Archive for the ‘Jessica Ray’ Category

Trainer Tip: Working for health, by Jessica Ray

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

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Working for Health

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention projects that in 2010, heart disease will cost the United States $316.4 billion dollars. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity in the work place.  Common risk factors for heart disease include inactivity, obesity, hypertension, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  Individuals have in their capacity the ability to combat these risk factors head on, and furthermore, reduce the economic impact it has on America.

Many work places have implemented wellness programs as part of their employee benefits packages.  However, many employees are unaware of this opportunity to monitor and improve their health at no additional cost.   Businesses are striving to improve their employees’ health, which in turn, will lower medical costs and absences at work related to illness.  In doing this, companies offer employees the chance to take health assessment surveys to learn more about their health.  By compiling health assessment data, businesses can better assess what their employees’ health concerns are and how they can provide assistance and guidance to improve upon them.  In addition, most wellness packages provide the opportunity for their employees to be contacted by a professional health advisor with whom they can directly discuss their health related issues.  This opportunity grants people the chance to ask how they can improve their health, set realistic goals, and hopefully eliminate additional risk factors that may lead to harmful diseases and/or conditions.  Some companies may also offer onsite resources such as health screenings, fitness facilities, and health educational seminars.  This makes it easier for employees to designate time during their work day to focus on their health.

Even though the work place is making it easier for individuals to be healthy, it is important for people to take actions in their own hands.  The expense of gym memberships, diet groups, and healthy foods makes it hard to stay in shape.  Instead of joining a gym think about other ways to exercise.  Find a local church that provides inexpensive fitness classes.  Possibly explore walking trails in your neighborhood, or ask a friend who has knowledge in fitness to help you.  There are many creditable exercise videos that can be purchased at a reasonable cost as well.  Exercise videos are very convenient since you can perform your exercise routine right in your own home.  This helps people overcome the intimidation of a gym atmosphere.
As an exercise specialist, I have discovered the barriers that people face with their health.  As people continue to become more and more unhealthy there will be a significantly greater economic impact.  This is why it’s important to take advantage of all the opportunities that can help improve our community’s wellbeing.

F.P. personal trainer, Jessica Ray: Health Tips; February 3, 2010

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Healthy Thought of the Week:

Imagine living the way you truly desire

Really enjoying your family and friends.

Having all you want in your life

Achieving your goals with ease and grace

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Healthy Tip of the Week:
The health benefits of positive thinking

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

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Healthy Super Bowl Recipes:


  1. Make a small slit on one side of each pepper. Place the peppers in a large microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on High until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine refried beans, cheese, scallion and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds with a small spoon (a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon works well). Fill each pepper with about 1 tablespoon of the bean filling, or until the pepper is full but not overstuffed (the amount will depend on the size of the pepper). Close the pepper around the filling.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Place flour in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Combine cornmeal and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a third shallow dish. Roll each stuffed pepper in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the cornmeal mixture. Place the peppers on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat all sides of each pepper with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn each pepper over and continue baking until hot and the filling starts to ooze in a few spots, about 5 minutes more.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the filling (Step 2) for up to 1 day.
  • Kitchen tip: Touching hot peppers can “burn” your hands. Wear rubber gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.


Per popper: 87 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 39 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 419 mg sodium; 119 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 high-fat meat

Jessica’s Healthy News, January 26th

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

JessicaHealthy Quote of the Week:
Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted ~ Denis Waitley

Healthy Tips for the Week:

Tips to Avoid OVER EATTING!


Healthy eating tips # 1. Identify high-risk situations.

Few people overeat in every situation, so determine the circumstances that are likely to trigger a binge. Once you’ve identified which situations are most likely to spark emotional overeating, come up with a game plan for each one. For example, if eating at relatives’ always involves plentiful gooey desserts, plan to make or buy a low-fat dessert, and bring it with you for everyone to share. If you can’t go to the movies without snacking on something, sneak in your own bag of air-popped popcorn or some low-cal candy.

Healthy eating tips # 2. Keep a record of what you put in your mouth in a food diary.

In a study at the Center for Behavioral Medicine in Chicago, researchers asked 38 people who were trying to lose weight to keep a food diary; doing so not only helped them control their weight during high-risk holidays, but even helped them peel off unwanted pounds. Keep it simple—it doesn’t have to include total calories or fat grams—but don’t forget to jot down snacks or drinks, which can add up. You need to maintain a record at least 75 percent of the time for a food diary to be effective.

