Author Archives: Jessica Cassity

About Jessica Cassity

Jessica Cassity is a health journalist who regularly contributes to dozens of magazines including Self, Shape, Fitness, Women's Health, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, and Details. She is also a certified fitness instructor in several disciplines, author of the book Better Each Day, and an enthusiastic cook and gardener. She is based in Portland, OR.

Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn Off a 569 Calorie Plate of Nachos

Everyone has that dark room food. The one they should literally eat in a dark room in order to hide the finger licking, the hunching over the plate, and the single-minded focus. For some people it’s pizza. For others it’s donuts. For me it’s nachos.

nachos

I didn’t mean to eat a whole plate of them. In fact, I had fresh veggies for a salad in my fridge. But I met friends for happy hour and one thing led to another… All of a sudden I was carrying an extra 569 calories. Eek!

How could I have burned off all those extra calories? (more…)

Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn Off the 450 Calories in French Toast

One of my favorite breakfasts of all time is french toast. But because it’s mainly carbs and sugar—as in, lacking in protein, fiber, and most nutrients—I don’t order it all that often. But the other morning I made an exception and ordered up a plate. It was delicious. Don’t get me wrong—it was no Banana Bread French Toastbut it was still super tasty. Thick challah bread, tasty Vermont maple syrup, and lots of fresh berries on top. Yum!

french toast

Of course, this early AM indulgence cost me a fair number of calorie: 450 calories, to be exact.

How could I have burned off the 450 calories in my breakfast?

 

building deck

I could have helped my boyfriend build his deck for 70 minutes. (more…)

The Freshest Produce Picks for Early Summer: Here’s What’s Ripe in June

By Team Best Life 

Nothing says summer like a garden full of fresh vegetables or a farmers market bursting with juicy, in-season fruit. It’s hard to beat the taste of a just-picked sweet tomato or a fragrant strawberry. Whether you eat them plain or toss them into a favorite dish, they’re sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.

Ready to kick off the summer? Try one of our four favorite June produce picks:

broccoli

Broccoli.  If you grow your own in a garden, you’ll likely start to see small heads soon. For a more tender and mild taste, try to harvest the heads and leaves before they grow too large. Don’t have a green thumb? Look for small heads of broccoli at your local farmers’ market early in the season. Use them to whip up this Fresh Broccoli Salad, which makes for a healthy barbecue side dish.

 

raspberries

Raspberries.  You can get most berries year-round, but early season raspberries are especially delicious. Look for black raspberries, which are available in many parts of the country in June. In this Raspberry Pistachio Chickenthey make a tasty topping. (more…)

Work it Off: 3 Ways to Negate the 620 Calories in a Gooey Cinnamon Roll

cinnamon roll

Few things smell better than a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven. (Cinnabon continues to bank on this one basic fact!) That’s one of the reasons I avoid a certain bakery in my neighborhood. Even walking in front of the building makes my mouth water—the cinnamon rolls smell (and taste!) that good.

But sometimes I give in, as I did earlier this week. The sweet scent was just too good to pass up. Of course, this came at a cost. Like, a really big cost: 620 delicious calories, to be exact, which is higher than pretty much any other treat I’ve learned how to burn off—even donuts and biscuits and gravy.

So, how could I help rid my body of the extra 620 calories?

 

doing yoga

I could have done hot yoga for 149 minutes. (Okay scratch that—I can barely stand 60 minutes in that heat!)

(more…)

6 Ways Clubbing in Your 20s Prepped You for Cycling in Your 30s

Last week Shape.com ran an article that had me laughing out loud at my computer. It was basically a “Sure Signs You’re Over 30” story for fitness junkies and the assessment was spot-on. They wrote about how us older gals may be up at 5AM, but it’s to head out on a run, not to stumble home from a big night out. Or how massages are now a part of our maintenance routines, not just an occasional indulgence.

The article was truly amazing and a must-read for anyone who’s still going strong after the big 3-0. In fact, I couldn’t help but be inspired to think of my own amended version last night while in my favorite indoor cycling class. With the lights out and the music thumping I thought back to those fun nights 10+ years ago, which in no way resemble my “Game of Thrones” fueled evenings now.

Those were the days! But boy am I glad they’re over. At any rate, without further ado, here are 6 things that never change, whether you’re a dance club kid or an indoor cycling class queen!

 

cycle shorts

  1. In cycling class you still worry about what your butt looks like. Only now you’re wearing padded shorts which, let’s face it, don’t really flatter any figure.cycle water
  2. You still spill your drink on yourself on the bike. Only this time it’s water dribbling down your chin and onto your spandex top, not vodka red bull. Way less sticky! (more…)

The $190 Billion Problem: It’s the Actual Cost of Obesity in the U.S.

