Office Workouts: A Prelude to Office Olympics?

By Corey M Jackson, Guest Writer

The FitDeck cards sitting on my desk are fun. It’s interesting to me to be saying that, but I can’t help but think it. All the randomness of a deck of cards, with the aim and understanding that, at the end, you’ll have gotten some physical fitness in as well. It’s most definitely a way to randomize a workout.

I, for one, get tired of doing the same exercises, day in and day out, and I haven’t ever made a workout schedule (though it’s been recommended to me on several occasions). I don’t even enter the gym as much as I should, because if it’s slightly out of the way at all, or I’ve forgotten something (like music, or gym clothes), then I’ve lost all motivation to go completely.

With this FitDeck, I’m kind of out of excuses. My FitDeck: Office Edition requires the simple equipment of a desk and an office chair. Those are easy enough to find since I work in an office with hundreds of those things around me.

I decide I want to take a break and work out for 5 minutes, so I shuffle the deck, pull out five cards and lay them on my desk. The first card is the Side Bend Stretch card. I do the exercise, paying attention to my fitness level describing how much time I need to stretch for, and then I move onto the next card. Next, it’s a Calf Raise Lower Body exercise. Then a Stomach Squeeze Middle Body exercise, followed by an Arm Waver and then a Desk Push Up Upper Body exercises.

5 minutes is over, and I’m back to what I was doing before, my heart rate a little elevated, and feeling refreshed and ready for the next time I want to take a little break from the office. Fit Deck cards are available in our catalog or at http://www.ncescatalog.com. (Just search FitDeck)


Tips for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle (Week 2)

Considering that it’s Celiac Awareness Month, we decided to shed a little light on different ways you can live a gluten-free lifestyle, and still have a healthy, balanced diet.

One of the most complicated and difficult things a person can deal with is having a child who has celiac disease. Especially if the child is young, they may not even fully understand what they have to deal with or why.  So, it’s up to the parent to give them the guidance and direction they need to stay healthy.

When your child is outside of your sight, and out of your care, such as when they’re at a daycare center or preschool, it can be stressful on you as a parent. There are things you can do to make the transition easier.  By talking with your care-providers and your child, here are some ways to make the day go by more easily:

Teach your child to ask about ingredients, and to take control of their own diet. The more information you can get them to remember and to value, the better off they’ll be in the long run.

Educate the staff about your child’s condition. You can easily prevent your child from feeling left out by providing information on gluten-free meals that can be prepared.  You can also prepare for birthday parties and other celebrations by making gluten-free cupcakes ahead of time and storing them at the facility.

Make sure the staff and your child know about any crafts that might contain gluten that they would have to avoid or replace. Things like play-dough, silly putty, and noodles need to be avoided.

For a complete book on tips for your child’s gluten-free life, check out the “Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids” book, by Sheri L. Sanderson. Packed with tips and meals for a gluten-free lifestyle, it will keep you and your family healthy and growing.   This book is item # 3242 in our catalog and at http://www.ncescatalog.com.


Gluten-Free Apple Date Bread

This recipe and many others can be found in ‘Gluten-Free Diet’.  Item # 3034 at www.ncescatalog.com or in our catalog.


  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup chunky applesauce
  • ¾ cup apple juice or water
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil


  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch

OR use 3 cups of your own favorite GF flour mix instead of the above flours

  • ½ cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 ¼ tsp. yeast


  • ¾ cup finely chopped GF pitted dates
  • 1 tsp. orange zest

Electric Mixer Instructions (Bread Machine Instructions included with book)

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients together and set aside.
  • Place all the dry ingredients, including the yeast, in to the mixer bowl and blend flours together on low speed.
  • Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry while the mixer is on low.
  • Beat on high for 3-4 minutes.  Mixture should look silky.  If the dough is too dry, add liquid 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Add the dates and orange zest after the dough has been thoroughly mixed.
  • Place the dough into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan that has been greased and dusted with rice flour.  Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Start checking for the bread being done at 55 minutes.  When done, remove bread from pan and place on cooling rack.  Do not cut or package until the bread cools, approximately 2-3 hours.

