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The Pulse - May 2019 Newsletter

Article – 5 Easy Ways to Get More Veggies Each Day

by Chris Litten

Tip #1: Prep Your Veggies for the Week Before You Put Them in the Refrigerator

I often hear people say that despite knowing what it means to eat healthfully, they still can’t seem to make it happen.  Can you relate?

In my experience, this happens due to an a) priority/willingness issue or b) a strategy/routine issue.

Assuming your health and self-care is your top priority, if you still struggle to put the pieces together; my bet is that a little prep will give you the helping hand you need.

For years, my wife and I have had a consistent routine of prepping our veggies for the coming week on Sundays. Some like bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower you can cut once for the week. Others that are softer like cucumbers, tomatoes or onion you are better to cut up at two intervals, some on Sunday and some more about mid-week so they don’t get to mushy.

We cut large slices for snacking, dice for inclusion in omelets and other dishes, and chop for adding to salads or prep for roasting. The key is to be consistent about making your veggies usable before you put them in the fridge.

Tip #2: Create Multi-Color Veggie Bags for Grab and Go Convenience

Imagine. You’re feeling like you want to snack on something and you’re also really trying to be more sensible about what you go for. You look around and the only easily accessible options you have available are less than stellar. What do you do?

When we are feeling that desire to snack, usually is has absolutely nothing to do with being truly hungry. Quite the contrary. Unfortunately, whatever experience is driving us to snack anyway still exists and the emotion it’s often wrapped up in can drive us to make decisions we probably would have abstained from if we had other options.

Enter multi-color veggie bags. For years, I’ve been able to shift my mindset to align with my goals by simply having several pre-made veggie bags in my fridge at any time.

All you need are several veggies of your choosing and sandwich size bags. You may also want your favorite dressing or hummus to add a bit more flavor.

Tip #3: Include at Least 1 Veggie with Every Meal (Bonus Points for Different Colors!)

You’ve heard it before… Americans just aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. And as the foundation of a healthy diet, consider fruits and vegetables your fountain of youth. Rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water, it’s hard to understand how so many can resist that gorgeous nutritional profile. But the hard facts tell us that less than 30% of us – that’s seven out of every ten Americans – are failing to meet the recommended 5 A Day.

Check out the following strategies to see how easy it can be to include at least 1 veggie with every meal.

Add peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms or onions to your eggs for a delicious omelet, or pile the whole scramble on your favorite bread, tortilla, or bagel for a booster breakfast sandwich.

In soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and casseroles, most recipes call for a certain amount of vegetables. My advice? Double the amount called for in the original recipe. You are already doing the prep work so; a little extra chopping can go a long way for your vegetable intake.

Grate your way to goodness. Shred or grate vegetables down or puree them up and see how creative you can get with your favorite recipes. Grated zucchini and carrots do wonders for turkey burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs, adding both moisture and nutrients to the dish.

Puree cooked cauliflower, winter squash, or red peppers and stir them into sauces, mashed potatoes, pot pies, or even mac and cheese.

Supersize your salad. Just think of the possibilities of an entrée-sized salad. One cup of leafy greens is a serving; pile on healthy toppings, and every 1/2 cup of vegetables is another serving. You can easily get half your daily vegetables packed into one glorious salad.

These are just some of our family’s go to strategies for getting at least 1 veggie with every meal. As you explore, you will be amazed at how easily you will be able to do this also.

Tip #4: Make a Delicious Salad for Dinner

One of the GREATEST ways to eat half or more of your daily serving of veggies each day is to finish it with a multi-colored delicious salad! The key is prepping ahead of time.

In our house we typically have 5 or more veggie options available on any day and one or two different forms of lettuce. Our favorites are spinach and romaine. With all these options accessible, whipping together a delicious salad is super simple!

I’ve talked to many people over the years about the salad strategy for getting their veggies each day. A common response is they would if they could make their salads more appealing. To that I say, do so!

Explore different add ins for further flavor like sliced banana peppers for more punch or olives for some salty flavor. You can even add some crunch with traditional croutons, one of my favorites or even something less traditional like some tortilla strips.

Dressings are another key to making your salad delicious. As a rule, I tend toward dressings that are olive based and am respectful to amount. I extend the reach of my dressings by thoroughly mixing them into my salads with a spoon in a large bowl before eating.

Hope this post has been inspirational to you! Be your own creative genius and explore interesting combos of your own. You’ll have fun while also increasing your health!

Tip #5: Snack on Veggies with Your Favorite Hummus

Let’s be real. Veggies by themselves can be pretty bland. Have no fear! Today’s tip is a real winner.

You’ll still need to prep your veggies as we’ve discussed in previous posts to enjoy this tip. So, make sure you’re consistently positioning yourself for success by doing all of your chopping BEFORE you’re hungry or feeling the munchies.

Hummus is a great source to use as a dip for your veggies for a few key reasons. One, you can find quite an assortment of flavors at most grocery stores. This is wonderful if you’re adventurous and like to explore different flavor combinations with your dipping veggies.

Hummus is also a great source of healthy fat because it’s made with both olive oil and something called tahini paste. Tahini paste is made from sesame seeds that are made almost to a flour consistency. Both olive oil and tahini paste are high in what are called monounsaturated fats, the good kind of fat for those curious.

Last, hummus is made with the primary ingredient being garbanzo beans, another vegetable!

One point of caution before you start dipping away. Hummus and veggies can be very high in calories, even if healthy, because of the inclusion of both olive oil and tahini paste. So instead of drenching each veggie bite in hummus, you’re better off to spoon out a couple of tablespoons worth and, in the words of Tim Gunn, make it work.

