Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dinner in “Umba” Land

It’s Latin Aerobics that starts with a “Z”, and ends with an “Umba”—a trademark that has generated exercise classes everywhere, with health club owners tiptoeing around copyright law unless they’re official paying members of the *Umba movement. Just plugging my zipcode into their ditch-the-workout-join-the party finder yielded 846 results in my town alone. Before I knew it, I was thumbing through the recipes in my tighter tummies and butts chapter from GORGEOUS, and getting in the mood for a little salsa in my food, with strains of meringue and flamenco as dinner music.

Umba-Land—we’ll just call it that for now—was inspired by a Columbian dancer the day he forgot his music on the way to the studio, and decided to improvise with the stack of cassette tapes in his car. Soon he had his students sashaying and shimmying to choreography that mimicked everything from hip hop to the martial arts. Watching Umba-Land’s creator talk about the dance movement is something to see. He’s said that the people who do it have thanked him, crediting the exercise with beating cancer, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and helping with income when some begin teaching Umba themselves.

I’ve also read that if and when you join the Umba movement, you should ensure that class size is under control (no more than 18) and that an experienced instructor who’s familiar with Umba moves is there to supervise. It seems that physical therapists have rushed to the aid of some who pulled a muscle or tore this or that, rocking a Bollywood beat, or some other component of this fun dance. I was excited to pull recipes from GORGEOUS that are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates that give Umba enthusiasts that extra kick in an hour long session—which, you’ll be happy to know, burns somewhere between 500 and 1,000 calories! What a nice way to go into the holidays, when you know those Thanksgiving and Christmas pounds are on rush delivery to your hips.

A Spicy Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Menu that Says Hello Heat, Goodbye Fat!

I found a site, compliments of PBS that delivers caliente musica, perfect for dancing around the kitchen and preparing high energy dishes for a whole day when cardiovascular exercise is on the menu. For breakfast, get out some chopped fresh cilantro, red bell pepper and your favorite hot sauce to whip up Easy Mexicali Breakfast Tacos. They pack an antioxidant rich punch and have just 130 calories each! Think about it—that’s less than your average container of yogurt.
For lunch, try the Spicy Tuna Dinner Salad with Balsamic Dressing; with the addition of lean tuna—a good omega-3 rich fat, and white beans, excellent protein, fiber and carbs—holy frijoles, you’ve got yourself a healthy meal, made savory and spicy with all that lime infused chili sauce and yummy garlic. Five-Spice Beef Wraps With Orange Ginger Dipping Sauce for dinner pleases the meat and potato loving crowd every bit as much as those who feel deprived unless you bring on the heat. I won’t reveal what the spices are now…you’ll just have to click on the recipe link or scroll down to find out. In any event, if you eat everything proposed here for Umba Day, you will have enjoyed every last morsel of what doesn’t even add up to 1200calories—for the whole day! Now you can go ahead and eat like you have a wooden leg over the holidays—in which case I hope you’ll check my blog for decadent fare!

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