Bistro MD obesity and healthcare costs

Health researchers continue to study—and warn about—the rising rate of obesity worldwide and particularly in the United States. The concern, of course, is for people’s overall health: Being obese is associated with a ton of medical problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is why you’ve probably heard that obesity is one of the main causes of skyrocketing health care costs. (more…)

Miranda Lambert’s 45-Pound Weight Loss Secrets!

It’s one thing to lose weight on your own. It’s a whole other thing to shed pounds with the whole world watching. But that’s exactly what Miranda Lambert did. The country singer, age 30, recently dropped an estimated 45 pounds, according to Us Weekly magazine. This new look comes just in time for the release of her latest album, “Platinum”, which dropped June 3rd.

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How did she do it? With a little help and a lot of common sense.

Lambert tells Us Weekly that she decided to lose weight after a few unflattering photos of her were picked up by tabloids. (You know how you feel when a friend tags a bad photo of you on Facebook? Imagine that, only way, way worse!) So she tried Nutrisystem to jumpstart her diet but eventually decided that following a balanced diet and increasing her exercise routine were ultimately the right options for her. (more…)

Work it Off: 3 Warm Weather Workouts to Blast Away a 320-Calorie Bowl of Mac and Cheese

Portland houses the International Test Garden for roses, which basically means there are thousands of different varieties of the fragrant flower planted in a handful of large gardens around town. Thanks to our warmer than usual weather most of these are already in bloom, so earlier this week I decided to organize a picnic among the roses. To start I made a salad topped with strawberries straight out of my garden (those are already in season too!). For the main I made a tasty  dish with campanelli noodles, caramelized onions, fresh herbs, goat cheese, and a little bacon. While I thought of this as a fancy pasta dish my boyfriend pointed out that it was really just fancy mac and cheese. Tom-a-toes Tom-ah-toes, people!

mac and cheese

This dish was a hit and simple to make, but healthy it is not. For a 1/2 pound serving (which is a small bowl-full) this dish clocks in at 320 calories. Not awful at face value, but when you factor in the dish contains 7 grams of saturated fat and 850 mg of sodium—basically 35% of your recommended daily allowance of each—you can see why this was a meal I definitely needed to burn off, stat! (Here’s a healthy mac and cheese recipe to try, if the craving strikes.)

How could I melt away those 320 surplus calories? (more…)

In Moving Comfort Workout Clothing You Can Actually Breathe While Burning Calories

Because I’m a fitness instructor I own a lot of spandex. Like a whole dresser full of the stuff. But there occasionally are days when I don’t feel like squeezing my body into super tight active wear, when I don’t want to have to “suck it in” for 60 minutes straight. So after returning from a week in New York—a trip that included more than one bagel splurge—I was on the lookout for a workout outfit that was flattering and functional, but not quite so fitted.

I’ve always loved Moving Comfort sports bras—they are super supportive without being constrictive—but I haven’t worn much of their other fitness apparel. When I saw the brand’s new dance and studio collection I knew it was time to give it a try.

Here’s what I found:

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The Metro Capri ($68) is made of a super lightweight poly/spandex blend—chances are these pants are much thinner and cooler than the leggings you usually wear. The waistband is elastic, there are pockets in front, and the drawstrings at the bottoms of the legs can be adjusted to be as loose or tight as you like. Of course what I really love about these pants are the shape of them: The hips and legs of the crops are a little loose (as in, they don’t hug every inch) yet they’re fitted enough to flatter. (more…)

Work it Off: 3 Fitness Feats that Zap a 450-Calorie Bagel with Cream Cheese

There are a lot of things I don’t miss about New York City: The crowds, the noise, the smells, the expense. But there are a few things I do miss after living there for 10 years. While my friends rank high on that list, so do bagels.

bagels

In the morning, few things beat a boiled-to-perfection bagel. Glossy on the outside and chewy on the inside, these carb-tastic treats were a mainstay of my life in the city. When I went back for a visit this past week, my former local bagel shop was one of my first stops. I got a whole wheat bagel heaping with strawberry cream cheese. (In New York a “schmear” is more of a gob than a dab.) It was, not surprisingly, delicious.

It was also a total gut bomb. Full of sugars and carbs the breakfast didn’t feel light in my stomach and pretty much zapped my energy for the next hour or so. (Hello food coma!) This tastes-so-good, feels-so-bad treat also came at a high caloric cost. 450 calories, to be exact.

So how could I burn off the 450 calories in this bagel with cream cheese?

(more…)