7 Kitchen Tools that Will Cut Your Cooking Time in Half

Do you avoid cooking because of the prep time? Avoid no more. Here is the list of kitchen tools I use to speed up the cooking process. In many cases, the total time will decrease by 50 percent. Cook away, Chef!!!!

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Instant Pot


Personal Trainer Wisdom: The Instant Pot is basically a crock pot with pressure cooker attributes. Like a Crock Pot, you can simply throw an array of ingredients into the pot and cook with little extra work. The big difference: The Instant Pot only takes a fraction of the cooking time. Your 8-hour Crock Pot simmer will turn into a 20-minute pressure-cooked phenomenon. Either method will save you time from constant stirring stoveside. You may use the Instant Pot to sautee onions and garlic prior to cooking your stew, soup, or chili as well (which also saves cleanup time-less dishes).

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PL8 Professional Mandoline (Food Slicer)


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Cutting with a knife is soooooo prehistoric! With 4 cutting options (thick slice, thin slice, julienne and waffle) and 4 adjustable thickness settings for each cutting option, you will save time perfecting your slice and adding more shape to your life!

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Apple Slicer


Personal Trainer Wisdom: You can core and section fruits in one swift motion (8 wedges all at the same time). Less mess and time. “But it only saves you 30-60 seconds, Michael,” you say. Tell that to my screaming 2-year old son, Preston….

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Collapsible Salad Spinner


Personal Trainer Wisdom: As described on Bed, Bath, & Beyond, “This salad spinner is so versatile as it expands for use as a large salad spinner and collapses in an instant for easy storage. Its high velocity pull-cord mechanism dries your fruits or veggies quickly and efficiently.” Sold! Not enough? I also use the spinner to evenly coat a dressing or citrus onto my veggies. Essentially, you’re spinning away the excess while coating each piece of nutritarian goodness. Perfection!

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Stick Mixer


Personal Trainer Wisdom: I typically avoided recipes that required pureeing because of the food processor cleanup. With the stick mixer, you can quickly and easily puree a soup in the same pot you cooked it in. It’s lightweight and a quick wash compared to the many parts of the food processor or blender.

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Kale Slicer


Personal Trainer Wisdom: This kale slicer is more of a kale destemmer than anything else. It makes pulling the leaves off the stem one easy swoop (a big convenience when using several stems in your recipe).

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OXO Vegetable Chopper


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Many of my personal training clients will avoid cooking because of the preparation (especially the chopping). Although you need to slice an apple, onion, or green pepper in thirds, this chopper will make the remainder of your chop a breeze. Simply place the thick slices under the stainless steel blades and press down. Easy to dump into your dish and easy to clean.

Photo Credit:
Photo 1: williams-sonoma .com–Life may never be the same with the Instantpot.
Photo 2: mighty ape .co.nz– PL8 Professional Mandoline (food slicer)
Photo 3: kitchenettejen .com–Apple Slicer
Photo 4: blogtemplates. Info—Collapsible Salad Spinner
Photo 5: promotion. com–Stick Mixer
Photo 6: target. Com—Kale Slicer
Photo 7: crate and barrel .com– OXO Vegetable Chopper

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
7 Kitchen Tools that Will Cut Your Cooking Time in Half
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

4 Ways to Avoid the Same Poor Posture as Michael Cohen during the House Hearing

Don't be like Mike! Whether testifying in a House hearing or presenting at a board meeting, poor posture will not only send unintended nonverbal cues but also lead to poor physical health. Putting aside, the "look" of poor posture, anything beyond the neutral spine while sitting (think of your body naturally and symmetrically stacked in the neutral position) may put you at serious, long-term risk of injury. I've included tips from my interview with Wayfair to help you reverse this effect and redefine the way you sit at work.

Wayfair: How can you tell if you have bad posture during your day to day?


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Most likely, you are experiencing many symptoms, including lower back, hip, and shoulder discomfort and pain, that are surefire tells of your bad posture. Considering the constant distractions, it's not a surprise that you don't recognize these symptoms or realize how you shift your weight to one hip while speaking to someone or round your back while working on the computer 8-10 hours per day. In small amounts, your body is adaptable and can function out of a neutral zone (Translation: Pick up light objects with a rounded back). When reinforced repetitively, though, you are creating an imbalanced, inefficient system that can eventually lead to rounded shoulders or a posterior hip tilt (rounded lower back).

Wayfair: What are some tips to improve posture while at your desk?


