Staying home? We can help you.

During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to take care of our bodies and minds, and to stay positive and strong. With the new Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are forced to self-isolate or work from home. To help you stay healthy and active, we’ve decided to offer some of our recipes and a workout openly and completely free.

We have a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner recipe for you, as well as a full-body workout you can perform in the comfort of your own living room. Plus, some useful tips from our exercise and nutrition expert.

We also remind you that the Fitpack app is always free to use. To enjoy even more free recipes and workouts, download it now from the App Store or Google Play.

Breakfast

Fitpack Detox Smoothie

It's a green smoothie, yes. And you know what? It tastes like a green smoothie. But trust us, it's good for you.

Serves: 1

  • Banana (1 medium)
  • Medjool dates (2 medium)
  • Spinach (1 cup)
  • Kale (0,5 cup)
  • Lemon (0,5 medium)
  • Flax seeds, ground (1 tbsp)
  • Coconut milk (1 cup)
  • Apple (0,5 medium)
  1. Chop a lemon in half and squeeze half of it into the blender.
  2. Put all the other ingredients into the blender.
  3. Blend, serve and enjoy!

Lunch

Snap Peas, Garlic & Basil Stir Fry

Loads of crunchy veggies in this very nutritious stir fry. Perfect solution for a quick and tasty meal.

Serves: 1

  • Rice, basmati (0,5 cup)
  • Sugar snap peas (2 cups)
  • Bean sprouts (1 cup)
  • Edamame beans, fresh (1 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • Garlic cloves (3 medium)
  • Onion (1 medium)
  • Vegetable broth (0,5 cup)
  • Coconut aminos (1 tbsp)
  • Basil, fresh (0,5 cup)
  • Cashews (1 tbsp)
  1. Begin by cooking the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. In the meantime, cook the edamame beans in some salted, boiling water for about 10 minutes. When cooked, drain them and rinse them.
  3. Next, chop the onion and basil and set aside.
  4. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and chop them.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high flame.
  6. Add the garlic and onions. Stir occasionally.
  7. When the garlic starts to brown, add the snap peas and vegetable broth.
  8. When the snap peas start to soften, add the bean sprouts and edamame. When the bean sprouts start to soften, add the coconut aminos and basil.
  9. Mix well and add the cashews.
  10. Serve over the rice and enjoy!

Dinner

Masala Squash with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

An Indian-inspired dish with baked squash and sweet potato in a beautiful, flavourful tomato sauce.

Serves: 2 (or 1, if you’re very hungry!)

  • Butternut squash (2 cups)
  • Sweet potatoes (1 medium)
  • Chopped tomatoes, canned (1,5 cup)
  • Kale (1 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Garlic cloves (3 medium)
  • Onion (1 medium)
  • Ginger root, fresh (1 tbsp)
  • Cilantro, fresh (0,25 cup)
  • Cumin, ground (3 tsp)
  • Ground turmeric (1 tsp)
  • Garam masala (2 tsp)
  1. Begin by setting the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Chop the squash and sweet potato. Place them both into a medium-sized bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper (to taste). Mix together.
  3. Place this mixture onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Broil until the squash and sweet potatoes are cooked and browned. When ready, remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high flame.
  5. Add the onions (chopped) and garlic (minced). Stir occasionally.
  6. When the garlic starts to brown, add the canned tomatoes and stir in all of the remaining spices.
  7. Add the kale and mix well.
  8. When the kale begins to soften, add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes.
  9. Mix together well and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Then, remove from flame.
  10. Garnish with cilantro, serve and enjoy!

Home workout

Full-Body Blaze

This intensity-based workout is full of fun and functional movements. No equipment needed. Get ready to sweat!

