no equipment at all.

Regardless of the changing weather, if you can get in just three or four 30-minute sessions a week, I guarantee you’ll have less stress, more energy, a sunnier mood, and better overall health.

Now, to warm you from the inside out, I’d like to share a hot, hearty, and healthy recipe from my Reversing Diabetes Cookbook. Enjoy!

Chipotle Chili

Spicy, smoky, vegetarian and loaded with nutrients.

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Serves 6

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup celery, chopped
1  cup carrots, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup ripe olives, sliced
2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, chopped, plus a little sauce (more or less to taste—they’re very hot)
1 (14½-ounce) can low-sodium tomatoes with juice, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer or 1½ cups water
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and green pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add olives, chiles, tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, beer, water, and spices. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for a minimum of 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water, if necessary. Chili may be cooked for up to 4 hours if you have the time. The longer you cook it, the better the flavor. In fact, chili is even better reheated the next day.

Nutritional Info:
Per serving: 160 calories, 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 307 mg sodium.

For more protein, you could add lean ground turkey to the recipe. Just brown it along with the onions and other vegetables.  Optional garnishes include fresh cilantro, a dollop of nonfat sour cream, or a sprinkle of reduced-fat cheese.

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