Healthy eating tips # 3. Explore food-free ways to socialize.

In social situations, everybody eats more if they see everybody else doing so. If this sounds familiar, get in the habit of bonding with friends over activities that don’t center around food: a walk at the park, an afternoon at a paint-your-own-pottery shop, a long bike ride or hike, or trying a new class at the gym.

Healthy eating tips # 4. Dine smart and use portion control.

Research—and common sense—tells us we eat much more when we dine out. Do damage control at restaurants by speed-reading the menu: Skip past “appetizers” and head straight for “salads” for a safe starter, and look for any mention of plate-sharing charges, a sure sign that the restaurant’s meals are enormous and that you and your dining companion may want to split one. (Note some restaurants will honor requests for half-size portion control, or if it’s a low-key establishment, ask the waiter to serve just half and box the rest for you to take home.) Once you pick a healthy option from the menu, order before anyone else at the table. That way, you make the commitment and you won’t be persuaded by other people’s orders.

Healthy eating tips # 5. Eat thin before fat, choosing low calorie foods – or at least lower – first.

People tend to overeat the more-delicious, more-palatable foods, which have a higher fat content. The solution: Fill up on low calorie foods first—fruits, vegetables and grains—and you’ll be less likely to overindulge in the high-calorie stuff.

Healthy eating tips # 6. Keep temptation out of your path.

Get rid of junk food and replace it with better choices—rice cakes or pretzels for your pantry; low-fat frozen yogurt, pre-made fruit salad and baby carrots for your fridge; and reduced-fat popcorn or dried fruit for your desk drawer. It’s going to be easier for you to avoid overeating if you control your external environment.

Healthy Recipe of the Week:



  • 4 whole baby or 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting
  • 1 pound Easy Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough (recipe follows), or other prepared dough
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. (For charcoal grilling or an oven variation, see below.)
  2. Grill zucchini until marked and softened, about 4 minutes. Thinly slice. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Process tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel or large baking sheet. Roll out the dough (see Tip) and transfer it to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal.
  5. Slide the crust onto the grill rack; close the lid. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread the tomato mixture on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Quickly top with mozzarella, bell pepper and the zucchini. Sprinkle on Parmesan.
  7. Close the lid again and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned, about 8 minutes.


Per serving: 375 calories; 9 g fat (5 g sat, 1 g mono); 26 mg cholesterol; 58 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 8 g fiber; 531 mg sodium; 566 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (80% daily value), Folate (46% dv), Calcium (32% dv), Iron & Vitamin A (20% dv).

Jessica’s Weekly Health Tips (January 19, 2010)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

JessicaHealthy Quote of the Week:
    “Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.” – By Franklin P. Adams
Healthy Tips:
Surprisingly Un-healthy stuff…Beat the FIVE top “GOOD FOR YOU” Goofs!
You think eating breakfast is healthy, but: “Any food with a lot of added sugar, even yogurt, can make your energy level take a nosedive about an hour after you eat it,” says Blatner. Stick to a mix of protein, fiber, and whole grains; choose yogurt with 12 grams of sugar or less.
You think salad is healthy, but: Greens won’t do you much good if you drown them in cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing. “Fat takes a long time to be digested and makes us feel sluggish,” explains Blatner. Instead, load up on lean protein such as chicken, fiber-rich chickpeas, and nutritious veggies like tomatoes, broccoli, and red peppers.
You think any snack that isn’t fried is healthy, but: Low-fat, low-cal pretzels and potato chips seem like a smart snack — trouble is, “these processed dry foods speed through your system,” says Blatner. Choose popcorn or multigrain pretzels for a steady, long-lasting energy boost.
You think dried fruit is healthy, but: It’s loaded with sugar. Munch on raw fruit instead. “The water in it will energize you,” says Blatner.
You think coffee is healthy, but: Drink too much and you can get the jitters. Your best bet for improved focus and quick thinking — without the shakes — is to stick to about two cups before noon, advises Blatner.