Have fun testing out different combinations of veggies and hummus. I personally love tomato basil hummus with just about anything.

So, there you have it. I hope these five tips, all of which I’ve personally practiced for a couple of decades now, prove supportive to you as you press on o MOVE BETTER to FEEL BETTER to LIVE BETTER.

Client Spotlight – Richard  Furash

1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?  

I had been training on my own. My routines lacked variety and focus. I felt that a trainer facilitated session would provide a focus to my exercise program.

2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer?  

Body Basics training augments my exercise program. I ride a bicycle three times a week for about 8 miles each time. I walk my best boy Louis at least 3 miles daily. And I play competitive senior softball twice a week.

3. How did you hear about BodyBasics?

My wife Marge has been training with BodyBasics since inception of the business. She’s had great results. In addition, I have known Chris Litten and his family forever! I trust him. I trust his business.

4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?  

Other “gyms” are just “meat factories”, with people training on their own, grabbing equipment when they need it. What should be a one hour training session turns into several hours. I simply want to get in and get out. One hour of intensive gym type training three times is what Body Basics gives me.

5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?

BodyBasics’ group sessions are unique. They can not be easily duplicated by others.

6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?

My goal was then to maintain my fitness and conditioning.

7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?

I have been doing group sessions for more than 12 years. My ability to successfully recover from open heart surgery last year and to be stronger is a testament to how well BodyBasics prepared me. I went into the surgery physically strong; I came out weary but with the ability to get back to work. After 13 weeks of Cardio Rehab, I returned to BodyBasics group sessions, stronger than ever.

8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?

I am pursuing my conditioning, flexibility, balance and my posture. As we age, we tend to lose our conditioning. We lose our flexibility. We tend to “slouch”. We lose our balance, tripping on stuff, falling and breaking hips. And that stuff never heals at our age. That scenario is not for me. I will age no matter what (If I’m lucky) but I’d like to do it my way, not the way other old guys do it.

Welcome New and Returning Clients

The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!

Carolyn McKents ~ referred by Dr. Martinez at TMC One!

Al Polonyi ~ referred by Dr. Martinez at TMC One!

Becca Jackson ~ referred by mom who knew Chris during his days at Metro Fitness!

Melissa Elkins ~ Welcome Back!

“Shout Outs”

Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. This month’s shout outs all have something special in common. All are greater than 70 years old! Age is literally just a number as you’ll see from reading these amazing shout outs!

Ross Henderson ~ for recently hauling a 60lb. bucket of paint up a ladder!

Marge Furash ~ for completing a recent cardio stress test and being told her results are those of a 42 year old!

Trish Harris ~ for carrying 40lb. bags of horse feed!

Dee Fletcher ~ for surpassing 135 lbs. on her Racked Dead Lifts when just a bit more than 3 months ago she was still recovering from a pretty serious ankle fracture!

Barbro Huth ~ for nearly eclipsing her total body weight on her Sumo Dead Lifts and then lifting it up and down 3 times in a row, one extra because she didn’t like her form on the second one!

Recipe – Pasta Salad with Kale & Honey Mustard Dressing

When deciding what to eat, I often ask ‘what textures sound good?’  This pasta salad has so much goodness going on; there’s sweet, tangy, crunchy, smooth, and is very satisfying.  You can serve it as a side or top with your favorite protein option! We served ours with a side of chicken. YUM! Enjoy this one!


For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (a pinch)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil

For the Salad

  • 2 cups dried pasta, cooked per package instructions
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbled


  1. Mix dressing ingredients and set aside
  2. Cook pasta of choice per the package instructions, rinse and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl add chopped kale with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then gently massage the kale to soften the leaves.
  4. Add pasta, and cherries and combine.
  5. Drizzle in 1/2 the dressing and mix until pasta and kale is coated.
  6. Add the pistachios and cheese and mix.
  7. Taste, if needs more dressing add additional dressing.

Recipe By:  Ashley Munro, RD, CDE 

Ashley is a Tucson native, and the owner of Ashley Munro Nutrition, LLC, were she offers virtual nutrition counseling and meal planning support.  She is a trained chef, and certified Intuitive Eating counselor.  Through delicious cooked meals and recipes, Ashley shares her passion for food freedom, cooking, and family on her blog.  Outside of work, Ashley enjoys running and ice cream dates with her 4 year old.

Nutrition Tip ~ Cut and Prep Veggies for Easy Access During the Week!

Community Events

3rd annual “Torture the Trainer” Event was a Wonderful Success!

Thank you to all who joined us either physically on the day of our charitable event or the weeks before through you contributions. Because of you all and your generous support, we were able to raise $920! We contributed another $180 to make an even $1100, the equivalent of 4 SCHOLARSHIPS for kids who want to participate in this summer’s Dog Days in the Desert provided by our chosen charity for this year, The Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Thank you all so much for your contributions. We loved your involvement and, we’ll say…creativity.

Stay tuned for a fun display we will be putting up front so that next year’s event is even more spectacular!

FaceBook Lives Every Wednesday at 1:40 p.m.

We want you all to know that we have been getting on FaceBook every Wednesday at 1:40 for about 10-15 minutes as a team and sharing our thoughts on different topics we’ve heard all of you mention or stuff we think you’re interested in learning more about. Please LIKE our BodyBasics FaceBook page and tune in every Wednesday for these FB Lives! We’d also love for you to share topics with us you’d like us to elaborate on.

Team BodyBasics

Chris, Kris, Kristian, Amanda, Dustin, Chelsea, Xavier and Aaron

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