Staying Hydrated

Summer is almost upon us (feels like it is already here) and it is SUPER important to stay hydrated.  The common amount that people think they should be drinking is 8 glasses per day.  8 glasses of 8 oz….  that’s only 64 oz.  In my opinion, this is the minimum you should be drinking.  In the Texas heat you can definitely become dehydrated doing everyday tasks and errands….. I usually start sweating just walking to and from my car!  O_O  And if you are doing any workout throughout the day, especially anything outdoors, you will need even more hydration!

 

In addition to drinking water, a lot of people think it’s necessary to re-hydrate with sports drinks post-workout.  In all actuality, most people should not be drinking sports drinks that often.  If you are a professional athlete or are doing an endurance type workout (running a half or full marathon, long bike rides) than sports drinks are great and necessary to replenish electrolytes!  Otherwise, sport drinks only provide extra calories that you don’t need.  Consumption should be very limited and should be one of the low-cal options.

 

One of the best options is the Gatorade G-series FIT.  They have only 20 cals per bottle! Drink post-workout.

 

Another good one is Powerade Zero… with, you guessed it… zero calories !! 🙂 Drink during and/or post-workout.

Another recovery drink that has been very trendy lately is coconut water.  It has more calories (about 60 per carton for Zico brand) BUT it is a natural source of potassium and electrolytes.  Also, it tastes pretty good !  The same thing goes for coconut water… every once in a while, post-workout.

Overall, my suggestion is to stick with water!  Keep your reusable water bottle at your desk or with you wherever you are throughout the day.  Add a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumbers if you are finding it difficult to drink a lot.  Keep track of how much you are drinking and make sure to account for physical activity.  Your body will tell you when you need more than water(usually following a super long or challenging workout)…… only then should you supplement with a sports drink.

 

Enjoy the weekend friends and drink your agua!

Simple Salad.

Last night at my second job (for those of you who don’t know… I cook for a family in Westlake), I made this amazingly good salad! I wanted to share with everyone because it is so simple and healthy! Annndddd it tastes so good 🙂

 

Add a little grilled chicken/fish/beef on top and you have yourself a 20 minute meal! Enjoy.

 

Toasted Pecan & Blueberry Salad w/ Feta

Ingredients:

1 bag spring mix

1 cup blueberries, fresh

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (if following paleo diet, omit the feta)

1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

 

Dressing Ingredients:

1 small shallot, finely diced

1 tsp dijon mustard (I happened to have a passion fruit/habanero mustard that I used instead 😉 )

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

salt/pepper

 

Directions:

Over medium-low heat toast pecans for around 5 minutes.  The pecans are almost done when you start smelling them.

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Chop the pecans and set aside. (you will want to eat all the pecans while chopping, trust me!)

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Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

ImageIn a large bowl, combine the spring mix, pecans and blueberries.

ImageAdd the feta if so desired……

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Sugar-Free, Grain-Free Challenge

I guess I’ve lost my mind….. because I have decided to go completely sugar and grain-free for 21 days.  If you don’t know this about me, I work in and around kitchens and food ALL DAY LONG! It’s pretty hard to be surrounded by fresh made brownies and cookies everyday and not be able to even sample them!  I decided to do this because I have intense sweet/sugar cravings non-stop.  Cutting out sugar for 21 days will hopefully reduce my cravings and “need” for something sugary (or fake-sugary).  Surprisingly, I think the hardest thing so far has been not adding any sweetener to my morning coffee! Straight black coffee is going to take some time to get used to 🙂

Eating grain-free is the much easier half of this 21 day challenge.  Most of my meals consist of a lean meat and vegetables.  For snacks I usually eat fruits or nuts.  And I really don’t miss carbs all that often!

Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for most people, so when you remove that….. what will replace it?  The answer is fat.  Using fat as your fuel source instead of carbs means you burn more fat and therefore lose % body fat.   For some people this means weight loss, for others it means a change in body composition…. more muscle, less fat.

Wish me luck for the next 3 weeks!

I’m leaving you with a sugar-free,grain-free dessert recipe I’m going to try tonight!!