Personal Trainer Wisdom: The number one key to your best physical health and perfect posture is awareness. Simple check-ins throughout the day can minimize or eliminate most chronic problems. Although the human body isn't meant to sit for extended periods of time, most industries require it. If you're going to do it, you must do it well. Essentially, you're fighting nature while maintaining a flexed position at your desk under quite a bit of sustained stress. Our bodies are meant to move in a neutral position, however, and you're most likely guilty of doing the opposite up to this point.

While it's not realistic to assume that you'll walk and type on a Stairmaster at the office, you can take several measures to maintain a neutral spine--the natural position of the spine that doesn't place unnecessary stress on your disks and maintains the natural curve of your neck and lower back. First, adjust your seat to the appropriate height to reduce a tilt in your hips or a round in your lower back. Your knees should directly extend from your hips at a 90 angle or lower. Second, maintain a neutral position while seated. Keep your ears above your shoulders, shoulders above your hips, heels under your knees, and your feet flat on the floor. Third, stand up and/or walk when you fidget or reposition your body while seated. If you begin to shift in your seat, listen to your body! It's time to move! It takes muscle activation and strength to fight gravity and maintain perfect posture. Although you may be using the right muscles, they will fatigue too! With this being said, relight the system and find a reason to walk around.

Wayfair: Are there any tools, accessories, or furniture that are best suited for having good posture throughout a workday?


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Your best tool for maintaining good posture is self-awareness. No matter what system you would put in place, you may unconsciously compensate in one way or another. An adjustable, ergonomic chair that allows you the fit for your neutral spine and the adjustable height to find the appropriate level for your hips is a priority. An adjustable desk will also help you find the proper height for your computer keyboard and the placement of the screen to limit any slouching. In the case your desk doesn't offer an adjustable function, you may want to simply elevate your computer screen to eye level instead.

Wayfair: For offices with raiseable desks, how much time should someone switch between sitting and standing for the most comfortability?


Personal Trainer Wisdom: In response to the constant demand on your body (gravity counts), it's important to move or change position every 20-30 minutes. The same principle applies when utilizing a raiseable desk. As mentioned before, your muscles will fatigue while maintaining perfect posture. Not surprisingly, ambitious people have bought the raisable desks with hopes of resolving their postural issues but still end up compensating by shifting their weight while standing and placing themselves in compromising positions. When you shift, it isn't a failure! It's just a cue to reposition. Sitting, standing, or walking may be the most appropriate response.

Photo Credit:
abc 17 news .com – Don't be guilty of poor posture!

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Ways to Avoid the Same Poor Posture as Michael Cohen during the House Hearing
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

4 Ways You Are Undermining Your Health Efforts

Having trouble achieving your health and fitness goals? You may find the biggest obstacle within yourself….and here’s what it might be:

Using the phrases “I can’t”, “I won’t”, or “I don’t”.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: After 14 years of personal training and nearly 18000 hours of one-on-one sessions, I find that this factor determines one’s sustainable success more than any other (and it makes sense). Consider the language: The very nature of these phrases are negative and self-limiting. Is one truly open to the change that he needs to make or is he only willing to do something as long as it doesn’t compromise his wants? “I won’t cook.” “I can’t possibly make this change.” “I don’t workout.” Hard-line phrases that express unwillingness to determine and consider what one must really do to reach success. Even though the verbal resistance may sit at the tip of the tongue, the alternative phrases, “How can I make this work?” or “Let’s examine the possible solutions”, are positive options that might open new doors to one’s well-being.

Haven’t established a routine.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Long-term sustainable change relies on a foundation of routine and habit. While a quick fix to lose 30 lbs in 3 months is enticing, it will soon be part of a never-ending life cycle. Most fasts, pills, and detoxes serve an impulsive need and rarely establish the structure needed to maintain the weight loss. The strongest habit has been reinforced daily for a 30-day stretch. It has become part of a new normal operating on autopilot at times. The further the habit is from a day-to-day routine the longer it needs reinforcement (45-60 days). Lack of this focus will most certainly lead to short-term change and a return to the prior normal that led to poor health.

Lack of distinction between “wants” and “needs”.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Unfortunately, the grammar school curriculum lacks the necessary lessons on the physical, mental, and emotional selves. Children (and adults) are left to haphazard self-discovery and assessment as well as, often, misguided mentors. Essentially, students are never taught how to recognize their true needs and are left to figure it out on their own over a lifetime. With the barrage of mix messages, seeking optimal personal health is a confusing and frustrating journey. All of this might change, though, with the simple question “Why do I feel this way?” It is the first step of awareness - An examination of the underlying influence on behavior and its physical manifestation. With guided investigation and testing, true needs can be identified while no longer depending on haphazard guesses related to wants.