3 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with your legs together, arms at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees slightly, and jump into the air.
  3. As you jump, spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out and over your head.
  4. Jump back to starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Begin by lying on your back over a mat or other comfortable surface. Place your hands above your head and flat on the floor with palms layering over one another and towards the ceiling. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Contract your abdominals prior to initiating movement. Slowly curl up without swinging your body weight with the legs. Try not to lead the motion with your head and neck lift your hands off the floor keeping them parallel with the floor. Motion is complete once you’re lower back is just barely lifted off of the mat.
  3. Slowly lower your upper body back in a downward motion. Do not allow your body to “crash” back down. Descend until your upper back is just off the mat and repeat reps.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Stand straight up with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Going from being dead still drop into a squat position as quickly as possible.
  3. Your knees should make a 90-degree angle for the squat and as you drop down to extend your arms straight forward.
  4. Hold the squat position for a second or two and then stand back up to starting position. This completes one repetition.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. To start this exercise kneel down just in front of a ledge or platform and lean forward so that you now weight bearing on your arms. Have your hands placed just outside of where your chest would be.
  2. Now you should come up onto your feet by stepping up onto the ledge or platform behind you so that your body is suspended above the floor. The only points of contact (with the floor) should be your hands and the platform itself.
  3. Your body should be in one straight line from head to toe and your arms perpendicular to the floor, under your chest. This will be your starting position.
  4. Whilst inhaling, slowly lower your chest towards the floor whilst flaring your elbows out wide. Continue to descend until you are only a few inches from the floor.
  5. Pause for a brief movement, exhale and press through your palms to return your body along the same path to the starting position. Tip: Squeeze your pectoral muscles as you do so and when you get to the top of the movement, do not lock your elbows out.
  6. Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Position yourself on all fours on a mat.
  2. Position your hands underneath your shoulders and place your knees under your hips.
  3. Keep your right knee bent at 90 degrees and flex the foot as you lift the knee until it is level with the hip.
  4. Lower the knee without touching the floor and repeat the lift.
  5. Once you’ve completed the reps on the right leg, switch legs.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Begin in a comfortable standing position with your knees slightly bent. Hold your hands in front of you, palms down with your fingertips together at chest height. This will be your starting position.
  2. Rapidly dip down into a quarter squat and immediately explode upward. Drive the knees towards the chest, attempting to touch them to the palms of the hands.
  3. Jump as high as you can, raising your knees up, and then ensure a good land be re-extending your legs, absorbing impact through be allowing the knees to rebend.
3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Begin in a standing position. Your hands should be on your hips or hanging at your sides. Look directly forward, keeping your chest up, with your feet shoulder-width apart. This will be your starting position.
  2. Initiate the movement by taking a step to the rear, allowing your hips and knees to flex to lower your body. Contacting the back leg through only the ball of the foot, descend until your knee nearly touches the ground. Use a slow and controlled motion, paying special attention to proper mechanics and posture. The knee should stay in line with the foot, and the thoracic spine should remain neutral.
  3. After a brief pause, return to the starting position by driving through the heel of the front leg to extend the knees and hips.
  4. This movement can be done completely on one side before switching or can be performed in an alternating fashion.

3 sets of 10 reps

  1. Adopt a wide standing stance with your hands in front of you, elbows relaxed out wide. This will be your starting position.
  2. To initiate the movement, inhale and bend at your knees and hips to descend your pelvis either in line or just past your knees. Tip: Keep a straight back throughout and maintain good posture.
  3. Once you get to the bottom of the movement, exhale and press through your heels to extend your hip and knee joints, elevating your torso back along the same path into the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

From our expert

5 tips for a more efficient immune system

By Audrey Lee, Ph.D.

The Oxford dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”. Stress compromises the immune system which is made of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from germs, infection, and illness. With our fast-paced, busy lives people are in chronic stress. Now the COVID-19 pandemic is escalating that stress.

Below you can find five tips to help you find calm, restore balance, and boost your immune system. Read more by clicking on them and give one, or all, a try.

Low to moderate intensity exercise stimulates the immune system and increases blood circulation. This enhances the circulation of antibodies and white blood cells (WBC) to do their job more efficiently. WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. If you’re indoors, Fitpack has a lot of free bodyweight workouts within the app, but you can also take an online fitness class, yoga class, or dance to your favorite songs.