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Healthy Feel Good Recipe:  Shrimp Stir-Fry with Chinese Cabbage, Carrots and Broccoli
This recipe serves: 2
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup thinly sliced Chinese cabbage (bok choy)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
Cooking Instructions
1. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet or wok large enough to accommodate all the ingredients over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir quickly for 30 seconds.
3. Turn the heat to high. Add the cabbage, then the carrots, then the broccoli and finally the shrimp, stirring quickly after each addition.
4. Season with pepper.
5. Add the soy sauce and cook until the shrimp are fully cooked and opaque, about 2 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size:about 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Serving Size0
Protein17 g
Total Carbohydrate6 g
Dietary Fiber2 g
Soluble Fiber1 g
Insoluble Fiber0 g
Sugar3 g
Total Fat4 g
Saturated Fat1 g
Monounsaturated Fat2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat1 g
Trans Fatty Acid (tfa)0 g
Omega-3 Fatty Acid1 g
Omega-6 Fatty Acid1 g
Cholesterol131 mg
Percent Calories from Fat28 %
Percent Calories from Protein56 %
Percent Calories from Carbohydrate17

Jessica Ray
Exercise Specialist
Fitness Plus
Phone: 859-333-1674

Jessica’s Healthy Tips Of The Week

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

JessicaHealthy Quote of the Week:

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey

Healthy Tips for the Cold Weather:

Taking it outside:  Here’s how to get the most out of your cold-weather workout:

* Check with your doctor. Experts say that almost everyone can exercise safely in the cold, including people with asthma and heart problems. If you have health concerns, get your doctor’s OK.
* Layer it on. One of the biggest mistakes cold-weather exercisers make is dressing too warmly. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s 30 degrees warmer than it really is. At the same time, once you start to tire and the sweat dries, you can get chilled. The solution? Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer. A heavy down jacket or vest will cause most people to overheat. If you’re naturally lean, though, you’ll need more insulation than someone who is heavier. If it’s very cold (about 0 F or -17.8 C) or you have asthma, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth.
* Protect your extremities. When it’s cold, blood is shunted to your body’s core, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. You might want to buy exercise shoes a half-size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat or headband — 30 to 40 percent of your body heat is lost through your head.
* Choose appropriate gear. If it’s dark, wear reflective clothing. To stay steady on your feet, choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls. Wear a helmet for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
* Remember sunscreen. It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 15 or higher. Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen, and protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.
* Head into the wind. You’ll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout — when you may be sweaty — with the wind at your back.
* Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout — even if you’re not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat from sweating, breathing and increased urine production.
* Pay attention to wind chill. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body. Fast motion — such as skiing, running, cycling or skating — also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. When the temperature is 10 F (-12.2 C) and the air is calm, skiing at 20 miles an hour creates a wind chill of minus 9 (-22.8 C). If the temperature dips well below zero (-17.8 C), choose an indoor activity instead.
* Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is most common on your face, fingers and toes. Early warning signs include paleness, numbness and loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area without rubbing. If numbness continues, seek emergency care. If you suspect hypothermia — characterized by intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue — get emergency help right away. To help prevent problems, warm your hands and feet every 20 to 30 minutes, and know when to head for home.
* Stay motivated. When it’s cold outdoors, there’s no need to hit the couch. With a little knowledge and fortitude, you can meet the challenges — and reap the rewards — of winter exercise. For many people, the solitude and quiet alone are reason enough to brave the elements.

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Healthy Comfort Food Recipe:

Low Fat Crockpot Chicken and Vegetable Stew

While chicken thighs are not as low fat as chicken breasts, they are perfect for the slow cooker, becoming meltingly tender as they cook. Be sure to choose skinless chicken thighs and trim any excess fat before cooking.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 large leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced
* 1 8-ounce pack sliced mushrooms
* 8 ounces baby carrots
* 2 medium red potatoes cut into chunks
* 1 large stalk of celery, sliced
* 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
* 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
* 1 small sprig rosemary

Coat bottom and sides of a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place vegetables in the pot. Trim chicken thighs of excess fat and cut into pieces. Add chicken to the pot, followed by herbs, crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.
Serves 4-6

Per Serving: Calories 271, Calories from Fat 46, Total Fat 5g (sat 1.1g), Cholesterol 94mg, Sodium 163mg, Carbohydrate 29.4g, Fiber 6g, Protein 26.9g

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