Unwilling to accept what needs to be changed and the necessary steps to change it.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Although awareness is an important first step in change, acceptance is necessary before adaptation takes place. Is one willing to accept a current state of being (healthy or not, it is what it is) and the needed approach to redefine health? Surprisingly, acceptance is the roadblock for most. Without accepting a current state and the necessary path, doubt, frustration, and insecurities will unravel the new efforts It may emotionally steer the adaptive process in the wrong direction and stunt it as a whole.

Photo Credit:
brobible .com–Is the answer to change sitting in front or inside of you?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Ways You Are Undermining Your Health Efforts
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

Quick Diet Guide to Losing Weight

Here is the quick weight loss guide I share with my personal training clients to steer their new dietary choices:

Baseline Intent (Philosophy)

Eat nutrient dense foods. If you make any change in your diet, this is it. Filler foods are sooooooo 1984. You’re better than that. “Eat with intent” is your new mantra! If you’re hungry, feed your engine with something meaningful!

Inflammation and Deficiency

Inflammation

Healthline says (reviewed by Seunggu Han, MD): “Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system. This response includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area. The whole process usually lasts for a few hours or days in the case of acute inflammation. Chronic inflammation happens when this response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on your tissues and organs. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation could also play a role in a range of conditions, from cancer to asthma.”

Inflammatory Foods

- Grains including whole grains or all-bran products (breads, crackers, rice, cereals, etc.)
- Processed foods (products with additives and preservatives; genetically modified foods; or anything else not in its whole, natural form)
- Dairy (butter, milk, and cheese processed from animals)
- Alcohol
- Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Animal protein with high levels of saturated fat (red meat, pork, wild game, etc.)

If I don’t eat those inflammatory foods, then….

- If you need fiber, substitute grains for beans or dark leafy greens.
- If you need calcium or vitamin d, substitute dairy for dark leafy greens.
- If you need antioxidants, substitute red wine for grapes.
- If you need protein, substitute the protein supplement shake for lean meat, eggs, fish, nuts, etc. Please note that the plant-based option is the least inflammatory in most bodies.

Deficiency

The body is made up of 2 main systems, core and peripheral. The core system is the engine, and it has very specific demands to maintain of state of homeostasis (the perfect balance of being in terms of effectiveness and efficiency). The peripheral system handles the adaptive software to manage behaviors, compensations, toxins, or compromises of our natural processes and operation of our biological clock. It helps the body manage periods of fasting and stress and day-to-day physical hacks. It can also help the employee assigned to the midnight shift adapt her biological clock to meet her basic needs….even if it's beyond ideal. It’s important to note that just because the body can adapt, it doesn’t mean it’s sustainable or ideal. The body will always try to steer you back to its original processes. Long story, short: Yes, you can survive on periods without food but consider how the body may compensate (and it may not help your health goals).

Starved or Stuffed

You never want to starve (can lead to the compensating, deficient state described above) or stuffed (your body may hold onto more than it needs or convert even the extra good stuff into fat, triglycerides, etc.

Specific Food Approach

General Guidelines

- Daily caloric range: 1200-1500 calories (you must determine the healthiest amount for you).
- Meal caloric range: 3-500 calories
- Meals per day: 3-4 every 3-5 hours (allow enough time for proper digestion and absorption)

Simple Plate Ratio

Use this breakdown for every meal, small meal, snack, or what my 20-month old son, Preston calls “snat”.
- 45-55% Plant Nutrients/Vegetables (dark green, starchy, red/orange, etc.)
- 25-40% Protein (lean white meat, fish, soy, eggs, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.)
- 25% Fiber (beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, vegetables, etc.)
*****Although I haven't specifically mentioned it, you should still be mindful of the number of good fats (nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.) in your diet, too. You shouldn't exceed 15% in any given meal unless deemed necessary.

Biological Clock and Circadian Rhythm

Your body wants to be an efficient machine that operates on autopilot. Most of the time it depends on its biological clock - a blend of natural and reinforced forces. With this being said, you can train your body to efficiently release a flood of hormones to help you utilize the fuel you feed it at the same times each day. You already did this in grade school when you ate lunch at 11:37 every day and still felt the hunger pangs at the same time over your summer break. The principle also applies to your efficient recovery while you sleep each night. Your body will naturally wake you slowly over the course of 3 hours prior to your waking time. Going to bed at the same time every night will reinforce this habit and wake you without an alarm clock at the same time as well!