High intensity, strenuous activities temporarily reduce our immune defenses. Athletes who train at high intensities are at risk of releasing stress hormones (i.e., adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine) into their body. This repeated stress leads to an “open window,” a period of one to three days during which the immune system is vulnerable to upper respiratory tract infections. If you currently perform repeated bouts of high intensity training, remember to do your recovery sessions as well.

Our nervous system is made of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is the fight or flight system. It releases adrenaline, speeds heart rate, tenses up the body, and makes us more alert. Functions not critical for survival are shut down. The PNS is our counterbalance. It restores the body to a state of calm, slows the heart rate, and relaxes the body. Deep breathing is a key component to any restorative practice like yoga and meditation.

Practice your deep breathing in the comfort of your own home. Put on some calming music. Sit or lay down. Feel your body resting on the chair or on the floor. Allow yourself to relax. Bring your attention to your breath. Listen to the sound of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Feel your breath moving in your nose, in your throat, and in your chest. Feel the breath expanding your rib cage. Feel the rise and fall of your breath in your belly. Notice your breath lengthening and deepening naturally. Start this exercise for 5 minutes and gradually increase your time up to 30 minues, to allow yourself to feel calm and relaxed.

Vegetables and fruits are naturally rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the body’s immune system and maintain overall health. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. Humans cannot produce vitamin C in the body, so they must get it from food and drink. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Some of these include rose hips, guava, sweet yellow peppers, lemons, lychees, and papaya.

Sleep changes our hormone balance and recovery ability. It affects how the body responds to nutrients, exercise, and stress. Without sufficient sleep, the body produces fewer cytokines (a protein that targets infection and inflammation), reducing our immune defenses. Cytokines are both produced and released while we sleep. Follow a daily sleep routine even on the weekend. Aim for the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Your circadian rhythm monitors feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. It is controlled by an area of the brain that responds to light. Bright lights at night throw off your body clock because the brain thinks it is still daytime. Artificial blue light emitted by laptops, tablets, and cell phones are the worst offenders. Turn off these devices about two to three hours before bed to start preparing your body and mind for sleep.

Meditation is a technique to relax and awaken the mind to a state of mindfulness or being present. With a regular meditation practice, the mind learns to detach from worry, stress, tension, judgment, and expectations to find a natural calm and stillness inside. Yoga and meditation help increase awareness to what one is thinking, feeling, and doing.

There are different ways to meditate. Guided meditation can be done in a live class with an instructor or by taking an online class. Some programs use music to enhance the meditation experience. The instructor talks the student through the meditation practice by inviting them to find a comfortable seated position, taking deep breaths, and gives them a phrase or mantra to repeat as part of the meditation. The instructor also brings the students out of the meditation and gradually brings them to the present state.

References

  • Chin, MS and Kales SN. Understanding Mind‐Body Disciplines: A Pilot Study of Breathing and Dynamic Muscle Contraction on Autonomic Nervous System Reactivity. Stress and Health. 35(4) · July 2019.
  • Knufinke, M, et. al. Dim light, sleep tight, and wake up bright – Sleep optimization in athletes by means of lightregulation. Eur J Sport Sci. 2020 Feb 25:1-9.
  • Li Y, Schellhorn HE. New developments and novel therapeutic perspectives for vitamin C. J Nutr 2007;137:2171-84.

Foods to protect & strengthen the immune system

Six foods that have been shown to be beneficial for maintaining a good and efficient immune system.

Chlorella

Chlorella is a power packed, nutrient dense green algae. It contains all nine essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein and it is 50–60% protein. Chlorella is also rich in minerals (magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, and calcium), B vitamins, and antioxidants (beta-carotene, chlorophyll, lycopene, lutein, and vitamin C). An eight-week study examined the effects of taking chlorella versus a placebo on immune function in healthy adults. The participants taking chlorella showed a positive immune boost, with enhanced natural killer cell activity and an early inflammatory response. Natural killer cells are a type of white blood cell critical to the immune system. They recognize virally infected cells (and some types of tumor cells) and kill them before they cause great damage.

