Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Italian Lean Program

The Italian Lean Program the fun name I gave to one of the most interesting workout and lifestyle programs I have tried in my career so far. Just before departing for Italy, my body fat was tested by exercise coach Adriano Martorano at Kx Yorkville I learned of some lifestyle issues to address such as sleep and minor nutrient deficiencies through Biosignature at Kx. This body fat test correlates with the hormonal profile of your body. Learning of possible hormone imbalances through fat storage patterns in my body was very motivating, especially since I was provided with strategies to improve my health. Following Adriano’s lifestyle and targeted supplementation advice held the promise of a leaner body for me. Adriano would know, as he is an exceptionally experienced coach, practices what he preaches and is in unbelievable shape. However, he suggested I start the program after my trip…I took that as a challenge, so we made a friendly wager at Kx on my returning from Italy leaner.

Even with my professional pride on the line, my love for food came first, so I could not comply with the strict dietary discipline that was suggested for the two week period. Actually, I preferred to eat clotted cream, pasta, gelato and anything else that struck my fancy. Having multiple servings of green veggies, fruit, increasing my protein intake, taking fish oil, working out and sleeping well was the extent of lifestyle discipline I could adhere to. Prosecco, cocktails, pasta, pizza, panforte, cheese, gelato and other Italian treats were all on the menu to be enjoyed.

A few days into the trip, it was time for me to put my fitness trainer skills to creative use. There was a vineyard close to where we were and I knew at first glance it was the perfect locale for hill sprint repeats-and was it ever! It was a 45 second hill where I felt that even if an animal were chasing me, I could not move any faster. Then, I designed some 20 minute strength workouts for the upper and lower body separately. Here is the workout:

Leisure time, yoga and meditation by the swimming pool were also on the list.

Poolside fun required-

Poolside fun required for the Italian Lean Program

I am exceptionally happy to report that I dropped 1.5% body fat upon my return from Italy where I ate pasta and gelato daily! This is the ultimate Making Life Good achievement, as I truly enjoyed being active outdoors, shared fabulous Italian food while becoming stronger and leaner! Making Life Good recommends the Biosignature program at Kx Yorkville-could anything be better than becoming leaner, stronger and healthier while enjoying life to the fullest extent in Italy?


Octopus, Wild Boar and Salami

Prior to my recent trip to Italy, I was given some dietary advice to increase my intake of protein in order to become leaner. I had some professional pride at stake, so eating more protein was one thing I could comply with. Now that I look back, the protein sources I consumed the most while I was in Italy was octopus, wild boar and salami. Most unusual.

It is often said that the average person eats only 12 different foods, as many of us have our habits and preferences. I make an effort to have a variety of foods for enjoyment and the variety of nutrients. I chose octopus, wild boar and salami, because they are foods that I truly enjoy. Fortunately, they also worked well for the dietary discipline I could comply with. Octopus is a lean protein, wild boar is fairly lean as well and salami is something to be enjoyed in moderation. I enjoyed various octopus salads, wild boar in stew, on pasta, and salami with cheese. In addition, I will say that choosing these different foods helped me  become leaner. Yes, octopus, wild boar and salami are some different delicious protein foods to try. I invite you to try a new food sometime this week and see how you respond.

Recipe: Kale Salad

Kale salad is something that I eat occasionally, and enjoy the most at Foxley restaurant in Toronto. My good friend Kathryn recently served me a kale salad in Tuscany based on the salad she frequently orders at a Toronto restaurant. Perhaps it was the Italian kale-her salad was a vast improvement on the restaurant version and inspired me to make it! This salad is incredibly easy to make and a delicious, healthy choice of greens. Kale contains vitamin A, K and C, antioxidants we all need. I brought home some fig flavoured pecorino cheese from Italy, which was a special touch. Otherwise pecorino cheese works well.

1 bunch of black kale, stems removed, cut very finely horizontally across the leaf

Juice of 1 lemon or more to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons currants

Grated pecorino cheese, to taste

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together kale and lemon juice thoroughly with your hands (‘massage’ the kale with the lemon juice). Drizzle olive oil and mix well. Mix in currants and toss with grated pecorino. Let stand for 15 minutes, or refrigerate covered, overnight. Add sunflower seeds and ground pepper before serving, enjoy.





Recipe: Italian Green Salad

Here is a green salad recipe that I created upon my arrival in Tuscany after my first trip to the grocery store. I found sea asparagus at the fish counter, and it is called ‘algae’ here. Not the most appealing, but sea asparagus is a delicious and nutritious plant food. Everyone enjoyed this salad and the key is the infused olive oil.

For Infused Olive Oil:

1/2 red chili pepper, sliced

1 clove garlic, sliced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, stir together sliced pepper, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let oil infuse for a few hours or a day.

For green salad:

6 cups mixed baby greens

1 small cucumber, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 green onion, sliced

1 cup green beans, cut in half

1/2 cup sea asparagus, rinsed (optional)

Balsamic vinegar to taste

Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add green beans and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add sea asparagus briefly. Take off heat, drain, and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, toss baby greens, cucumber, tomato, green onion, green beans and sea asparagus with desired quantity of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons). Drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste, enjoy.