 

Banana Coconut Cookies

Wet Ingredients:
1/3 cup + 2 T mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix together using a fork. Form dough into ball and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Form dough into small balls (about 15) and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie ball with the palm of your hand. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cookies will be soft straight out of the oven but will firm up once completely cool. You can place them onto a wire rack to cool and then place the rack into your freezer for quick cooling. Source: http://www.NourishingMeals.com

 

 

 

 

My Food Log

Keeping a 3 day food log (writing down EVERYTHING you consume in 3 days including those 2 bites of chocolate cake ;)) can be stressful, daunting and even embarrassing. But it can also be a huge reality check! Since my clients have to go through this I thought I would share my own food log for a typical day.

Thursday, May 10th

The first thing I consumed was water. Before, during, and after my 5:30 am workout I had about 32 ounces total.

Next was a post- workout snack of 4 oz almond milk and half of an Oatmega 3 bar,around 6:30am.

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Next was my breakfast at 9:15am. A slice of crust less veggie quiche, 3 slices bacon and mixed fruit. Oh and of course coffee! About 10 ounces.

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Snack was around noon and was two carrots and the rest of the Oatmega 3 bar.

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Lunch was around 1:30 pm and was relatively light. I had some chicken soup, spinach salad, and a tiny piece of carrot cake (yes, carrot cake! And I don’t regret it) 😉

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Dinner was eaten around 6:45pm at my 2nd job; pecan crusted salmon, French style green beans and a few pieces of beef sausage. Nom nom.

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Not pictured: handful of jelly belly’s around 3:30pm, more water throughout the day, and a glass of red wine around 9pm.

As painful as it might be, try writing down everything you eat/drink for a day. You’ll be surprised what you learn about your eating habits and can make small changes based on that!

Happy weekend everyone 🙂

Spring Superfoods

These are in season and you should be eating them now!! Enjoy 🙂

Apricots

  • Very high in carotenoids (which are antioxidants).
  • High in fiber.

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Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

Yields 4 servings

4 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Basil, for garnish (optional)

Brush tops of apricots with olive oil. The olive oil will keep the apricots from sticking to the grill.

Place apricots face down on a hot grill. Grill for 1-2 minutes before flipping apricots over and grilling the bottoms for another minute. Remove from grill.

Place a dollop of Greek yogurt in the center, drizzle with honey, and garnish with basil (if desired). Serve warm.

 

 

Arugula

  • Extremely low in calories.
  • High in Vitamins A & C.

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Arugula Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Golden Raisins, Parmesan, and Toasted Pine Nuts with a Lemon Vinaigrette

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 bunches baby arugula
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/8 crushed red chili pepper flakes
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Place onto a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and crushed red pepper flakes until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula with the lemon dressing, toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins. Plate the salad, and garnish with shaved parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

Boysenberries, Blackberries, Raspberries……

  • High antioxidant levels.
  • High in fiber
  • High in Folic Acid
  • High in Vitamin C
  • Umm, they are delicious 😉

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Recipe for Light Chicken Salad with Blackberries

2 roasted chicken breasts, shredded

1/4 cup blackberries, halved

1/2 apple, diced

1/2 scallion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely diced

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp orange juice or freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Shred the chicken and place into a bowl.

2. Cut the celery, scallions, apples, and blackberries and add to chicken.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, salt, pepper, mustard, and orange juice.

4. Add yogurt mixture to shredded chicken. Toss the salad. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

5. Make sandwiches!

 

Radishes

  • High water content (to keep you full).
  • High in Vitamin C.
  • Contains calcium and iron.

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Pan-Seared Radish and Avocado Salad

1 bunch radishes (about 15), halved and trimmed
1 ripe avocado
4 ounces baby arugula (about 3 big handfuls)
1 lemon
vegetable oil
salt and pepper

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add the radishes. Season well with salt and pepper. Sear about 3 minutes per side until the radishes are nice and browned, and even blackened in places.

Place the arugula into a large salad bowl or coupe plate. Slice the avocado in half, cut it into slices, and then scoop out chunks of avocado flesh and add to the arugula.