Read more

Cruciferous vegetables

Eat more broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale. These cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a naturally occuring plant compound that protects against free radicals. It also protects the brain and eyesight, activates our detoxification enzymes, and helps prevent cancer. Cooking destroys the formation of sulforaphane so you want to eat these vegetables raw. Finely chop your Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, or kale. Massage your greens with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 3-4 minutes. When the greens are tender and soft they are ready to eat. Another method is to chop your cruciferous vegetables ahead of time and then wait about 40 minutes before cooking them. This allows the sulforaphane to be produced and you will not lose any of the health benefits from cooking.

Read more

Fermented foods

Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso are rich in probiotic bacteria (probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system). Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Kimchi is fermented Napa cabbage, garlic, green onions, red pepper, and sweet onion. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans mixed with salt and koji (mold used to make miso, sake, and soy sauce). During the fermentation process, beneficial probiotics or live bacteria are produced. When you eat fermented foods, you are adding these live bacteria and enzymes to your intestinal flora to enhance the health of your gut microbiome (the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and yeast that live in your gut and on your skin) and digestive system which fortifies the immune system.

Read more

Mushrooms

Mushrooms strengthen the immune system by acting as a prebiotic (food for beneficial bacteria in the gut) to promote a healthy microbiome. There is emerging evidence that pyrogallol, the phytonutrient found in mushrooms, reduces inflammation while boosting immune and anticancer function. To test this, Australian researchers Jeong and colleagues investigated the effect of consuming Agaricus bisporus white button mushrooms (WBM) on salivary immunoglobulin A (a protein the immune cells make to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders). Healthy subjects were randomly assigned to a normal daily diet (control group) or a normal diet with 100 grams of blanched WBM daily. After one week of consuming the mushrooms, IgA secretion increased 50% and stayed elevated for a week after the subjects stopped eating mushrooms, before falling back to baseline.

Read more

Nutritional yeast

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on your favorite foods for a nutty, cheesy flavor. Nutritional yeast also helps fortify the immune system. It contains the powerful antioxidants glutathione and selenomethionine, B vitamins, is a complete protein, and is rich in minerals (chromium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and magnesium). Beta glucan fiber is also found in nutritional yeast which helps maintain our body’s defense against pathogens. In contrast to antibiotics and antivirals, yeast compounds stimulate our immune defenses instead of directly killing pathogens, and do not have the same side effects as antibiotics. Yeast compounds trigger the immune defenses because the body recognizes them as foreign.

Read more

Wakame Seaweed

Wakame seaweed, found in seaweed salad at your favorite sushi restaurant, is another immune boosting powerhouse. It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and iodine. Wakame seaweed also contains fucoxanthin. Recent studies report that fucoxanthin has many physiological functions and biological properties, including antitumor, antidiabetes, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, as well as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular protective effects. Researchers Shan and associates found that it can quadruple the replication potential of T cells. T cells are lymphocyte immune cells that protect the body from pathogens and cancer cells. T cells originate from bone marrow and mature in the thymus. They regulate the immune response and adjust the function of other immune cells accordingly.

Read more

References

  • Jayachandran M, et al. A critical review on the impacts of β-glucans on gut microbiota and human health. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Nov;61:101-110.
  • Jeong SC, et al. Dietary intake of Agaricus bisporus white button mushroom accelerates salivary immunoglobulin A secretion in healthy volunteers. Nutrition. 2012 May;28(5):527-31.
  • Kwak, Jung Hyun et al. Beneficial immunostimulatory effect of short-term Chlorella supplementation: enhancement of natural killer cell activity and early inflammatory response (randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial). Nutrition journal vol. 11 53. 31 Jul. 2012.
  • Marco ML, Heeney D, Binda S, et al. . Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2017;44:94–102.
  • C. Miglio, et al. Effects of different cooking methods on nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of selected vegetables. J. Agric. Food. 2008 Jan 9;56(1):139-47.
  • Shan BE, et al. Immunomodulating activity of seaweed extract on human lymphocytes in vitro. Int J Immunopharmacol. 1999 Jan;21(1):59-70.
  • Zhang H, et al. Fucoxanthin: A Promising Medicinal and Nutritional Ingredient. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:723515.

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