Photo Credit:
Taste of Home .com–Is this the plate ratio that will help you lose weight?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
Quick Diet Guide to Losing Weight
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

4 Quick Meals for Weight Loss (Only a 12 Minute Prep)

One of the reasons why my personal training clients avoid eating healthy is the usual time required to cook. With the Instant Pot, cooking at home is no longer a task. My wife, Sammy, and I recently tested several recipes and found 4 great ones (with some changes) to help you lose weight.

 

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Feel free to substitute any 1 lb of meat with 2 cups of beans, quinoa, or lentils. Also, sauté the onions and garlic in the Instant Pot first if you have the extra 3-5 minutes.

 

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INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 minced garlic cloves

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dry green lentils

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper

 

-Turn your Instant Pot onto “saute.” Brown the ground turkey. Add in the diced onions, garlic, tomato paste, and salt and cook until meat is browned and onions are soft and translucent.

-Add in the lentils, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, and pepper.

-Cover the Instant Pot and turn it to “manual,” set the timer to 13 minutes. Make sure the valve is set to “sealing.”

-When the timer beeps let it sit for 10 minutes and then slowly release the pressure by moving the valve to “venting.”

-Remove the lid and ladle the chili into bowls. We topped ours with some diced green onions.

 

Source: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-ground-turkey-lentil-chili       

 

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HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

 

INGREDIENTS

½ cup of minced onion

½ tsp minced garlic

1 lb asparagus, ends, and tips snapped off

3 cups of cauliflower florets

3 cups of vegetable broth

1 tsp thyme

1” strip lemon peel

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp onion powder

½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp ginger

¼ cup white wine

1 cup of coconut milk

1/8 tsp white pepper

Shaved almonds (topping)

Hemp seeds (topping)

 

-Add the onion, garlic, asparagus (expect for the tips), cauliflower, vegetable broth, thyme, lemon peel, bay leaf, onion powder, salt, cardamom, ginger, white wine, coconut milk, white pepper and mix well.

-Place the asparagus tips in a foil packet and place on top of the asparagus mixture.

-Put the lid on and make sure the steam release handle is set to sealing, or closed; change to the manual setting on high and set the time for 2 minutes.

-Carefully move the pressure valve to steam release handle and release the pressure manually. Set the foil packet aside for serving. Discard the bay leaf and lemon peel.

-For the blender, transfer the cooked asparagus and cauliflower mixture to your blender along with nutmeg. Blend until smooth and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

-Serve topped with the asparagus tips and sprinkles of shaved almonds and hemp seeds.

 

Source: Adapted from the book The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot

 

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INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of soaked (or drained from a can) white (or cannellini) beans

2 cups of soaked (or drained from a can) kidney beans

1 large onion, diced

1 (15 oz) can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, diced and undrained

1 cup of vegetable broth

¼ cup dried parsley

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

3 cups baby carrots

3 cups cubed sweet potatoes (1-2 medium)

2 cups chopped celery (about 4 stalks)

2 cups sliced white button mushrooms

1 tbsp minced garlic (or 5 garlic cloves chopped or thinly sliced)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

3 tbsp hemp seeds

 

-Place all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker.

-Place the lid on the cooker and make sure the pressure knob is in the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL function high pressure, and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 20 minutes.

-When the cooker beeps to let you know it’s finished, switch the pressure knob from the SEALING to the VENTING position, administering a quick release. Use caution while the steam escapes—it’s hot.

-Open the cooker and stir everything in the pot, adjust salt to taste.

 

Source: Adapted from the recipe “Fire-Roasted Beef Stew” in the book Instant Loss Cookbook

 

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INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb chicken breasts

2 cans white (or cannellini) beans

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes, undrained

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white or black pepper

1 cup white wine

1 tsp minced garlic

3 cups diced red potatoes

1 cup diced zucchini without skin

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Italian seasoning

 

-Place all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker.

-Place the lid on the cooker and make sure the pressure knob is in the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL function high pressure, and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 12 minutes.

-When the cooker beeps to let you know it’s finished, switch the pressure knob from the SEALING to the VENTING position, administering a quick release. Use caution while the steam escapes—it’s hot.

-Open the cooker and stir everything in the pot and shred the chicken, adjust salt to taste.

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Quick Meals for Weight Loss (Only a 12 Minute Prep)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.