When radishes are done, remove from heat. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and toss with hot radishes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the radishes and add them to the arugula and avocado. Drizzle with the lemon juice from the pan (This is the dressing. Don’t add it all at once – start with a little in case it’s too acidic). Toss the salad together with the dressing. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.

Best Meal of the Day

Most people tend to ignore the best meal of the day…..BREAKFAST! Not only is breakfast my absolute all-time favorite meal, it is actually proven to help people attain a healthy weight.  How easy is that? Simply eat a decent breakfast every morning and you are already on your way to achieving your healthy lifestyle goals.   Making time for breakfast is something I recommend to everyone, no matter what your work/study/exercise schedule is.

Benefits of AM meal

  • Eating breakfast reduces your hunger later in the day, so you aren’t ravenous by the time lunch rolls around.  This prevents you from overeating.
  • Eating breakfast gives you energy! You have been fasting for 8 or so hours and need to replenish your glycogen stores.
  • People who eat breakfast are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day and have increased physical activity.
  • Breakfast is tasty 🙂

Common Excuses

(you’ve probably used one of these at some point) ;P

  • “I don’t have time for breakfast” –> Prep ingredients the night before and wake up 10-15 minutes earlier. [See ridiculously easy recipe  for Overnight Oatmeal below…..]
  • “I’m not hungry” –> Eat something small like an orange to start with and eventually you will start feeling hungry in the morning.
  • “I don’t like breakfast foods” –> Whats wrong with you? 😉 You don’t have to eat the typical eggs or cereal, it can be anything! even leftovers from last nights dinner.

Recipes

Overnight Oatmeal

I found this recipe on foodgawker.com and is probably the easiest and quickest thing you can make for breakfast.  Just let it sit overnight and grab it on your way out of the door!

Overnight Oatmeal

http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-coconut-mango-overnight-oatmeal/

 

Homemade Granola

Easy and delicious. I prefer using agave nectar instead of honey and cutting the brown sugar in half.

Homemade Granola

http://theveggielogues.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/granola/

 

Mini Egg Muffins

And for those who are eating paleo, gluten free, low-carb or grain-free, these egg muffins are perfect to make ahead of time and eat on-the-go with a side of fruit.

Egg Muffins

http://thetalkingkitchen.com/2012/04/22/mini-egg-muffins-with-bacon-and-kale/

 

EAT YOUR BREAKFAST !!


Master Cleanse Madness

Ever heard of the so called “Master Cleanse” or “Lemonade Diets” that people follow for extreme, rapid weight loss?  They are everywhere and they are extremely dangerous!  You basically drink this  lemonade and cayenne pepper concoction for 10 days straight…. that’s literally all you consume. I was talking to a coworker yesterday about doing these (she did one about a year ago) and after going through this horrific experience, she says “never EVER again.” Well, my first thought is…. as a nurse (which she is) you should know not to do one of these.  She experienced shakiness, weakness, fatigue and irritability.  Needless to say she lost 10 pounds, but gained half of it back almost immediately after returning to normal food. DUH!

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In addition to feeling totally worthless for 10 days…… this cleanse lacks in all of the following: carbohydrates, protein, fat, calories, and pretty much every vitamin and mineral.  The only type of “cleanse” that I would recommend is the kind that you take in addition to your normal, healthy diet.  In fact, if you are eating well there is actually no need for said cleanse.  My point here is that people are looking for a quick-fix weight loss program, when really the only proven way to lose weight AND KEEP IT OFF is by eating right and exercise.  Seems pretty simple. But it’s hard. VERY hard.  Leading a healthy lifestyle is a daily struggle. So, I’ve come up with the top 5 things that help keep me and my diet balanced.

Top 5:

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
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My bad-A sister and some random dude, CrossFitting!

2. Eat fruits or veggies (or both) at EVERY meal.

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Avocado and tomatoes on a turkey taco

 

 

3. Portion control

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4. SLEEP!

5. Eat only when you are hungry.

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Me, chowing down on NYC pizza. Pretty sure I was hungry here ;P

I would suggest incorporating each of these into your current lifestyle, one-by-one.  It’s a slow and long process, but will become second nature once you have figured out what works for you!

Happy Friday everyone! And thanks for reading 🙂