Yield: 15 Slices (1/2” thick)

Note: Apple juice, applesauce and dates make this bread moist and flavorful.

Nutrition Analysis:

1 serving = 1 Slice (1/2 “ thick)

Calories (kcal) 187
Carbohydrates (g) 39
Dietary Fiber (g) 2
Fat (g) 2
Protein (g) 4
Iron (mg) 0.7
Calcium (mg) 51
Sodium (mg) 208


Case, Shelley. (2008). Gluten-free diet. Regina, Canada: Case Nutrition Consulting Inc.


Tips for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

May is National Celiac Awareness Month.  In light of that, we have decided to highlight some of the ways dealing with the disease and the diet required for it, can be made easier. Having celiac disease can be difficult to cope with. It involves a major overhaul of your diet to ensure a healthy and long life.

Having celiac disease means that your body can’t break down the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Not only do these grains not break down, but each time they are ingested, they damage the small intestine. It’s a very serious disease with serious consequences, but it’s manageable.

Not only do wheat, rye, and barley have to be avoided in foods and meal preparation, but people looking for a gluten-free diet (or a diet without gluten: the protein in wheat, rye and barley) have to avoid things such as grain that was processed in the same containers and plants as one of those three other grains, which significantly increases the risk of contamination.

A basic tip for those looking to make gluten-free meals at home is to separate the places in your kitchen between gluten-free and gluten-containing foods. You can separate them by shelf or cabinet, and have the containers marked in a special way so that you can tell at a glance which one is which.

Sheri L. Sanderson, author of “Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Foods for Kids” recommends even going so far as to double up on a few mixing and preparation items, so as to nix any chance of contamination that might occur in the kitchen area. Things like measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls and spatulas, or paring knives and cutting boards are cheap enough that you would normally have multiple ones in the kitchen anyway. By having doubles of these ready and at hand, you can mark certain ones for use in gluten-free prep, and the others for gluten-containing foods, and your stress level will go down as well.

Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Foods for Kids” can be found at http://www.ncescatalog.com, or in our catalog in the Food Allergies section (Item # 3242)


5 Tips for Setting Fitness Goals

The month of May is National Physical Fitness Month. So, to recognize this, we thought that we might give you some tips on easy methods of working out, that won’t take a bite out of your daily schedule.

Current physical activity guidelines state that 150 minutes of physical activity a week is required to keep you fit and healthy. To put it plainly, a half an hour for five days out of the week, while paired with a healthy diet, is usually enough to keep you away from becoming overweight.

Fitness and physical activity are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t always have to get in the way of your everyday life. By separating those workout periods into ten minutes, or even five minute blocks, you can spread out your physical activity enough to make the time easy to find.

But, fitness doesn’t happen overnight, and more than one of us have made a New Year’s resolution, only to watch it fade away within a month or two. Taking things gradually can help maintain a healthy lifestyle, and one way to partition your fitness into manageable chunks, is to set goals.

A few tips to follow when setting goals for yourself:

  • Make the goal challenging, but achievable. Too easy and you’ll become unmotivated, too hard and the same thing will happen.
  • Make it a variation of short-term and long-term goals. Being able to hit marks along the way to your bigger goals can be just as rewarding as the bigger goals themselves.
  • Have progression in your goals. Whether adding time or intensity, having progression built into your goals makes it more achievable and positively enforcing.
  • Set your exercises according to your lifestyle and what you’re comfortable with. Getting outside of your comfort zone is basic, to a point. If you don’t like it to start, you never will.
  • Reward yourself when you reach your goals. Avoid using food as a reward though. And make sure that the reward matches the goal. If it’s a big goal, give yourself a big reward!

These tips and more, along with short, easy-to-do exercises can be found in the book, “Fit In 5” by Greg Whyte.  This book, and many more can be found at www.ncescatalog.com and in our catalog.